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Sport Australia and Volunteer Australia look to enhance the volunteer experience

Sport Australia and Volunteer Australia look to enhance the volunteer experience
June 18, 2021

Sport Australia is looking to secure the future of the nation’s sport volunteers by renewing its partnership with Volunteering Australia.

With volunteering, the backbone of Australian community sport and recreation, facing a series of challenges, the partnership between the two organisations is looking to shift its focus from simply promoting volunteering to exploring ways to enhance the volunteer experience.

Having entered a formal partnership in November 2020 to build on their co-operation and identify ways to promote and positively impact sport volunteering in the community, both groups singed a new Memorandum of Understanding last week outlining their intention to shift focus from work like the recent National Volunteer Week campaign to “explore further opportunities for collaboration between sport and volunteer organisations.”

Acknowledging that volunteers play a critical role within the Australian sporting landscape with over three million people contributing across all levels of sport, Sport Australia advise that “with approximately 72% of sport and recreation roles held by volunteers, the sector depends on them to coach our players, manage our community clubs, and provide positive sporting experiences for participants at all stages of life.”

Sport Australia acting Chief Executive, Rob Dalton commented “’our focus on volunteers has never been stronger and we are looking forward to building on the early progress we have made through our partnership with Volunteering Australia.

“Our partnership with Volunteering Australia has enabled us to build the connection between the sport and volunteering sectors and start a conversation on how we might better collaborate in the future.

“We are excited to enter the next chapter in our partnership as we look to create more alignment between volunteer and sporting organisations and sharpen our focus on improving the volunteer experience.”

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive, Mark Pearce added “Volunteering Australia’s ongoing partnership with Sport Australia acknowledges the vitally important role volunteers play enabling sport and building communities. We now take our partnership to a higher level with a strategic focus on increasing participation through cross-sector collaboration.

“In order to develop a consistent, inclusive and transformative national volunteering strategy the involvement of peak bodies such as Sport Australia will be essential. I’m particularly excited to see our strong relationship continue to evolve.”

The key focus areas of the partnership include reducing barriers to volunteer recruitment; attracting more volunteers to sport; and increasing volunteer retention and quality of experience.

Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia recently hosted a series of co-design workshops involving the key sport and volunteer bodies on the future of sport volunteering. Insights from these workshops will be used to develop a national plan to be launched in the second half of 2021.

Lower image shows Sport Australia acting Chief Executive, Rob Dalton during National Volunteers Week.

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