Volunteers are the heart of many nonprofit organizations. Without them, charities have a harder time accomplishing their goals. Volunteers are used in the for-profit industry as well, especially to plan and organize large events. Conducting an effective meeting for volunteers involves keeping their motivations in mind and respecting their needs. Volunteer motivations may vary among different participants but a few strategies can cover the bases for effective meetings.
Keep it Brief and On Time
Keep meetings as brief as possible and be respectful of your volunteers' time to be effective. Always keep in mind there is no official pay involved in exchange for their devotion. Instruct all presenters to keep their comments on point and know how to politely cut off windy participants. Poll the volunteers for good times of the day to meet and choose a time of day that works for most of them.
Keep It Relevant
When you make the meeting agenda, include topics that feature relevant information. Be careful not to bog down the meeting with superfluous topics. For example, if you are conducting a volunteer orientation for an upcoming charity rummage sale, stick to topics about organizing, taking money or other duties that volunteers will be doing. It's best to not overwhelm them with maintenance for facility issues that coordinators will manage.
Break It Up
For larger events, break up volunteer meetings into smaller groups to focus on their specific tasks to make the meetings more effective. At a larger event, such as a major sporting event, tasks may be broken up into types of responsibilities, such as greeters, ticket takers and security. Rather than having one large meeting covering all topics, have specific meetings in which different task groups learn about their individual roles and have a chance to bond with each other before the event.
Make It Worthwile
It's hard to have an effective meeting with no attendees. At the end of the day, volunteers are donating their time so give them an incentive to attend the meeting. Keep the get-together lighthearted and express gratitude for their time. Give away door prizes to people in attendance, such as T-shirts, backstage passes or other behind-the-scenes perks.
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