If you've ever planned a large-scale conference before, you know that it can take up to a year to plan all the details. It's never too early to start planning for next year's conference, where a team of highly trained and skilled volunteers can make all the difference. Read these five tips for recruiting volunteers for your next conference.
1. Select a strong communication and scheduling tool.
Choose a tool offering real-time communication with plenty of storage space to manage your recruitment documents as you launch your volunteer recruitment campaign. Send a welcome e-mail and an orientation packet that's easily accessible online so that your most tech-savvy volunteers feel right at home. And make sure you include in the packet a customized application form that asks for the applicant's work background, education, and special skills .
Include a list of roles with detailed descriptions, and don't forget to tell potential volunteers how their individual efforts will impact the outcome of the event. To attract the most stellar and motivated volunteers, allow for self-scheduling of shifts, giving volunteers the autonomy to find and schedule their own replacements.
3. Online training
Offer online training for each area -- from parking and ushers, to concession stands and information. Allow incentives for cross-training so that your volunteers are prepped to work in multiple roles. Also, be sure that everyone takes safety and emergency training.
4. Detailed incentive and rewards programs
Establish a contest with a point system to motivate your volunteers to meet training and performance goals. Offer valued prizes such as free entry to a popular show or a trip to a coveted destination. Give away wearable swag for achievements throughout each stage of the event, letting your volunteers wear your brand's tee-shirt, uniform, and logo. And don't forget to have an awards ceremony to recognize your volunteer team and their families for their support.
5. Networking opportunities for volunteers
Finally, offer volunteers free access to the conference's keynote speaker engagement or to other special events within conference where they will be able to network and make professional contacts. These events can include meet-and-greets, cocktail parties, dinners, and film festivals.
Pull it all together with the all-in-one volunteer management tool InitLive! Make sure to download out Volunteer recruitment guide for conferences and conventions.