Guest post by Tracy Kosolcharoen, Eventbrite
As #GivingTuesday quickly approaches, many nonprofits have a single point of focus: fundraising. Nearly one third of nonprofit events on Eventbrite occur in the last quarter of the year. And during this busy time, organizers are constantly asking themselves, “How can I ensure my fundraiser is a smashing success without breaking my bank?”
Eventbrite has created an initiative, Give More Together, to help answer this very question. We’re waiving our service fees for nonprofit events occurring from December 1-6, 2014, and are excited to help you sell more tickets and collect donations when you sign up.
Another way to save money as you raise funds is through your volunteers. The truth is, volunteers can significantly impact the way attendees think of your organization. Oftentimes, guests cannot distinguish between a volunteer and a staff member, so the interactions they have will be directly associated with your brand.
This gives you the opportunity to turn every touch point – from parking to cleanup – into a positive reinforcement of your brand. By elevating the importance of your volunteers, you’ll also create a more meaningful experience for them, ultimately increasing their commitment to your cause.
Here are 3 easy steps to help you turn your volunteers into brand ambassadors:
1. Provide pre-event coaching
First, share the basics. Instill a love for your cause by explaining just how impactful your work is. Be sure to cover:
- Your organization’s work, values and mission.
- The purpose of this event, and how it fits in with the broader mission.
- A general idea of why attendees are coming to the event.
- Key leaders in the organization that will be at the event: founder, board members, etc.
- The attendee profile and demographics so volunteers know what to expect. If you have VIP attendees, you may even want to show volunteers their photos and provide a brief background on each one, so volunteers are able to recognize guests that might need extra attention.
Then, set clear expectations:
Share your ground rules for dress code, your policy on eating, particularly if there’s food at the event, and general customer service guidelines, such as making eye contact and smiling. These pointers take only a few minutes to discuss and go a long way.
Also share your contact information or even create a chat group (Group Me, Line, and WhatsApp offer free solutions) so that volunteers can easily stay in touch and raise issues to you during the event.
2. Encourage greater involvement
Beyond assigned roles, each and every volunteer has a different vantage point on the live pulse of your event. Encourage them to use encounters with guests as an opportunity to gather feedback, with questions such as:
- How is the event so far?
- Anything more we can do to help you?
Have them compile feedback during their free moments, or after the shift. Encourage proactive service. If someone looks lost, volunteers can offer to assist or answer questions.
During the giving season and especially on #GivingTuesday, fundraising social media activity will be high. Your volunteers can serve as additional firepower behind your social media efforts, ensuring your event has a presence during this busy time. Encourage volunteers to share your posts and tweets with their networks.
If you have a dedicated person managing social media, you might also consider electing a few social media-savvy volunteers to tweet and post during the event itself. We say this with caution since social media can be hard to control, so if you are encouraging activity you will also want to ensure someone is able to react to any unexpected incidents.
Another option to solidify volunteers’ importance is by recognizing them in a printed program or online.
3. Thank your brand ambassadors
Share the results of their “ambassadorship.” From positive tweets about the event, to posting their volunteer photos to Facebook, remind them how valuable their support was to your guest experience.
Post-event, evaluate which brand ambassadors were most dedicated and helpful to your cause. You may want to reach out and thank them individually, or encourage them to take on volunteer leadership roles in the future.
Tracy Kosolcharoen is a marketing manager at Eventbrite, where she works to help deliver more value to nonprofit event organizers through initiatives such as Give More Together for #GivingTuesday. She has also spent years managing marketing programs at American Express and OpenTable.