Usually two levels of volunteers needed for an event or festival – those who play an integral part in the overall planning and those who are involved only during the event.
Let’s focus on those needed during the event.
If you’re lucky, your year-round volunteer coordinator for your festival or event is someone who does this for a living. As such, she most likely will be plugged into a professional organization of volunteer coordinators*. Yes, these groups do exist. With a single email to her peers, she can send out a call for help.
Before your volunteer coordinator can ask for help, though, she will need a clear understanding of all the event’s needs. She will want to meet with every committee chair and determine that area’s requirements, how many people are desired for each task and what hours should be staffed.
She will throw all of this into one big pot and come back with a plan – job descriptions, shifts, counts and ask fellow committee members to review and comment. Don’t be surprised if she shows more volunteers are needed than requested or has included a job description for a floater. A good coordinator knows that a certain percentage of volunteers will no-show and adjust accordingly.
Armed with a full list of needs versus a generic cry for help, she is now ready to communicate to her peers. Most likely your volunteer coordinator will seek out those whose demographics match your festival needs. No need for a 75-year old senior who volunteers mid-day at the hospital, when your event will be held after dark and the music genre might not be to their taste. However, find someway to keep them involved.
*Search the web for: association volunteer services administration directors or managers. Also consider contacting a local hospital or government agency and ask to speak with their volunteer coordinator. They may be able to point you in the right direction and/or advise if a local volunteer clearinghouse exists. See also: the National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government.
To learn more about event and festival management, check out “Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals.” For those with event planning experience, consider, “Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Tools and Resources.” Both are written by internationally known author and speaker Lynn Fuhler and are available on Amazon and at major booksellers.