As a nonprofit, it’s likely that you don’t have a massive budget. And hiring professional event staff to man every aspect of your event can get costly very quick.
You’ll want to recruit volunteers almost as carefully as you would recruit employees to ensure they’ll keep your event running smoothly and make it a great experience for attendees. You need to find people who believe in your cause as much as you do, and also offer them an experience that keeps them coming back to help.
Here are a few of the best ways to find, recruit, and retain top-notch volunteers.
Use The Right Tools
Figuring out where to look for volunteers can feel like an overwhelming task. Thankfully, there are a number of tools at your disposal to make the search easier.
As a nonprofit, having a philanthropic cause behind your event makes VolunteerMatch the perfect place to recruit volunteers. Our platform makes it virtually effortless to find people who believe in your organization’s mission, ensuring that you start off with a foundation of common interests and beliefs.
You should also consider setting up a separate, free online event registration process to help streamline volunteer management. You can use a platform like Eventbrite’s nonprofit event software to create multiple event pages, including a separate event page that’s used solely for volunteer RSVPs.
This way, your volunteers can get all the details about the event plus what’s most pertinent to them, including a specific volunteer sign-up deadline. Be sure to specify your qualifications and send the page to anyone you find and like during your search. Also, include things like testimonials from volunteers in the past who can attest to having an amazing and rewarding experience.
While you don’t need to necessarily interview volunteers the same way you would prospective employees, invest some time pre-qualifying them to help ensure they’re placed in a role that suits them.
This doesn’t need to require a lot of time or effort, either. One simple way to pre-qualify volunteers is by using the custom questionnaires tool for VolunteerMatch Members. You can screen volunteers up-front by asking questions relevant to their experience, skills, interests, and number of hours they can commit to.
After you’ve pre-qualified your volunteers, choose some of your top internal people to train and provide a great onsite orientation that allows for Q&A and ample hands-on practice time. This will help your volunteers feel confident. Cover things like policies and rules along with the venue layout (including locations of the restrooms and exits).
Making sure volunteers have a great orientation experience and that they feel supported will make them want to work with your organization again.
Given the philanthropic nature of nonprofit events, the sense of volunteering for a cause is rewarding enough for most people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw in some extra bonuses for those who give you their time for free.
These perks can include anything from free admission, free access to the event’s food and performances, or free limited membership to your organization and whatever comes along with that. Don’t be afraid to promote your volunteer perks when recruiting, either! (And remember, a simple “thank you” can also go a long way!)
The more you can make volunteers feel like you care about matching their specific duties to their interests, instill confidence in their ability to get the job done, and show gratitude, the more you’ll be able to recruit and retain the best people.