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How to work with volunteers

BY DIANA PHILLIPPI From nonprofit fundraisers to “friend raisers,” volunteers are the key to event success. Most volunteers have a can-do spirit, a willingness to learn new skills, and a sincere belief in the organization’s purpose. After years of working with nonprofits, I know that volunteers are worth their weight in gold.

Create job descriptions

There are dozens of tasks that need to be done before, during, and after an event. Written job descriptions can help volunteers decide how they can best help in light of their skills and available time. Once the event is over, ask the volunteers to help update the job descriptions for next time.

Be organized

Make sure everyone knows what to do, when and where to do it, and who to ask if they get stuck. Don’t expect volunteers to have enough experience to “wing it” if something unexpected happens. And things do happen. Make sure that all the necessary equipment and supplies will be in the right place at the right time. Don’t find yourself with no pens at the start of a silent auction!

Show your appreciation

Most volunteers step up because they care about the nonprofit’s mission. Still, it’s nice to be acknowledged. If you have funds to spend, purchase gift cards to a favorite coffee place or restaurant. Or get permission to use of photo of the volunteer in action at the event, and share the picture on the nonprofit’s website or social media accounts. Recognition is a simple and kind gesture that is remembered long after the event. And as always, happy planning!

Photo: Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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