As an event organiser, you’ll often want to know how to find volunteers for an event. Especially if you’re organising a charity fundraiser.
This guide will help you…
- Define what you need volunteers for
- Create roles for your event volunteers
- Provide an incentive to volunteer
- Find potential candidates
- Recruit the right volunteers for your event
By the end of it, you will know exactly how to define your volunteering roles and how to find people to fill them.
1. Define your event requirements
The first step to the volunteer recruitment process for your event is to determine why you need them. During the event planning stage, you should write a list of tasks you need to be done.
Once you know what needs to be done, you’ll have an idea of the skills required for those tasks. With that in mind, you’ll be better able to find volunteers with just the right kind of experience.
Event volunteers can help you with many things, including…
- Planning the event
- Promotion and marketing
- Checking in event attendees
- Providing directions during the event
- Serving food and drinks
- Taking care of speakers or entertainers
- Cleaning up after the event
But practical skills might not be all you need. Maybe your event calls for specific personality traits, such as being upbeat or having a good sense of humour.
You may also need volunteers with specific physical traits. If you need them to lift heavy boxes, then you’ll want someone who is strong and has some endurance.
Make a list of desirable personality traits you’d like your event volunteers to exhibit.
2. Consult any event stakeholders
It’s a good idea to recruit volunteers for your event, but just make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. Tell your team about any potential volunteer recruitment strategies.
If you’re not planning the event alone, you might want to consult with any other stakeholders involved in the event (such as sponsors) before recruiting any volunteers.
Tip: Read about how to negotiate with stakeholders if you expect resistance to the idea of recruiting event volunteers.
3. Create event volunteer roles
Once you have a list of tasks that need to be done in relation to the event, it’s time to draft some roles for your potential event volunteers.
See which tasks can be grouped together so you know which volunteers can be responsible for which tasks. Imagine you’re creating departments for a company (which you basically are).
Here is a list of possible event departments you can create:
- Crowd control
- Customer service
Once you have a list of departments that take care of specific tasks, you can begin to segment those departments into individual roles.
Your marketing department could, for example, have one person for social media, one for flyering, and one for event listings.
When you’ve defined the individual roles in each department, you can start writing a job description for each of them.
Your job description should include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Physical traits
- Personality traits
Try to make the job description as detailed as possible. That way, you avoid applicants who have misunderstood what you’re looking for.
Tip: Read about how to write a great volunteer job description.
4. Provide an incentive to volunteer
Volunteers are typically unpaid, which means you have to come up with another incentive to make it an attractive proposition. You need to think of creative ways to recruit volunteers.
Here are some possible incentives you can give your volunteers:
- Free access to the event
- Backstage passes
- Food and drinks
- Discounts on products or services
- Work experience
- Letter of recommendation
The incentive shouldn’t just be something that’s easy for you to live without. It should have a real value to your potential volunteers.
Think of it as a salary. You wouldn’t do your job for free, so why should they? Your incentive should be of equal or greater value than the time and work they put into volunteering.
Tip: Check out these great incentives for event volunteers to help you decide on your own.
5. Find potential event volunteers
You know what needs to be done, who can do it, and what you’ll offer in return. So far, so good. Now you need to find the actual volunteers for your event.
Use your existing channels
The first thing you can do is to use your existing channels to advertise the volunteering opportunities. Post on social media, email your mailing list, and ask your personal network.
Tip: Read about how to promote your volunteering roles online.
Ask other organisations
A good way to source volunteers is to ask other organisations that use them in their work. Chances are they’ll have a few good candidates on file they can share with you.
Search volunteer databases
You can also search existing volunteer databases to find people who’ve already signed up to be volunteers. They’re just looking for the right opportunity.
Tip: Look at volunteer databases like SignUp.com to find candidates for your event roles.
Let them find you
You can also get yourself listed on sites and forums that help volunteers find opportunities. Just make sure your event or cause is worthy (see 4).
Tip: List your opportunity on Do-it.org to get noticed.
6. Recruit the event volunteers
Once you’ve found a source of potential candidates for your volunteering roles, it’s time to pre-qualify, interview, and then recruit the best ones.
If you receive a lot of applications, you can screen out candidates that won’t be a good fit by using a screening questionnaire.
Use the questionnaire to ask them about their skills, interests, and reasons for volunteering. It can also help you allocate them to certain volunteering roles ahead of the interview.
If your event is relatively small, you should take the time to interview each volunteer personally. Alternatively, set up a Skype call with them if they’re not located nearby.
A face-to-face interview will give you a much better idea of who they are as a person and whether or not you’d want them on your event volunteer team.
Did you find some volunteers?
Hopefully, this guide has helped your volunteer recruitment efforts. You should now have an excellent team ready to help with your event.
Now you need to know how to manage a team of volunteers, which we’ll cover on this blog shortly.
Stay tuned for more!