An Investigation into Volunteers’ Motives for Participating in Smaller-Scale Sporting Events, in Particular School-related Sporting Events
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It is recognised that without volunteers, certain events would be impossible to run. In addition, volunteers provide a diverse skill set and their free efforts to the event (Strigas and Jackson 2003). Within the literature, it becomes clear it is crucial that event organisers understand what motivates people to volunteer. This is so they can help cater a role to suit to volunteers which will ultimately help with volunteer recruitment and retention. Purpose: The overall aim of this research project is to ascertain what motivates individuals to volunteer at small scale sporting events in particular school-related events, as well as to investigate the effect volunteering has on the surrounding community. Methodology: A mixed method approach was used to conduct this research, utilising online survey and semi-structured interviews. The survey participants had a variety of characteristics, such as different ages, backgrounds and levels of educational attainment. The interview participants included both male and female and they were involved in a cross spectrum of different fields of sport organisations. Both survey and interview participants read an information sheet prior to taking part in the research and gave consent before continuing with the gathering of information. The survey generated 105 responses. Social media was the main method in distributing the survey on platforms such as LinkedIn. The survey preceded the interviews. Initial interviewees were found from local sport volunteer organisations on LinkedIn, who then recommended others. Of the interviewees, 5 were male and 5 were female. This range of demographics provided a wide variety of responses through both data collection methods. Findings: The research project found various motivations and reasons why volunteers specifically choose to volunteer at school-related sporting events, such as individuals volunteering to improve their mental health, improve children’s lives or volunteer to give back to their school community that once helped them. In addition, the researcher identified motivations can be grouped depending on an individual’s background. Limitations: Within the research there were limitations. Firstly, the survey was initially completed by people who were linked to the researcher’s social media which was ultimately of female dominance. Secondly, all interview participants were from the same geographical location which could influence similar answers. Lastly, motivations that emerged could have been analysed and discussed with participants further but because of the time frame this was not possible. For example, it was identified mental health was of great importance, this could have been expanded by asking questions as to why this was important. However, despite these limitations the research was successful, valid and provided meaningful results. The researcher’s findings would be extremely useful to organisations who are interested in recruiting volunteers to help them source and match correct individual’s to specific events. Given the limited studies on this topic and identified gaps, this study will focus on small scale sporting events in-particular those which are school-related.