Any organizer knows how important it is to keep volunteer availabilities updated. Because of the role the volunteer workforce plays in calculating a business's ROI, it's essential to keep up with schedules and other important volunteer information every step of the way. Read on to find out why collecting availability from your volunteers is crucial for success.
Simply put, you don't want to recruit volunteers who can't actually attend the event. So on the onset of recruitment, make sure you have volunteers fill out an online version of the application where they note their skills and their anticipated availability. And because many of today's top volunteers are young people with ever-changing schedules, you'll want to make frequent requests for updates. For instance, if you're planning for an event nine months out, send out automated reminders (like InitLive's shift confirmations) at least every three months for your volunteers to update their availability.
It's a good idea to have your applicants fill out their anticipated schedules on the initial application for training and orientation week, even if those meetings seem to be in the remote future. Online tutorials are important training tools as well, but in some cases they are no substitute for on-site meetings. In particular, if you are giving your volunteers a hands-on briefing for any part of the event, your volunteers need to attend.
Scheduling for the big day
If you're keeping up with your volunteers' schedules and contact information throughout the planning stages, scheduling shifts for the big day is a breeze. Your volunteer staff will be fully trained and personally briefed, so it will be easy to schedule them into work areas that correspond to their skills, preparation, and experience. Plus, you'll be able to plan for back-up in case there are latenesses or no-shows.
Last-minute changes on event day
Finally, if something happens on event day and certain volunteers don't show up, using a real-time scheduling and communication tool, like InitLive, helps you see where your schedule problems are when volunteers don't check-in, so that you can rejig and find available replacements fast. Likewise, if it turns out that one of your stations requires more volunteer attention (i.e. registration line-ups are bottlenecked), use InitLive to find all available and qualified volunteers and instantly assign them.
InitLive is a web and mobile tool that lets you manage every aspect of event planning. You'll keep track of availability updates, gather contact information, provide online training, create and store evaluation tools, engage in real-time communications -- and that's just for starters. With InitLive, you'll have each part of your event strategy accessible on one device to ensure that your volunteers are trained, scheduled, and ready to go.
For more information on organizing successful events through exceptional volunteer management, check out our resource page!