Your event will be organized and produced by your crew, and the people who come to your event are the attendees, but right between those two groups are the volunteers. Volunteers help in many ways. An extra set of hands during setup, staffing the event registration, helping with hands-on activities, there’s a lot to do! For smaller events, volunteers might help the entire time, though for multi-day events they might do shifts of just a few hours.
Volunteers have many different skills and abilities, and find out what those are will really help you determine how to utilize them in the best way. For instance, if a volunteer isn’t able to do heavy lifting, keep that in mind and find tasks that do not involve heavy lifting. Other volunteers might have restrictions on standing or walking, but very willing to do a sit-down job such as registration or info booth.
Occasionally you’ll hear the following from a volunteer: “I feel like I’m not doing anything, what can I do?” We’ve got two suggestions for that.
First, have a job board or job jar which you can pull from. It may be a task that needs doing every now and then, but isn’t a top priority. Here’s a few examples:
- Check on registration see if anyone needs relieving
- See if the trash cans need emptying
- Check on Area Captains to make sure they have what they need
Second, let volunteers know that if there isn’t something that needs attention right now, there might be very soon. Let a volunteer in on the concept of being a “Spare Battery”, someone who is charged up and ready to go, and can jump in when needed. We also like to think of volunteers as “Firefighters” ready to deal with situations that arise unexpectedly. Firefighters spend a lot of time waiting to be called into service, and some of your volunteers might be the same.
Some volunteers are so amazing you wish they were part of the crew. Well, that’s what we call an upgrade! Maybe they’ve volunteered at past events, or they’re just really good problem solvers, and they like to stick around for the entire event. Depending on how your crew is structured, consider asking a rockstar volunteer if they’d like to join the crew.