Association Management, Non-For-Profit

Volunteer Management 101

Volunteers play a vital role in the success of an event or an organization. They act as an extra set of hands that can help make events run smoothly. Having volunteers is one thing, but knowing how to manage them is another. You don’t always get to pick and choose your volunteers, however, it is your responsibility as a manager to keep them productive, well‐informed, and happy. Here are some tips to ensure a great experience for both you and your volunteers:

Be Prepared

  • Provide your volunteers with as much details as possible prior to the event. They will feel more confident and prepared if they are in the know. Send out communications containing important information such as:
    • Event details (time, date, location)
    • Contact information
    • Job description
    • Rules and expectations
  • Offer orientation or training if possible.

    Be ready to answer their questions. If you are unprepared, you are wasting both your time and theirs. Know the tasks you need to delegate, and provide them with the right tools and resources to do their job.

  • Create Positive Environment
  • Foster open communication, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Value their time and contributions.
    • Mutual respect goes a long way. Volunteers take time out of their day to provide support for your event. They deserve respect just as much as a paid employee does.

    Lead by example. Don’t just delegate orders; make sure that you are also working.

    Be Accessible

    Make sure your volunteers feel comfortable approaching you with any ideas, questions, or concerns.

    Be available for volunteers to approach you. If you can’t be, delegate other lead assistants that can help manage your volunteers. Provide opportunities for volunteers to switch to different roles they might find more enjoyable.

    Be Mindful of Their Well‐Being

    Check up on your volunteers from time to time to see how they are doing

    Make sure that they get their breaks and stay hydrated. Schedule a rotation so that your volunteers have time to grab food, drink water, and get some rest. Allowing them time to recharge will help keep them productive throughout the day.

    Keep workloads manageable

    Recognize Accomplishments

    Provide incentives or giveaways if available.

    Make them feel appreciated. Sincerely thank the volunteers for their time and hard work. The greater their experience is working with you, the more willing they are to volunteer again in the future.

    Blog post written by Danielle Peters, Event Coordinator at Managing Matters Inc.