Hidden Diamonds: Uncovering the true value of sports volunteers (2015)

What is the value of volunteering in sport?

In September 2014 the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andrew Haldane, gave a speech on ‘The Social Value of Volunteering’. In it, he described volunteering as “big business” and talked of the “eyewatering” value that it creates. But he also noted that volunteering is a “hidden jewel”, whose social worth is rarely the subject of a public valuation.

The methodology used by Mr Haldane to attempt a valuation for volunteering as a whole is striking in its consistency and relevance to the research that Join In has undertaken – specifically when applied to volunteering in sport.

Why sport?

Well, sport is the single biggest sector of volunteering in the UK. More than one fifth of the 15 million people who volunteer regularly1 spend their time volunteering in sport – 3.2 million2 people in total.

Join In’s mission is to put more volunteers in community sport and work with public and private sector partners to recruit and retain 100,000 volunteers each year. But what value does this generate? We had some idea about their cost. In 2013 we calculated that our Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) was £36/volunteer. 

This seemed like good value – but the truth was that no-one could tell us for sure. So this year we set out to establish the true worth of one volunteer in sport: what was the profit on our £36 acquisition cost?

The aim of Join In’s research was to understand the true social value of volunteering in sport. 

Join In is currently funded by government grant and Official Partners BT and Intersport.

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