Know What Is Expected of the Event — And Your Volunteers
Is this event to raise awareness or funds for your organization, or are you putting on a community event to bring people together? Think about the goals you want to accomplish during and after this event.
Break down these goals into the various tasks the volunteers are expected to do. Maybe you need people collecting money, setting up and taking down tents and other structures, organizing line-ups, serving food, or answering questions. Create straightforward job descriptions for each volunteer position.
Be Realistic About Your Volunteers
If you’d like to have 20 volunteers, but other events you’ve done have only drawn in 10, you’ll need to either come up with an incentive to recruit more or pare down the number of roles you’ll need.
It’s not fair to make 10 volunteers do the work of 20 people — that’s going to burn them out, and they may not want to volunteer for future events. You may also need to alter some things if you don’t have enough people to handle it — having fewer displays, using ropes instead of people to organize line-ups, and shortening the event so you don’t need two shifts.
Organize Your Volunteers
Once you know the positions you need to fill for your event, go through your volunteer roster and invite them according to each volunteer’s past experience, likes, and needs. If you’re on the lookout for volunteers, posting details of your expectations will help you find a better fit than if you simply put out a call for general volunteers.
Let everyone know their roles before the event so if someone isn’t able to stand for long periods, has allergies to the food they’re supposed to be serving, or has some other limitation, you can re-assign them before the event.
You may also want to overbook your volunteers, if possible — you never know when you’ll have a last-minute illness or injury, and occasionally — someone just won’t show up. You can assign a floater who knows all the roles to fill in when needed.
Train and Answer Questions in Advance
Have everyone know their roles and do some in-person and/or virtual training so everyone can coordinate and comfortably slip into their volunteer roles on the event day. Give simple, clear instructions and be available to answer questions on various platforms, if possible.
Thank Your Volunteers
Make sure to thank your volunteers and offer them letters of recommendation. If possible, plan a Thank You event for the group. This will help your volunteers feel appreciated and more apt to volunteer again in the future.
If volunteer organization seems overwhelming, using a volunteer management solution like Timecounts could make your life much easier. With a customized portal, you can recruit, assign, organize, communicate, coordinate, and retain your volunteers all in one place. You can even start for free to see how it’ll work for you. Get started today/