When you write a letter to ask for a volunteer job, be sure to write from a place of passion, explaining UW Madison: Sample Volunteer Letter.
It doesn’t matter if your event is large or small, chances are you’ll need help and you might not be able to pay for all of that help. That’s where volunteers come into the picture! With some effective planning, good leadership, and fantastic communications, you can build a team of volunteers who will help you make your event a success.
Of course, volunteers can be a phenomenal asset to your event or they can cause more problems than they’re worth. As an event organizer, it’s your job to recruit, train, and manage a team of volunteers who are willing and capable of being the positive assets you need them to be. Below are 10 key steps to build and manage an effective team of volunteers for your event to help you get started.
Why do you need volunteers? What do you need them to help you accomplish before, during, and after your event? Your first step to build a team of volunteers who can help you at your event is to determine what you need them to do for you. This includes creating a list of specific tasks as well as the skills they’ll need to be able to complete those tasks.
In addition, consider the types of personalities you need to recruit. If you need volunteers to sell merchandise, then you’ll want to find people with outgoing personalities. It’s likely that you might have needs that require volunteers with specific physical abilities. For example, if you need volunteers to lift heavy boxes or stand for long periods of time, then you’ll have to look for people who are capable of doing those things.
Action Item: Write a list of your needs.
With your list of needs created, it’s time to turn them into volunteer roles and responsibilities. Review your needs list and look for related items that can be grouped together. This creates a loose categorization system that typically translates into departments or sub-teams based on job functions such as ticketing, gate management, concessions, merchandise, traffic, crowd control, marketing, customer service, and so on.
From here, you can create roles within each sub-team or department and associate specific tasks from your list with each role. The volunteer who takes on one of these roles will be responsible for completing the tasks associated with them. Next, you can take this information and write job descriptions for each role. Be sure to include the responsibilities, skills or knowledge required to do the job, how much time the volunteer will need to commit to do the job, and the deadlines they’ll be responsible for hitting.
The goal is to set people’s expectations so they get the volunteer roles that are best suited to them. The more detailed you can get in your volunteer job descriptions, the better. It’s better to scare off a potential volunteer than it is to bring in a person who is the wrong match and could do more harm to your event than good.
Action Item: Categorize your needs, turn them into roles, and write detailed job descriptions for each role that you need to fill with volunteers. Also, determine how many people you’ll need to fill each volunteer role.
Few people volunteer at events unless they get something in return. Therefore, it’s up to you to give them a reason to volunteer by offering incentives that they can’t resist. For a music festival, the incentives could be free tickets or free backstage passes. For a business event, the incentives could be as simple as having something to add to a resume or getting a letter of recommendation from you after the event.
Don’t just offer incentives that you would like. Instead, you need to think about the type of people who might consider volunteering and identify the incentives that they would like. What freebie or experience can you offer to them that they would perceive as having an equal or greater value than the time they’d need to commit to volunteering at your event? When you think about incentives as a value trade – their time for whatever you give them in return – you’ll be much more successful at getting volunteers to help at your event.
Action Item: Create a list of things people would like to get from your event. Put a value to each item on the list as the audience would perceive them. Finally, select the incentives that are likely to motivate the right people to volunteer for your event.
With your volunteer job descriptions and incentives written out, it’s time to start promoting your volunteer opportunities. First, you need to write promotional messages that succinctly communicate the benefits of your volunteer opportunities. Be sure to include details about when and where the event will be held, what tasks they’ll be expected to perform, what skills you’re looking for, and what they’ll get in return.
You can use your promotional messages to raise awareness of your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers across the social web. Create a volunteer website or a form to capture prospective volunteers’ information for follow up. You can use Google Forms or a tool like SignupGenius to do this. Bottom-line, when you promote your volunteer opportunities, you need a dedicated place to send people to learn more and sign up.
Promoting your volunteer opportunities doesn’t have to be expensive. Start by sharing the information and link to sign up across your social media profiles, on your website, and even on your ticket sales page. Get busy networking online and offline, and ask people you know to volunteer or at least spread the word about your volunteer opportunities. Also, try to recruit the performer’s fans or recruit by geography based on the location of the venue. You can invest in affordable Facebook Ads to find people who might be interested in your event, are interested in volunteering, and live in your target area.
Action Item: Write your promotional messages, and create a list of 10 ways to promote your volunteer opportunities.
In addition to the promotional tactics discussed in #6 above that you can use to recruit volunteers, you can also conduct searches across the web. For example, there are a number of websites that connect volunteers with opportunities. Keep in mind, some of these websites only work with charitable events. Examples include VolunteerMatch and Idealist. Another great option is your local Craigslist. Every Craigslist site includes volunteer and event sections where you could post a recruitment message.
The local community is a perfect place to look for volunteers. Ask the venue for recommendations if you’re not from the area. Connect with the local Chamber of Commerce and recreation department and ask if there are ways you can share the news that you’re looking for volunteers within the community. You can also contact the local newspaper and radio stations to ask for publicity or to place an ad for volunteers.
Action Item: Make a list of 10 ways to recruit volunteers for your event. Prioritize the list and start reaching out as appropriate to get the ball rolling.
When you start getting queries from prospective volunteers, it’s important to make sure they’re put into the best roles based on their skills, knowledge, and interests. Consider creating a pre-qualification questionnaire on your volunteer web page that asks questions about the volunteer’s skills, interests, and reasons for volunteering at your event. You can use this information to pre-screen volunteers and place them into the best roles.
If you don’t have time to personally interview every prospective volunteer for your event (which is often the case for large events), that’s okay. At a minimum, use the pre-qualification survey, and if possible, have a phone conversation. Skype video calls are free and a great way to speak with and see prospective volunteers before you decide to give them a role. Also, be sure to ask people what type of role they’d like to have. Just because someone is a marketer by day doesn’t mean they want to do the marketing for your event. They might want to sell merchandise or do something entirely different! Give them a choice if you can and they’re likely to be happier volunteers.
Action Item: Create a pre-qualification questionnaire using Google Forms or another form tool like JotForm or FormStack.
Great communication is critical to building a team of effective volunteers who can help make your event successful. You need to be in frequent communication with all of your volunteers, so they’re up-to-date on everything that’s happening with the event which could affect them. Frequent communication also makes them feel more involved. It builds a relationship with them that inevitably reduces no-shows on the day of the event.
Hold regularly-scheduled team meetings by phone or online using a tool like GoToMeeting or Join.me. Both of these tools allow screen-sharing, too. For large teams, you can use a tool like Slack to keep everyone in the loop, and to manage tasks and projects, consider using a project management tool like Trello or Asana.
You might want to assign leaders for sub-teams if your full team of volunteers is large. This way, sub-teams can have their own conversations without cluttering the full team’s communication stream and confusing others. For smaller teams, you might decide to set up a group chat or use a private Facebook Group for conversations.
Action Item: Set up a method to hold regularly schedule meetings with volunteers and choose a tool or method for ongoing team communications.
Training is essential for every volunteer. They need to know their assigned tasks, deadlines, who to go to for help, their itinerary for the day of the event, and contingency plans. You need to make sure they have all of the tools required to do their jobs and that they know how to use those tools.
In addition, your volunteers need to understand what is expected of them in terms of your code of conduct, dress code, and so on. Train them on how to report problems and how to treat ticket buyers, vendors, VIP guests, performers, and others. If volunteers will lose their incentives if they don’t show up, arrive late, or don’t perform well, they need to know that, too. Also, don’t forget to share little details like where they should park on the day of the event, if free food and water will be available to them, when they’ll get breaks, and so on.
Action Item: Create a training program and develop a written code of conduct and performance requirements document that volunteers will be required to follow.
Even though volunteers aren’t your employees, there are still some federal labor-related laws that apply to how you work with volunteers. There may also be state laws that you’ll need to follow, so do your due diligence and learn the rules before you start writing job descriptions and recruiting people.
For example, it’s likely you’ll need to obtain insurance for volunteers. You might have to give them breaks after a certain number of hours working, and you’re probably not allowed to replace a paid worker whose job is necessary with a volunteer.
Action Item: Do your research and identify the laws related to volunteer workers that you’re required to follow for your event.
After the event, it’s always important to send a survey to volunteers so you can learn what went well and what didn’t. This is valuable information that you can use to improve your volunteer programs at future events. You can use Google Forms or a survey tool like SurveyMonkey to create and send your survey to your volunteers.
Include questions about the recruiting and training processes, how job descriptions were written, if roles matched job descriptions, and if communication was adequate. Ask volunteers what could have been done differently to improve the volunteer experience. Also, be sure to ask if volunteers were satisfied with the incentives and if they would volunteer at your future events or recommend volunteering to other people. Follow up with a why or why not question!
Action Item: Write your post-event volunteer survey.
To get event volunteers, you need to follow the 10 steps above, but even after you’ve sent your post-event survey, your work isn’t done. You also need to thank your volunteers. You can do this by email or snail mail. You could even call them individually. Most importantly, your thank you messages need to be personal and genuine. Don’t send a message to all of your volunteers at one time. Instead, show them you truly appreciate them with an authentic, personalized message, a hand-written note, or a phone call.
Posted in Event Planning
Volunteer Reference Letter Sample; Sample of Volunteer Reference Letter which can be great to ask additional questions about the potential candidate.
Volunteers who feel loved, appreciated and connected to your organization are more likely to stick around for the long haul. And how do you instill these feelings? Through volunteer engagement.
When you email your volunteers, are you thanking them? Are you letting them know how their work is making an impact? Are you welcoming them or getting to know them better? Or do you stick to asking them for help and updating them on what they’ve already committed to?
Volunteer engagement is exactly what it sounds like, back and forth communication with your volunteers to build a long-lasting relationship.
Great volunteer engagement involves building a community around your volunteers so that your nonprofit staff and volunteers feel like family. Even the volunteer who only got involved through a work event or the volunteer who stops by once a year when he catches the holiday spirit. Start focusing on volunteer engagement and you’ll see volunteer retention rates begin to climb as well. When you make an effort to engage with people, no one is completely out of reach.
But true volunteer engagement can be a tricky note to strike, especially due to the variable nature of different audiences. Your volunteers are not the same people as the next organization’s volunteers, or even across your organization, and they may not need the same things. However there are email marketing best practices and strategies that stretch across them all.
As you build out the right email outreach strategies for your specific volunteers, don’t forget about these tried and true best practices.
All of the emails you send to your volunteers should be targeted. Trying to address all of your audiences with one email leaves everyone feeling like the email wasn’t meant for them. And when you feel like an email is not meant for you, the chance that you actually read it drops substantially. A volunteer that’s giving precious time to help you work toward your nonprofit’s mission should always feel like each email is just for them, containing the information they care about.
Within your main email list, give volunteers their own group or segment. And if you have volunteer opportunities that are pretty different, such as working directly with clients versus facility upkeep or one-time volunteering versus ongoing, you can get even more granular with your segmentation. Segmentation makes each email feel that much more personalized, leading to a healthier relationship and higher engagement with your volunteers.
Aside from the business of alerting volunteers to potential opportunities and keeping them updated on the details of opportunities they’ve signed up for, send the occasional extra email to keep volunteers connected with your mission. As you get more comfortable sending emails to volunteers and find you have more to say, you could even start a newsletter just for volunteers.
We outlined five possibilities for typical volunteer engagement emails:
Don’t just send a cheesy email on Thanksgiving. Let your volunteers know how grateful you are for their time throughout the year, especially when they’ve gone above and beyond your organization’s expectations for volunteers.
Volunteers give up their time to help your organization move its mission forward. They care about your cause and the impact that their work is having on it. Motivate them by highlighting the good they’re accomplishing through their volunteer work.
One way to do this is by sharing the stories of those whose lives their work has impacted. This is especially powerful for those volunteers who don’t get to interact with the people your nonprofit helps on a regular basis.
Establish a relationship with new volunteers right off the bat with a welcome email. Tell them about your organization and mission, including the integral role of volunteers, and give them the opportunity to ask you any questions. You could even create an automated workflow to onboard them and get them up to speed.
To tailor your email strategy to real volunteers, let them weigh in on their preferences. In an email survey, ask 3-5 questions to gauge how your volunteers are perceiving attempts to engage. Some possible questions could be:
You can also ask any specific questions about your email communications through the survey. And remember, once you get some answers, be sure to follow suit and make any necessary adjustments to your strategy.
Along with thanking your volunteers, it’s important to let them know they’re needed and appreciated. Send them a personal message recognizing a recent achievement or on the anniversary of the first time they volunteered. This can also be accomplished in combination with other strategies, possibly through events, formal recognition and spontaneous treats.
Volunteer engagement and retention go hand in hand. It would be silly to not connect the two. The more engaged your volunteers are (right from the start!), the less likely they are to stop volunteering. Use your email communication to encourage volunteers to keep doing what they do by building a relationship based on gratitude, motivation for the cause and open communication.
Does your nonprofit engage with volunteers through emails? What types of emails have you found successful? Let’s talk more in the comments.
There is no greater gift than your time. Volunteering is a rewarding endeavor that provides insight and personal enrichment. Side benefits include developing professional connections, gaining experience and making new friends. When you write a letter to ask for a volunteer job, be sure to write from a place of passion, explaining how you can make a difference in the organization. Your letter is a first impression that can have a lasting impact. Use a professional business format and be sure that you proofread for spelling and grammatical errors. Finally, follow up with the organization by phone a week or so after the letter is received.
Start your letter by getting to the point. Explain that you are interested in a volunteer job and that you are specifically excited about the particular organization. You can even add a sentence about why the organization is an ideal match for your skills. The opening paragraph should entice the reader to want to learn more about you.
I am interested in volunteering with the ABC Tree Foundation. As an environmental science major, I have always cherished preserving nature.
I am writing to inquire about a volunteer opportunity with your organization. My expertise is in reforestation and I feel that I could make a difference with the ABC Tree Foundation.
Continue your request for a volunteer job by highlighting your talents and skills. Some organizations are overrun with volunteers, and managing too many volunteers becomes a burden sometimes. If you demonstrate why your special gifts can be transformative for the organization, you'll be more likely to land the position.
My academic work has focused on developing new tools that make reforestation easier and faster. I recently developed a new tree planting bar that I feel would help you in your work.
I love nature and spend as much time as possible working to replant trees. I would like to lend my talents and hard work to your organization.
It is important to know as much as possible about the organization. A volunteer coordinator will be impressed if you can show more than just surface knowledge about what the organization does. If you don’t have first-hand information, talk to a board member or someone that has volunteered to learn more. Showing a sincere passion for the organization will impress a decision-maker.
I am so impressed that the ABC Tree Foundation has invested in the river cleanup project. The volunteer turnout was amazing, and I would like to become part of your effort.
I recently attended the ABC Tree Foundation fundraiser, and the strong community commitment was evident. As a passionate naturalist, I share in the desire to do more to help your organization.
As you near the end of your letter to ask for a volunteer job, make a final push by tying your special gifts to the needs of the organization. Communicating self-confidence, a strong work ethic and applicable skills will set you apart from others. This part of the letter ties your knowledge of the organization with the unique qualities you offer as a volunteer.
I recently read that the ABC Tree Foundation is embarking upon a new initiative to plant trees in the park that was destroyed by the spring tornado. I am eager to be a part of this project and can provide special tools that would make planting easier.
Given my background in environmental science, volunteering for the ABC Tree Foundation is a perfect fit. I would be excited to help your organization and I am confident I can make a difference.
The closing of your letter asking for a volunteer job should be short and memorable. Emphasize your interest and add a note of support for the organization. Even if you aren’t selected right away, your letter may be filed for a future time when something becomes available.
Thank you for considering my interest in becoming a volunteer for the ABC Tree Foundation. If given the opportunity, I will work hard and do my best to be an asset to your work. I value the work that you do and will always be an avid supporter. I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books focusing on customer service, diversity and team building. She serves as a consultant for business, industry and educational organizations. Dr. Meier has written business articles and books for Talico, Inc, Dynateam Consulting, Inc. and Kinect Education Group.
Volunteer Reference Letter Sample; Sample of Volunteer Reference Letter which can be great to ask additional questions about the potential candidate.
Any Town, USA 123454
12, January 2012
<Mention Recipient’s Address>
Dear <Recipient’s Name>
A lot of time and effort goes into any political campaign. The campaigning of <name> for <office> is going well, but there is still so much to be done. That’s why we’re writing to request: to ask you if you could spare some time to work with us as a campaign volunteer.
There’s no special expertise required, and you don’t have to have a political science degree. All you need is the belief that <name> is a candidate worth working for, and that volunteers are the most important part of a political machine. There’s phone calling to be done, envelope stuffing, typing, data entry, deliveries…you name it. There’s a lot to do, and we need your help.
Give a call today to <name> headquarters at <phone number> if you would like to spend even a few hours a week as a volunteer. It’ll be one of the most fulfilling things you have ever done.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Look forward to hearing from you.
encl: <List of enclosed items goes here>
Download Sample Request For Volunteers Letter In Word Format
A letter seeking volunteers for the event has a dual purpose, to ask for volunteers and to transmit information about the event. You will likely.