4440.0.55.001 - Volunteers in Sport, Australia, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/03/2012  Final
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Contents >> Introduction >> Volunteers in sport


This report analyses data from the 2010 General Social Survey (GSS) and provides a detailed analysis of the characteristics of volunteers in sport and physical recreation.

Volunteers are people who freely choose to give their time to organisations or groups in the community for no monetary reward (ABS 2011b). The activities they undertake can include assisting an organisation to run more smoothly (e.g. performing administration and fundraising tasks), providing information and advice (including counselling, teaching and coaching) as well as providing practical assistance to other people, such as serving food and helping with gardening and transportation. Sport benefits significantly from the input of volunteers, with sports organisations relying heavily on volunteers to provide services for their members. According to Turner et al (2008), sport volunteers are the key to the success and long term sustainability of sports clubs, organisations and events. They also recognise that without this contribution, many sports organisations or individual clubs could not exist.

Voluntary work also helps to develop and reinforce social networks and cohesion within communities (Atherley 2006). Volunteering has been seen to be particularly important in regional areas as it provides and sustains community interaction (Kemp 2006).

The 2010 GSS collected a range of information relevant to volunteers and sport. Information about the number of volunteers and their characteristics were collected together with a range of information relating to community involvement, as well as involvement in sport and physical recreation.

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. Individuals who provided unpaid labour as part of some form of compulsion because of employment (for example, work for the dole), work experience, study or mutual obligation were excluded. Summary information from the survey is published in ABS (2011c) Voluntary Work, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4441.0).

Information in this report is presented in several sections:

  • Background
  • Selected characteristics of volunteers, including age, sex and birthplace
  • Volunteering experience, including the frequency of voluntary work and the expenses incurred
  • Volunteers and the community, including indicators of volunteers who are engaged in their community.

Additional data to complement this report is available separately in spreadsheets as part of this publication. Note that all data in the tables and graphs presented in this report are from the 2010 GSS unless otherwise indicated.

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