Event Prep: Staff + Volunteer Coordination
Not every organization, non-profit, and company is lucky enough to have loads of volunteers available to help at their events. For those groups and brands, blessed with a horde of willing hands, the task of training and organizing those volunteers falls to the event organizer. Check out these tips on how to train enthusiastic volunteers for a successful event.
Set Clear Expectations
Never assume that anyone, either an existing staffer or a volunteer, has the complete picture, or knows what your organization's goals and priorities are throughout this event. Communicate the importance of the event, the experience your organization hopes to create, and the goals you hope to achieve.
Assign Roles & Responsibilities
Designate and delegate specific job duties to individuals. A team works when each player knows their role. Provide detailed instructions to all, for every role, and designate leaders and points of contact. Keep the lines of communication open for questions, feedback and help.
Make Training a Priority
Hold your training session at least a few hours, or days, prior to the event. Keep it close enough to the event that they can retain the information, but not immediately prior to the gates opening. The more excited they are about the event, the more that enthusiasm will transfer to attendees. Provide materials for reference, but never treat a written document as a replacement for face to face, person to person training.
Prepare Your FAQs
No matter how prepared and well-trained your staff, attendees will ALWAYS have questions you didn't expect. Prepare your volunteers with a list of frequently asked questions with responses before the event, and then give them a resource to direct questions they cannot answer.
Make it as easy as possible for your staff to find their schedule, job assignments, work locations, team mates, and contact information for all. If you do not have access to event or non-profit scheduling programs, create a shared Google spreadsheet for your volunteers.
Say Thank You
Be sure to thank your staff and volunteers. Even simple, individual emails or handwritten note cards can go far. Happy volunteers are much more likely to stay engaged and volunteer again.
Ask for Feedback
Ask your volunteers for feedback, and brace yourself for hearing actual critiques. Use the information you learn to make a bigger, better, and stronger event experience next time.