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Digital platform for volunteering in sport

The German start-up German Volunteers wants to use a new platform to increase volunteering, especially in sport.  

Lauralie SchweigerLauralie Mylène Schweiger, 04.05.2023
Volunteers are indispensable in sport
Volunteers are indispensable in sport © picture alliance/dpa

Hardly any sporting event - be it a marathon, gymnastics festival, football tournament, national title fight or world championship - would take place without volunteer helpers. What is more, many sports fans are keen to get as close to the action as possible. The start-up “German Volunteers” wants to use a digital platform to get the two sides together in a quick and straightforward way. As yet, the platform is focusing mainly on sport, but the plan is to widen it to include things like cultural events. 

Start-up founders Hasso von Kietzell (left) and Axel Nissler
Start-up founders Hasso von Kietzell (left) and Axel Nissler © German Volunteers

For Hasso von Kietzell and Axel Nissler, who founded the company, it is all about getting more people to volunteer. “Volunteering is more than just making sporting events possible,” stresses von Kietzell. “It brings people together who would not normally have anything to do with one another.” 

Making this happen in as straightforward and effective a manner as possible is the idea behind “German Volunteers”: Anyone interested in getting involved can register on the website, while event organisers can let German Volunteers know what they need in terms of volunteer helpers - and the platform automatically connects the two sides. This spares event organisers the often laborious business of finding volunteers during the preparation phase. “Whoever is tasked with this can easily find themselves inundated with thousands of e-mails,” says Nissler. In addition, the platform allows users to provide individual information. “You can state for example whether you have a driving licence or are unable to stand for longer than 30 minutes,” explains Nissler. 

The two founders based their start-up on the “Swiss Volunteers” model that is already well established in Switzerland and has mobilised hundreds of thousands of volunteers. The “German Volunteers” group is growing every day, and von Kietzell and Nissler have an ambitious target for Germany: they hope to recruit one million people willing to volunteer at events. 

They are also determined to ensure that as many different people as possible can play their part as volunteers. “During the Special Olympics Baden-Württemberg in the summer of 2022, we had volunteer tandems made up of people with and without a disability,” explains von Kietzell. “However, the individual tandems broke up during the event itself - with the result that we simply had one team that worked together.”