Volunteer Recruitment and Management

by Sue Dockstader – Rally Ambassador & Contributing Blogger

October 27, 2015

Elk Point Country Club_60414_SD_VolunteersMost Rally events are created when friends get together because they share an interest in golf, tennis or another activity and the group collectively decides to support the goals of Rally for the Cure. With a close knit group, you may feel confident you have all the help you need, and may give the impression that you don’t need or want new volunteers. But people relocate, change jobs and adjust schedules and you may suddenly need new recruits.

Finding Volunteers

  • Ask your existing group to enlist their friends by sharing their passion for the success of your event.
  • Do you have a neighborhood email list, community magazine, or local newspaper to send out a general “volunteers wanted” message?
  • Always share a clear description of what is required, include a completion date and the approximate amount of time needed.

Consider these alternatives:

  • “Wanted – volunteers to help run Rally for the Cure Event”


  • “Our community breast cancer fundraiser needs your help! Can you devote a few hours a week to finding unique auction items, preparing descriptions for bid sheets and setting up a display of the items at the clubhouse on Friday, September 18?”
  • People tend to ignore vague requests for help, but with a little more detail you are more likely to catch someone’s attention.
  • Host a simple “kick-off” meeting to help new volunteers get acquainted with your team and sign up for committee needs and other volunteer opportunities.

Stay open to new ideas, and create a reputation as a warm and friendly group, always happy to receive new team members.
What motivates your team?

Many Rally volunteers are totally committed to promoting awareness and raising funds for Komen. Other volunteers might be your friends and neighbors and want to support you, and will in turn enlist their friends who participate for the same reasons. Still others might be new to your community and see involvement with Rally as a way to make friends and connections.

Volunteers’ different motivations means you need a varied approach to finding volunteers and keeping them engaged and returning to your event year after year. Word of mouth is still the best way to develop relationships and add to your volunteer pool.

Volunteer Retention and Management

Volunteers do not always have the same level of commitment as paid employees, and so team management can be challenging. Setting clear expectations, with good task descriptions and helpful checklists can help avoid misunderstandings and keep planning on track.  Ask your volunteers to update your checklists as planning proceeds, so new ideas or revisions are automatically included.WedgewoodGCC_63121_MI_5_sign-ups Creating a list or database of people’s skills and interests will save time when a new task needs to be assigned. By collecting these details when you gather basic contact information, you will know who to call when you need to design a flyer, plan putting games or navigate mail-merge to send thank you letters.

Try to ensure volunteer time is not wasted. Imagine showing up to stuff goody bags, or set up a silent auction, only to find the donations haven’t arrived. Volunteer time is a precious commodity to be valued and used wisely.

Be Appreciative!

Whether someone spent hours planning and executing your event, or handled one shift at the registration table, it is vital to thank everyone involved so they know their contributions are appreciated.

Riha & Kahler checkin

Try to plan a “wrap – up” celebration for volunteers to share attendance and fundraising totals and encourage dialogue about what worked and where changes may be needed.  You want your volunteers to know they have made a difference contributing to an efficient and well run event, have enjoyed working with friendly organized people and can’t wait to get started on planning for next year. They will share their enthusiasm with their friends and be happy to recruit new team members, ensuring you have a continual stream of volunteers to form a vibrant Rally team.