When it comes to professional football in America, most people associate “special teams” with players who take the field for kick-offs, punt returns and kicking an extra point. But for the Miami Dolphins, an American football team based in Florida, “special teams” means so much more. The Miami Dolphins Special Teams, Driven by Chevy, is a new volunteer program that serves as one of the cornerstones of the Miami Dolphins Foundation. Although not the first volunteer initiative in professional sports, it is the first and only full-time volunteer program operated by a professional sports team. Started in 2009, the program is specifically designed to engage episodic volunteers in community service using the unique incentives and branding only available to a professional sports team. To date, the program has attracted 3,204 volunteers who have logged 43,835 hours of community service.
In this feature story for e-Volunteerism, Leslie Nixon, the Manager of Volunteer Programs for the Miami Dolphins, takes readers behind the scenes to show a business model of volunteerism from a decidedly unique perspective. Whether you’re a football fan or not, this story will give you a new way to think about volunteer opportunities.