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Recruiting and Managing Volunteers for Your Event.

Andy Robertson

Many events and particularly music festivals have always relied on an army of volunteers to run successfully. Recruiting volunteers to help run your event will reduce your costs whilst providing a unique experience for volunteers themselves. 

Small events with a few hundred customers may use a handful of volunteers whereas a large international music festival could have tens of thousands of volunteers. Obviously as your event scales in size the logistics of recruiting and managing volunteers becomes more challenging. 

The easiest way to recruit volunteers for your next event is to go back to people that helped you out with your previous event. In addition, start advertising for volunteers on you event website and re-post to all your social media channels. Ensure you have a good process in place with links to application forms and a clear explanation of how the process works including timing, contact details, FAQs and most importantly the benefits to the volunteer. Obviously, the only reason someone volunteers to help out your event is because they get free access to the event in return for working a set number of hours.  

Don’t forget to consider where your volunteers are coming from, are you only recruiting from your own country or are you open to overseas volunteers? Check your country's visa and work permit requirements as it can be problematic sponsoring volunteers from overseas. Communicate visa and work permit requirements clearly in your recruitment advertising 

Log all applications in an easy to find database and make sure you contact them all detailing the responsibilities and processes involved leading up to the event dates. For large events and festivals there may be year-round volunteer requirements as well as volunteers for the event dates. Ensure that you match skills to responsibilities, for example look for specific skill sets like office admin, IT and tech, construction, catering, safety, customer liaison and other services. Get yourself a designated trainer responsible for getting volunteers trained up for their allocated responsibilities. 

Once you have your list of volunteers prepared you can start your manpower planning and assign responsibilities and rota schedules. There will inevitably be some churn of committed volunteers leaving you short staffed so include this in your planning. Finalise your schedules and responsibilities and make sure you have allocated passes and access to all your volunteers and on site ensure they actually turn up on time, have a plan for dealing with absent and no-show volunteers. The last thing you want is security refusing access to volunteers because they don’t have the correct pass.         

Using an event software solution like FestivalPro can help streamline your volunteer recruitment and planning. FestivalPro includes built in functionality for volunteer acquisition, contact detail logging and schedule planning. This software also gives you the ability to assign duties and allocate appropriate passes. It’s dynamic so you can easily make changes in one place and communicate these to your volunteers instantly. You can manage every aspect of your event on FestivalPro too and the guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and are performance artists themselves. Using a system like this can help with your volunteer acquisition and a management saving you time and stress 

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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