We love our volunteers. They are at times the lifeline of our nonprofit's success. They provide endless hours of needed support in many ways, especially events. Recent research indicates that nearly 100 million people volunteer each year. Just think, if these people were paid, it would be millions of dollars. Loyal volunteers aren't in it for the money. They are gracious and giving and are happy to donate their time and talent to an organization they believe in. The key to finding and retaining quality volunteers is to make them feel appreciated and special. Here are 3 ideas to help you find quality volunteers for your next event:
1. Define What You Need: Put pen to paper and take a look at the overall event. Create job descriptions for the different tasks that will take place. For example, welcome and registration, information desk, food service, entertainment, and clean up. Different types of people will fill the requirements for each task. They will appreciate knowing what they are expected to do, too.
Tip: Create a volunteer handbook that outlines volunteer responsibilities that is distributed to everyone before the event. Before each event include an agenda and contact information if questions arise.
2. Give People A Reason to Volunteer: Identify an incentive for the type of volunteer you need and give them a reason to support your event. Some volunteers want to give back to their community and don't expect anything in return, except a simple thank you from your team. Others will appreciate your thoughtfulness by offering something in return for their time. For example, give them a free ticket or back stage pass to your event. If your event is a musical, offer the volunteer free admission to the event. If your event is a networking breakfast, allow them to join everyone for breakfast or offer them complimentary admission to a future event.
Tip: Giving volunteers something free will help cultivate important relationships for future events.
3. Ask Volunteers for Feedback: After every event, send a handwritten thank you note. Include dates of future events and invite them to volunteer again. Ask volunteers for their feedback by emailing a survey. This will make them feel part of the process and provide helpful input for future events.
Tip: Continually engage your volunteers by using a combination of personal communication, email marketing, social media and direct mail.