Volunteers Extraordinaire!

We really couldn’t manage to put our events on without the support of a hard working team of volunteers. When we first started putting on festivals, we mostly thought about how volunteers could help us to staff our events, but over the last 9 years we’ve realised that investing time and effort in our volunteering processes offers huge benefits.
Having a good volunteering structure and procedure in place should make the volunteering experience invaluable both for the organisation and the individual.
Pulling together a comprehensive volunteering plan will help you focus your resources for recruitment and management of volunteers.
We start by thinking about the types of volunteers we might attract and what their motivations are for coming along, our volunteers for Timber fall mostly into the following groups:
  • Companies looking to fulfil their corporate and social responsibility (CSR)
  • Individuals hoping to gain work experience/training/skills
  • Individuals who are passionate about nature, those who see the health, wellbeing and creativity benefits of volunteering.
  • Community groups eg. scouts/guides

Some useful questions to help you write some clear guidelines that you can follow:
What is the minimum age you are happy to accept volunteers (think about whether your staff have DBS checks if expected to supervise under 18’s)
Do you already have a safeguarding procedure, if not you could need one if workmen with Young People or Vulnerable Adults.
What hours do you need volunteer to fulfil?
What will you offer to volunteers eg. travel expenses? food? training?
Who within your organisation will lead on this, taking responsibility for managing volunteers but also for ensuring their welfare, health and wellbeing?
What are the roles and responsibilities required?

  • How many volunteers do you need?
Over recruit because people will drop out, there’ll be unavoidable reasons why people can’t make it and you might not find this out until the day of the event. We usually try and recruit 20% more people than we will need. But don’t over recruit so much that you don’t have the resources to manage people properly, volunteers can feel quite deflated and demotivated if they have given up their time but then aren’t utilised and can’t add benefit.
  • Where to advertise your volunteer roles?
On your current marketing channels, social media, website, e-newsletter.
National volunteering websites like Do-It!  https://do-it.org
On you local council for voluntary services (CVS) website.
Through local universities, colleges and  press.
We often ask ourselves how can we make volunteering with us easy, and how can we make volunteering rewarding? Communicating with people regularly is really important, as well as stopping to think about the barriers to volunteering and how you can help break them down.
eg. location –  Is there a way of making it easier for people without their own transport to get to you? This could be a partnership with another group who have a mini bus, or simply sharing info about lift share opportunities (there are sites like Go Car share, which will facilitate this for you)
You can find out more about Wild Rumpus volunteer opportunities, see our adverts, some case studies and our recruitment forms and FAQ’s by following this link http://www.wildrumpus.org.uk/volunteer/