Imagine that in a moment of sheer insanity you volunteered to assume responsibility of planning the annual ladies weekend retreat. The date is six months away. You have no budget other than the registration fees; they must cover all of the costs that will be incurred. What do you do first?
While you may be tempted to start immediately publicizing and registering people for the event, there are a lot of things you need to know before you can create a registration form or determine what the registration fee should be. You need to pick a theme for your program, then determine who will lead it and what they will charge (including travel and transportation costs). You must find a venue and establish a schedule for arrival and departure. You must decide what meals will be included in the registration fee and what the cost is for each. Establish an agenda so you will know what supplies or equipment will be needed for each activity as well as décor and giveaway items. Discuss sleeping arrangements – will the sleeping rooms be a separate fee or will that cost be included in the registration? And don’t forget about your administration costs – copying, postage, advertising, etc.
It quickly becomes apparent that you have a lot questions that require answers before you can start promoting your event. It’s time to 1) assemble a team, 2) visualize the goals you want to achieve with your event, 3) create your roadmap, and 4) set a priority and deadline for each task.
ASSEMBLING YOUR TEAM
Finding and keeping dependable volunteers is crucial to any successful event. If it’s a recurring event, look to those who have helped in the past – anyone who has previously invested time into a project should have a vested interest in its continued success. They are also the best people to find additional volunteers for you – they are likely to have friends, acquaintances, and loved ones with similar interests.
Take advantage of newsletters, bulletin boards, email lists and social media sites. This will get the word out about your needs, but don’t expect people to line up after simply reading about volunteer opportunities. Most people won’t “volunteer to volunteer” without being approached personally; face-to-face recruiting is the best way to get positive results.
Finally, take care of your volunteers! Make sure they understand the goals and objectives for the event, and thoroughly explain the roles and responsibilities you expect them to fulfill. And don’t forget to recognize his or her efforts every step along the way – everyone likes to feel appreciated!
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