Characteristics of volunteering in UK sport : lessons from cricket

COLEMAN, Richard (2002). Characteristics of volunteering in UK sport : lessons from cricket. Managing Leisure, 7 (4), 220-238.

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This paper builds on the first major study of volunteering in UK sport, by providing the first detailed empirical evidence relating to the characteristics exhibited by volunteers in middle level sport (county standard non-professional), in this instance managers of county youth cricket (CYC) teams. The characteristics are presented in their own right and in addition comparisons are made with the characteristics of sports club volunteers from the original research conducted by the Leisure Industries Research Centre (LIRC) in 1996. The rationale for the study contends that sports volunteers are not homogeneous, and their characteristics, time contributions and the problems they encounter vary according to the level at which they choose to volunteer in sport. Consistent with the LIRC research, the current investigation focuses on volunteers who are systematic: those volunteers who have a clearly defined role and who make a regular commitment to the successful running of the CYC team. The findings are based on responses from 151 managers from 35 county cricket associations (CCAs). The majority of county youth cricket team managers were male, aged 35-59 and more likely to volunteer with age than sports club volunteers. Managers were better educated and more likely to be retired than sports club volunteers. The average length of service of managers was 9.4 years and they fulfilled multiple roles (coach, treasurer, secretary etc.) with a year round commitment of 306 hours compared to only 238 hours for sports club volunteers. Managers contributed considerably more time during the cricket season than the close season with a minority contributing the majority of all volunteer hours to the team. Both self-interest and altruism were motivations for volunteering. The major problems encountered were consistent with those reported by sports club volunteers, and related to a volunteer shortage with work increasingly left to a few people. The current study has highlighted the often multi-functional role of the sports volunteer and a variation in the characteristics exhibited at different levels of sport. While not wanting to draw definitive conclusions prior to further empirical studies, if one accepts the findings herein as typical of other sports, there is tentative evidence to suggest that policy support agencies and sports' governing bodies should be cautious of treating sports volunteers as a homogeneous group.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 220-238
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2014 11:42
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 09:30

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