My Volunteer Experience: Personal Reflections as a Volunteer

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1389 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1389|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Self-reflection
  3. Recruitment
  4. Orientation & Training
  5. Roles
  6. Volunteer incentives
  7. References


A volunteer can be defined as an individual who works out of free will or relatively uncoerced and receives no remuneration at all or only a relatively small reimbursement or pay (Cnaan, Handy, & Wadsworth, 1996). This means that the standard relating to labour stating that pay plays a role in the selection of work can hardly be used to explain volunteer behaviour (Freeman, 1997). Volunteering for me personally is an opportunity to give something back to the community, personal development and to learn and acquire skills related to my field of work in Sports Management which would in turn help me land a permanent full-time job. 

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I am going to be writing about my volunteer experience for the Griffith Sport Event Leaders (GSEL) program. My main motivations in signing up for this program were that it would give me an opportunity to build practical skills to complement my current University studies and would also help in raising my graduate employment prospects. Participating in the GSEL program gave me an opportunity to volunteer for a number of Griffith Sport’s sporting and community initiatives. These included events such as the Nathan Dash, Logan Fun Run and the upcoming Toohey Trail Run in October.

Volunteer management relates to institutions that (have to) manage their voluntary work force. The volunteer management by GSEL was done in line with the theory of volunteer management which is defined as the “recruitment, selection, orientation, training, support, performance management, and recognition of organisational volunteers” (Cuskelly et al., 2006).

The GSEL program is managed by Griffith Sport who are responsible for organizing and running various on-campus student engagement and sport events in Griffith University’s Nathan, Mt Gravatt, Logan and South Bank campuses. Griffith Sport uses a high number of student volunteers in supporting roles and positions to help run these various events. Students are encouraged to become a part of this program via posters on the University campuses and via a number of social media posts advertised through a number of Griffith University clubs and other services’ Facebook and Instagram accounts.

According to Taylor et al., (2006), the volunteers’ self-expectations can differ from the expectations of organizations about volunteers. This means that while volunteers are seeking rewarding work in a pleasant social environment that is able to fit within their limited available time, organizations expect volunteers to adhere to professional, legal, and regulatory requirements.


The recruitment process begins with students filling up an online form to register their interest. The form requires students to fill in their personal details and motivations in becoming a part of the volunteer program. Students are contacted for a meet and greet session after their application has been reviewed. Students are then added to the GSEL program’s exclusive Facebook group. Volunteer requirements, dates and time are periodically advertised on the GSEL’s Facebook group prior to a month and a half before the events. Students are also sent out emails and text messages informing them about the same. Students are then asked to send in their responses stating the dates and times that they would be available for.

Orientation & Training

An orientation and training session is organized for new volunteers before a couple of weeks before an event. This session lasts for approximately 3-4 hours where the volunteers are introduced to the event management team and supervisors. Volunteers are explained and given information about the event’s scale and scope, the various types of volunteer roles and the duties associated with them and the number of expected participants. Volunteers are then explained about the rules, regulations and emergency protocols they are expected to follow while working on events. Volunteers are also taught to use radios and other communication portals which are used on event days. Volunteers are explained that the implementation of each event would be reliant on their ability to be present and executing the event with the team.

The introductory training helped me learn about the event and expectations about my role in detail. The refresher training provided for returning volunteers brings them up to date with any policy, protocol or supervisor changes if any and is much shorter in duration than the introductory orientation.


Overall, the GSEL program had an effective job analysis program for the volunteers in place. Volunteers were clearly explained the outcomes, responsibilities, tasks and functions related to each role. All roles were related to achieving a strategic objective of achieving smooth event operations.

Volunteers are placed in a variety of roles across different departments. New volunteers are usually given comparatively easy to perform roles which do not require much interaction with the participants or prior knowledge about the event. Returning volunteers are placed in supervisory roles requiring a bit of skill and prior experience and knowledge about the event as they are required to interact with the participants. All the roles the volunteers are placed in range from course marshals and supervisors, finish line marshalls, timing officials, registration and luggage desk, water station crew and event set up and pack down crew.

I have had the opportunity to be involved both as a first timer and as a returning volunteer in these events. It was a different learning experience both times. The first time taught me about the administrative setup of the organization and the way things are organized and run. I was placed in a supervisor’s role the second time due to my familiarity with the event and as I had prior knowledge and experience about the event. I was also given the task of managing new volunteers the second time around which helped me develop leadership skills.

Volunteer incentives

One of the reasons why I really enjoyed volunteering for the GSEL program was the number of incentives on offer. I have listed them down as follows:

  • Event Crew Cap and Water Bottle
  • Event Handbook
  • Skills development and training sessions
  • Complimentary tickets to the top 20 volunteers to the Griffith Sports Awards Night
  • Years of Service recognition
  • Certificate outlining achievements and written reference on LinkedIn
  • Having fun and socialising with like-minded people
  • Learning invaluable practical skills that help increasing the graduate job prospects.

All of these incentives were my motivations in becoming a part of the program. These incentives provided validation for the number of hours that I had put in and my hard work and dedication to the cause. These were in line with the Ability, Motivation and Opportunity (AMO) theory by Boxall and Purcell, 2003. I already had prior experience in sports and events owing to my previous professional experience which was my ability, motivation for me were the incentives that this volunteering role provided and the opportunity to then volunteer for the event contributed to my effective job performance. The GSEL program appealed to my motivational need for achievement, affiliation and power hence, I was enthusiastic and able to identify with the volunteer role with them.

Being a sportsperson and coming to Australia for my Master’s studies, part of my motivations in becoming a volunteer for GSEL was in also to becoming a part of sport and build a relationship with the University sporting organization (Cuskelly and Hoye, 2013).

The GSEL program’s intensive and well planned use of planning, training and providing incentive and support services for volunteers makes it great program to volunteer for and also helps in a higher volunteer retention rate (Cuskelly et al., 2006).

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I would fall under the category of the altruistic and self-interested leisure careerist type of volunteer because of my motivations to becoming one. These include my attachment for sport, want to help in its organization, develop and use my skills and knowledge, personal enjoyment, satisfaction, to be involved and my affinity with sport and the University (Cuskelly and Harrington, 1997).


  1. Cnaan, R., Handy, F. and Wadsworth, M. (1996). Defining Who is a Volunteer: Conceptual and Empirical Considerations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 25(3), pp.364-383.
  2. Cuskelly, G. and Hoye, R. (2013). Sports officials’ intention to continue. Sport Management Review, 16(4), pp.451-464.
  3. Cuskelly, G., Taylor, T., Hoye, R. and Darcy, S. (2006). Volunteer Management Practices and Volunteer Retention: A Human Resource Management Approach. Sport Management Review, 9(2), pp.141-163.
  4. Cuskelly, G. and Harrington, M. (1997). VOLUNTEERS AND LEISURE: EVIDENCE OF MARGINAL AND CAREER VOLUNTEERISM IN SPORT. World Leisure & Recreation, 39(3), pp.11-18.
  5. Freeman, R. (1997). Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor. Journal of Labor Economics, 15(1, Part 2), pp.S140-S166.
  6. Taylor, T., Darcy, S., Hoye, R. and Cuskelly, G. (2006). Using Psychological Contract Theory to Explore Issues in Effective Volunteer Management. European Sport Management Quarterly, 6(2), pp.123-147.
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My Volunteer Experience: Personal Reflections as a Volunteer. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from
“My Volunteer Experience: Personal Reflections as a Volunteer.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
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