Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung | 7. Structural change in the voluntary help for refugees in sports clubs

7. Structural change in the voluntary help for refugees in sports clubs

On the one side, almost a third of all 91.00 sports clubs in Germany was engaged in refugee support in Fall 2015; about one in five clubs had taken particular measures to increase the participation of refugees (Breuer & Feiler, 2015). On the other side, studies of the past years have shown that the numbers of volunteers in sports clubs is decreasing – the much discussed thesis of the “volunteering crisis” plays an important role in organised popular sports.

Against this background our project aims at clarifying in what ways and by which strategies sports clubs generate the needed time and knowledge donations of their members to cope with the tasks of the work with refugees. The main thesis is that they use experimental and creative ways and try unconventional strategies to attract new volunteers. Those new strategies will also be conducive for the general search of members in the field of popular sports. The findings in this research project can therefore contribute to the foundation of concepts on “engagement management” in sports clubs.

Research methods

For the empirical analysis, interviews were conducted on the meso-level with relevant office-holders of six selected sports clubs that have shown particular engagement for refugees in the past months. On a micro-level, biographical experiences of especially women that have started volunteering in light of the refugee crisis, have been examined. 

Additionally to these two perspectives, documents provided by Berlin’s regional sports association (Landessportbund Berlin) have been evaluated. These documents include information disclosed by sports clubs, which had received funding for sports-related projects with refugees in 2015.