Out of all the positions available for volunteers, clean-up crew is probably one of the least glamorous.
However, it’s also often the most important. Think of your clean-up crew members as the closer of a baseball game – you can have a great game, but throw the lead away in the 9th inning if your pitcher has a bad day. Similarly, your clean-up crew drives the event home.
Sounds great, but how can you as a volunteer coordinator or event organizer incentivize your volunteers to choose clean-up crew over positions like the greeter, bartender, or water station? Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who would be perfect for clean-up crew and may even want to sign up. Here are three types of volunteers who would be perfect additions to your closing team:
The Busy Bee
This person has a lot on their plate but is still eager to be involved. Frame clean-up crew as a way to help even if their schedule is limited. That way, if a volunteer contacts you about signing up but is only available for part of the day, they don’t show up for the whole event! Commitment in the morning? No problem! They can swing by at the end and provide some much-needed fresh energy.
The Party Animal
Some volunteers want to enjoy the event, too! Maybe you’re hosting a race and they love running, or a music festival and their favorite band is making an appearance. Sometimes, if you’re manning a station during an event you particularly enjoy, volunteering can feel like you’re missing out. If a potential volunteer expresses interest in the festivities but also a willingness to help, suggest clean-up crew as the best of both worlds! They can participate and still help the event run smoothly by making sure everything is back in its place after they finish their race or hear the show.
The Behind-The-Scenes Superstar
I’m looking at you introverts, heavy-lifters, and organizers. These oft-overlooked skills are invaluable to an event’s success! Communicate with your potential volunteer about their strengths and don’t shy away from sharing some of the hidden benefits of the clean-up crew. After the festivities die down, a small, tighter knit group is left making it a more relaxed, welcoming environment to a volunteer who tends to avoid the spotlight. Maybe they don’t want to be the face of your event but can put their skills to good use after it’s done.
Finally, don’t be afraid to offer some extra encouragement. We aren’t above a little bribery – free t-shirts or pizza often do the trick and are a great way to thank volunteers who are willing to take on the final event shift. Additionally, publicly thanking and highlighting the efforts of your clean-up crew will keep this unassuming position on the minds of your potential volunteers. Who knows, maybe it will nudge another busy bee, party animal, or behind-the-scenes pro to sign up for clean-up crew at your next event.