Hosting an event? Getting volunteers to help? Here’s our top five ways to get the best from your volunteer support.
1. Set up an online volunteer application form on the organization’s website – An online application process allows you to organize volunteer contact information in a clean and quick process, while providing information to potential volunteers about your event
- Quick note: Make sure you have someone manage the web page in case an influx of questions gets sent your way
2. Divide and conquer – As part of the volunteer application form, have the potential workers designate areas of the event they prefer to work at, such as greeters, stop watch holders at the end of a race, food/beverage handlers, etc.; once you have a good list going, you can divide up the duties and announce the groups at the upcoming welcome party
- Quick note: Once you divide up the responsibilities, designate someone within your organization to be the point man (or woman) who is in charge of those specific volunteers; this allows for a better flow of communication, instead of 100 volunteers asking questions all at once
3. Host a welcome party – Instead of organizing a boring, stuffy meeting, or worse, no meeting at all, organizations should host a friendly party where you provide food and refreshments
- Quick note: Create a hand-out with important information so your volunteers can take it with them when they leave
4. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best – Create an on-site check-in booth or meeting place for all the volunteers at least an hour before your event begins to reiterate any main ideas you want your volunteers to know and explain any last minute parking or traffic issues that might come up
- Quick note: If your budget allows, provide volunteers with a radio and a designated channel to be able to communicate with each other; if that’s not an option, cell phones and numbers will do the trick
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff – Challenges will pop throughout the planning and executing phases of your event; keep cool and know that even if a volunteer backs out at the last minute, you can handle it
Whether you have five, 50 or 500 volunteers, these tricks can help you stay on track and host an event that people will be talking about for ages. After all, the best part about hiring a volunteer is they are there with smiling faces, ready to help their fellow man.