Key findings and Recommendations in Macedonia

Main conclusions from the research show that volunteering in sport activities is seen as a positive activity among young people in North Macedonia and among sport club representatives. Partly they see, understand and recognize the benefits that volunteering in sport activities can bring to them as individuals and as sport clubs. The fact that nearly half of the surveyed young people (215 young people took part in the research in total) have experience in volunteering in sports activities, and all 11 clubs have experience with volunteers is a positive sign for the future of sports volunteering in North Macedonia.

This suggests that there is already some level of interest and engagement among young people in sports volunteering, and that there may be opportunities to build on this momentum and encourage even more young people to get involved. To build on this foundation of youth engagement in sports volunteering, sport organizations and sport clubs could consider developing targeted outreach and recruitment efforts that focus on the experiences and motivations of young people who have already volunteered in sports activities. This could involve highlighting the positive impact that their previous volunteering experiences have had on their personal and professional development, and encouraging them to share their experiences with other young people in their networks. In addition, developing opportunities for ongoing engagement and leadership development among young sports volunteers could help to retain and deepen their involvement in sports volunteering over time. This could involve providing training and mentorship opportunities, offering opportunities for leadership roles within sports organizations, or creating networks or communities of practice that allow young sports volunteers to connect and collaborate with one another. Overall, the fact that a significant proportion of young people already have experience in volunteering in sports activities is a promising sign for the future of sports volunteering. By building on this foundation of engagement and enthusiasm, sport organizations and sport clubs can work to create even more opportunities for young people to get involved in sports volunteering and make a positive impact on their communities.

However, the research gave us insight of what is missing and where our focus should be in future if we would like for volunteering in sport activities to have more positive impact on the community.

Based on the answers received from the research, young people in the sample seem to be not well-informed about volunteering opportunities in sports and are not fully aware of the skills they can gain through such experiences. However, they do recognize the value of volunteering in sports activities for personal development and acquiring skills relevant to their future lives. The most commonly recognized skills were team skills, organizational skills, communication skills, social skills, and time management.

Based on this, there is a need to improve awareness and knowledge of volunteering opportunities in sports among young people. It is also essential to promote the benefits and skills that can be gained through such experiences. Regarding this the following recommendations can be made:

  • It important to increase promotion: More efforts should be made to promote volunteering opportunities in sports to young people through social media, sports clubs, schools, and other relevant channels;
  • Improve communication: The communication strategy should be improved to ensure that young people are well-informed about the benefits and skills they can gain from volunteering in sports activities;
  • Provide training: To enhance the volunteering experience and the acquisition of valuable skills, training programs should be developed and provided for young people;
  • Recognition and motivation: Young volunteers should be recognized and motivated through different initiatives, such as certificates, awards etc.

Well informed youth leads to high participation of young people in volunteering in sports activities, enhance their skills and personal development, and contributes to the development of a healthy and active population.

Also, the most popular reason why young people were not involved yet in volunteering in sports activities was because they are not familiar with the opportunities that exist. This highlights the importance of outreach efforts and communication strategies mentioned above that can help to increase awareness and visibility of volunteering opportunities in sports. In addition, the finding that many young people have not been asked to volunteer suggests that there may be a need for more proactive and targeted recruitment efforts. This could involve reaching out to young people directly, such as through schools, local youth centers or sport clubs, or online platforms, and promoting the benefits of sports volunteering and the opportunities that exist. Other potential reasons why young people may not be involved in volunteering in sports activities could include competing demands on their time, such as school or work commitments, a lack of interest in sports or volunteering in general, or a lack of understanding of the potential benefits of volunteering. To address these barriers, sport organizations and sport clubs could consider developing flexible volunteering opportunities that can accommodate the diverse needs and schedules of young people, promoting the social and personal benefits of sports volunteering, and engaging with young people in ways that resonate with their interests and values.

Overall, by addressing the barriers to youth engagement in sports volunteering, sport organizations and sport clubs can help to increase participation and engagement in sports activities.

The answers collected show that young people are motivated to volunteer in sports activities for a variety of reasons, including the opportunity to help local sport clubs and people, gain new skills, and improve personally. To capitalize on these motivations, sport organizations and clubs should develop volunteering opportunities that provide young people with meaningful and impactful experiences. For example, volunteering opportunities that involve working closely with local sports clubs and coaches can allow young people to make a tangible difference in their community and develop a sense of ownership and pride in their work. Similarly, developing training programs and resources that focus on the acquisition of valuable skills, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, and time management, can help to attract and retain volunteers who are interested in developing their personal and professional skills. Finally, providing opportunities for personal growth and development, such as mentorship and coaching, can help to nurture the core motivation of young people and foster a sense of personal fulfillment and purpose. By developing volunteering opportunities that align with the motivations of young people, sport clubs and organizations can increase participation and engagement in sports volunteering, ultimately contributing to the development and promotion of sports in the country.

Additionally the research shows that young people from urban areas are better informed than young people in rural areas. The fact that youth people from rural areas know less than young people in urban areas about volunteering opportunities in sports is a significant finding. It highlights the need to improve outreach efforts to young people living in rural areas. To address this disparity, sports organizations, and other relevant stakeholders should prioritize reaching out to youth in rural areas with information about volunteering opportunities in sports. This can be achieved through targeted outreach efforts, such as visiting schools and community centers in rural areas and engaging with local youth groups and organizations. It is also essential to tailor messaging and communication strategies to better resonate with youth in rural areas. For example, highlighting the benefits of volunteering in sports, such as the opportunity to develop valuable skills and contribute to the community, may be particularly effective in rural areas where community involvement and collective values are often highly valued.  By taking these steps, stakeholders can help ensure that young people in rural areas have the same access to information and opportunities for personal development through volunteering in sports as their urban counterparts.

Research shows that interest among young people to participate in volunteering in sport activities is on a high level and that they would be willing to participate in both short-term and long-term opportunities. This is a positive indication of the potential for young people to make a significant contribution to the development and promotion of sports in North Macedonia. To capitalize on this interest, stakeholders should develop and promote a range of volunteering opportunities that cater to different timeframes and levels of commitment. Short-term volunteering opportunities can provide a valuable introduction to the world of sports volunteering and allow young people to experience the benefits of volunteering without committing to a long-term engagement. Longer-term opportunities can provide a deeper and more meaningful engagement that allows volunteers to develop and apply their skills over a more extended period.

In addition, it is essential to ensure that volunteering opportunities in sports are accessible to young people from different backgrounds, including those with limited financial resources or who may face other barriers to participation. Providing financial support, such as travel allowances or stipends, and ensuring that volunteering opportunities are located in areas that are accessible by public transportation, can help ensure that young people from all backgrounds can participate.

By providing a diverse range of volunteering opportunities and ensuring accessibility, stakeholders can help to nurture and sustain the interest among young people to participate in volunteering in sport activities, ultimately contributing to the development and promotion of sports in North Macedonia.

You can find and read the full report in our previous posts. 

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