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Enhancing Sport Volunteerism
Across the world, volunteers constitute an important aspect of the human resources capacity of sport and recreation organisations. Volunteers serve in many strategic and operational positions such as managers and coordinators. In the US, volunteerism is worth approximately $40 billion, and in Europe 16 million sport volunteers are valued at approximately €100 billion (Chelladurai and Madella 2006).
According to Chelladurai and Madella (2006) volunteers provide significant non-economic value to sport and recreation organisations in the form of creditability and legitimacy, efficiency and professionalism, board members who set policies and make strategic decisions and grass root workers- teaching, coaching, officiating and organising and implementing sporting events.
Volunteers come from different socio-demographic backgrounds such as age, education, income levels, gender and types of employment. Therefore, strong leadership through a Volunteer Coordinator is the foundation for establishing a productive relationship between sport and recreation organisations and volunteers.
Establishing a role descriptor can contribute to recruiting and retaining volunteers as they will be recruited into areas to which their skills and or experience will be optimally utilised (Gaskin 2008). The role descriptor should provide information on role title, main duties and responsibilities, hours and frequency the volunteer is required and qualifications, skills and experience for the position if required.
Good leadership and effective volunteer management will allow for job satisfaction as volunteers will be able to see the importance of their contributions. This can be accomplished by encouraging volunteers to contribute new ideas for implementation and developing targets linked to the organisations goals and objectives. Volunteers can also be recognised publicly and also by providing gift certificates and or equipment to school/s who have rendered volunteering services to sporting organisations.
The strategic promotion of sport volunteerism in T&T is long overdue. Sport and recreation organisations must provide strong leadership that empowers volunteers through an effective recruitment, retaining and recognising strategy. Such an approach will underscore an important symbiotic relationship which views volunteers as valuable assets working with progressive leadership to achieve organisational goals.
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