How to Empower Event Volunteers to Be More Effective: 5 Tips

Volunteers can help take your events to the next level, but how can you empower them to be as effective as possible?

How to Empower Event Volunteers to Be More Effective: 5 Tips

Are you realising the full potential of your event volunteer team? 

Volunteers offer expertise and assistance for a variety of challenges, and their willingness to serve keeps your organisation at the top of its game. That said, if you do not communicate effectively or provide adequate resources, you run the risk of underutilising your volunteers. 

Don’t let this happen! Instead, take intentional steps to engage your volunteers in a way that honors their desire to serve. With a fully empowered volunteer team, you’ll reap the benefits of enhanced engagement and improved operational efficiency. 

Not to mention, volunteers will be able to take pride in the good work they provide your organisation. In this guide, we’ve outlined five strategies you can use to empower your event volunteers for a win-win relationship. Let’s dive in!

1. Hone your volunteer recruitment process. 

A well structured volunteer recruitment process will save your organisation time in the long run by attracting volunteers who align with your values and provide meaningful help. Right off the bat, here are a few key strategies to boost your recruitment processes:

  • Use multiple channels. A multichannel marketing approach will widen your reach and increase the likelihood of finding more like-minded individuals. By using a blend of social media, email, and your website, you’ll spread the word faster.
  • Have existing volunteers act as ambassadors. Your existing volunteers are powerful resources for your recruitment efforts. Tap into their passion and authenticity to inspire others to join. You can do this by hosting an existing volunteer Q&A, posting volunteer website testimonials, or posting a volunteer “day in the life” on social media. 
  • Collaborate with community partners. Local organisations, schools, and businesses can introduce you to new audiences. Collaborate with these communities regularly to see how you can create a mutually beneficial relationship. For instance, one business could provide a nonprofit event venue in exchange for a sponsorship opportunity. 
  • Make the application process easy. Implement a streamlined application process so no one falls through the cracks. Incorporate user-friendly forms that only ask for necessary information like the volunteers’ names, contact information, skills, interests, and availability. Luckily, when you post your opportunity on Deedmob, applying only takes 3 clicks!

By putting the work in beforehand, your organisation will be able to secure capable and enthusiastic volunteers to promote your cause and lean into community partners for present and future support.

2. Provide thorough training. 

Detailed training will equip your volunteers with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to perform their tasks in an efficient manner. In turn, this will make them an even more reliable resource should any unexpected events arise. To keep your volunteers sharp, your organisation should offer specialised training for subjects like: 

  • Registration. Walk volunteers through the registration process and prepare them to answer any frequently asked questions regarding cost, dress code, and location specifics such as parking. 
  • Crowd management. Prepare your volunteers for crowd management by covering the event’s layout, expected attendance, and any off-limits areas. Make sure all volunteers can offer helpful directions and de-escalate any potential conflicts with professionalism.
  • Emergencies. Go through key evacuation protocols including emergency communication response and associated crowd communication. Hold a few mock drills to ensure volunteers can perform their tasks should a crisis arise.
  • Software. Technical volunteers should be well versed in event-specific software. For instance, when running an auction, your volunteers should know how to navigate online payment processes, item catalogs, and bid sheets

Consider running through a few role playing scenarios for volunteers to get used to any new protocols or communication techniques. For example, you might explain how to address guest complaints in a polite and helpful manner. Providing training like this ahead of time will ensure your volunteers are thoroughly prepared for any situation that might come their way, or at least know who to contact. 

3. Clearly communicate your expectations for the event. 

For optimal coordination, communicate your event expectations to your volunteers. This means taking extra time to discuss the ins and outs of each volunteer role and offering additional time for questions. Review the following items to make sure everyone is on the same page:

  • Code of conduct. This document should cover behavior expectations, attire, safety and security, consequences for violations and any regulatory compliance. Make sure every volunteer understands how to act with professionalism and tact so they can represent your organisation well. 
  • Accessibility and inclusivity. Cover expectations related to sustaining an inclusive environment that welcomes people from all backgrounds and life experiences. 
  • Reporting order. Provide clear instructions on who each volunteer should report to, how often they will be reporting to them, and any changes that have occurred in respect to the leadership chain. 
  • Volunteer support and contacts. Clearly explain who volunteers are to contact for questions or where they can find additional resources. For instance, if you have a volunteer handbook, explain what each section entails. 
  • Schedule and logistics. Review the event day schedule, so volunteers know when they should arrive and how long every activity should last. Consider going over alternative logistics for unfair weather conditions and any other necessary backup plans. 

Keep all of this information in an accessible and organised online document for easy reference. This way, volunteers can quickly find guidance when they need it. You might consider hosting in-person or virtual training sessions as well to coordinate your game plan before event day.

4. Lean into delegation and team work. 

Each volunteer brings different strengths and experiences to the table, and you can play off their individual expertise to maximise your effectiveness. Remember to pay attention to volunteers who express interest in a particular task as well to honor their preferences.

For instance, if someone on your volunteer team has advanced technical skill, you can plan for them to assist with virtual charity event set-up and monitoring. CharityBids’ guide to virtual events recommends performing a virtual “dress rehearsal” to make sure all tech is working and tech volunteers are well-equipped. This will also ensure your technical volunteers feel ready. 

Reference your volunteer applications and volunteer base to manage your team with individual strengths in mind. Look for opportunities to delegate tasks based on listed previous experience and preferences. Then you can spread the work evenly while building a reliable community of volunteers without anyone experiencing burnout or underutilisation. 

5. Show your event volunteers your appreciation. 

Volunteer appreciation is a surefire way to increase volunteer retention as everyone likes to be acknowledged for their hard work. Take time to recognise your volunteers to signal how important they are to your cause.

There are several strategies you can adopt to show your gratitude. If you’re new to volunteer appreciation, however, refer to these simple strategies to get started:

  • Write thank you notes. Personalised volunteer thank you notes are an effective way to thank volunteers individually with their distinct skills and engagement history in mind. 
  • Deliver gifts. Gift cards, thank-you baskets, and branded merchandise work well for saying thank you while reminding volunteers of your cause.
  • Create a volunteer of the month program. If applicable, your organisation can start a volunteer of the month program to honor volunteers regularly. Assign a specific gift with the title and consider giving them a shoutout on your social media.

In some cases, there will be a volunteer that goes above and beyond. For these volunteers, eCardWidget’s volunteer retention guide suggests offering a full time position. Because their dedicated work has already showcased a commitment to your organisation they should be high on your list when a new position opens. 


Your event volunteers freely offer their time and talents to be of use. Take advantage of their availability and expertise by equipping them with the tools they need to succeed. Then, they’ll be ready to respond with confidence to whatever the event day brings

Some highlights of 5 years at Deedmob

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Gerbrand Holland

Growth Manager

Gerbrand Holland is Growth Manager at Deedmob