When recruiting staff and volunteers to run an event you've poured your heart into, finding high-quality of assistance is key. Hours of work and endless energy goes down the drain at an event that is improperly staffed by those who lack drive, focus, motivation, or training. Filtering through those you don't need in order to find the diamonds in the rough is difficult, so we've put together a few tips that will help in your sorting endeavors.Quality over Quantity
Decide before you begin the number or range of volunteers needed to successfully staff your event. Factor in length of time, breaks if necessary, or if they'll be working in shifts. Under-staffing creates issues with efficiency, while over-staffing drains your resources, time, and ability to communicate clearly what you need. Finding the sweet spot you need to operate in before you start the recruitment process will smooth the flow of your efforts from the beginning.
Set the Bar
Your staff will live up to your example, so you must display what you want from them. Exhibiting enthusiasm, organization, and passion for what you are doing even before you select your volunteers will show that you expect the same from them -- and they'll know what they're getting into. When you, as the leader, create an atmosphere of investment, you inspire others to commit to doing the same. Facilitate this by being clear about your event brand, describing what tasks you expect of your volunteers, and providing the resources necessary. Create a chain of command so it is clear where to go for help if needed, and explain where they need to be and when -- leave nothing to chance, and be precise. Explain why you are excited about your event, and they will follow suit. With all of these steps, a clear and efficient process forms.
Look for Leaders
When reviewing possible volunteers, seek out those who can and will take ownership of the tasks they'll be given. Finding those who will take charge will help to establish a chain of command, and give you the confidence that there will be those who will troubleshoot and problem solve without running to you every few minutes. Put these people in executive level or supervisor positions, and when running short on time, focus your training efforts there, so they have the knowledge to instruct others.
Know What You Need
Before assembling your team, have a clear picture in mind about what skills, qualifications, and deal-breakers are necessary to accept someone in a volunteer role. Create a list for yourself, and make this list clear to those who might volunteer with you. Focus your efforts only on those who meet your qualifications or else there may be trouble down the line.
Narrow down your volunteer pool by using pre-qualifying sign up forms online, like those we offer here at InitLive. Have volunteers fill out forms listing their skills, what roles they have an interest in filling, related skills, or other criteria. This will help you sort through applications with ease and speed, highlighting what you do and do not need.
Present Your Expectations
Before taking someone along with you to assist at your event, have them submit a waiver agreement that lists your expectations for them. This includes the times before, during, and after the event, times to arrive, code of conduct, dress code, and whatever else you may require. Once signed, this document protects you and your event, and makes it clear that you expect the best from your volunteers.
Recruiting any number of volunteers is a large and overwhelming task, but with these tips, the process will run smoothly and quickly, bringing you the help you need and transforming your event into a smashing success for all.
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