New report findings from Pro Bono Economics – prepared for Sport England, the organisation responsible for grassroots sport activity – show the dedication of voluntary organisations in providing meaningful and beneficial experiences on a large scale.
They also identify clear opportunities for further alignment across relevant programmes. This could include creating a universal definition of volunteering covering frequency, longevity or experience measures, or a more standardised assessment of the resources needed to support volunteer programmes.
The research examines how target setting could create tensions between mass recruitment and increasing diversity, noting that there is generally some compromise between the two. For example, effective methods for recruiting large numbers of people generally focus on far-reaching calls for support, which tend to result in a less diverse intake. Successful approaches to recruiting diverse volunteers emphasise the importance of reaching out directly within certain spaces, such as faith groups or local communities.
Sport England is a public body working to ensure everyone feels able to participate in sport and activity, regardless of age, background or gender and community-level sport relies heavily on volunteers to help this happen.
Pro Bono Economics would like to thank volunteer Marina Rodes-Sanchez, from the Office of Health Economics, and Economic Associate Dr Mark Graham, who together produced the report for Sport England.
More information and the report itself can be accessed here. Moving forward, Pro Bono Economics will continue to work with Sport England and advise on the basis of the research.