As an event planner, you're always searching for new and exciting ideas, changing trends, information, and technologies that will help make your job a little easier. Fortunately, that's what we're all about. Our event planning experts are here to help, and today we've compiled a list of five volunteer management strategies that every event planner needs to know.
1. Set Goals
Defining a clear set of goals will help your event run smoothly. Goals bring people together with a clearly defined purpose, so they can work more efficiently and remain on task. Here are a few questions to consider when setting goals:
- What is the top priority for your event, brand, and staff?
- What are the key ideas or concepts that you want your staff to remember?
- What do you want your attendees to remember?
- What were some difficulties or obstacles that you've faced in the past that you can improve upon?
2. Let Tech Tools do the Heavy Lifting
As the event planner, your job is enormous. Enlisting help from technology will help reduce the stress that comes with the job. Think of your tech tools as your own personal team of assistants. They keep track of important data, notes, and lists. They lay everything out in front of you, helping to minimize errors. They make it easier to update your plans and see how everything fits together, to make appointments and send reminders.
Tech tools prevent you from needing to start from scratch so you can use your valuable time more efficiently and focus on your planning. Using tech tools could even allow you to work with a smaller planning team.
3. Clearly Communicate Expectations
With the amount of stress put on the importance of communications, there's no denying how difficult it can be to communicate clearly. Be sure to provide your team with a clear understanding of what's expected of them as individuals, and as a team. Here are some suggestions on how to ensure clear communication of your expectations:
- Write clear and vivid volunteer role descriptions that state the work that the role entails. Let them know exactly what they should be doing, and that you're available if they have any questions or concerns.
- Identify and applicable dress codes and list items that volunteers should bring with them.
- Again, utilize technology! Use a tool, or an app, that makes it easy for volunteers to refer to their roles and schedules.
- Host an orientation. Orientation can help ensure that volunteers clearly understand what's expected of them, and it provides them with the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns.
4. Keep Workloads Manageable
Nobody performs at their best when they're tired and overworked. Running a successful event means ensuring that each volunteer can handle the work that they're given.
- Limit shift lengths, particularly for roles that are physically or mentally taxing.
- Articulate when breaks are appropriate.
- Consider starting off new volunteers small. Give the roles with more responsibility to experienced volunteers and allow new faces to ease into it.
- Recruit enough people for each task. Part of planning ahead is thinking, "will one person be able to do this alone? Will two?"
- Give volunteers a means to communicate with management if their task becomes difficult to manage.
- Enlist a backup person, or a runner, to assist anyone who may need a little extra help.
5. Express Gratitude and Accept Feedback
From beginning to end, it's always important to remember to express gratitude to your volunteers.
- Send thank-you notes
- Offer free swag
- Communicate the difference they made by volunteering
- Invite them to help again
Just as important it is to express gratitude, it's equally critical to accept feedback from volunteers. Actively listen to what they have to say and consider their suggestions. Saying they're appreciated is one thing. Showing them, by valuing their opinions, reinforces that gratitude.
Our volunteer management web and mobile app is specifically created for event planners, keeping organizers and teams connected through the midst of change and chaos. Click here to learn more.