webmasterJune 5, 2014June 5, 2014Whether you are new to the meeting industry or a veteran, the goal of most events is to grow them. Sometimes you get your wish and voilà you are faced with a difficult decision: Do you go to your boss and ask for a bigger budget for manpower, or do you try and cut a few things out? Believe it or not, it is possible to keep your budget intact and grow your manpower. How? Through the power of a great volunteer base, of course! Here are a few great tips and techniques to bring volunteers in and keep them coming back year-after-year. Define the Give and the Get Before you get too excited about the prospect of having “free” labor, you need to define the following: How many hours are your volunteers expected to work over the course of conference? Are you going to provide them with shirts and badges to indicate they are volunteers? (I would highly recommend it) What areas do you need help with? One of the places most associations need help with is in the area of technology. If you are renting iPads, perhaps you can have technology volunteers that can teach attendees about the ins and outs of this mobile device. If you are utilizing one or more apps, perhaps you have a “Geek Patrol” teaching people about the app use and navigational system. What is the volunteer going to receive in return? Free admission, VIP access to keynote speakers and a digital advertisement highlighting their company are all good incentives. Maximize and Match the Volunteers Appropriately There are too many individuals dedicated to one area There are not enough volunteers in another and The match is or isn’t right Some organizations are afraid to turn individuals away but the reality is, if someone is underused, overworked or not matched appropriately they will not return. “A lot of our volunteers return year-after-year simply because they enjoy helping the convention come together. We have found that matching a volunteer with where they truly want to work is really important. Keep the volunteer happy and they will return,” stated Laura Morris, Vice President and Event Planner for A-Kon, a 22,000 person event anime-based convention. How to Reach Volunteers After you have identified your needs, the number of volunteers in each area and what you expect from them – now it is time to recruit. Here are some ways to go about doing so: Let them know through your website, blog and social channels Ask them which areas they would like to work in and the order of priority. Ask for feedback before, during and after the conference. At the conference, use a polling app on your Apple rentals. Continue to monitor social channels before and after the event. And remember to solicit volunteers year-around! About Us Hartford Technology Rental is the leading national provider of short-term technology rental solutions. Give us a call at 888.520. 5667 to learn how we can help with your next event!