Worried at the last minute? No problem! If you've planned your project thoroughly and you're prepared to handle the logistics of the day, you shouldn't have any trouble. Here’s a quick checklist to help you think through the project details and your role as the project manager.
Arrive early: Verify that all materials are ready and tasks are assigned. Organize tools and materials in the space where they will be used. Set up stations for registration, water, first aid, etc. Verify that facilities are open and available (restrooms, electricity, etc.). Set out trash containers for easy access throughout the site. Hang project signage. Secure on-site storage, if necessary. Verify safety procedures, contingency plans, emergency call list, and other project details.
Volunteer Registration: Welcome and register all volunteers. Have volunteers sign waiver of liability and/or photo release, if necessary. Distribute name tags for all volunteers and staff. Distribute project T-shirts, if necessary. Offer brochures about your program or flyers about future volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer Orientation: Gather all volunteers together for welcome and orientation. Thank volunteers. Present brief overview of the program, the project, and the community issue you are addressing. Be sure to discuss the impact the project can have on the community. Review the schedule for the day. Motivate volunteers through a group cheer or other activity. Discuss safety procedures and other important details for the day. Divide volunteers into task groups, with a task leader for each.
During the Project
Motivate and encourage volunteers: Thank them for their service. Manage the volunteers’ time for effective service. Make sure each person has a task to complete. Prioritize tasks; complete the most important jobs first. At the half-way point, ask volunteers if there is too much or not enough to do. Have back-up projects available for extra work.
Monitor safety: Be available/accessible for answering questions and troubleshooting. Encourage all volunteers and staff to have fun!
Clean up: Conduct a final walk-through of the service site, checking that all tasks have been completed, trash disposed of, and tools/materials put away.
Gather volunteers together and review the accomplishments of the day: Facilitate a reflection activity. Solicit feedback through a formal or informal evaluation. Thank volunteers and tell them of future service opportunities.