I perform at a lot of fundraisers. Many of them are well staffed, but some are not. Today’s blog post explores ways to get volunteers to help with your organizational tasks.
1. Begin with the obvious, ask your friends and family. If you are a professional Event Planner, you may want to skip this step as you don’t want to mix business with friends and family.
2. You might be surprised that other professionals that are in the Events Planning field will be happy to help. It’s a great networking opportunity for them, and many times, that’s enough.
3. Advertise for help with your local colleges and universities. Many times students will be looking experience and networking, and use volunteering as a stepping tone. Many students majoring in event planning and/or tourism are required to have volunteer hours as part of their study.
4. Ask local community groups. Civic-minded groups like the Elks, the Lions, Kiwanis Club or the Rotary Club are many times happy to help, especially if your cause is aligned with their community service goals.
5. Approach the churches in your locality. Many of them will have volunteer groups that would be happy to help with a righteous cause.
6. Offer incentives, such as giveaways, free entrance, free food and drink, etc.
7. If you event has corporate sponsorship, ask the corporations to help you get volunteers. This gives their employees an opportunity to socialize with each other outside of work, as well as network and impress the boss in a non-work environment.
Many of these ideas will work for any type of event, including corporate events, conventions, fairs and festivals. People will volunteer for many reasons including networking opportunities, experience, ideology, community or just because they want to be a part of something fun. Of course your volunteers aren’t exactly free labor, because you will probably have to feed them, and give them free stuff.
It’s also important to take care of your volunteers, so that they feel appreciated and are willing to come back and help out for future events. As a professional planner, there are few things more valuable than a trained and enthusiastic volunteer corps.