Case Study Questions
Please answer each of these questions with at least 1-2 paragraphs using specific data and examples from the case.
Pay particular attention to question 2, and consider the best method to analyze and present a thorough, yet usable
What are the challenges currently facing the event organizers? What strengths and weaknesses does the
organization bring to those challenges?
Using the data in Appendix A create a profile of existing volunteers. What are their demographics? What
are their motives? Which demographic and motivational characteristics seem particularly important? Why?
How could your analysis enable more effective recruitment and retention of volunteers?
Consider the event's relationships to local charities. Can those relationships be leveraged to enhance
volunteer recruitment and/or retention? Explain.
Within the budget constraints, what might be done to obtain more volunteers? Could your profile from
Question 2 help? How?
Could a more diverse pool of volunteers be obtained? How? What would be the
advantage? Do you envision any disadvantages?
Sport Management Reviav, 2007,10,97-123
O 2007 SMAANZ
Building on Success:
Volunteer Management at the Midwest Tennis
Corinne M. Daprano
University of Dayton
Carla A. Costa
University of Texas
Peter J. Titlebaum
University of Dayton
The mood in the conference room at the Midwest Tennis Center was upbeat, but a
little tense. Just a month ago, the volunteer coordinator, Dan Clark, his staff, and
volunteer committee chairs had gathered around this same conference table having
concluded yet another successful Men's Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP)
Masters Series tournament. The tournament had been run at the Tennis Center since
1979, and despite the unpredictability of the weather in the Midwest in mid-August,
the tournament continued to be a strong draw for both players and spectators. In
fact, players such as Agassi, Federer and Hewitt returned year after year because
of the quality of the tournament. In addition, the two-week tournament regularly
attracted large crowds. Attendance for the Masters Series and Seniors' events
typically exceeded 100,000 spectators.
During the month after a successful tournament, Dan Clark and his staff
would usually sit back and enjoy the celebratory mood, but this year was different.
The tournament had ended months ago, yet committee members had only had a
month to dwell on the success they had worked so hard to achieve. It was rumored
that a women's tournament would be added to next year's schedule of events, and
This case was prepared as the basis for analysis and discussion. It is not intended to illustrate
either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation.
Daprano, Costa & Titlebaum
committee members were now feeling pressured to quickly move on to next year's
schedule. This was the source of the tension in the room.
Clark opened the meeting by immediately addressing the rumours regarding
the addition of the women's tournament:
"I know you have all heard the rumors, so let me fill you in now. The owners
of the Tennis Center want to increase the number of events held at the facility.
Because of the success of the men's tournament, they have decided to pursue a
Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tournament event. As many of you know,
a women's tournament had been held in conjunction with the men's tournament
during the first seventy or so years of the tournament's existence. It returned briefly
in the late 1980's but was discontinued because of WTA scheduling conflicts, loss of
the tournament's title sponsor, and decreasing numbers of spectators. Returning the
women's tournament to the Midwest will reconnect the event with the longstanding
tradition of the Midwest Masters and will bring a WTA event to our regional area.
However, adding the WTA event to next year's schedule will involve considerable
planning on our part. The men's tournament will retain its usual mid-August
schedule. The women's tournament will be held in mid-July."
"But that gives us less than a year to prepare for the women's tournament!"
interrupted Tony, chair of the ushers committee. "We'll need to find a lot more
volunteers to make this work, and we don't have much time to find them." "It's not
just the volunteer numbers, I for one can't commit to working both tournaments,"
added Susan, chair of the Ticket Takers Committee. "What kind of budget will it
have?" asked Dan. The meeting continued, with comments flying around the table.
Finally, Clark called for a fifteen minute break.
Clark noticed that Rachel, a young, first-year intern who had joined the
organisation last month seemed a bit overwhelmed. In her short time with the
organisation, she seemed eager to learn and to contribute. The short planning cycle
necessitated increasing Rachel's responsibilities to include more involvement
in planning and implementation of the volunteer management program for both
tournaments. Clark used the break to bring Rachel up to speed on the history of
the tournament. Specifically, he told her that the Midwest Masters, now known
as the Midwest Tennis Classic Masters, is an annual tennis tournament played on
outdoor hardcourts in the suburb of a large Midwestern city. The tournament is one
of the oldest tennis tournaments played in the United States. The first tournament
was held during the 1890's. Over the 100-plus year history of the tournament, such
notables as Nat Emerson, Bill Tilden, Bobby Riggs, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase,
John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Andre Agassi
have participated and won the tournament. Until the early 1970's, the women's
tournament was held in conjunction with the men's tournament. Rosie Casals,
Virginia Wade, Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong had all played
during the last several years of the tournament.
Volunteer Management - Case
The men's tournament is one of nine ATP Masters Series tournaments on
the ATP tour. In 2002, the tournament gained a major title sponsor. Since 1979,
the tournament had been played at the Midwest Family Tennis Center, which is a
10-court facility with three permanent stadiums. Clark also shared with her that
while the tournament has a long standing history in the community; it is also an
important asset to the community because of its economic impact. The tournament
is estimated to have a US$25 million impact on the regional economy because of the
number of out-of-town visitors to the region.
Clark told Rachel about an economic impact study conducted by researchers
at a local university. The study demonstrated that out-of-town visitors alone spent
almost US$10 million while attending the tournament. This economic expenditure is
especially valuable to the regional economy because these dollars represent money
that would otherwise not be spent locally.
Clark also felt that it was important for Rachel to know that the regional
community received further benefits from the tournament. For example, several
organisations benefited from donations made from the proceeds of the tournamentover US$6 million since 1974. These organisations included a Children's Hospital,
a Cancer Center and a local organisation, Tennis for City Youth geared towards
tennis and inner city youth. "I've heard of Tennis for City Youth. Isn't that the
organisation that provides tennis lessons and programs for inner-city children who
can't afford to play tennis?" asked Rachel. "Yes," responded Clark. "I have great
respect for this program. It is supported by grants from the USTA in its efforts to
diversify both tennis participants and spectators. In my opinion, these effort are
making a big difference in the tennis community. Tennis used to be a largely, white
upper class sport. Now when I dnve by the courts or look in the stands, I see much
more diversity. This has got to be good for the game."
As the committee members trickled back into the room, Clark finished
briefing Rachel by sharing his thoughts on the ways the tournament impacted the
community. He shared both the good and the bad with Rachel:
"Some surrounding residents have complained about increased traffic and
commotion in their neighborhood around event time. On the other hand, many
residents praise the tournament for provideing an opportunity for locals to socialise,
network, meet, and interact with people who are not part of their usual social circles.
I can't tell you how many times someone has told me how proud they are to be a part
of something worthwhile that gives back to community."
Rachel sat down feeling much better informed. Clark took a moment to
collect himselfbefore calling the meeting back to order. Typically during these posttournament meetings, he would share with everyone the tournament volunteer report
he had compiled. Among other things, the report consisted of general observations
made by the tournament staff and volunteer committee chairs regarding tournament
operations. Clark knew that it was essential to examine this information, but he also
Daprano, Costa & Titlebaurn
knew that the challenge for the upcoming year would require a different kind of
approach. Not only did they need more comprehensive information, they would also
need to think creatively to determine how to obtain and use this new information.
Clark called the meeting to order. "I know that you are all concerned with
the expansion of our work in the next year. Let's remember, though, the tournament
is operating well on a number of levels. In fact, volunteer management had been one
of the most successful areas of operations for the past several years. The challenge,
as I see it, is to determine how to transfer this success to the women's tournament
without compromising the quality of the men's tournament. We need to gather as
much information as possible, as quickly as possible from this year's experiences.
Each of you is a treasure trove of knowledge. I would like to take advantage of that
knowledge while the tournament is still fresh in your minds."
Clark turned to the people seated around the conference table and explained,
"In spite of our continued success and the response of the public to the ATP event,
we will have some additional challenges to meet when adding the WTA event.
Instead of me compiling one tournament report after talking with you individually, I
feel it would be helpful for each of you to write your own committee report keeping
in mind how we can address challenges we'll face when moving from one to two
tournaments. It's also important to consider the differences between the spectators
and volunteers for the men's tournament versus the women's tournament. After
each of these reports has been written and I have had a chance to review them, we
will meet again."
Clark continued to explain how he wanted the committee chairs to compile
their reports. "Since this is the first time I've asked each of you to gather and analyse
this type of information, I'm going to provide you with a few basic guidelines for
your report. Keeping in mind that we'll have to recruit and train volunteers for
both tournaments, we'll need to review what strategies are effective and where
improvements are needed. If we consider that we've had approximately 1,000people
volunteer for the men's tournament in the past, we can analyse the recruitment and
managemen1 sfrategies fhaf have helped us achieve this number. I am not entirely
certain how many additional volunteers we will need for the women's tournament,
but I believe that we will need fewer than 1,000."
Prior to this year's men's tournament, Clark had requested the help of sport
management faculty and students at a local university to develop and administer
a sport event volunteer survey. At this time, the venue owners had hinted at the
possibility of a second tournament, and Clark wanted to be prepared. The survey
was designed to provide more information about the existing tournament volunteers.
Clark wanted to know what motivated them to volunteer, and how satisfied they
were with their current experiences as tournament volunteers. In addition, the
survey provided demographic information about the tournament volunteers. When
the decision was made to add a women's tournament, Clark realised the potential
Volunteer Management - Case
importance of the study in the planning that now faced him. That morning, he had
received the preliminary descriptive data from the survey, and he had been looking
forward to sharing it with the rest of the people sitting around the table (see appendix
"You'll need to keep in mind several concerns as you write your report.
First, how can we convince existing experienced volunteers to remain and work
both tournaments and in turn how will we increase our volunteer pool to ensure we
have enough volunteers to assist with the additional requirements of the women's
tournament? Second, since we are members of the USTA and are committed to
promoting the sport of tennis, how can we diversify our volunteer base? Also keep
in mind that we have only a 40% increase in the volunteer budget. We are fortunate
to have preliminary data from last month's survey of volunteers. Rachel will provide
you with these results as you leave today. The survey provides some interesting
insights into the reasons our volunteers choose to work the tournament, the things
that they are and are not satisfied with, and a demographic profile of our current
volunteers. Please incorporate this information into your report. At a minimum,
your committee report should address the following:
Number of volunteers on your committee,
The characteristics (demographic and psychographic) of your volunteers,
Potential challenges facing your area, and
Recommendations/insightsfor recruitment and retention of volunteers, including
what has worked well for your committee.
In addition, I would like to know whether you will be returning next year
as chair of your current committee and whether you will be able to assist with both
tournaments. Your thoughts on recruiting and training new committee chairs would
be greatly appreciated. You'll have the next two weeks to compile your report. Then
return it to me, and I will study them and ask questions as necessary. Afterward, you
will have an additional week to finalise each report. 1reafise this is a tight timeline.
As we discussed at our last meeting, the tournament means a lot to us, and we are
all committed to meeting this challenge. We'll meet in three weeks to discuss the
committee reports and begin planning for next year."
Two Weeks Later
Dan Clark surveyed the reports submitted to him in preparation for the planning
meeting the following week with his staff and the committee chairs. The chairs
had done a good job compiling information that would be used to determine an
overall strategy to recruit, train and manage the increased numbers of volunteers
Daprano, Costa & Titlebaum
needed to run both tournaments (see appendix B for chair reports and Clark's notes).
The first items that caught Clark's attention were the report sections indicating the
chairs' commitments for the year. Extensive experience as volunteer coordinator
had taught Clark that well-trained, motivated committee chairs were essential to
a smoothly functioning tournament since these chairs had the most direct contact
with tournament volunteers. In other words, the committee chairs would directly
impact the effectiveness of the volunteers' efforts and thus the tournament as a
whole. In an effort to equip Rachel with the background information she would
need regarding previous practices, each committee, and the individual chairpersons,
Clark discussed the chairs' reports with her, and added his own notes to each of the
reports. He also provided her with a copy of the budget, organisational chart, and
volunteer correspondence (Appendices C, D, & E). Rachel listened, but still had
questions about the ways things had been done in the past.
Clark tried to fill her in. He shared with her the three methods used
most often to recruit volunteers for the tournament: 1) word of mouth; 2) online
advertising; and 3) appeals made to local tennis clubs and corporations. Clark
told Rachel, "Traditionally, word of mouth has been the most effective method
of recruiting tournament volunteers. Many of the veteran volunteers have been
working the tournament for 15 or more years. We tend to keep about 60% of our
volunteers from one year to the next. These veteran volunteers help recruit family
members, fnends, and co-workers to the tournament. About 15% of our volunteers
are retireeslpensioners who come back to volunteer at the tournament year after
year. The tournament is like a family reunion for them. In fact, they're some of our
most dedicated volunteers in terms of the number of hours they're willing to work
to make the tournament a success."
He continued, "One of the best ways we have of recruiting new volunteers
is by partnering with local tennis clubs and corporations. Many tennis clubs post
information about volunteering months in advance of the tournament and often
members sign up for the same committees. A lot of our ushers volunteer together so
they can watch the matches, and they sign on for the same shifts so they can carpool
to the Tennis Center. They love the game of tennis and the opportunity to be close
to the action. Because these volunteers are so knowledgeable about the game, they
are especially valuable because they help us promote the game of tennis.
We also partner with many local corporations to recruit volunteers. Several
of these local corporations and businesses allow their employees to volunteer
for the tournament during regular work hours or give their employees vacation1
compensation days for the time worked at the tournament. Many of these employees
are interested in doing something for the community and are especially attracted
to these volunteer opportunities because each year some of the proceeds from the
tournament are donated to three charitable organisations - the Children's Hospital,
the Cancer Center at University Hospital, and Tennis for City Youth. Like the tennis
club recruits, corporate volunteers also sign up for many of the same committees,
Volunteer Management - Case
especially the ticket takers and sponsorship/hospitality committees. They like to be
busy all the time and to interact with different people.
One other method that has been successful for us in terms of our recruitment
efforts is our online application. People who want to find out information regarding
the tournament such as session datesltimes, look up the tournament draw, or purchase
tickets often go to our website. There is a "Volunteer Info" link on the homepage of
our website. Once someone clicks on the link, they are sent to a page that includes
current volunteer opportunities, committee descriptions, and a volunteer application
form. Many volunteers find the online application convenient and easy to fill out.
This is a great way for us to build a database of potential volunteers. Having online
volunteer information and an application has allowed us to expand our potential
volunteer base. We now have a small but growing percentage (currently less than
10%) of volunteers who live out-of-town and even out-of-state."
"Ok, I get the idea," said Rachel, "but what is expected of the volunteers, and
what do they expect in return?" Clark continued, "Our volunteers are required to
work at least 5 shifts (approximately 30 hours) during the tournament. Of course, this
could change as we add the women's tournament. Many of these positions require
standing for several hours in the summer heat. In order to reward our volunteers for
their hard work and dedication we offer them several incentives and perks.
Volunteers are given a tournament logo shirt and hat. The shirt and hat are
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