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If you want to participate in volunteering during a sports event, you have to get accepted. If you want to get accepted, you have to apply. If you want to apply, you need to know that applications are being accepted now. You need to know by whom, where, and to which sport event. Also, you need to know what this procedure looks like.
It’s quite logical. But it is not always so simple. In this article, I will give you tips related to searching for volunteering possibilities. How to find sports volunteering options? How to apply for sporting events?
How to find sports volunteering options?
There are 4 stages and important points of finding and applying for sports volunteering:
- You need to get to know that an event at all takes place.
- Get to know about it earlier and on time.
- Find exact information on when and how to apply.
Let me explain in detail about every aspect of this point and give you tips on how to do it.I’ve been working in sports volunteering for 10 years now, and I’ve participated in many big events. I had to search for options a lot, so all the tips will be very practical.
How to find sports volunteering options: Get to know that such an event will take place
It does sound trivial, I know. But believe me, it’s important and really not that easy step.
There are so many sporting events that happen. World Championships, continent championships, for example, European, champions leagues, cups, grand prix, meetings, qualifications, Olympics, universiades, summer ones, winter ones- and all this to even multiply by the number of sport disciplines. Some happen every year, others every second year or every four.
Additionally, sport federations all the time restructure and change the formula of the events and dates.
All in all, it’s not easy to follow all this regularly. What’s the solution for that?
I think it’s best to focus on a smaller number of events. You will not go to every event anyway. By trying to search everything, you will get lost and find almost nothing. Choose and search for events that are mostly interesting for you because of a particular sport.
Other factors to consider when choosing your events:
- How long the event lasts (a few last for a month, others only two days)
- Place (someone will prefer big, known cities, someone else will prefer less obvious destinations)
- Type of event (bigger, more famous events, less known or more local).
Of course there are events, which almost by default are appealing to large number of candidates, and we almost all want to take part.
It’s worth remembering, that experience during smaller tournaments can help in stepping out during big event recruitment (although it’s not the rule!).
How to find sports volunteering options: Get to know about the event on time
When event promotion in the host city starts and buses are covered in promotional posters or information in local media appears, it’s usually already too late to apply for volunteering.
You should search for information about recruitment much before (when these posters are not even designed yet😉).
It’s not a written rule, of course, but from my observations, it seems that recruitment for bigger events in Poland usually opens around half a year before the event (football even earlier). For smaller ones, it is one or two months beforehand.
In other European countries, the recruitment process starts even earlier.
When it comes to the biggest world events like the Olympic Games, Football Word Cup and European Championships, pay attention to the recruitment dates even two years before the event. For the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were to take place in July and August 2020, the application deadline was December 2018. (At the end, the event took place in 2021.)
How to find sports volunteering options: Where to search for information
Now that you know you need to find sports event information on time, you may be wondering where to search for it. There are many solutions, but these are the most effective options:
- As in most things, via your network. This works especially if you have already participated in any volunteering, as you meet interested friends in this topic. With every event, the number of fellow volunteers grow, and exchanging information between each other is one of the most effective ways.
- Social media profiles and websites of sport federations and events. Practically every bigger event has a dedicated website and separate social media profiles. Recruitment should always be announced on the website, sometimes also on social media. It’s worth it to follow both.
Additionally, it’s good to remember that on social media, something like ‘post reach’ exists. In short, not every person who follows the profile will see all its posts. That’s why, if you care about any event a lot, also check their website.
- Profiles and websites of country or city volunteer centres, as sometimes they help with the recruitment.
- Ask google
If you know exactly what you are searching for and you will specify the question, the recruitment form can even show up as the first results. It’s worth searching also in the language of the host country.
- Local media and sport portals, especially those specialising in particular sports
- Portals, profiles, and websites about sport volunteering (like mine)
- Frankly speaking, there are not so many like this. That was one of the reasons why I decided to write about this topic on my blog.
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How to apply for sports volunteering?
You already know that a specific event will take place, where and when, and that recruitment process has just started. You apply.
How does the application look? Most often, you apply through the form. It also happens that you have to create a whole ‘volunteer account’, where you fill out the form and you can check the status of your application.
What do you need to prepare before? Photo and passport. And a bit of time.
How much time does it take? This varies depending on the questions, but as a standard, it’s useful to have half an hour or an hour to fill it out (Especially if you are only starting. Later, it gets easier).
What are the questions in the form about?
- Personal details and contact details
- Foreign languages knowledge
- Other skills (for example, technical)
- Role preference and how much do you know about a particular sport
- Size of t-shirt, jumper, or trousers
- Experience in sports volunteering or any other volunteering
And motivation questions like: ‘why do you want to take part in volunteering’, ‘what you can contribute’, or ‘what do you expect’.
What happens after sending the application?
It depends on the event. Sometimes applications are just reviewed, and after some time you get information about acceptance and role.
Sometimes there is a language test to complete online.
Sometimes, there is an interview either live on site or via Skype. Check out tips about sports volunteering interviews here.
There is also the possibility of an interview with a few people with a group activity or some small ‘assessment centre’.
I took part in such a group activity during recruitment to Rio, and honestly, I think it was one of the worst ideas to recruit people for such an important event. Basically, there was no option to introduce you more than saying your name and country.
But, fortunately, it doesn’t look like this often, and usually, if there is an interview, you have time to say more about yourself.
Hopefully these tips will help you find, apply for, and start your sport volunteering adventure.