25 years of appreciation: thank you to all the volunteers!


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A thank you can be expressed in many ways: An appreciative smile for the freshly washed kits. A warm embrace for taking the time to coach a children’s team. Or a short but heartfelt “thank you” for driving to an away game for the umpteenth time. Often this appreciation takes place behind the scenes – in keeping with the modesty of many volunteers. They often shy away from the spotlight. “Oh, that’s goes without saying!” you hear many people say.

It does not.

Around 1.6 million volunteers work in German football. They have helped guide their clubs through the pandemic, got hundreds of thousands of children excited about football and kept club shops running, working with heart and mind. So we would like to say another big “Thank you to all the volunteers” once again this year across all the stadiums and football pitches in the land.

Peter Frymuth, DFB Vice President of Match Operations and Football Development, said: “Clubs create not only a place for sport, but also for community. Diverse cultures and opinions come together there. Football unites them. Without the millions of volunteers, these places would lose their meaning, especially for children and young people. It is therefore incumbent on us all to further boost the appreciation and culture of recognition for volunteers. Why? Because volunteering is priceless.”

Volunteering is also vital for professional football

Numerous clubs from the Bundesliga, Bundesliga 2 and 3. Liga are taking part in the round of matches dedicated to volunteers. The FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga also had a round of games dedicated to volunteers, but this took place on October 28, 29 and 30, as the women’s national team are travelling to the USA. The supporting material for the campaign – from videos and banners to advertisements, texts and social media graphics – is provided by the DFB. The special match days are being coordinated jointly with the German Football League (DFL).

After all, without volunteers, there would be no match day to organise – even for the pros. Almost every professional footballer entered the unique world of football through an amateur club – led by volunteer coaches. UEFA and the DFB have calculated the value of these countless hours of volunteer work using the SROI model. Based on the data for the 2018/2019 season, the social and economic added value of amateur football in Germany alone amounts to almost €14 billion for the common good – resulting from the positive effects of football and the voluntary work done under the banner of the game.

This is all taking place in an area torn between respecting traditions and looking to new ideas. Digitisation has changed the way clubs communicate, while the increasing individualisation has weakened the connection to the clubs in some cases. In order to encourage people to help out, special mention must be made of the specific motivation of the volunteers, who nowadays often expect support – for example, in the form of specific qualifications for volunteers. It is about strengthening competences and integrating individual skills into the club as an organisation.

How can this change be made profitable for both sides – the club and the volunteers? That is also a central theme of the “Thank you to all the volunteers” campaign this weekend.

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25 years of appreciation: thank you to all the volunteers!

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