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It is an activity that is becoming a common practice by many individuals. Many institutions are also taking the opportunity of volunteers in order to save on costs while realizing their goals. This paper seeks to determine the factors that motivate volunteers in the leisure sector.
It also aims at providing some of the challenges faced during the management of volunteers and the succession planning that done for the volunteers in the sector.
As a means to develop an understanding of these topics, the paper will review previous research on volunteering and outline some of the motivating factors, challenges and importance of volunteering.
The review shows that individuals are motivated due to the benefits that come with volunteering in the sector and the nature of the activity. The main challenge outlined includes the process of recruitment and management of the volunteers.
This calls for proper succession planning by the institution and organizations. The visitor attraction operations have determined the volunteers to be of great importance due to various reasons including increase in workforce and reduction of costs.
Volunteering is the provision of free service to an institution or organization. Due to reappraisal of the social policy in various areas, the voluntary groups have found new roles to play. Many areas including community development and other welfare issues are becoming more dependent on the intervention from volunteers.
The voluntary sector is increasing and in the UK, for example, almost half of the population is involved in voluntary services (Bussell and Forbes 3). The leisure sector is also becoming preferred by volunteers due to several motivating factors.
The institutions recruiting volunteers face several challenges in the management of the volunteers. The leisure sector is increasingly becoming dependent on the volunteers due to their importance in the sector.
Volunteers are usually from diverse cultures and may work in various social, religious and social frameworks (Lockstone-Binney, Holmes, Smith, and Baum 3). Volunteering has been often associated with sustained and continuous form of commitment.
This is where by volunteers work for a particular company over a long period of time. This way, the employers and employees maintain a long-term working relationship. However, various changes in the demographics and certain social changes have increased the need for the volunteers.
Their commitment and their time have been considered of great importance in various settings in the leisure sector (Lockstone-Binney, Holmes, Smith, and Baum 3).
For example, other forms of volunteering are temporal and are opportunities that are provided due to high demand. They are usually provided on a one-time basis or only during specific occasions. In the leisure sector, volunteering takes place in various areas.
Examples of these areas include the sporting activities and events, visitor information centres, heritage cites, conservation areas and museums.
There are several motivational factors that encourage the volunteers to focus their attention to the leisure sectors (Boz and Palaz 645). One of the major factors that motivate volunteers to venture into the leisure sector is the perceived benefits.
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It has been suggested that human beings perform activities that usually result in the exchange of costs for benefits. Some of the costs that a volunteer incurs include their time, energy and finances.
The perceived benefits may include rewards that the volunteer may receive after offering his or her time and energy. The exchange theory argues that a person is motivated to perform volunteer activities if the profits to be received exceed the costs incurred.
Other factors that motivate people to volunteer in the leisure sector are the conscious reasons. They may be divided into three categories. Firstly, they may be the reasons that are to do with the particular activity to be undertaken for volunteer or the location.
For example, many people like to volunteer during the Olympic Games. Approximately 47000 people volunteered for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and Paralympic Games (Holmes and Smith 5). The UEFS EURO 2012 event is highly anticipated and many volunteers will be willing to sacrifice their energy and time for the event.
Secondly, others decide to volunteer due to the client population. These include the altruistic responses. Thirdly, other reasons include those related to the volunteers themselves.
Managing volunteers may be challenging in many ways. Selecting the qualified persons to perform the particular task may be time consuming. For example, the pioneer volunteers of the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games had to be recruited four years before the event.
Succession planning for the volunteers in the leisure sector may include the recruitment of the persons with regards to their qualifications and depending on the roles to be played. Sometimes, age is a factor (Holmes and Smith 4).
Therefore, recruiting the specific age group is essential in order to ensure that the task will be effectively performed. This may include recruiting persons who are fluent in specific languages, those with medical qualifications, or those with technical know-how.
These volunteers are usually referred to as the specialist volunteers. There are also general volunteers who usually perform general activities. These may include acting as spectators, providing transport and various other activities.
The volunteers are also asked to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations of the organizations. If the performance of the volunteers does not match the standards of the institution, they are withdrawn (Holmes and Smith 8).
Volunteers in visitor attraction operations are very important for many reasons. Firstly, they help the organizations to save a lot of money (opportunity cost) that they would have otherwise used to perform the particular task if the volunteers were not available (Holmes and Smith 6).
The volunteers also help to reduce the bulk of the task since some tasks require a huge number of personnel. Another benefit organizations get from the volunteers is the technical support that is provided by the volunteers (Holmes and Smith 7).
For this assessment, the data was collected using secondary sources. This involved the consultation of academic and industrial reference sources. Peer reviewed journals were used in order to compare the works of various authors and come with a consolidated approach.
The searches were conducted for articles written between 2002 and 2011. The articles were in English and were searched using the key word ‘volunteering in leisure sector’. Articles that were more recent were given priority for inclusion.
The titles and abstracts of the sources were reviewed in order to determine their relevance to the particular topic of discussion. Those that touched on the four topics of discussion were selected as relevant material.
Due to the limited time allocated for the assessment study, four references were used for the study. There were four areas that were being studied. The first one was on the factors that motivated volunteers in the leisure sector. The second one was on the challenges that organizations and institutions faced while managing volunteers.
The third was on the succession planning that was prepared for the volunteers in the leisure sector. Lastly, the importance of the volunteers in the visitor attraction operations was also studied.
For analysis, the articles were reviewed in order to find the ideas that were common or related in the articles. The information that was related to the four areas of the study were outlined and presented.
Analysis and discussion
Several factors were provided as reasons why volunteers were motivated to venture into the leisure sector. The first factor was described as the perceived benefits from the volunteering work. This could be the opportunity that volunteering brings to the person. This may be due to the particular activity of the venue.
The person may be motivated to volunteer if, for example, the volunteering work would enable him or her to go to places that one could not normally go. Attending events such as the Olympic Games may be costly and volunteering would grant someone easy access.
Other people prefer to volunteer in the leisure sector due to the nature of activity. The activity may be enjoyable and fun.
Other reasons include the expected satisfaction (Edwards and Graham 22). Some experience satisfaction when they achieve their own goals while performing volunteer activity. Others find satisfaction when they see other people achieve their goals through their volunteer services.
Satisfaction in achieving one’s goals may be through receiving rewards and recognition at the end of the volunteer service. However, some are satisfied by the mere fact that they were able to benefit the society at large (Boz and Palaz 648).
There are several challenges that may face institutions and organizations while managing volunteers. This is because of the selection process that may be challenging. Despite providing volunteer services, the volunteers should have certain qualifications.
Some volunteers also may not take the work seriously due to the fact that they are not being paid for it. This proves challenging to the institutions.
The succession planning for volunteers involves several steps including the recruitment of individuals based on age and qualifications (depending on type of volunteer work). The institutions also ensure that the volunteers are conversant with the rules and regulation of the institution, and their roles as volunteers.
Institutions that deal in visitor attraction operations benefit greatly from the volunteers. This is because the volunteers help in easing some of the strenuous activities that the institutions have to perform.
Some of them provide technical help due to their expertise and this provides the institutions with a helping hand in realizing their goals within the set deadlines.
Conclusion and recommendations
Volunteering is the act of sacrificing time, energy or resources to an organization or institutions in order to get satisfaction in one way or another. Many people volunteer in various areas and sectors in the economy.
However, many volunteer in the leisure sector. This preference is due to various reasons that may include the satisfaction that comes with it or the rewards that are expected.
Due to the large numbers of volunteer in this sector, succession planning is necessary in order to select the right candidates for the job. This involves conducting a recruitment process.
Institutions recruiting volunteers are mostly faced with several challenges while managing the volunteers. This may be due to the recruitment process itself or their performance after recruitment.
Many institutions are resorting to the recruitment of volunteers due to the benefits that come with it. Volunteers increase the workforce and make work easier.
Volunteers may also have certain skills that may be helpful for the institution to realize their goals. Therefore, with proper management of volunteers, organizations may realize their goals while at the same time saving on costs.
Boz, Ismet, and Serap Palaz. “Factors influencing the motivation of Turkey’s community volunteers.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36.4 (2007): 643-661.
Bussell, H, and D Forbes. “Understanding the volunteer market: The what, where, who and why of volunteering.” International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 7.3 (2002): 244-257.
Edwards, Deborah, and Margaret Graham. “Museum volunteers: A discussion of challenges facing managers in the cultural heritage sectors.” Australian Journal on Volunteering, 11.1 (2006): 19-27.
Holmes, Kristen, and Karen Smith. Managing volunteers in tourism: Attractions, destinations and events. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2009. Web.
Lockstone-Binney, Leonie, Kristen Holmes, Karen Smith, and Tom Baum. “Volunteers and volunteering in leisure: Social science perspectives.” Leisure Studies, 29.4 (2010): 435-455.