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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, Oct 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/10/2008  First Issue
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FEATURE ARTICLE 3: SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION VOLUNTEERS


Introduction

The Survey of Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation conducted in 2005-06 indicated that nearly two thirds (65.9% or 10.5 million) of the Australian population aged 15 years and over participated in sports and physical recreation. A large proportion (41.7% or 4.4 million) of these participated in some form of organised activity, including competitive sport that was organised through a club or sporting association. Sporting clubs in turn, rely on the support of volunteers who assist by coaching, officiating at competitions and in providing administrative and other support.

Voluntary work enables not only sporting clubs, but other organisations such as community and welfare groups, environmental groups and emergency service providers to meet the demand for their services. Volunteering also helps to develop and reinforce social networks and cohesion within communities.

To provide information on this topic, the 2006 General Social Survey collected information on the characteristics of volunteers, including information on the reasons for volunteering and how they first became involved. A volunteer in this survey was defined as someone who, in the previous 12 months, willingly gave unpaid help, in the form of time, service or skills, through an organisation or group. That is, individuals who provided un-paid labour as part of work experience, study or mutual obligation were excluded. Summary information from the survey is published in Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006 (cat. no. 4441.0).


How many sports and physical recreation volunteers are there?

Information about volunteers for organised sport has also been collected in the Survey of Work in Selected Culture and Recreation Activities and published in Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, Apr 2007 (cat. no. 6285.0). This survey sought to obtain information on paid and unpaid involvement in organised sport. The results of the 2007 survey indicate that 1.6 million or 9.9% of the population aged 15 years and over were involved in one or more non-playing roles associated with organised sport and that the majority of these (84% or 1.4 million) were involved in an unpaid capacity.

There may however be more people who make a voluntary contribution to sport but who might not see themselves as being a volunteer. This could include senior players who assist in skill development or parents who informally assist with junior sport, typically undertaken on a weekend.

The General Social Survey specifically sought information about volunteers rather than paid and un-paid involvements. This survey showed that over 5.2 million people or 34% of the adult population participated in voluntary work in 2006. Sports and physical recreation organisations attracted the largest number and proportion of volunteers (1.7 million or 11.1% of the population) followed by volunteers for education and training (1.4 million, 9.1%) and for community and welfare organisations (1.1 million, 7.3%).

Type of organisation volunteered for, All volunteers
Graph: Type of organisation volunteered for, All volunteers


Of the total 5.2 million volunteers, 3.3 million (62%) volunteered for just one organisation with a further 1.3 million people (25%) volunteering for two organisations. Amongst the 1.7 million sport volunteers, close to 745,000 or 44% volunteered for a sports and physical recreation organisation in addition to another type of organisation.

There were some differences in the rates of volunteering among males and females and in different age groups. Males were more likely than females to volunteer for organisations solely related to sports and physical recreation (8.9% and 3.8% respectively) although there was a greater proportion of females involved in volunteering as a whole. A greater proportion of those aged 35-44 years (17.1%) and 45-54 years (15%) volunteered for sports and physical recreation organisations than other age groups.

SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION AND OTHER VOLUNTEERS, By age and sex

Sports and physical recreation organisation(s) only
Sports and physical recreation and other organisation(s)
Total sports and physical recreation organisation(s)
Other organisations
Total volunteers

NUMBER ('000)

Male
672.9
366.9
1 039.9
1 365.3
2 405.2
Female
294.8
378.1
672.9
2 148.4
2 821.3
18-24 years
147.5
62.8
210.3
364.0
574.3
25-34 years
167.9
112.7
280.6
578.3
858.9
35-44 years
241.0
269.4
510.4
764.7
1 275.1
45-54 years
251.9
172.4
424.2
677.4
1 101.6
55-64 years
90.5
79.1
169.6
556.8
726.4
65 years & over
68.5
48.7
117.6
572.8
690.4
Total
967.7
745.1
1 712.8
3 513.7
5 226.5

PERCENT (%)

Male
8.9
4.9
13.8
18.1
31.8
Female
3.8
4.9
8.7
27.7
36.4
18-24 years
7.6
3.2
10.8
18.8
29.6
25-34 years
6.0
4.0
10.0
20.6
30.6
35-44 years
8.1
9.0
17.1
25.6
42.7
45-54 years
9.0
6.2
15.1
24.2
39.3
55-64 years
4.0
3.5
7.6
24.9
32.4
65 years & over
2.7
1.9
4.6
22.6
27.3
Total
6.3
4.9
11.2
23.0
34.1

Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2006.



For how long have they been a volunteer?

Almost 60% or one million of the 1.7 million sports and physical recreation volunteers had been a volunteer for more than ten years. However this includes people who were volunteers for another type of organisation as well as a sports or physical recreation organisation. Of the almost 1 million people who volunteered for sports and physical recreation organisations alone, a smaller proportion (51% or 489,000) had volunteered for this period of time.

Just over a quarter of a million people (253,000, 26%) who had volunteered for a sporting organisation alone had done so for 1-5 years compared to 15.9% (119,000) of people who volunteered for sport and another type of organisation. In contrast, 70% (521,500) of those who volunteered for a sporting and another organisation had done so for more than ten years.

Length of time as a volunteer, Type of organisation volunteered for
Graph: Length of time as a volunteer, Type of organisation volunteered for



How did they first become involved?

The General Social Survey sought information from the 2.3 million people who had been a volunteer for any type of organisation for ten years or less about how they first became involved. The three main ways of becoming involved as a volunteer were: asked by someone (35%); knew someone who was already involved (29%); or already involved with the organisation in a non-volunteer capacity (17%).

These were also the three main ways that sports and physical recreation volunteers first became involved. However knowing someone else who was already involved (33.9%) and being already involved with the organisation (20.2%) were more common ways of becoming a sport volunteer than for other forms of volunteering.

Smaller numbers and proportions of sport volunteers relative to other volunteers first became involved through responding to an advertisement or became involved on their own initiative than other forms of volunteering.

SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION AND OTHER VOLUNTEERS(a)(b), By how first became involved in voluntary work

Sports and physical recreation organisation(s) only
Sports and physical recreation and other organisation(s)
Total sports and physical recreation organisation(s)
Other organisations
Total volunteers

NUMBER ('000)

Knew someone involved
162.3
57.4
219.7
434.9
654.6
Someone asked (respondent)
156.3
71.5
227.8
578.4
806.2
Self involvement in organisation
96.7
58.9
155.6
221.7
377.3
Saw advertisement / report in media
5.1
5.6
10.7
92.4
103.1
Found out about it by himself / herself
40.1
24.8
64.9
178.2
243.1
Other
17.8
5.3
23.1
72.0
95.1
Total volunteered for 10 years or less
478.3
223.5
701.8
1 577.6
2 279.4
Have volunteered for more than 10 years
489.4
521.5
1 010.9
1 936.2
2 947.1
Total
967.7
745.1
1 712.8
3 513.7
5 226.5

PERCENT (%)

Knew someone involved
33.9
25.7
31.3
27.6
28.7
Someone asked (respondent)
32.7
32.0
32.5
36.7
35.4
Self involvement in organisation
20.2
26.4
22.2
14.1
16.6
Saw advertisement / report in media
1.1
2.5
1.5
5.9
4.5
Found out about it by himself / herself
8.4
11.1
9.2
11.3
10.7
Other
3.7
2.4
3.3
4.6
4.2
Total volunteered for 10 years or less
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

(a) Persons may have been involved as a volunteer in more than one organisation in each given organisation type
(b) Persons may have had more than one reason for volunteering and different reasons for volunteering in more than one organisation in each given organisation type
Source: ABS data available on request, General Social Survey, 2006.



What are their reasons for volunteering?

People indicated many reasons why they volunteered. Among all volunteers, several reasons were associated with altruistic values such as wanting to help others in the community (56.6%) and wanting to do something worthwhile (36.2%). Personal satisfaction was also indicated as a reason by 44.0% of all volunteers.

These reasons were also common for sports and physical recreation volunteers, however personal and family involvement also featured as a reason (45.5% of sport volunteers). In comparison, 33.1% of volunteers for other types of organisation indicated this as being a reason for their involvement.

Of those who volunteered only for a sport organisation alone, 44.9% reported that "helping others in the community" and 27.0% reported "doing something worthwhile" were main reasons. This is in comparison to 58.3% and 38.3% respectively of volunteers for other types of organisation indicating these reasons.

Reasons for being a volunteer
Graph: Reasons for being a volunteer



References

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2003, Australia's Sports Volunteers (2000), unpublished.

ABS 2005, Sport Volunteers and Other Volunteers (2003) accessed 16 June, 2008, <http://www.ausport.gov.au/information/scors/other_related_reports>.

ABS 2007a, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006, cat. no. 4441.0, ABS, Canberra.

ABS 2007b, Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, Apr 2007, cat. no. 6285.0, ABS, Canberra.


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