Every volunteer brings a unique background of skills and experience that you can leverage when assigning roles. To fully utilize everyone's skills, it's important that you ask about more than their work experience. Some volunteers will have cultivated their skills from hobbies, other events where they volunteered, or simply a natural talent. Your event may have a specific subset of roles that need to be filled, but these skills and experiences are a good place to start when getting to know your volunteers.
If your event will include alcohol, you'll need to find someone with the ability to serve it. In the United States, the age requirements to serve alcohol range from 17-21, although some states place additional restrictions on under-age servers. Of course, you may have volunteers available who have bartending or wait staff experience.
First Aid Certification
Whether you're looking for several people to handle a first aid tent or just volunteers with first aid qualifications to be dispersed throughout your event, it's always good to have people with medical experience on hand. The American Heart Association provides courses domestically and internationally, although there are a variety of programs that offer CPR, AED, and First Aid certifications.
In situations where a vehicle is needed, a volunteer (or a few) with the right kind of license can be indispensable. Depending on the type of vehicle and whether or not guests are being shuttled around, a more specific license than the typical person holds might be needed.
The Ability to Lift 50+ lbs
Setting up an event and cleaning up afterward are physically demanding tasks. Make sure the volunteers assigned to these roles are ready to do some heavy lifting and are prepared to do it safely.
For roles like ticket sales, registration, and reporting, volunteers with strong organizational skills and, where possible, previous administration experience are valuable assets. As the gatekeepers of the event, it's crucial that the people filling these roles are able to work under pressure and keep the flow of people moving smoothly.
Public Speaking Experience
Whether it's to keep a program of performances running on schedule or to organize a group of volunteers behind-the-scenes, someone with a commanding presence can fill this role wonderfully. People who have worked as a public speaker as well as people who have been on stage in other capacities, such as theatre or debate teams, would be well-suited for these roles.
Setting up and running the audio/visual system of an event requires background knowledge that not everyone has. To really get the music, microphones, and projectors running without any hiccups, find someone with strong audio/visual experience.
This can overlap with public speaking experience, although there are a variety of leadership styles that are effective. When you have a large event with lots of volunteers, having someone to keep everything on track can be incredibly helpful.
Volunteers who speak more than one language are valuable in a variety of roles. Whether they're parked at the registration table to clarify any mix-ups, or they're on-call to assist a lost child whose first language isn't the majority at your event, this is an important skill to consider.
Finding the right volunteers can seem like a daunting task. When done thoroughly, though, it pays off. Volunteers feel valued for their skills, and your event benefits from their expertise. Our staff and volunteer management tool can help you with every aspect of your event planning process.
For more information on creating amazing events through exceptional volunteer management, check out our resource page!