Written by Annemieke Drost and Rike Reimer
Upper-level quidditch volunteers have sporadically spoken up about burnout and the complicated relationship between volunteers and the general community, but nobody has explored this topic extensively. Until now.
This article is part of a series about volunteering in quidditch based on a survey that was distributed by the Quidditch Research Collective in summer 2020 (See: The QRC Team below for team members). Overall, our aim was to document the ups and downs of upper-level volunteering (aka those who volunteer above club-level) – like workload, motivation and community interactions. In our first report, which is summarised in this article, we outlined who answered our survey and looked at volunteer appreciation and performance. If you want to read the full report or a more in depth summary, you can find it here.
Our main finding is that upper-level volunteers were generally perceived to be appreciated and have performed adequately, both by the community and upper-level volunteers themselves.
We asked how much respondents thought certain volunteer groups were appreciated by the quidditch community, rather than asking for their own individual valuation, which gave us interesting results. Indeed, most respondents thought that upper-level volunteers in general received a medium to good level of appreciation from the community. Volunteers who did the most visible work were appreciated more, which was not a surprise. For example, tournament committee volunteers were appreciated more than international governing body volunteers.
We found that upper-level volunteers underestimated how much the community appreciated them. Both overall and split into the four categories, community respondents gave slightly higher perceived appreciation scores than the upper-level volunteer respondents. This could be because upper-level volunteers receive a lot of negative feedback (especially online), which could skew their views on appreciation by community members. We will address this further in a future report.
Most of our respondents also thought upper-level volunteers performed decently to very good. Again, the performance rating for international governing body volunteers was lower than for volunteers in other categories. Interestingly, private league organisers overwhelmingly rated their performance as ‘very good’ – much more so than community members or other upper-level volunteers. We did not find any convincing relationship between performance rating and estimated community appreciation, which suggests that quidditch volunteers were appreciated for their work regardless of how great the outcome has been.
We also compared the responses by respondents of that category only vs. all other respondents (e.g. only IGB volunteers vs all other respondents). Here we did not find any big differences. However, we noticed a funny little detail regarding international governing body volunteers: the performance ratings given to those volunteers vary according to which respondent group you look at. International governing body volunteers rated themselves slightly more favourably than everyone else did, the general community rated them slightly lower, and upper-level volunteers not in that category (being volunteers in NGBs, tournament committees, and leagues) rated them the lowest of all. Of course, these differences are rather minimal and statistically irrelevant, but nonetheless amusing. The general community might not see the work of international governing bodies like the IQA and Quidditch Europe up close like volunteers at NGBs do. Therefore these volunteers, for example at NGBs, are more critical in their performance rating, while the volunteers of international governing bodies themselves might be more forgiving knowing the reality of their work.
In conclusion, it seems like our respondents appreciated upper-level volunteers and thought they were at least moderately capable and appreciated, which is good. Stay tuned for our follow up reports about the lived experiences of upper-level volunteers, how the community imagined the experiences of upper-level volunteers, and interactions between community members and upper-level volunteers.