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Volunteers - How to Attract Them & Utilize Their Potential

26 Oct 2011 4:44 PM | Deleted user
If you are in the nonprofit industry, then you know how important it is to have volunteers at your conferences and events, as well as those to serve on committees for the association. Here is a fresh idea on utilizing these volunteers, so they are happy and so are you! It's called "Micro-Volunteering"

Remember, they are volunteering their time and want to feel appreciated for doing so. Always think about who might be signing up as a volunteer, and then offer a range of options for them to choose from that best suits their personality.If you need them for one specific task and that task only, then make sure you give them detailed instructions on what their role is, and how important it is to the overall success of your event. 

When you have given clear, definitive instructions on what the volunteer will be doing, they are more likely to sign up (again and again) because they know “what they are getting themselves into” & the amount of time that they will be investing in the volunteer position.

List of Volunteer Opportunities: 

Not all of these can transfer over when recruiting volunteers for your special event, conference or association, but you will get the idea....

Like to drive? Have your volunteer sign up to pick up your speakers from the airport, as well as running errands during the conference for last minute needs and supplies.

Be a tourist! Have your volunteer put together a field trips document to share with your attendees about interesting places to go in the city. Make sure they list restaurants, parks, and other attractions that your crowd will like. Hopefully, if your volunteer is from the city, they will have the insider scoop on all the hot local spots.

Drawing and Sketching Artist: If you have a volunteer who is an artist, have them on site to do impromptu sketches of your conference attendees. This offers a fun, engaging way to connect with your attendees and also gives them a thoughtful memento to bring home from the event.

Exercise Buddy: If one of your volunteers is a trainer or yoga instructor, schedule an early morning yoga class that takes place in one of the session rooms. If yoga is not your thing, have them organize a morning run or walk. (Don't forget to include a note in the program about these classes!)

Below are some ideas for very specific volunteer recruitment, i.e. "micro-volunteering". Think about the audience that your event attracts and determine which topics are most suitable for the event, and then offer a list to your volunteers for signing up to facilitate one of them. If this list seems too intensive to coordinate, then have one of your volunteers serve as the "Extra Curricular Guru" who offers a system on how to connect with folks to participate in the activities below.

Cooking 
Cinema
Dog Walking 
Cycling 
Hiking 
Skiing 
History Buff 
Bible Reading 
The Crafty One
Sports Fanatics
Xbox for the kids  
Bowling 
Computer Wiz
Social Media Teacher  
Library 
Crafting or Cross Stitch 
Driving Range
etc.....!

Also, on a side note, it's always good to know if one of your volunteers has a truck or even better a tow truck in case some one breaks down or needs to haul something. I hope this gives you a fresh approach when it comes time to round up your volunteers. Volunteers are so important to the nonprofit industry, so make sure you make them feel that way. Remember to follow up with a hand written thank you card after the event. Hopefully they will have had such a fond experience they will come back, and this time bring a friend!

Happy Fall to you all, and thanks for reading!
Anna Trott
Prime Mgmt Account Manager

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