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Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Three Secrets of Successful Volunteer Programmes

Organizing any event, however big or small, can be complex and consequently stressful. There are a huge number of factors to consider – from knowing who’s where and when, to allocating specialist teams with specific skill sets; all this is hard enough when you are working with people paid to be doing a job, but dealing with volunteers changes the game completely.

People usually volunteer for two reasons; either they are committed to helping a cause or they will give their free time to be part of something significant and fun. Either way you are dealing with people who are being driven by emotion, so you need to be sensitive to what has motivated them.

When managing this sort of programme, the team at GetScheduled – creators of the latest sports event management and volunteer management software – believes that there are three secrets that will make your project a greater success.

  1. Schedule intelligently: The starting point for this is to work out who you really need where and when, ie effective employee scheduling. People are happy to commit their time if they think it is being well used - don’t exploit them by expecting too much of them. However, it is almost worse if they show up with good intentions and high hopes only to find they have no worthwhile function on the project.
  2. Communicate and inform quickly: Whilst no one is ever pleased when things go wrong, they are much more forgiving if they are told promptly and kept up to date with accurate information. The onus is on you as an organizer to make sure what you are saying is correct and disseminated quickly. If you achieve this, you will maintain a happy and cooperative volunteer force.
  3. Manage more efficiently: You owe it to your volunteers to be efficient. Hit your deadlines (or say beforehand if you are going to be late), send them clear information and don’t change your mind mid-job.  On top of this, remember why they are here – so don’t forget to thank them and show them what a difference their efforts have made.

Sue Payne, GetScheduled’s Managing Director, explained ‘When our software was used by the Team London Ambassador program, we created the system with these three principles in mind. We had to – the team had to manage volunteers working on 46,445 shifts, spread across 48 sites and 8 job roles! Getting it wrong would have been a PR disaster but more than that, we would have let down a team of people who had demonstrated outstanding commitment to the project.’

GetScheduled have produced a piece of workforce management and volunteer management software to make your employee scheduling requirements simple. The team has worked on several high profile, global events in the past so have the experience to advise on your major and sports event management.

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