Volunteers and Members

The magic volunteering multiplier


Here at Join In, we don’t hide our appreciation for volunteers – and the amazing job they do at community sports clubs up and down the country.

But what if we applied some mathematical thinking to the potential impact of volunteers. How many new volunteers, for example, would it take to change the face of sport?

Number crunching

Through the new ITV Local Heroes campaign, Join In and ITV hope to encourage 100,000 people to help out a grassroots sports club this summer. We know that more volunteers also result in more people playing sport – but how many more?

In 2013, Join In’s research suggested that for every volunteer in a club there are 12 members or players. (This isn’t too different from research findings by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, which pegs 8.5 members/players to a volunteer.)

Our sample was quite small (110 clubs), so more research is needed. But if we plump for a number between the two surveys, we land at what statistics lovers call an average baseline ratio of around 10:1. Ten members or players supported by one volunteer.

What that means for sport

If we do succeed in bringing 100,000 new volunteers into community sport, the knock-on boost for sports participation could be huge.

Based on the surveys, and with the caveat of more research needed, we could be talking about 1 million members and players being supported by the new army of volunteers. If we base the stats on Join In’s survey results alone, this could even stretch to 1.2 million.

We’re not claiming that Join In can single-handedly transform the face of sport – and we know that the picture is always a little more complicated than it first seems. For example, we should probably assume that the majority of sports volunteers are also likely to be members/players at their respective clubs.

However, it’s clear that a major boost in volunteering figures could have a massive impact on sporting activity across the UK – and that can only be a good thing. After all, recent research from UK Active shows that one in four people in England don’t manage to do over 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week (even split into 10 minute chunks).

That’s why we’re excited about the positive link between Join In and local sport – from volunteering right through to participation.

If you have any thoughts on the wider impact of sports volunteering, local sports participation, or want to grill us on our baseline ratios (please, no), we’d love to hear from you at: hello@joininuk.org

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