Development of evidence-informed recommendations for training volunteers at disability sport events


Disability sport organizations rely heavily on the support from volunteers to ensure the successful delivery of sport events. However, existing research neglects to consider the influence of volunteer training on the overall volunteer experience and its potential to cultivate a volunteer legacy. To address this gap, our team partnered with the Ontario Parasport Collective and knowledge users in disability sport community (e.g., athletes, volunteers, sport administrators) to enhance the volunteer training experience and equip sport event management with tools to successfully execute an enjoyable and inclusive volunteer training program. Specifically, we utilized the Appraisal of Guidelines Research and Evaluation II Instrument (AGREE II) to systematically develop a set of evidence-informed recommendations for training disability sport event volunteers. Methods included a (1) review of existing volunteer training resources, (2) a rapid evidence review, (3) qualitative interviews, and (4) consultation with experts to formulate the recommendations. Pilot testing was conducted with experts throughout (n=13 panel members; n=63 athletes, researchers, sport administrators, volunteers, parents and coaches), which resulted in minor word changes and additions to the content of the recommendations. The final product included a total of 12 recommendations. Each recommendation is accompanied by key information as to who, how and what information should be delivered. Results provide insight into the best practices that sport event managers should consider when planning and implementing a volunteer training program for a disability sport event. This project offers support for the application of the AGREE II in developing evidence-informed recommendations for use among disability sport organizations.

Acknowledgments: This work was supported by MITACS Accelerate and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.