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A cycling instructor speaks to a group of young cyclists at the start line of a race

Sports volunteers give more time per week and volunteer more frequently than the average volunteer.

The contribution and commitment of sports volunteers is amazing, and in return, they should be able to expect the experience to be positive and for their efforts to be recognised and appreciated. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens. In fact, sports volunteers are far more likely than volunteers in other sectors to quit – largely because they feel undervalued, unrecognised or because they’ve had poor experiences.  

Providing your volunteers with a positive experience is key to retaining them; from the moment you first engage with them, through to the training, ongoing support and recognition for their contribution, it’s really important the experience is a good one. 

Understanding the motivations, interests and experiences of your volunteers is key to this. Opportunities which connect with people’s interests, fulfils their motivations and enables them to feel like they can make a difference are more likely to result in positive experiences.

And positive experiences often means satisfied and retained volunteers and a step towards helping to create a volunteering culture which is mutually beneficial to both the club and the volunteers. 

Meaningful volunteer experiences

Read our guide on making your volunteering experience meaningful for ideas on how you can provide a fantastic experience at every point along a volunteer’s journey. It doesn’t have to be lots of work, and it is often the little things that make the biggest difference.

Find out more

Volunteer in the park


People choose to volunteer for lots of different reasons. Your club’s ability to attract volunteers will partly depend on how well you understand their motivations.

Whether they are looking to make new friends, want to give back to their club, or support young people to be active, it’s important that the volunteering opportunity can fulfil these motivations. Ask them what they are hoping to achieve from volunteering with your club, and talk to them about which opportunities may be of most interest to them.  

The opportunity to develop new skills is another key motivation for lots of people, especially young people. If you are able to clearly identify and communicate the skills a volunteer could develop through the role, it will help them see the personal benefits they can achieve from the opportunity and keep them engaged. And your club will benefit too!  

Similarly, if you can appreciate some of the barriers preventing people from offering their time, you stand a better chance of overcoming them. Lack of time is one of the most significant barriers to people volunteering, so offering bite-sized opportunities which can be done on an infrequent basis is more likely to appeal to those who are short on time. 

What makes a great volunteer experience?

Our podcast, with Shaun Delaney at the National Council for Volunteer Organisations (NCVO), Claire Colman from Swim England and Rachael Bayley at Ramblers UK. Hear tips on how to embed considerations for the volunteer experience in your organisation.

Listen on Spotify

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