Volunteers can add tremendous value to your event. When fueled by appreciation and filled with a sense of meaning, even a small group of volunteers can function as an army of help ushering in organizational synergy. That said, a group of disorganized volunteers can drain your resources and bring more headaches than help.
Well-managed and motivated volunteers can serve as one of your most valuable resources for your event. Investing time and resources into effective volunteer management will yield an enormous return.
If you want to build a volunteer base that acts as a force multiplier for your event, use the principles below.
1. Find People Who Are Genuinely Interested
The reality is, you don’t want just any volunteer; you want volunteers who will find joy and satisfaction in contributing to your event. When recruiting volunteers, keep an eye out for people who are genuinely interested in your event. People who are already invested in your event space—whether it’s because of a favorite band or an affinity for red wine—will work tirelessly to see that it succeeds.
2. Create a Community
It’s not unusual for event volunteers to forge friendships and long-lasting bonds while working together for a shared goal. Why not give them a head start? Create a Facebook group so volunteers can connect and build positive anticipation before the event. As a bonus, they can help each other with logistics like carpooling.
3. Play to Their Strengths
Remember that your volunteers are individuals with a variety of strengths, experiences, passions, and expertise. Take the time to learn about your volunteers. Then, when it comes time to delegate tasks, give each volunteer a responsibility that matches their unique talents. By tapping into each individual’s motivations and strengths, you earn loyal volunteers who want to bring more to the table.
4. Provide Clear Direction and Expectations
Communicating with your volunteers early on builds unity and enhances clarity. Don’t wait until the hour before the event to brief your volunteers about their roles and your expectations. Each volunteer should bounce, or at least roll, out of bed the morning of your event with a clear idea of their purpose—collectively and individually.
5. Take Care of Them During the Event
Regardless of initial excitement levels, very few people can feel pumped up when dehydrated, hangry, or standing statue-still for ten hours straight. You can help your volunteers stay energetic and on task by ordering pizza, offering them plenty of water, and giving them a chance to take a break. Keep your volunteers nourished and hydrated so they can flourish in their roles.
6. After the Event: Show your Appreciation
Appreciation is fuel, and you want to make sure your volunteers leave with full tanks. Send them away with thank you notes, swag or even a thank you gift. Give them a shoutout on social media. Host an appreciation dinner. Make sure they feel recognized and valued for their efforts.
Have you had any fantastic experiences with volunteers? Comment below and tell us what you’ve learned!