How to Lead Volunteers Like Leslie Knope

Even Leslie Knope, the world’s best fictional coordinator from the show “Parks and Recreation” said, “No one achieves anything alone.”

That’s true for most things in life and it’s especially true when it comes to volunteers.


Volunteers serve as the lifeblood that keeps an event pumping, whether it’s handing out water at a triathlon or checking IDs at a music festival.


But in the hustle and bustle of an event, volunteers don’t just keep things flowing smoothly – they’re the eyes and ears for when something goes wrong.

Whether you’ve been coordinating volunteers for one year or 10, their feedback is crucial and serves as an opportunity to grow and make an event even better for the future.

A volunteer may witness an area where supplies ran out too quickly. An attendee may have come up to a volunteer and voiced their concerns about something.

These are all pieces of feedback coordinators should actively seek to not only keep their events running smoothly, but to keep volunteers returning for years to come.

Luckily, the ways of receiving feedback are plenty:


  • From the get go, encourage feedback from your volunteers. Whether it’s during orientation or an introduction, invite their voices.
  • Talk face-to-face with volunteers during an event. They can give you some real-time feedback in the moment.
  • Use social media as a tool for conversations. A convenient way for volunteers to give feedback is through Facebook groups or through direct messaging.
  • Send a follow-up survey. You can encourage candid responses by ensuring anonymity in their feedback.
  • Chat with volunteers during after parties. Show your appreciation by holding a get together for your volunteers and use the opportunity to hear from different voices.


Show gratefulness for volunteer feedback and work to incorporate their advice during your future efforts for even greater success. Because after all, like Leslie Knope says, “I care. I care a lot. It’s kinda my thing.”