I often get asked by organizations that are in transition… how do we better incorporate a partnership between our staff and volunteers so that we have a really strong team planning our event.
My first response always is… you can’t do it without your volunteers. For every new person on the team you open the door to a new social network for possible sponsorship, ticket sales, and auction donations.
But it is important to communicate clearly with your volunteer committee about goals, fundraising needs, and key strategic elements.
In turn they can relieve staff workload and recruit a support team to grow the event.
Step 1 – Identify tasks that are staff driven and those that are volunteer supported.
Step 2 – Identify key players that can support the various roles and begin recruitment.
Step 1 – Division of Workload
- Recruit sub committee members
- Recruit day of event volunteers
- PR / Media Outreach
- Auction Procurement
- Event Gift Bags
- Vendor Bids / Quotes
- Theme Development
- Ticket / Table Sales
- Sponsorship Outreach
- Recruit Committee Leadership
- Manage Budget
- Major Donor Outreach
- Speakers / Program Elements
- Data Management
- Sponsorship Solicitation
- Relationship Management
- Vendor Contracts
Step 2 – Volunteer Leadership Recruitment
The wider you expand your network, the easier fundraising will become. For every new volunteer you have on board, you have new contacts, resources, ideas, and skills. Look to increase your volunteer support and expand as much as you can. Start first with those key contacts who:
- Volunteer with the organization in other capacities
- Are long-time supporters
- Have been trying to get involved but haven’t volunteered yet
- Have offered some leadership support
- Board Members (I often recommend 1 board member on a committee)
Cultivate a Core Leadership Team
- Start by generating a list of potential committee members
- Set a committee launch / kick-off meeting
- Call each potential committee-member and ask for their participation
- Ask your core leadership team to recruit additional committee members
Set expectations for your committee:
Identify job descriptions and meeting schedules in advance so your volunteers feel like they understand the commitment.
Chair: (1) Leadership position — Someone who is good with communication, someone who can recruit another committee member or two, someone who is willing to take the lead on meeting minutes, remind folks of meeting times, and keep volunteers looped in. In addition, they’ll lead oversight and tracking of sponsorship outreach and ticket sale outreach. Their main role will be to facilitate committee communications. This is a perfect role for someone who likes to stay connected and has an engaging personality.
Auction Sub-Chair: (1) Leadership position — Someone who is connected to small businesses, who may be able to recruit some committee members, and who might have time to sit at the computer to reach out and do procurement online via email. This should be someone who is outgoing, creative, and can be a committee cheerleader.
Event Committee Members: Project position — Willing to assist in procurement of auction and raffle prizes. Someone who can do some outreach via email and can connect to their circle of influence to sell tickets and solicit donors for various event elements.
Marketing Coordinator: (1) Leadership position — Someone with some marketing experience that would like to take the lead with traditional marketing. This should be someone who can reach out to media to get on event calendars, to promote profiles and personal stories that newspapers may be interested in highlighting, to take the lead on social networking, invitation mailings, and general outreach.
Volunteer Coordinator: (1) Leadership Position — Someone with a large social network that can coordinate a crew to help with the day of the event. Someone with good communication skills who can clearly layout all of the details for the volunteers in advance, and will stay in regular communication with them so that they are prepared when they arrive the day of the event.
Recommended Committee Structure
Leadership & Steering Committee – should be your connectors
Sub Committees – should be your doers