5 Creative Fundraising Event Volunteer Opportunities

Guest post by Joshua Meyer, BidPal

If you’re in the midst of planning your next fundraising event (or if you’ve planned an event in the past), you know the challenge of getting all of your logistics in order.

There’s booking a venue, finding catering and entertainment, promoting the event … the list goes on. And we haven’t even gotten to the night of the event yet!

Luckily, there are allies who lend a helping hand: volunteers.

However, in order to recruit volunteers and get them involved in your next fundraising event, you have to provide them with a range of interesting and engaging opportunities.

In this post, we’ll give you a few ideas! Since BidPal specializes in auctions, some of these tips will be specific to charity auctions, but just as many of them can apply to other types of fundraising events, too.

Here are the opportunities we’ll look into:

1. Form planning committees.
2. Make volunteers a part of your procurement team.
3. Have volunteers participate in peer-to-peer fundraising before the event.
4. Transform volunteers into auction pros.
5. Share volunteer stories.

And if you need some help attracting volunteers to your event, check out these creative tips from VolunteerMatch.

1. Form planning committees.

Form Planning Committees

Luckily, when it comes to planning fundraising events, there’s plenty of task variety. There are many different moving parts that go into event planning, and all of them appeal to different interests and skill sets.

So why not get your volunteers involved from the very beginning and make them a part of your event planning team?

One way to offer diverse opportunities while still keeping your volunteers organized is to form planning committees. It will be each committee’s duty to focus on a different area of planning and all of the tasks that fall underneath it.

The various committees you’ll need to form depend on what type of event you’re hosting. But here’s a basic example:

  • Planning committee. The planning committee is in charge of handling all basic event logistics, such as booking a venue, selecting entertainment and catering, collecting supplies, etc. This would be a great opportunity for volunteers who are detail-oriented and enjoy organizing many various parts into a cohesive whole.
  • Promotions committee. The promotions committee is tasked with getting the word out about your event, including setting up and sharing an event site, creating physical advertising materials (flyers, posters, etc.), and completing any other tasks related to event promotions. This would be an excellent opportunity for creative people who enjoy writing, design, and communications.
  • Ticket sales committee. The ticket sales committee is responsible for selling as many tickets to your event as possible, both online and off. This would be a great role for an outgoing volunteer with natural sales abilities.
  • Theme and decorations committee. The theme and decorations team are in charge of choosing a theme, coordinating aspects of the event to that theme, and decorating the venue. This would be a great fit for resourceful and enthusiastic volunteers who are great at thinking outside the box.

Of course, this list doesn’t include every team you would need for planning an event.

But as you can see, creating planning committees naturally delineates a variety of tasks that can appeal to volunteers with many different talents and strengths. There’s bound to be a role that inspires any volunteer to get involved!

The bottom line: Creating planning committees is a manageable way to get volunteers involved with event planning while offering them a variety of tasks that appeal to a range of interests and talents.

2. Make volunteers a part of your procurement team.

Make volunteers a part of your procurement team

If you happen to be hosting a charity auction as your next event, you can give your volunteers the special opportunity to be a part of your procurement team.

For those of you unfamiliar with auction planning, the procurement team has one crucial duty: to solicit auction items for your event.

The procurement committee’s success will depend largely upon the personal connections they have and how well they’re able to leverage these connections. After all, it’s much easier to score donations from donors with whom you’ve already established trust.

Adding volunteers strengthens your procurement team, because it expands and diversifies the personal connections your team has to draw from.

Of course, the volunteers that are best suited for this position will have extensive personal networks and won’t be afraid to ask those they know for donations.

However, you shouldn’t just send your volunteers off blindly. To make the procurement process more successful, provide them with a solicitation toolkit that includes materials such as donation letter templates, a list of auction item ideas, event invites, etc.

If you need some inspiration to get your volunteers started on the right path, check out BidPal’s list of 115 amazing auction item ideas!

The bottom line: Making volunteers a part of your auction procurement team provides them with a unique opportunity and helps you reach potential item donors that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

3. Have volunteers participate in peer-to-peer fundraising before the event.

Have volunteers participate in peer-to-peer fundraising before the event

Peer-to-peer fundraising has, understandably, become a huge trend in the fundraising world. It’s an excellent way for nonprofits to get their current supporters actively involved with their organizations and reach a large base of new donors.

While most of the fundraising usually takes place online, peer-to-peer campaigns are often concluded by an event.

By adding a peer-to-peer component to your next fundraising event, your organization can provide volunteers with a different type of opportunity to get involved and simultaneously give your fundraising and donor acquisition a boost.

Here’s a quick rundown of how this strategy works:

  1. Promote peer-to-peer to your volunteers. A few months in advance of your event, reach out to your most dedicated volunteers and ask them if they would be willing to fundraise for you. You’ll need a strong base of fundraisers on your side for peer-to-peer to work!
  2. Get them set up. Provide volunteers with the tools they need to fundraise on your behalf. Primarily, you’ll need to help each fundraiser set a goal and build a personalized donation page (using peer-to-peer fundraising software) that they can share with their networks to collect donations.
  3. Start the campaign. Most peer-to-peer campaigns last about 6-8 weeks, so start your campaign about 2 months in advance of your event to give volunteers time to reach their fundraising goals. Each volunteer should share their donation page regularly with their networks over email and on social media. Make sure that your organization communicates with volunteers frequently and provides them with any help they need.
  4. Host your event. Once the night of your event rolls around, it will be time for your peer-to-peer campaign to come to a close. Remember to invite volunteers to your event and acknowledge their hard work during the campaign!

Peer-to-peer campaigns can be an excellent opportunity for volunteers who prefer engaging with your organization online to participating in your event.

Just be sure that you have enough interested volunteers for this effort to be a success!

The bottom line: By hosting a peer-to-peer fundraiser before your next event, your organization can increase event profits and give your volunteers the perfect opportunity to support your organization in an active way.

4. Transform volunteers into auction pros.

Transform volunteers into auction pros

If you’re hosting a charity auction as your next fundraising event, there are a couple of auction-unique opportunities you can provide your volunteers.

Primarily, you’ll need volunteers to assist your auctioneer or emcee and help oversee the auction to ensure it runs smoothly.

The responsibilities will vary slightly depending on which type of auction you’re hosting:

  • Silent auctions with paper bid sheets. Traditionally, silent auction participants place their bids by writing them on bid sheets. If you’re going this route, you’ll need to station a couple of volunteers by each display table to ensure that guests are following the rules, answer bidders’ questions, and help shut down stations once bidding has closed. These volunteers should be assertive and have a get-it-done attitude.
  • Silent auctions with mobile bidding. If you’re using mobile bidding during your silent auction, your volunteers won’t have as much of an opportunity to get involved in the auction itself (trust us, this is a good thing; it means there’s less work to do!). However, you can still get your tech-savvy volunteers involved by having them pre-register guests’ credit cards, explain mobile bidding, and field any questions about the software.
  • Live auctions. When hosting a live auction, you’ll need a group of volunteers to act as auction spotters. These volunteers will wander around the venue and help the auctioneer scope out bids. You’ll also need a few volunteers to bring items on and off of the stage as they’re being introduced. Auction spotters should be quick thinkers who thrive in a fast-paced setting!

No matter what type of auction you’re hosting, they provide a unique opportunity for volunteers to get involved and develop new skills that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a future auctioneer in your midst!

The bottom line: Charity auctions require some unique volunteer roles that can get supporters directly involved in event fundraising.

5. Share volunteer stories.

Share volunteer stories

As Connect360 Multimedia pointed out, storytelling has become a huge trend in the fundraising world lately.

Telling a personal story can bring supporters closer to your organization and help you build stronger relationships with them, since they can relate to you more personally.

Not to mention, telling a story can be an excellent way to convince supporters to get involved, since it appeals to their emotions and helps them better visualize the impact that their contributions can make!

Telling your own story can help give your fundraising a boost, but sharing stories from your supporters can be even more compelling.

After all, potential donors and volunteers want to learn about how they can get involved and make a difference, and reading a story that comes directly from the mouth of one of your current supporters allows them to step into a volunteer’s shoes to better envision how they can do that!

To provide volunteers with a creative opportunity and increase engagement in the process, encourage volunteers to share their experiences once your event is over.

You can have each willing volunteer write up a brief story about your event and then share them on your website, in your email newsletters, on social media, and through other forms of outreach.

While each story should represent the volunteer’s unique voice, it should also provide a lens into your organization and how volunteering can further your mission. You might want to prompt volunteers by asking specific questions, like why they found your event meaningful or their reasons behind getting involved.

Not only is this an excellent way to provide the rest of your supporters with impactful content, but it also shows your volunteers that you value their voices and perspectives.

And when your volunteers feel appreciated, they’re more likely to get involved once your next fundraising event rolls around!

The bottom line: Having volunteers share their stories gets them involved in a creative way, shows them that you appreciate their contributions, and also helps encourage other supporters to get involved.

—–

There are plenty of ways to get your volunteers involved in your next fundraising event, and we certainly haven’t covered all of them here.

However, hopefully this blog post has given you a few creative ideas for how you can appeal to your volunteers and make the most out of their unique skill sets.

We wish you all the best for your next fundraising event!

Have a tip to add? Share it in the comments section below.

2 Comments