Like any event, organizing a race has a lot of moving pieces.
From figuring out the route to creating bibs, it’s no wonder volunteer recruitment is so essential. Yet it’s often hard to find enough to fill all of your water stations, start line, and finish line.
Good news: we’ve sprinted around the internet (we’ll stop with the terrible puns soon), talked to race organizers, and used our own experiences to curate a “top five” list of creative methods to recruit race volunteers.
Even better news – VolunteerLocal will make the process of setting up and managing volunteers so seamless that you’ll have more time to focus on runner registrations so your event can be as successful as possible.
And now, without further ado…
Hit the streets: Once you have your course route, go door-to-door and ask residents to volunteer as Course Marshals. It’s old fashioned, but it works! Make the offer impossible to turn down: “All you have to do is step outside!” Bonus tip: work directly with the neighborhood association(s) to create and post flyers. Earning the endorsement of the neighborhood can go a long way!
Connect with high schools: High schools are full of potential volunteers as many schools require a certain number of volunteer hours. Bonus tip: target track or cross country teams, beta clubs, or other student activity groups within the school to find your most eager team members.
Make it fun: The essence of volunteer work is that it’s unpaid, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show appreciation for people giving their time. A little bit can go a long way – offering a free-t shirt or breakfast before the race can go a long ways towards making sure your volunteers are happy. Bonus tip: If your budget is tight, offering a discount off future race registration is a great option!
Reach out to family & friends: Most racers invite friends and family to cheer them on at a race, so why not convert them into volunteers instead? You likely already have all of the racers’ email addresses, so the next time you’re sending information about the race, include a blurb asking for their help recruiting volunteers. Bonus tip: Offering a discount or a free t-shirt for recruiting a certain number of volunteers could help.
Make it easy: This should go without saying, but we live in a day and age where we expect everything to be fast and simple. If you ask someone to volunteer for an event, but have a multi-step registration process, you’ll likely lose some sign-ups along the way. Ideally, we find that three steps or less really helps streamline the process. Bonus tip: VolunteerLocal can help!
And that’s the run around! With the right volunteers, your event will easily fly across the finish line (last pun, we swear).