Sport Australia and Volunteering Australia evolve partnership to bring sectors together

Sport Australia has taken a further step towards securing the future of Australia’s sport volunteers by renewing its partnership with Volunteering Australia (VA).

A man writes on a clipboard being held out by an event official, either side of a table with bottles of water, next to other runners wearing number bibs.

The two peak industry bodies 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.

A highlight of this early collaboration was the recent National Volunteer Week marketing campaign which was supported by several sporting luminaries and showcased a series of powerful volunteer stories from the sports community.

Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two organisations last week, the partnership is set to evolve from its current focus on the promotion of volunteering to explore further opportunities for collaboration between sport and volunteer organisations across the sector and examine ways to enhance the volunteer experience.

Volunteers play a critical role within the Australian sporting landscape with over three million Aussies contributing across all levels of sport. 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 CEO, Rob Dalton said: “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 CEO, Mark Pearce said: “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 VA 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.

As part of National Volunteer Week, Kyira Cox, Nicola Johnson, Bernd Adolph, Sport Australia CEO Rob Dalton and Jenny Kenny share their stories on volunteering in sport.

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