What Type of Volunteer Coordinator Are You?

Every volunteer coordinator takes a unique approach to managing their volunteer force, but at the end of the day, our goal is always the same: create a happy volunteer experience. Each type of coordinator has their own style and we’ve rounded up the top pros and cons of each. So take a peak below and ask yourself, am I the cool mom?

The Micromanager

We all know the micromanager. The coordinator peering over every volunteer’s shoulder with the tiniest little comment about every movement made. While it might not be awesome to be micromanaged, you can’t deny the fact that a micromanager has everything managed. You might wear yourself out keeping your eyes on everyone’s movements, but at least you’ll know each part of your event is running exactly as you want it to.

The Let ‘em Fly

Sometimes you just have to let go and let God. Not sure where to put those papers? Just find a good spot. Wondering how you should set up the food and beverage tent? You’re smart! Do whatever looks good to you. The volunteer coordinator that lets her team make the calls and run with them is always fun to work for, but might not be thrilled when she realizes the volunteers threw out all the sign-in sheets and set up the food and beverage table next to the port-a-potties.

The Cool Mom

What kind of music do you guys listen to? Put on whatever’s hip and play it REALLY loud. I love loud music! The cool mom is super cool and all those teenagers guzzling free sodas and blasting explicit music in the middle of the event think the volunteer coordinator is so chill. While the pro here is that teenagers think you’re cool, the con is everything else (also teenagers aren’t that cool and we don’t need to please them). This is the only volunteer coordinator type that we’d probably stray away from no matter what.

So there you have it, volunteer coordinators. We know you don’t all fit into these three little stereotypes, but think about how your managing style works with your volunteers and any possible negative effects. At the end of the day, do what feels right and it’s bound to work out (does that make us a “Let ‘em fly?”).

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Cutting the Paperwork

By the time you’ve printed out schedules, one sheets and waivers for your event, it can feel like you’ve decimated a small forest.

So, what can you do to digitize your event and cut back on your paper? We’ve rounded up some of our top ways to bring your event into the electronic age and minimize the amount of times you have to pick up all the papers one of the volunteers just knocked on the ground.

 

Waivers

They’re a necessary evil, but at least they don’t have to be the physical embodiment of one. Throw those waivers online and not only do you make it simple for volunteers to fill out before even getting to your event, you have an online database of every waiver you’ve received. Emailing is simple enough, though we’re partial to a folder on your desktop with all the signed waivers and an excel document checking off which volunteer has sent theirs in. But that’s just us! You do you.

 

Sign Up

This one’s a no brainer. There’s no need to have volunteers calling you, signing up on sheets, etc. Just get that puppy online! Simple, easy, and on the internet, which means it will live forever and you can never forget who signed up for the next shift.

 

Tutorials

Gone are the days of the one-sheets that explain everything you need to do. Instead of a typed up document telling volunteers how to do a job, why don’t you show them? Quick video tutorials are easy to shoot on a cell phone and can be emailed, uploaded to your event’s Facebook group or even just texted to the people who need to see them.

 

So there you have it, team. Save yourself some time printing and lugging papers all over and digitize what you can.

 

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Five Typical Festival Jobs

Every festival is its own unique little unicorn, but we all know there are a few jobs that are mandatory no matter what the festival is.

 

We’ve rounded up the top 5 volunteer jobs we know almost every festival needs and a quick tip for each one to keep your festival running smoothly.

 

Set Up

Calling all perfectionists! The best move you can make with set up is rounding up all the volunteers who are obsessed with things looking just right and then letting them work their magic. No need to hover, they won’t be happy until everything’s perfect.

 

Tear Down

You guys trying to rage? This one is for the people who like to break stuff. Gather a team of your brawniest folk and get to tearing – just make sure someone doesn’t throw out all the screws you need for next year.

 

Food and Beverage

People think the food and beverage beat is going to be the best because of snacks, but we all know that station is all about the money. Calculated, focused and responsible people will make sure everything’s taken care of and you don’t have to worry about the change drawer.

 

Wrist-Banding

Ever had a wrist band cut off your circulation while an angry person chews their gum and glares at you? Did it make you feel terrible? Yeah, it’s the worst. This spot is for the amicable, smiley folk who are just excited to welcome you to the event.

 

Green Team

The green team needs to care, plain and simple. When you don’t care, you take those plastic bottles and throw them in the trash can because it’s closer. When you do care, you carefully assess each pickup to make sure you’re filing it into the correct area according to Mother Earth’s standards.

 

So there you have it. Every volunteer is wonderful in their own way and they all have a special skill set making them perfect for a specific job. Assess your team, assign appropriately, and let everything fall right into place.

 

 

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An Interview with Sharon Pollock from Rebuilding our Community Sonoma County

At VolunteerLocal, we’re lucky to work with organizations making a real difference in industries, countries and cities all over the world.

Today, we’re spotlighting Rebuilding Our Community Sonoma County, a group providing much-needed support in Northern California. We caught up with Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Pollock to hear more about how her organization is helping to coordinate recovery efforts for survivors of Sonoma County fires.

 

When did ROC Sonoma County begin working with fire survivors? What prompted your founders to start the organization?

In response to the devastating Sonoma County fires of October 2017, Rebuilding Our Community (ROC) Sonoma County grew out of the catalytic efforts of many local agencies that had the experience with communities facing the impacts of disasters to understand the resources needed to promote long-term recovery. These agencies included VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), FEMA, CA Office of Emergency Services, and many others.

The founders of ROC Sonoma County saw the need to establish and maintain a network within and on behalf of non-profit, governmental, faith-based, business, and other organizations and agencies to provide a coordinated recovery effort for Sonoma County fire survivors. The ROC Resource Center is a hub from which fire survivors can access a direct path to these local human service entities.

 

What are some of the roles your volunteers play in your organization?
Our volunteers support the ROC Resource Center in these roles:

  • Client Intake and Resource Specialist: These volunteers gather initial information from fire survivor clients, enter client information into the tracking system, assist clients with paperwork, and refer clients to local resources for assistance. They reduce the intake and referral tasks for disaster case managers, which enables those manager to spend more time assisting clients and improving program effectiveness.
  • Data Entry: Data Entry volunteers mainly enter client information into the tracking system. This is a key part of maintaining client records, which assists all organization members that access this information.
  • Reception/helpline: These volunteers greet visitors, answer phones, provide basic resource guidance, research client status, assist clients with paperwork, and schedule appointments. The benefit of having volunteers performing these administrative tasks is that it enables staff members to spend more time assisting clients and improving program effectiveness.

 

What most inspires you about your volunteers?
Their dedication and passion to assist fire survivors, their enthusiasm in learning complex systems and processes, and their willingness to devote their time for the long term.

 

Anything else you’d like to add about your organization?
Since the ROC Resource Center opened in July 2018, its staff and volunteers have assisted more than 1,000 community members that were affected by the October 2017 Sonoma County fires. In addition, the Resource Center serves as a central meeting place for ROC committees and partner agencies, hosting more than 30 meetings per month. As the community continues to recover, the ROC Resource Center will continue to serve as the hub that provides a direct path to the assistance our neighbors need to return to the lives they had before the fires.

 

 

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Introducing: Your VolunteerLocal Demo Team

Megan Dial-Lapcewich

Tiffin, IA

“I am an outgoing introvert. I get my energy from being alone, but I love spending time out and about with my close friends.”

 

 

Beth Hicks

Des Moines, IA

“I hosted the first ever backyard chicken bike tour in Des Moines for two years in a row.”

 

 

 

Paige Pennigar

Nashville, TN

“I deeply value experiences that expose me to new cultures.”

 

 

 

Sommer Sharon

Iowa

“I’m a long-time business owner, have worked in event management, and understand the needs of both!”

 

 

Emily Steele

Des Moines, Iowa

“I’m enthusiastic. 90% of the time.”

 

 

 

Zach Steele

Des Moines, Iowa

“I love a good road race.  I’ve completed three marathons and there’s definitely a power in the enthusiasm of the crowds that come out to cheer on total strangers.”

 

 

 

 

 

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VolunteerLocal Demo Team Member: Paige Pennigar

Paige Pennigar

Paige is thrilled to be part of the VolunteerLocal demo team. She’s originally from Durham, NC, but has bounced around between Iowa, Mississippi, and Tennessee over the last ten years. She is currently in her 6th year teaching high school English in Nashville, TN, where she lives with her 1.5 yo lab mix named Ari.

 

Where are you from?   

Durham, NC

Where do you live currently?

Nashville, TN

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

Camping and hiking with my dog, Ari!

Who is your favorite musical artist?  

Lake Street Dive

What are you passionate about? 

Education, social justice, improv, fitness, & travel

What types of events do you love the most? Any special experiences you’d like to share?

I deeply value experiences that expose me to new cultures. Nashville is home to a large immigrant community, which has enriched the culture of our city. I have absolutely loved attending various multicultural festivals offered since moving to TN four years ago. My students represent 21 different countries, so I’m constantly soaking up new information that makes me a stronger educator.

What is one thing our customers should know about you?

I’m a leftie!

 

 

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VolunteerLocal Demo Team Member: Megan Dial-Lapcewich

Megan Dial-Lapcewich

Megan was born and raised Iowan, and is so proud to call the land of corn her home. She earned a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa in 2012 and followed that up with a couple years of work as a Fellow at the University of Iowa Foundation and then an AmeriCorps VISTA in New London, Connecticut. Megan left the east coast to go back to school at the University of Iowa and earned her MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs in 2016. She worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with first-year students before realizing her true passion is for academic libraries. Megan is now back at the University of Iowa again, earning another Master’s, this time in Library and Information Science. In her free time she loves to read, write, and spend time with her wonderful husband and their adorable two-year old pomsky puppy.

 

Where are you from?   

Shenandoah, IA

Where do you live currently?

Tiffin, IA

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

Reading

Who is your favorite musical artist?  

Not an artist – but the entire Greatest Showman soundtrack

What are you passionate about? 

Running & competing in triathlons and just in general sharing information about living a healthy, mostly-balanced life with people

What types of events do you love the most? Any special experiences you’d like to share?

Triathlons! From both a competing and volunteering standpoint because there is so much emotion at these events. Many times I have raced in a half or full Ironman and been just blown away by the kindness of the volunteers, which has made me want to give back and volunteer at races I’m not competing in.

What is one thing our customers should know about you?

I am an outgoing introvert. I get my energy from being alone, but I love spending time out and about with my close friends.

 

 

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VolunteerLocal Demo Team Member: Zach Steele

Zach Steele

Zach Steele is the Vice President for US Projects for the Solidarity Foundation. In this role he is responsible for maintaining existing savings groups in Des Moines and Omaha and also develops and implements new groups throughout the country. Steele also teaches job training classes in the prison system in Iowa, helping incarcerated students develop the competences to obtain employment in the logistics sector upon their release.

In 2016 Zach founded Big Map Travel which provides international travel planning services to customers. He holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Iowa and a Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University. In his free time he enjoys biking and traveling with his wife.

 

Where are you from?   

Adel, Iowa

Where do you live currently?

Des Moines

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

Being active in any way, whether that’s biking, hiking or playing rec-league kickball or basketball.

Who is your favorite musical artist?  

TV on the Radio

What are you passionate about? 

Travel- I reluctantly studied abroad in Costa Rica my final semester of college and it completely changed my outlook.  It was my first time leaving the country and in the decade since I’ve made new experiences and locations a big part of my life, whether that’s exploring other countries or finding adventures close to home.

What types of events do you love the most? Any special experiences you’d like to share?

I love a good road race.  I’ve completed three marathons and there’s definitely a power in the enthusiasm of the crowds that come out to cheer on total strangers.

What is one thing our customers should know about you?

I love the Volunteer Local platform because it can work for so many types of events, big and small.  I’m looking forward to learning more about your organization and your events.

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VolunteerLocal Demo Team Member: Sommer Sharon

Sommer Sharon

Sommer has a digital marketing and writing/journalism background. She’s worked primarily with small businesses, startups and nonprofits. She is also an ever budding entrepreneur and the host of a music-focused feminist podcast. Environmental and social issues are deeply important to her, and drive much of her entrepreneurial aspirations.

 

Where are you from? 

Iowa

Where do you live currently?

Iowa

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

Hugely passionate about music, including listening to, attending events, reading about,
and learning/talking about music.

Who is your favorite musical artist?  

Many! — my taste is wide and varied

What are you passionate about? 

Besides music, environmental and societal issues

What types of events do you love the most? Any special experiences you’d like to share?

Music events. As a past promoter I’ve had the opportunity to work on everything from small
club shows to larger festivals.

What is one thing our customers should know about you?

I’m a long-time business owner, have worked in event management, and understand the needs of both!

 

 

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VolunteerLocal Demo Team Spotlight: Emily Steele

Emily Steele

Emily Steele is community builder and is on a mission to help communities and businesses create movements and genuine connection with their customers.

Where are you from?   

Pella, Iowa

Where do you live currently?

Des Moines, Iowa

What is your favorite hobby outside of work?

I love traveling and exploring my city via bike or walking!

Who is your favorite musical artist?  

Taylor Swift (I know… don’t judge)

What are you passionate about? 

I’m passionate about building community and helping people be community advocates.

What types of events do you love the most? Any special experiences you’d like to share?

I host an event every year called The Water Ride to support clean water and education projects in Ghana. We’ve built three wells, a school, and now teachers are funded. It’s amazing to see the event grow and literally transform lives across the globe.

What is one thing our customers should know about you?

I’m enthusiastic. 90% of the time.

 

 

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