Creating a global community of volunteers - FIFA

We take a look at FIFA's impressive global volunteer management program for 2021 with insights from Anne-Catherine Inne.

The world’s largest governing body of football, FIFA caught our attention this week for something other than soccer. Yes, what caught our attention was their impressive volunteer management program, which is using technology to unite their volunteer community around the world.

In 2021 alone, FIFA saw more than 6,000 volunteers from over 100 countries volunteer at their global flagship events. That equated to almost half a million hours volunteered across every FIFA Tournament in 2021. 

Taking a look at FIFA’s year in review, it’s hard not to be impressed. Across their four key tournaments last year including Qatar, Russia and Lithuania, FIFA had over 65,000 volunteer applications with the average number of hours volunteering sitting at 57.6

FIFA has talked openly about implementing a volunteer management solution and investing in technology to support their global workforce program and looking at the stats, the results speak for themselves. 

Last year we had the chance to catch up with FIFA’s Anne Catherine Ienne, Senior Volunteer Manager on Rosterfy’s Engaged Volunteer Podcast to discuss their volunteer program and how it is already benefiting volunteers and administrators alike. 

We've summarized some of her reflections for those who are interested in seeing how FIFA implemented their global community of volunteers..


Creating a globalized community of volunteers at FIFA

The problem. With thousands of volunteers worldwide and each FIFA local entity providing their own unique volunteer program, FIFA like many organisations struggled to find a way to ensure a consistent and connected experience for their global volunteer community.

The solution. To source and implement a volunteer management solution that could unite FIFA volunteers worldwide by providing administrators with a tech solution to facilitate a consistent FIFA experience. 

Until recently, each local entity ran their volunteer management program independently. While some embraced technology to manage volunteers others were still using spreadsheets and there was no transfer of information between local entities.

FIFA decided to invest in a volunteer management solution that ensured a consistent experience for volunteers worldwide. 

“We have quite a lot of volunteers who travel the world and one of the issues we face is people not knowing where to apply. We wanted to go for service excellence and say there’s one place to register where you will have access to all things FIFA but also we wanted to build that sense of community with our volunteers.”

No matter where you’re from, whether it be Costa Rica, New Zealand or Qatar, FIFA volunteers now have the ability to register and create a profile ONCE, which can be used to apply for any FIFA event globally. Furthermore, administrators can now see which volunteers have volunteered with FIFA previously with their profile highlighting not only their skills and credentials but also their experience with FIFA globally. 

“It’s such a shame not to know who’s been volunteering with us, and it’s such a shame that we have zero record and this person comes and volunteers with us and we have no idea, but potentially he;’s been with FIFA longer than us.” 


A global volunteer passport

During the podcast, AC shares an example of just one of her volunteers who has been volunteering with FIFA since 2017. 

“A great example of the passion of our volunteers is when we see volunteers continuing to volunteer with us each year. I had one volunteer who volunteered with us at the Persian Cup, The World Cup in Russia and she even came to Poland for the Under 20s. For this volunteer alone that’s three events that FIFA previously had no record of. The only reason they know she had consistently volunteered was through the connections made by volunteer managers. But as staff come and go, a more sustainable way of capturing and recording experience was necessary to ensure that both volunteers and administrators were getting the most out of FIFAs program.”


Streamlining processes for administrators

While the decision to adapt a global management system was first and foremost to benefit FIFA's volunteers, there have also been some great benefits for administrators.

By utilizing a global system for all FIFA volunteers, FIFA have essentially created a global database of volunteers. If for example an event takes place in India now, FIFA can recruit volunteers for that specific event and in 10 years time they can still communicate with those same volunteers to see if they’re interested in volunteering again. In between these events, Indian volunteers can also choose to volunteer internationally using the same profile they created for their domestic event. 

The ability to retain knowledge and information is a big driver for a more sustainable model of operation. With a central system in place, FIFA staff worldwide can look back on previous years and understand how many volunteers were recruited through to how many were scheduled and even how many turned up for a specific shift. 


Maximizing engagement

With large scale events, the timelines between recruitment and the event itself can be years. That’s a long time between registering to volunteer and volunteering, with a lot of time to become disengaged. 

By implementing a global volunteer management solution, FIFA is aiming to eliminate the ‘blank moments’ between milestones to ensure an engaging experience from start to finish. 

Through their volunteer management solution, FIFA will be utilizing the power of automations to ensure that as volunteers progress through milestones that they are kept informed as to the status of their progress and also important next steps. Further to this, they will be building out a communications plan for their volunteers to keep volunteers engaged (and excited!) in the lead up to major events. 

“Once you try something really good - like a good cookie- you want more.” Says FIFA volunteer Maria as she looks forward to continuing to volunteer at 2022 FIFA events. 

If you’d like to catch the full recording of Anne Catherine’s episode of the Engaged Volunteer Podcast, click here

If you’d like to learn more about how Rosterfy can help you streamline your volunteer management processes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

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