“Super” Volunteering: Sporting Events

Who out there is a sports fan, in particular, a football aficionado? If so, perhaps you have volunteered for a sporting event, or was keen enough to travel to volunteer for one? According to news reports, over 10,000 people sign up to volunteer for festivities related to the top American football celebration (Super Bowl!) each year, and this year’s Miami Super Bowl LIV is no exception.

But not all volunteers are local. While most Super Bowl volunteers are from the host city and surrounding areas, many come from other US (and global) communities. Unfortunately we do not have the percentage of (10,000) volunteers who travel to give freely of their time/resources, but we know there are plenty. We noticed on recent Miami Super Bowl Host Committee Facebook posts* that several commenters, who had signed up to be Super Bowl volunteers, appeared to be from out of town. Of these, quite a number of them looked to be repeat Super Bowl volunteers as well.

So what does this all mean? It might mean you are surprised to know that traveling to volunteer may include this thematically-relevant category of sports-event-volunteering. Or it might mean you question why people would pay to fly, stay, and take time off from work to volunteer for such an event in the first place. Regardless of what it might mean to you, this is what we do know. It takes an army of dedicated volunteers to run such a mammoth event, and not all cities have the capacity to provide a workforce of volunteers of this magnitude.

Perhaps you might be astonished to find out this large-scale nonprofit (yes, the NFL is technically a non-profit organisation) provides short-term volunteering opportunities in every hosting city for a few weeks prior to the big game. #giveback. big time. It’s their mission to make sure the cities that host this game benefit from other aspects related to the event, outside the infusion of $$ the event will generate) such as promoting local environmentally-related social projects too. All good stuff.

Next time you are thinking if you might get involved in a sports-specific traveling to volunteer experience such as the Super Bowl, or are simply relaxing and enjoying the big game, imagine all the volunteers that had contributed freely to the event. The ones living there. The ones who travelled to do so, and the ones who’d volunteer to do it over and over again. Ponder on how many volunteering hours that went into the organising and hosting of the give-back experiences. The ones that occurred weeks prior to, and the week of, to benefit the host city and area.

Maybe you are planning to volunteer the next time or maybe you already have. We’d like you to let us know what it was like for you! Drop us a comment below and tell us. AND. Tell us if you’ve volunteered for another sports-related volunteering opportunity, or are planning to do so. Can you now say #iamthiscommunity because you traveled to volunteer for a sports-related event? We hope so!

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*Note: One has to join the Facebook Group to view the Facebook posts. The link provided is to the general website where you can opt into joining Facebook and/or the Group to view the comments.

New Year, New Focus

We are two weeks into this new year (and decade!) and The Traveling Volunteer continues to grow. We have several goals this year. One, in particular, is to increase engagement with the variety of people segments actively involved in a traveling to volunteer experience. Namely – the volunteer traveler, the community member, the nonprofit leader, the tourism representative, and you, the reader, who may or may not fill one of these roles. Because, regardless of any group titles…

You are part of the global community.

How will engagement be increased you ask? Through social media platform posts, the #iamthiscommunity challenge, group meetings, research (interviews and surveys), and other innovative ways yet to be revealed, all with the intention of connecting traveling volunteer people groups with each other.

But our reach has changed.

To strengthen our mission of engaging people within the traveling to volunteer space, we have decided to narrow our focus on very short term volunteering opportunities in USA and Canada. By short term, we mean between 2 – 5 hours of deep, impactful volunteering. We found that trying to reach a very large global audience did not give us the deeper impact we wanted that could otherwise be gained in a smaller geographical region. But wait –

If you are not from USA or Canada – this still includes you!

If you plan on traveling to, or traveling within, the USA or Canada, The Traveling Volunteer aims to be your intermediary by offering you short-term volunteering opportunities while at your US or Canadian destination. We strongly believe the connection developed through traveling to volunteer experiences is life-changing. To do this, we trust we will have a greater global impact because we have specialised our reach on a smaller scale. Having said this, if you do not plan on traveling to volunteer in USA or Canada, we have a special projects team worldwide. It is through them, we will continue to curate and offer potential short term volunteering opportunities as the need arises.

To start, we will be offering our volunteering opportunities on this website.

While we have plans to grow and partner with larger booking sites, at the moment, we will be using The Traveling Volunteer website to feature short term volunteering opportunities in specific USA markets. We will be testing these opportunities in the next few months, and letting you know how you can participate and book any of them.

We are excited for the year ahead and look forward to engaging with you through events, social media outlets and more! We are working hard to provide you with volunteering opportunities for you to deeply connect with, and make a difference in, a community you visit. We believe through a traveling to volunteer experience, all participants can say #iamthiscommunity because of the connection they have made to this place.