Harness Their Power

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How to Utilize Volunteers in Virtual Events

By now, just about everyone has had a physical event impacted by current health and safety guidelines. “Out of an abundance of caution” has probably been used in many mass emails, and more and more nonprofits are turning their attention to organizing creative online events (to see a partial list of the tools we have available click here).

But to be successful, a virtual event cannot just be the physical event with a Zoom chatroom replacing a hotel ballroom. To really succeed, you need to redirect the resources, passion and creativity to meet the demands and advantages of the new platform.

And a great place to start is with your volunteers.

Almost every great event, from a gala to a 5K, has one common element: the presence of committed volunteers who dedicate themselves to the event’s success.

But a virtual event doesn’t need a coat check, has no use for a check-in table, and doesn’t need anyone to spin the roulette wheel.

So how do you make the most of your valuable assets – namely, your volunteers? By utilizing them before and after the event.

Pre-event volunteer opportunities

·         Signal boost – Develop social sharing messaging for your event and encourage volunteers to organically spread the word.

·         Challenge accepted – Ask volunteers to make a pre-event donation and challenge their network to match it

·         Sponsor Realtionships – Have volunteers share messaging that acknowledges and thanks sponsors, helping to replace the in-event thanks you might normally utilize. This is also a good place to incorporate video. And remember to ask volunteers for ideas for new sponsors.

·         Tech support – There will be brand new tech challenges with a virtual event, Check your volunteer pool for expertise and resources that might help you to meet those challenges.

And perhaps the most impactful opportunity

·         Make it personal – Right now your constituents’ newsfeeds and inboxes are more packed than ever. And so are the resources of the local media outlets you usually partner with for event promotion. So this is the perfect time to extend a personal appeal for event participation. Ask volunteers to write cards, make calls and, in general, add a personal touch to getting the word out about your event and promoting the impact it will have on your mission.

Post-Event Volunteer Opportunities

·         Recap – Create a quick survey to get feedback from your volunteers. They will be the most likely to provide an honest opinion and insights.

·         Reshare – Utilize your volunteers’ social networks to share event pictures, videos and recaps to keep momentum and donations rolling

·         Reply – Have volunteers again help to add a personal touch to thanking participants, sponsors and donors. AND have them check in with non-participants to see why the opportunity might have been lost

Volunteers are often the backbone of any physical event. There’s no reason to lose the talent and time they provide when an event goes online.

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