How to Engage and Manage a Dynamite Volunteer Host Committee

If you’re thinking, “managing volunteers is more work than it’s worth,” I hear you. I’ve learned first-hand that leading volunteers takes time, energy and just plain work. But, the rewards can be amazing! When done right, volunteers will become a valuable—and sometimes irreplaceable—asset to your organization.

Want to really raise awareness and money for your event? Follow these 4 Steps to increase your shot at a dynamite volunteer host committee that maximizes event fundraising.

Step #1:  Know what you want your committee to do

Be clear about what you are asking your committee to do. An effective Volunteer Host Committee advocates for your organization, raises awareness for your event, and sells tickets and sponsorships. Write down your expectations in a Volunteer Host Committee “job description” document. The job description is an overview of responsibilities and should include what is expected of each volunteer. Be specific!

For example, you may want each committee member to sell tickets to the event. Be sure to specify how many tickets each volunteer should sell. 10 tickets? 20 tickets? Or, if each committee member is to secure a sponsorship, be specific about the dollar level of sponsorship you are hoping they will secure.

Note that this is not a one-way document. In addition to volunteer expectations, you should outline the ways in which staff will support volunteer efforts. For example, will the staff provide printed and email event invitations, written proposals for sponsorships, thank you letters, other? Say so! It’s important that your volunteer host committee members know that they can count on you for support.

Step #2:  Get the “right” people on your committee

So, who are the “right” people? The right people for your committee have an interest in your mission. They are philanthropic and (ideally!) they have the means to support your organization. They are also are well-connected influencers. They have friends, family and colleagues who they will invite to attend and support your event (and, in turn, these folks will attend because they were invited by the “right” person).

To form your Volunteer Host Committee, start by making a target list of your ideal members. Be sure to start with existing super-star volunteers and Board members who already know and love your organization. For volunteer prospects who you don’t know, circulate your target list to Board members, leadership staff and other organizational stakeholders to see who knows them. After all, the best way to get a new volunteer is to have a current volunteer invite him or her to join the committee.

Step #3:  Communicate your expectations to committee members

Share the Volunteer Host Committee job description with each prospective committee member at the time they are invited to join. It’s much better to be clear about expectations upfront and have someone say no, than to mislead them just so they’ll say yes!

At your first committee meeting, be sure to review the job description together as a group. Answer any questions your volunteers might have. It’s a good idea to review the expectations on a regular basis at committee meetings and individually with each volunteer. Talking individually with volunteers will enable you to best support your volunteers’ efforts.

Step #4:  Recognize the efforts of your volunteers

This is super important! You must recognize and appreciate your volunteers for their time, energy, good ideas and connections. Do this as much and as often as possible. Ideas for recognizing your volunteers’ efforts include:

  • List volunteers in your event program and on event signage
  • List volunteers on your website
  • Recognize volunteers through social media
  • Have your emcee recognize the Host Committee at the event
  • Send individual thank you letters to volunteers
  • Deliver a thank-you gift to a volunteer’s home or office a few days after the event

There are many other ways to recognize—what are your suggestions?

Let us know if you try these Steps and how they work for you. And be sure to check out 10 Keys to Your Best Event Yet!

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