Volunteering survey of sport organisations gathers nearly 3,000 responses

V4V Project meeting in Tallinn, Estonia ()

As partners in the EU funded V4V project “Skills acquired through volunteering in sport”, the Sport and Recreation Alliance recently took part in the fourth Full Partner Meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, as guests of the Estonian Foundation of Sports Education & Information.

Coordinated by the European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE), this two-day event gave the partners a full opportunity to review the first draft of a key research report entitled “A Comprehensive Mapping of the sport volunteering workforce in Europe” and to get into detailed work on the two practical online toolkits for the sector, which will be beneficial to much of our membership.

The Alliance travelled to Estonia to represent the UK in these discussions, including on how to develop toolkits to grow, improve and monitor the effectiveness of volunteering in sport. We will continue to work with European and global partners, offering further support to provide resources and guidance for our members that will help enhance the volunteering experience for organisations and individuals.

Reviewing the report

Aurélien Favre and Geoff Carroll from EOSE were delighted to update the partners on the survey of sport organisations on volunteering. When the survey closed in mid-July 2022, it had received 2,723 responses (81% from the EU-27, 9% from UK, 2.2% from other European countries and the remainder from Africa, Asia, South and North America). This type of survey is unique in the global sport sector, and to gather so much feedback was considered a massive achievement.

There are many detailed findings about the size, characteristics, realities and challenges facing sport volunteering. However, the overall message is clear: volunteering is a vital resource to the sport sector which enriches the lives of millions of European citizens who take part in sport, and the volunteers gain so much personal, professional and social benefits from freely giving their spare time.

So far, EOSE has produced 22 different survey reports (one global, 13 reports for individual EU countries and the UK and seven reports for different sports) that will be made available in the coming weeks on the V4V website.

Working with its research partner, the Hungarian University of Sports Science in Budapest, EOSE has now synthesised the main findings of the survey with their desk research and volunteer interviews to produce the first draft of the “Comprehensive Mapping of the Sport Volunteering Workforce in Europe”. V4V partners are now considering the detailed content of this report and the final structure for publication (due in mid-2023).

Developing practical toolkits for sport organisations and sport volunteers

V4V is not just a research project. The partners are now using the key findings from the Comprehensive Mapping to build two practical online toolkits:

  • One for sport organisations to assess their own effectiveness in engaging and deploying volunteers and providing access to a rich repository of good practice guides, case studies and learning materials.
  • The other aimed at sport volunteers themselves so that they can reflect on the competences, skills and attributes they have gained through sport volunteering and make these visible in a way which will help them to enhance their CVs for example for job applications and entry into further education.

The meeting in Tallinn considered draft proposals for the development of these tools, provided the nominated lead partners with clear and helpful guidance on the way forward and established working groups to bring the toolkits to fruition in 2023.

These toolkits will be made available for Alliance members to effectively engage and support volunteers.

Aurélien Favre, EOSE Executive Director, said: “Gathering such a massive response to this innovative survey on sport volunteering was a very pleasant surprise due mainly to the efforts and commitment of the V4V partners and many EOSE members who gave their support. Having so much quantitative and qualitative data available is a major step forward for sport volunteering, not just in Europe but potentially across the world.

“We believe the survey findings when combined with our desk research and volunteer interviews will provide so much helpful information and good practice guidance for the sector in supporting this vital volunteer resource and in helping us to build these practical toolkits. The V4V partners are really excited about what more we can achieve in 2023.”

Martin Lindsey, Chief Operating Officer at the Alliance, said: “It was great to see the excellent response received for the European sports volunteering survey and to be able to review and discuss the results with the V4V partners. 

“Discussions on progress, including providing feedback from the organisations that attended the UK National Consultation Workshop at the Alliance’s office in November, and the next steps for the development of the planned toolkits was invaluable.  We are looking forward to continuing to support the V4V project and work with partners to develop the next set of outputs throughout 2023.”

Find out more about the V4V Project here.


Aurélien Favre – EOSE Executive Director – aurelien.favre@eose.org

Geoff Carroll – EOSE Director of Skills Development – geoff.carroll@eose.org


Co-funded by Erasmus+ logo ()