Good volunteers can be hard to find, so when you find them how do you make the most of them? Here are some tips based on what we've observed at hundreds of fundraising events over the years.
1. Adding Value
Your volunteers are often your sales people so, as in any sales situation adding value goes a long way. Good volunteers often volunteer to help guests with things unrelated to fundraising activities, from tracking down the right person to find the answer to a question, to chasing down drinks that were ordered but never arrived. Essentially, they make themselves as useful as possible rather standing idle for hours and only springing into action when they are required to sell.
We recommend you brief you volunteers to offer a "Personal Shopper" service to any guests wishing to take part in your auction. This is a nice way to interact with the room and ensure there are no bids left on the table. GalaBid's electronic bidding platform allows volunteers to do this from iPads so they can browse a catalogue of items and images and discuss with the guest what they'd like to bid on. Most guests will do this themselves from their own mobiles but it's always nice to offer that extra service and support and make your guests feel that extra bit special.
2. Location, location, location
Start by having the most outgoing volunteers in the pre-dinner drinks area to introduce the silent auction to guests. If using GalaBid's platform and you have iPads available, have the volunteers register guests who haven't pre-registered. That way all the guest will need to do is click the link they receive to their mobile to view items and place bids. They won't even need to put their drink down.
During the event volunteers should know which tables they are allocated to and what times are critical for them to be visible to their guests. You'll want to make sure your volunteers are in position during the last ten minutes of the silent auction, in case someone wants to place at the last second bid via an iPad.
3. Streamlining Processes
There are lot of tasks that suck up a huge amount of volunteers' time at events that simply don't need to. At GalaBid we've been focusing on the payment and checkout area to help make this a faster and less resource intensive part of the evening. After raising more funds, this is more often than not our clients' next most important priority.
We recommend eliminating paper invoices as printing them often makes for longer lines and frustrated guests. It's also useful for guests to receive one invoice for everything they donate, win or purchase. This will save your staff or volunteers valuable time creating multiple invoices.
Paying for an invoice should also be quick and easy so guests can simply pick up their items and continue enjoying their evening. Nobody enjoys queuing: be it for the bathroom, bar, a competition or to pick up a winning prize; so making sure the payment process is quick and easy will mean more people will want to participate the following year.
Most of our clients offer payment via the guest's own mobile phones so they can skip the payment line altogether. Doing this will delight your guests and you'll need less staff at the payment desk.
If you don't have enough volunteer staff or you would rather free up their time then consider outsourcing some tasks to a services company. GalaBid staff can come to your event, your auction, brief and support your own volunteers and run your payment desk for you. Our staff have years of experience of fundraising events and fundraising technology.