Surviving and Thriving from the Volunteer Involvement in Mega-Sport Events

Tracey J Dickson, Simon Darcy

Research output: Book/ReportReportspeer-review


Mega-sport events (MSE) like the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games can require up to 70,000 volunteers.
Based on surveys of volunteers at 6 different MSE (n=23,630), 60 per cent of volunteers were female, 61 per cent were over the age 25 years, and 75 per cent had previously volunteered. The most common previous volunteering contexts were schools or education (20 per cent), sports (19 per cent), non-profits (17 per cent), and festivals and cultural events (16 per cent). Volunteers mostly came from the host country (81 per cent), and 63 per cent were employed full-time, part-time, or casually.
MSE volunteers are not a very diverse group in Western countries and most marginalised groups are not front-of-mind in planning. First Nations groups and people with disability may be seen more as recipients of volunteer services, rather than providers of volunteer services, in the context of MSE.
Motivations to volunteer in MSE vary, with some wanting to use their work-based skills in their roles, and others seeking to move away from their work-based skills and do unfamiliar tasks. Younger volunteers (While MSE often claim to upskill their volunteers for future roles, the limited training offered is often focused upon event-specific activities, which are less likely to be applicable to future volunteer roles.
For volunteer legacies to be achieved,
• Before the event - organisers need to work with volunteer involving organisations to plan for legacy; plans need to be put in place for the ownership and management of the volunteer database after the event; plans and resources need to be in place for enough time after the event to ensure a legacy occurs; recognition and credentialing of volunteer training should be planned to assist transfer,
• During the event - information should be available about future volunteering opportunities,
• After the event - a post-event legacy organisation may need to exist, to operationalise and transition legacies managements well after the Games- circus has left town.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherVolunteering Australia
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022


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