Here’s to the importance of volunteers

Team Kinetic Marketing Manager, Emily Crowther reflects on the vital role volunteers played at this year's Homeless World Cup and the value of Team Kinetic to help organisations manage their volunteers and get others to become active in sport. 

‘TeamKinetic has ensured that the Homeless World Cup could take place through recruiting and gaining volunteers’  

Mariana, Marketing Executive, Homeless World Cup 

Sporting events across the country would struggle to run efficiently without volunteers. Think about the huge success of the London 2012 Games Makers and their counterparts in Rio. These volunteers were all essential to making the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games successful and in Rio this year, the volunteers at the Olympic Games have once again demonstrated how invaluable they are.   

So you won’t be surprised when I tell you that volunteers play a key role in making sure the Homeless World Cup takes place. However, it’s all very well and good getting volunteers to help manage an event but you also need to be able to accurately manage their time and activities. During the Homeless World Cup, we were able to use AccessKinetic, an accreditation system, and VolunteerKinetic, a volunteer management system to recruit and manage our volunteers who participated.  These systems are a part of TeamKinetic which is a suite of applications fostering and growing communities that revolve around volunteering. 

The Homeless World Cup took place in Glasgow, during July 2016, at George Square. The venue included, three purpose built pitches with seating, which was the main venue for 64 teams, from 51 different countries. The participants included homeless people from all over the globe, who came together to play a sport that they are passionate about, in order to represent their country. 

Throughout the event we identified five reasons why we think TeamKinetic’s service is vital for organisations to manage their volunteers and help others to become active in sport. 

  1. Involvement  

Volunteer involvement was vital for the running, delivery and management of the Homeless World Cup. The various roles taken on by the volunteers meant they had to undertake different responsibilities. These responsibilities helped the players and spectators, promoted the event and encouraged people to play and get involved in sport. 

  1. Importance 

It was vital that the volunteers enjoyed their roles and that the overall event was a success. Throughout the Homeless World Cup, we had an average of 350 volunteers a day. They all had varying roles with different responsibilities - but it was important that they all helped make the atmosphere for both players and spectators phenomenal. Being able to provide the volunteers with the support they needed to carry out their roles meant the event was able to demonstrate the importance of playing sport and using it to bring people together. 

  1. Spectators  

 The Homeless World Cup in Glasgow attracted 80,000 spectators. Their attendance was vital to the success of the event but they also played an important role in making sure both players and volunteers felt valued. By experiencing such a positive, and potentially life changing event for the players, volunteers and spectators were able to see first hand the benefits of an active lifestyle. This is excellent news as research shows that attending sporting events is sometimes enough to encourage people to get involved in sport themselves. 

‘Five key core motivations for sports event attendees includes: socialisation, performance, excitement, extreme and diversion. Alongside, focusing on the whole experience to grow and promote participation’ (Greenwell et al, 2014)  

  1.  Participation 

Volunteers were able to get involved and participate with the Homeless World Cup via social media. This is because of an integrated function within the TeamKinetic system. It also helped to engage with the players attending the event, as they were selected through a variety of trials and training sessions within their home countries. The VolunteerKinetic system and the accredited AccessKinetic badges, meant that all volunteers gained a sense of achievement and responsibility throughout the event.  

  1. Post Event  

There were many vital aspects for the Homeless World Cup to consider after the event. The TeamKinetic system helped us monitor the number of homeless people who participated in the event and then continued to play sport to improve their health and lifestyle around the world. At the same time, it also helped us keep engaged with volunteers so we were able to keep them involved in future events. 

Overall, I feel we couldn't have held such a successful event without TeamKinetic’s Volunteer Management system. The Homeless World Cup, and other positive sporting events like it, really help to encourage players, spectators and volunteers to #TryYourKitOn and get active.