Volunteer Motivations at the 2012 Super Bowl
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine mega-event volunteers’ motivations and their impact on volunteer satisfaction. Additionally, this study investigated motivational differences between volunteers based upon four demographic variables: age, gender, educational level, and income.
Design/methodology/approach – A modified version of the Volunteer Motivations Scale for International Sporting Events (Bang and Chelladurai, 2009) was administered to 8,000 Super Bowl volunteers via Survey Monkey with the permission of the Indiana Sports Corporation. In all, 24 percent (n=1,928) of the volunteers completed the survey. Exploratory factor analysis was used to reduce the survey questions into a smaller number factors. Multivariate analysis of variance was utilized to compare differences in the four demographic variables on the factors. Multiple regression was used to predict satisfaction on the basis of the four factors.
Findings – Volunteers were motivated by four factors: Community Support, Love of Sports, Personal Growth, and Career Development. These four factors all significantly predicted satisfaction with the volunteer experience. The overall MANOVA was significant and revealed that ten of 16 group comparisons possessed significant differences. Females rated Community higher than males, while males rated Love of Sports higher than females. Older volunteers and those with higher household incomes were motivated more by Community Support, while younger volunteers and those with lower incomes were motivated by Career Development. Likewise, less educated volunteers placed a higher value on Career motivations than more educated volunteers who placed a high value on Personal Growth.
Research limitations/implications – Dissatisfied volunteers may have chosen to not participate in the study. Follow-up interviews with dissatisfied volunteers might provide insight for event organizers that would shed light on factors that influence retention and recidivism.
Practical implications – The findings of this study suggest that mega sport volunteer managers should recognize that motivational differences among volunteers do exist and utilize this information for creating recruitment materials targeted to specific groups. Then volunteers can be assigned to tasks that tap into their desire, thus enhancing potential volunteer satisfaction and their return as a volunteer at future events.
Originality/value – This study was conducted in the context of America’s largest mega event in a city that hosted the event for the first time. In addition to collecting one of the largest number of responses for volunteers at mega-sporting events, the development of the Community Support factor was unique within the context of this study. The Community Support factor was rated as the most important by volunteers and tied to other questions such as wanting to help make the event a success, helping others, and creating a better society. This indicates that volunteers had pride in their community and wanted to help the event be successful by helping the city’s visitors.