The Event Planner’s Guide to Volunteer Management
    

It can be hard to come by reliable event volunteers. They can be challenging to find and sometimes even harder to keep around.

The struggle is real! So to help you out, check out our tips below to help event planners master managing event volunteers:


Recruitment tips:


  • Promote benefits for volunteering: When volunteers are providing their time and effort, they want to feel like they are gaining something in exchange or feel like they are making a difference in your organization or industry. For example: You can offer a free ticket to those who donate an hour or two of their time at your event. Once potential volunteers get wind of this they’ll be more likely to volunteer, and likely volunteer again.

  • Offer various volunteer opportunities: Variety is the spice of life, right? To garner more interest, it’s crucial that you create a variety of positions to appeal to your potential volunteer pool and heighten the chances of involvement. Think about positions in setup and teardown, registration, networking events, hosting virtual activities, etc.

  • Provide specifics on responsibilities: When it comes to recruiting volunteers, you’re always going to be more successful when you tell people the exact job responsibilities. This specification will allow them to gauge how realistic their commitment to your event can be and help with last minute drop outs.

Onboarding tips:


  • Send a welcome email: This is crucial for onboarding 101, volunteers or not. A personalized email will help make your new volunteers feel included, and more importantly, appreciated. Don’t forget to include your social media channels to try and get more followers!

  • Provide an orientation packet: Like we mentioned, people would rather have more information than less, so it’s important to get your new volunteers up to speed as soon as possible. Start by providing an orientation packet (via email and/or in person) that highlights your company’s mission, your key staff members and leadership volunteers, as well as any policies, rules, and procedures they should know.

  • Connect new volunteers with existing volunteers: More connections means more roots invested in your company. Once you know what positions your volunteers will be doing, try to send out a message with a team lead to each of these functional areas so your volunteers can become familiar with one another.

Retention tips:


  • Send a written thank you: We can’t stress this point enough, send it as SOON as possible. Everyone appreciates a handwritten thank you card, as it shows thoughtfulness — especially in this technical age!

  • Continue reaching out to volunteers: One of the best ways to get RID of volunteers is to stop the conversation. So keep in touch by creating a volunteers-only social community! You can use this space to post updates, add new volunteer opportunities, and even write a few thank you messages every so often.

  • Host a volunteer appreciation event: Even if it’s something small, your volunteers will be excited at the chance to get together to celebrate! Consider hosting one or two mini happy hours and inviting your volunteer list. Even if you’re only able cover the first round of drinks and some appetizers, your volunteers will feel the love.

Planning an event, especially a big one, can seem like a daunting task. There are a million things to do and, if you’re like most organizations, very few people to help. But don’t worry — we offer event management software that can help, and we’ve broken down the event planning process in our guide 9 Steps to Event Planning. Check it out below!

9 Steps to Event Planning

This post was originally published on 10/3/18; updated on 1/13/21 for added value.