3 Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteers at Your Fundraising Event

Volunteers are an essential component to running a successful charity event and giving you, the event planner, the extra arms and legs you need to smoothly manage things from start to finish.

Figuring out how to best utilize your volunteers is no easy task, even for seasoned event planners. The best event planners know you must properly plan, communicate, guide, and organize your volunteers to ensure the best possible outcomes for your fundraising event.

As a Benefit Fundraising Specialist, I’m frequently asked these three questions when it comes to organizing and working with volunteers at a fundraising event. I’ve answered each question to help you get the most out of your volunteer roster.

FAQ #1:  How Many Volunteers Should We Have at Our Fundraising Event?

The number of volunteers needed typically depends on these two factors:

The number of people attending the event.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want at least one volunteer per 10-20 attendees. That said, the more volunteers the more polished your event will be.

The event type.  The number of volunteers needed also depends on the event type. For example, for a 10k race, you may need more volunteers to handle everything from handing out drinks along the race path, manning the check-in booth, serving runners refreshments, directing traffic, etc.  An evening fundraising event, for example, may require fewer volunteers because the event is contained to a smaller space. No matter the event, having volunteers helping at different “stations” will ensure your event is a hit!

FAQ #2:  How Do We Find Volunteers?

Volunteers can be comprised of a variety of people – most likely long-time supporters of the organization along with board members and their families and friends, committee volunteers, etc.

Another great source for volunteers is to have those benefiting from the donations help work the event.  For example, if your event is to raise scholarship money for students, you could ask the benefiting students or schools to provide volunteers. This tactic will help put a face with the organization and perhaps even compel guests to want to support your organization more than ever.

FAQ #3: How Do We Divide/Assign Tasks to Volunteers?

Some volunteers will be excited about helping with certain aspects of your event. As the event planner, it’s your job to create a list of volunteer roles and share it with volunteers. Ask your volunteers to think about what they’re good at and how they think they can best contribute. Volunteers will be happiest when they’re doing something they are passionate about.

Further, if you know a volunteer’s special talent, you can individually ask him or her to help with a specific task. For example, if one of your volunteers is really good with technology, ask her to help with mobile bidding and electronic payment processing. If one of your volunteers is very outgoing, ask him to be a greeter or to walk around selling raffle tickets. For volunteers extremely knowledgeable about your organization, have them manage the registration and customer service tables.

For volunteers who want to help but can’t make the event, ask them to help mail tax receipts, write and send thank you notes, etc.

Volunteers can be the lifeblood of a fundraising event. As the event organizer, it’s your job to ensure you have the right number of volunteers, get your volunteers excited to help, and make sure each volunteer is doing the job best suited to his or her skill-set and personality.

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