Volunteering in Community Sports Associations

A Literature Review


This review paper focuses on volunteers in community sports associations (CSAs). Such associations are a major context of sports volunteering across Europe, Canada and Australia—the countries in which a multitude of sports clubs are represented by governing bodies of sport. Their importance is not only in the large numbers of volunteers involved but also in the benefits of such associations to society. The clearest of these is the provision of opportunities to take part in sport, at a cost subsidized by the efforts of volunteers and thus contributing to physical health. However, the benefits extend more broadly to the quality of life and the rewards the volunteers themselves receive from association. Many community sports associations have a significant number of members who, while they do not actually play sport themselves, provide opportunities for others and also enjoy the social rewards of membership.

The aim of this broad-ranging review is to introduce the reader to community sports associations as an example of small, volunteer-led associations, and to make links between academic theory in this area and the more general study of volunteering. The breadth of the review allows readers to follow-up supporting references on individual topics. The author’s extensive experience, primarily of England and Europe, has inevitably led to more examples being drawn from these areas; however, broader international work is also incorporated. It is hoped this review will stimulate readers’ thinking about volunteering in their own country.

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Biographical Note
Geoff Nichols is a senior lecturer at the Management School at the University of Sheffield, UK. He has been researching sports’ volunteering since 1996; and published extensively on this topic including over 30 papers. Research has included national surveys of clubs and volunteers, event volunteers, and specialist groups of sports volunteers. His work has tried to combine academic rigour with practical relevance.
Review Quotes
"[T]his volume is an essential reading for anyone studying volunteering in events, leisure, sport or community and voluntary associations as the crossover for any type of grassroots association is significant."
Kirsten Holmes, School of Marketing, Curtin University ( Leisure Studies, 37:2)
Anyone interested in the field of Voluntaristics worldwide, academics and researchers in anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, and psychology, and those interested in Area studies, the social professions, and history.
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