Delhi Flag Handover Ceremony 2010 Volunteer Project: Final Report

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


1. The Delhi Flag Handover Ceremony (DFHC) was a project delivered by
Glasgow Life on behalf of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.
The Handover Ceremony took place towards the end of the 2010
Commonwealth Games in Delhi and reflects the passing of
responsibility for the Games from one host to the next (i.e. Glasgow).
This report reflects on Glasgow’s approach to the DFHC, specifically its
recruitment of a Mass Cast of 348 volunteers to participate in an 8-
minute performance in Delhi. Glasgow sought to secure participation
from across Scotland drawing on both semi-professional and amateur

2. The research has been commissioned by Glasgow Life to explore the
impact of participation in the DFHC on the personal, professional social
and civic life of volunteers and to gain an understanding of the
approach to volunteer participation and its implications for individuals,
staff and other stakeholders. It forms part of a wider study by Glasgow
Life that is examining the impact of the DFHC on staff development
and organisational aspirations as well as a study of the impact and
experience of those with disabilities. All three elements are reported

3. The review of literature paid attention to motivations to volunteer,
volunteer management and volunteering as a public policy tool. It
found that volunteer motivations comprise a range of altruistic, social
and material factors. Barriers to volunteering are associated with lack
of time, not knowing people involved and not having the right skills or
experience. The psychological contract, based on the volunteer’s
expectations of the organisation and the organisation’s obligation to the
volunteer, was found to be a crucial determinant of successful
volunteer management. The unique, ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity,
associated with major sport events is an important motivator for
volunteers as is the altruistic desire to give something back to society,
sport, and the locale; the desire to be involved, feel useful, and be part
of a team. Volunteer dissatisfaction can relate to the level of
commitment required, over-demanding workloads, insufficient numbers
of volunteers, tensions between volunteers, open public scrutiny, a lack
of team spirit, a lack of appreciation, poor organization and leadership,
a lack of tangible rewards and unfulfilling labour.

4. The research interventions included a review of 100-word pre-event
applicant statements, pre-event focus group interviews, a pre-event
structured questionnaire, post-event, strategic interviews and a postevent
online survey.

5. Pre-event findings indicate that that representation was the most
important motivator for participation in the DFHC with the nation/city
being the most cited form of representation. Participation in the DFHC
is an example of altruistic active citizenship in action, providing a firm
basis for social capital to be developed in host communities post-event.
Other important motivating factors included the once in a lifetime
opportunity and being part of a major event, particularly the social
opportunities involved. Pre-event organisation was highly rated with
some minor concerns regarding communication and the extent of skills
utilisation. The Mass Cast was found to be unrepresentative of the
traditional volunteer, being predominately young, mostly female, in
further or higher education and demonstrably committed to
volunteering with a strong desire to represent their country, city and
host organisations.

6. Post-event findings confirmed that the DFHC had a unique vision of
volunteering engagement in terms of major sporting events and a
partnership-working structure that can operate as a model of good
practice for future events. The partnership and governance approach to
the delivery of the project between Glasgow Life and Glasgow 2014
needs to be built upon for the delivery of the ceremonies, volunteer
programme and cultural programme for Glasgow 2014 CWG. The
Mass Cast vision was also unique, securing significant representation
for ‘Scotland’s Games’, providing an exemplar for the management of
event logistics, and for bringing together amateurs and professionals to
create a coherent Team Delhi feel. The ambitious, unique approach to
the creative vision for the Mass Cast performance was successfully
realised by the DFHC project team. The learning experience and skills
developed needed certificated accreditation but this had not been
considered early enough though they did manage to provide
certificates of participation. The findings suggest that there was an
increased frequency of volunteering post-event by over a third of
volunteers and post-event reflections on the management and
organisation of the DFHC were very positive. Lastly, the wider
dissemination of the outcomes of the DFHC through community
events, local media, blogs and radio has been relatively extensive and
needs to continue in some form if they are to maintain the positive
impact and community engagement that was obvious throughout the
country. There is a need to continue mapping the DFHC volunteer
networks to ascertain the longer-term impacts that have resulted from
this project.

7. In conclusion, the DFHC has impacted positively on the lives of the
individuals participating in personal, professional, social and civic
terms. The DFHC was a personal success for many and provided
access to a network of new contacts which volunteers valued highly.
Socially, volunteers made new friends and had their ‘once in a lifetime’
moment in the limelight. Additional volunteering engagement points to
higher civic involvement in volunteers’ host communities. The creation
and mapping of the volunteer network throughout Scotland has been
progressed, but in the short term it is difficult to assess the ongoing
impacts of the DFHC. The DFHC ambassadors need to remain part of
the Glasgow 2014 family if the early successes are to be built upon.
For many the DFHC provided an opportunity for participants to extend
their cultural horizons and experiences especially those who would not
have had the cultural or social capital to engage in this type of activity

8. In making recommendations for the future, volunteer motivations need
to be more fully understood at the outset with the development of
robust recruitment and training plans which match the requirements of
volunteers most likely to have the greatest rewards for event organisers. Accredited learning opportunities should be offered and allowing volunteers to participate (and communicate) in civic engagement activities earlier in the process will reap positive benefits for Glasgow 2014. More developed management and organisation procedures, contracts, training and rewards will strengthen the psychological contract between the host organisation and its volunteers. The offer of guidance to local authorities through more contact with the Handover Links, especially on issues of time off work, expectations of the community and funding of places could help with the perception of fairness. The development of a robust system to deal with social and welfare issues would save time for the coordinators and managers and ensure healthy and happy volunteers. A clear and holistic process for managing post-event relationships is required to ensure the positive experiences can be maximised. Ongoing research with volunteers and Handover Links is needed to understand more about whether the longer-term legacies in communities around
Scotland are being achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPaisley
PublisherUniversity of the West of Scotland
Commissioning bodyGlasgow Life
Number of pages94
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Delhi Flag Handover Ceremony 2010 Volunteer Project: Final Report'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this