Friday, January 11, 2013

Pro Tip: Event Volunteers

If you’ve done any work as a meeting planner, you’ll know that event volunteers are a crucial part of onsite event management as you most likely will need to supplement your meeting staff. Here are some tips on making sure you get the most from this invaluable labor force.
Determining needs. First thing you will need to do is figure out what parts of the meeting will need to be staffed by volunteers and how many you will need to recruit. Make sure last minute no-shows or dropouts are accounted for when putting this number together.
Recruit volunteers. Volunteers may be recruited from a number of resources available to you. Oftentimes, universities in the area will have a job board that you can post to, or you can reach out to local convention and visitor bureaus that will usually have a number of volunteer recruits.
Assign tasks. After you have secured your volunteers, figure out how to delegate your work force. Knowing each volunteers skills and strengths will be helpful in assigning tasks. Make sure when you assign tasks, that each volunteer has a clear job description. This description should include information like location, times, dress code, and any relevant contact information they may need.
Provide training. Prior to going onsite, some training should be provided as not all tasks will be as simple as handing out name tags. Figure out which tasks can be done onsite and which should have additional training beforehand. For those that will require a bit more time, bring them the week before and go through what they will need to know.
Other things to think about will be to let volunteers know who the chain of command is, where things are located at your venue, as well as any other information that is relevant while they are working. This will help them seem more professional when interacting with attendees. If it is possible, try to put aside an office space where they may keep their belongings or recharge for a minute. Follow these tips and you should get the most out of your volunteers.

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