Have a big event coming up and need some help? Large galas, festivals and similar events need many helping hands to run smoothly, but sometimes finding help isn’t so easy. Snappening sat down with The Registration System’s Florence May to get the details on how to engage more volunteers with ease for your next event!

Top Tips for Event Planners to Successfully Engage Volunteers

When executing an event that requires volunteers, finding and engaging this help can be exceptionally tricky. How do you bring in willing assistance? How do you keep volunteers engaged? Take a look at May’s best suggestions for success.
1. Clearly define volunteer positions.
No one likes expecting one thing and discovering something completely different. Make sure to define the needed volunteer positions clearly and accurately. Written and verbal descriptions are both helpful, as well as training sessions for key roles.
 
2. Clearly communicate expectations.
Make sure prospective volunteers have access to the exact expectations that each role comes includes, allowing them to be prepared, knowledgeable and to select the appropriate role for their skill set. It’s often common to have both leadership and general roles for many tasks and areas of event operations. A variety of shifts, duties and opportunities works best.
 
3. Recruit the right volunteers; responsible people with the needed skills.
Don’t get too desperate – avoid selecting everyone and anyone, and only recruit those who have the proper skill set, and the proper attitude! This will make for a much smoother event overall.  
What’s the best way to compensate my volunteers? 
While volunteers may not be paid, May points out that some form of reward or compensation often helps in successfully engaging volunteers at your event.
Remember that items like food, drinks, parking and a shirt are expectedbenefits for volunteers. On-the-spot recognition for working hard or great customer service can be as easy as a $5 gift card or an event promotional item. Remember, volunteers want to be recognized so say thank you frequently.
 
Why do some events seem to have an easier time recruiting volunteers…while others struggle? 
Whether it makes sense or not, it seems many times some types of events have no troubles bringing in a good amount of willing participants to help, while others struggle to recruit enough volunteers. May elaborates on what to keep in mind when struggling to engage enough volunteers.
She points out that sporting events and festivals typically see a higher percentage of willing volunteers, as they have the additional benefit of obtaining event tickets for those volunteers as a reward for hours invested. But she also reminds planners that many people just enjoy the experience of volunteering no matter what the event. People enjoy the camaraderie and the opportunity to be exposed to new activities. Be certain to show enthusiasm for your topic; this will help you find volunteers who have an affinity to the event, helping to create a great experience and smooth outcome for all. 
 
While there is not necessarily one specific type of event that always struggles with finding volunteers, there are people and organizations who develop a poor reputation with volunteers because they don’t take the proper time to be organized to make good use of everyone’s time. Avoid a bad reputation and make sure to plan out every detail of your event and inform those in charge of everything occurring. That way your volunteers don’t waste their time and your event runs well for all involved. 
Your Secret Weapon: Volunteer Management Tools
The Registration System is an extremely helpful tool to have in your event planning arsenal! While executing any type of event, utilizing TRS to engage volunteers, sell tickets and more can help your event planning go smoothly. Check out all TRS has to offer.
When asked what one of the latest exciting features The Registration System (TRS) has incorporated into their toolset in order to combine evolving technology with planner and volunteer needs, May had this exciting answer:
  • Becoming more mobile friendly (no app to download)
  • Seamless social media integration
  • Linking volunteer tracking with housing, membership and mass e-mail systems
You may now have the secrets to finding volunteers, but don’t forget to also procure a perfect venue for your event – Snappening’s event venue search is an easy and fast way to find the exact venue you need. Need help planning and securing every detail for a great event for both attendees and volunteers? Find the perfect event planner with Snappening’s planner search. Make sure to share your volunteer wins and experiences on our Facebook and Twitter pages! While you’re brainstorming further volunteer engagement tactics, be sure to discover some unique event ideas for your volunteers on our Pinterest boards, full of corporate, festival, and gala inspiration for your next large event!

About the Author: Flory May
Meet our interviewee, Florence May: an innovative professional, and President and Managing Member of The Registration System. The Registration System (TRS) was designed by event planners offers some of the most comprehensive online registration and ticketing software on the market. Their program TRS Volunteers is the only volunteer management system specifically designed for events.  So we’ve teamed up with the experts to bring you the tops tips on how to engage volunteers for your next event!