How can we attract volunteers from more diverse backgrounds?

Diversity is about difference. We’re all different and diversity relates to each and every one of us. There are different strands of diversity including:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Sexuality
  • Gender (including gender identity)
  • Belief

It may be that certain strands are more represented than others at your club. Encouraging volunteers from diverse backgrounds can help you bring your club closer to the wider community. For instance, these volunteers could help you attract participants from parts of the community that are currently under-represented. This may include groups that are less likely to be physically active, who have the most to gain from getting involved.

Attracting volunteers from more diverse backgrounds can be challenging because it can involve changing the culture of your club or group. It can also involve changing other people’s perceptions about what ‘sort’ of person the group is for. But it’s possible. The Lawn Tennis Association has a step-by-step guide for boosting diversity in volunteering.

It’s a good idea to develop an equity policy at your club or group if you don’t already have one. This is a document that sets out your club’s stance on equality, which volunteers and participants can refer to. See our equity policy and equity policy template for more information. 

If your sport is led by a national governing body, it’s also worth checking their site to see if they have a recommended equity policy – many do.

Volunteer Scotland has some helpful good practice guides on how to support equality and diversity at your club or organisation and creating an inclusive volunteering environment. 

See our pages on attracting young volunteers, female volunteers and disabled volunteers for more details on working with these groups. 

A number of following sites also offer more information and resources on how to involve women; ethnic minorities; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; older people and disabled people.

In an example from outside sport, there is a useful case study below from the Children’s Society on how they increased diversity amongst their volunteer team.

See the following links for more information:

Lawn Tennis Association - Boosting diversity in volunteering

Club Matters - Equity policy and equity policy template

Volunteer Scotland - Equality and diversity

Volunteer Scotland - Creating an inclusive volunteering environment

Sport England – How can I attract more young volunteers?

Sport England – I want to offer volunteering opportunities to disabled people and others with additional support needs. How do I go about this?

Sport England – How can I get more women volunteering?

Women in Sport - Involve women

Sporting Equals - Involve ethnic minorities

Pride Sports - Involve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people

Age UK - Involve older people

Activity Alliance - Involve disabled people

Children's Society - Case study