• Nonprofit Learning Lab

Prepping Your Volunteers for Fall Events


As we move into September and towards the fall, many organizations are hoping to bring their volunteers back together, in virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. After a long summer and with the school calendar having more sway over people’s schedules, it may be difficult to find the numbers of volunteers in the fall that you had in the summer months. Combine this challenge with the potential obstacles of holding indoor events during a pandemic, and many volunteers might feel hesitant to continue to join you in your mission. To help you out, we’ve included a few tips and tricks to prep your volunteers for fall events to get the most out of their time and yours. Hoping to learn more about volunteer management? Take a look at our How to Train, Engage, and Retain Virtual Volunteers and How to Manage Difficult Volunteers workshops today.

  • Have a Backup Plan for Your Backup Plan - and Let Them Know

  • People like to be kept in the loop. Before health-related safety issues were at the forefront of our event creation, we always had plans for things like inclement weather or technology malfunctions - and let our volunteers in on the plan. By doing so, they were ready to help transition events into a new space, and by having a say in how alternative plans were implemented, had ownership over the process. If you have planned an in-person event that may not take place, let your volunteers know ahead of time what the hybrid or virtual plans are. Get their feedback - it may take your backup plan to the next level as they know their setup process likely better than those further up the line.


  • Find the Right Volunteers for the Job

  • If recruiting new volunteers for the fall, ask about their flexibility in scheduling. Are they collected under pressure, and can take a change in direction easily. You will always want to match volunteers with the right position, but keep an eye out for skills or backgrounds that might help you lead in a time of crisis, or be able to keep up morale should an event or program not go according to plan.


  • Make Sure Your Volunteers Know Their Platforms

  • With Zoom, GoTo, HopIn, Gatherly, and more, the amount of options we have to meet online nowadays is stunning. If your organization has a preferred method of meeting and won’t be changing it anytime soon, this may save you time down the road as you won’t have to retrain for new software. However, a new volunteer may come in with expertise on a certain platform, and make you rethink what is possible in the virtual space. Taking all this into account, what is important to keep in mind is keeping all volunteers’ skill sets up to date, whether it be on the latest Zoom features, or trying out a new platform. In doing so, you’ll already have an arsenal of potential tech support to help out with events, and cut down on the questions coming from virtual attendees, be they volunteers or guests.

Many organizations rely on the time, effort, and passion put in by volunteers to make their mission possible. Keeping your volunteers prepared for whatever might come their way will keep them happy and committed to their positions within your group. You’ll quickly watch them rise to challenges as they continue to serve as the foundational asset in any event. Hoping to learn more about volunteer management? Take a look at our How to Train, Engage, and Retain Virtual Volunteers and How to Manage Difficult Volunteers workshops today.