V4V Good Practice Case Studies: Welsh Rugby Union

Sport / Activity: Rugby Union   |   Country: Wales

Which of the four pillars does the example cover?


Pillar 1 – Volunteer strategy and planning



Pillar 3 – Volunteer management and retention


Pillar 4 – Volunteer development and training

Focus of volunteer intervention: Volunteer rewards – “Diloch” Awards


Feedback from a survey on volunteering experiences distributed by the Welsh Rugby Union Association (WRU) to their members highlighted that volunteers did not feel valued and wanted more recognition and thanks from the Union. In response, the WRU launched the “Diolch” awards across Welsh Rugby to recognise the unsung heroes/volunteers who are the lifeblood of the community and make a huge contribution to Welsh Rugby Union. The objectives of the “Diolch” awards were to:

  • To reward and retain existing volunteers recognising the impact they have in our communities
  • To use the promotion from awards, to attract new volunteers into the game.
  • To create a Volunteer Recruitment, Retention and Reward policy launching in 2023

The awards were also designed to feed into a new WRU Volunteer Strategy that aimed to improve the recruitment, management, and retention of volunteers across the sport.

Activities undertaken:

A nomination process was created for the “Diolch” awards which allowed clubs and members to nominate their unsung heroes. Promotion of the awards was also undertaken as a method of promoting the benefits of volunteering in rugby helping to retain and hopefully attract new dynamic volunteers into the game.

A awards ceremony was delivered with different categories created for volunteers. Hosting an event such as this, enabled the WRU to approach and attract commercial sponsors such as Macron who were able to provide each award recipient with a t-shirt and certificate signed by the President of the WRU. The awards were promoted heavily on social media and WRU website with this being used as a way of launching the Volunteer Strategy across Wales.

Challenges faced:

It was important to launch the scheme in a positive manner and at the right time to gain maximum traction with community clubs. It was also important to ensure the organisation had the staffing capacity to deal with the numerous nominations that were received and could process them efficiently. Attempts were also made to get well-known individuals from Welsh Rugby involved in the awards to raise their profile and to also thank the volunteers personally.


The scheme has provided a reward for hard working volunteers, who feel that their efforts have been recognised and rewarded by the sport. They also have a better understanding of their importance and how integral they are to the delivery of our community game.

The promotion of the awards also provided an opportunity to attract new volunteers into the game as part of the new Volunteer Strategy which focuses on recruitment, retention and reward.

For further information: Click here