Event and club volunteer potential: the case of women’s rugby in England

2015-10-30T14:08:49Z (GMT) by Niki Koutrou Paul Downward
Sports could not survive without volunteers as they are vital to the ‘playing of sport’ (Taylor, 2004). Volunteering in sport is typically associated with sports-club systems or sport events (Slack & Parent, 2005). The purpose of this study is to explore the potential of harnessing volunteer activity in different contexts, as a result of previous sports club volunteering experience and to establish what determines the decision to volunteer and to continue volunteering. This is important for government policy, given the current objectives to promote a ‘Big Society’ and reduce public expenditure. A total of 168 volunteers involved with women’s rugby in England completed a web-based survey. Factor analysis was employed to summarize volunteers’ satisfaction with their experience. The analysis yielded six reliable factors of volunteers’ satisfaction. Regression analysis was then applied to identify which aspects of satisfaction, which motivations, how much previous sports engagement and which socio-demographic characteristics had an impact on actual volunteering for the women’s rugby world cup, and future plans for volunteering at a rugby club at a rugby event, or at other sport events. Regression results provide statistical support for the transfer of volunteer efforts across activities. Thus, the UK government may meet its objectives to stimulate a Big Society and widen community engagement through sport volunteering, by acknowledging that social mobility varies between and within sports and is determined by the experiences, interests, motives and characteristics of both the individual volunteers and VSOs.