The Planner on Working With Volunteers

The Planner on Working With Volunteers

By Angie Ahrens, January 24, 2017

From serving on boards and committees to being helping hands at events, volunteers make an event planner’s job easier. When working with volunteers on-site, they are a reflection of you, your team and your organization; therefore, it’s crucial they are trained to answer questions, give directions and be good ambassadors. Here, my suggestions for making sure your volunteers do their job successfully.

>> Overcommunicate

It is important you inform volunteers exactly (to the point of overload) where they need to be, what they need to do and how long you need them there. There isn’t anything worse than a volunteer who has no idea why they are there to begin with, so it is your responsibility to also give them purpose.

>> Words to Never Say

We know phrases such as “I don’t know” or “I have no idea” don’t work when we speak with our customers, so strike them from your volunteers’ vocabulary as well. Ensure they know it is OK not to know an answer to a question, but that it is not OK not to seek out the answer. If they don’t know the answer to an attendee’s question, they can respond by saying, “Let me find out!”

>> Training and Point of Contact

Volunteer training takes time, and you already have a lot on your plate. Put another team member in charge of training your volunteers and being responsible for them on-site. It will take stress off of you.

>> Say Thanks!

Volunteers aren’t getting paid with money, but compensation can come in many forms. Whether it is a handwritten note, a letter to their organization leader, a pizza party at the end of the shift or a small gift as they depart, find ways to let your volunteers know you appreciate them.

What tips of the trade do you have for working with volunteers? Share them with us on Twitter, @_connectfaith.

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