The value of human resources in non-public sports providers : the importance of volunteers in non-profit sports clubs versus professionals in for-profit fitness and health clubs
Faculty of Applied Economics
International journal of sport management and marketing
, p. 3-25
University of Antwerp
There is a growing debate on the professionalisation of non-profit sports clubs (e.g., more paid staff) and the remuneration of sports volunteers. These voluntary sports organisations are, together with for-profit fitness and health clubs, the main types of sports providers at the grassroots level in Flanders (Belgium). They both are non-public organisations, active in the same market, but differ regarding to their objectives and their human resources (i.e., volunteers versus paid staff). Hence, the purpose of this paper is to analyse and compare the hypothetical HR-cost of volunteer work in non-profit sports clubs, based on a market price of equivalency model, with the actual HR-cost of for-profit sports providers. The results show that fitness and health clubs are found to be more efficient, in terms of the unit human resources cost. However, non-profit sports clubs have a distinctive economic structure and own rationality. Hence, it seems not appropriate to transfer the economic efficiency approach of for-profits blindly to non-profit sports clubs as the added value of volunteer work to individuals, organisations and the society as a whole (c.f., positive externalities) are neglected.