If you've ever planned an event at a college or university, you already know you'll be managing lots of younger volunteers. Their cooperation is crucial for the success of the event, so it's important to make the experience worthwhile. Below are six tips for volunteer management at colleges and universities that will keep your volunteers motivated, engaged, and prepared for success.
1. Grant your volunteers online access.
College students are frequently pressed for time, so they find it helpful to access key aspects of the volunteer program online -- including registration, online training, policies, procedures, contact information, and direct communication in real time. In particular, they'll appreciate the opportunity to self-register and select the shifts they want that fit into their hectic schedules. And if you use an event management tool like InitLive that provides multi-level access, you control what items your volunteers can see and what they can't.
Are you looking to build a volunteer program? Check out - Guide To Creating A Volunteer Management Process
2. Provide incentives.
Your college student volunteers appreciate rewards for all their hard work. Design an incentives program where your volunteers receive points for perfect attendance, cross-training, or recommending a friend as a volunteer. For the winners who accumulate the most points, offer memorable rewards such as tickets to special event performances or meetings with VIPs.
3. Make food and snacks available.
If your volunteers work long shifts, they'll definitely appreciate snacks and meals they can eat in a designated break area. And since most college-age volunteers look forward to making friends with their teammates, they'll enjoy the time to socialize with other volunteers during breaks.
4. Give away wearable swag.
It's also a great idea to give your volunteers a tee-shirt, golf shirt, or hoodie to wear on event day bearing your company logo. It becomes part of their uniform, helps them identify each other, and puts your brand out there for the public to see. Other examples of wearable swag are headbands, wristbands, and hats.
5. Give your volunteers access to a community forum.
Today's younger volunteers appreciate the opportunity to share their volunteer experiences, tips, and concerns on an online forum. When your volunteer staff communicates on a special online space set aside just for them, they'll form bonds, exchange important information, and may even become a kind of digital tribe whose members act as brand ambassadors for your company.
6. Align your volunteers' tasks with their values.
As Volunteer Match reports, many of today's college students have well-defined values that they are passionate about. Regardless of the nature or industry of your event, make it one of your organization's priorities to involve them in activities and decision-making processes that uphold these values. For example, you can ask your volunteers to come up with ideas for recycling efforts, shred events, or walk-a-thons that raise money for cancer research or donations to local pet rescue missions.
7. Get social.
On the day of the event, take lots of pictures of your volunteers in their most successful moments. Post the photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other top social media sites. Your volunteers will enjoy sharing those shining moments with their friends on their own social media accounts.
On a final note, make sure you use an event management tool like InitLive that's easy to use, meets the expectations of your volunteers, and keeps everything in one place. For more information on how InitLive can help you manage your next college or university event, please contact us.