It’s finally summer! The waterparks are packed, the fireworks are over (easy on those leftover bottle rockets, kids) and you, savvy event planner, are in full-swing for this year’s sunny season of festivals, fairs and parades. While you’re busy deciding where to place those water stations and vegan-friendly food vendors, however, don’t forget one key ingredient to your successful event: volunteers.
Now, we understand that volunteers can be a perplexing (and, well, sometimes frustrating) group to pin down. They run the gamut from teenagers to seniors; some are looking for community involvement, some want a free parking spot. We like to think that most volunteers are passionate about the work they’re doing–if they care to give, odds are, they’re giving because they care. With that in mind, we’ve put together five easy steps you can take to seek out and retain a happy and robust volunteer force.
Step 1: Understand Your Appeal
Don’t undersell yourself. You serve a purpose, you have a mission, and you address a great need. There are certain aspects about volunteering for your organization or event that are unique and therefore appeal to different types of volunteers. Understanding that specific appeal of yours is the first step towards finding the right volunteers for your event. For example, do your volunteers get to interact with children? Can they work outdoors with their hands?
Perhaps you provide a program wherein your volunteers can incorporate things they already love doing (like running or biking) into peer-mentorship. Maybe you can give them an opportunity to become more actively immersed in a hobby or interest–like directing tours at a history museum or teaching poetry at an inner-city art institute. When you discover that special something about your organization, don’t keep it a secret! Let prospective volunteers know, too. Not sure where they’re hiding? Understanding your appeal allows you to better understand (and find) your ideal volunteer. But now we’re just teasing you with Step 2. Keep posted–more to come!