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This committee holds the responsibility for volunteer activities.  They work with all other committees to determine volunteer needs, then liaise with volunteer “captains” for each major event area. They create a list of tasks; solicit volunteers; maintain a list of assignments; and coordinate volunteer training.          


Ideas & Inspirations 





•  Magic Numbers 
   The number of volunteers you need totally depends on the level of service
   your event space provides. Think set- up, auction set-up, 
 check in, food,
   wineries, vendors, greeters, breakdown, etc. Reach out to each committee
   chair and ask them how many people they 
need to execute their tasks. The 
   volunteers report to their captains, who attend a logistics and site meeting
   the week before; hence 
they know the event details and dynamics. All
   captains have walkie-talkies.

•  Volunteer Attire
   It's helpful (and attractive!) to have your volunteers dressed in uniform 
   outfits so they're easily identified.  The Napa 2013 event had the adorable
   pink shirts (at left) and black bottoms, pants or skirts.

•  Free Muscle
   Mobilize local students—firefighter & police academy, athletic teams, et al.,
   to help vendors and staff set up, break down, and carry heavy items

  Hospitable Help
   Encourage volunteers to always act friendly & helpful toward guests. 
   Choose the nicest volunteers for positions interacting directly 
with guests,
   especially those giving first impressions at check-in.

•  Auction Acclaim   
   Assign volunteers to cheer & encourage bidders whenever someone bids
 the auction (see below left photo)

•  Marketplace Mavens
   For the markeplace, assign at least one volunteer for each out-of-town
   vendor to assist with payment, set-up, etc.

•  Pre-Event Pep 
   Hold a pre-event line up with the volunteers.  If they are pouring wine, instruct
   them not to over-pour.

•  Do Unto Others...
   Be nice to volunteers!  The word gets out for next year, and they can make a
   huge impact on the quality of your event.  Definitely 
send out a thank you
 and consider holding a post-event volunteer thank you party.



 Helpful organizational documents:


              •  Sample Availability chart day of event
              •  Sample Volunteer Sign Up List
              •  Sample Event Day Volunteer Assignment Spreadsheet 



 Sample Timelines & Checklists


Sample Timeline

Six months before event:

• Mark off the event for the day before the event, the day of the event, and the day after the event on your calendar. 

• Gather your committee members – five or six detail-oriented women and men(!) who are eager to engage their contacts for volunteer support for the weekend of the event. (set-up, day of, tear down).

• Consult with each committee chair to determine how many volunteers they will need for the event and what time they will need to be at the venue. Be realistic and think about dovetailing needs. You walk a fine line of too few volunteers and being inundated with workers who finish a task quickly and are quite reasonably looking for something else to do. Sometimes it helps to think how long it would take you to do a task.

• Try not to promise specific jobs to specific people. This makes the logistics much more complicated the day of.

• Expect a 10% no-show and plan a group of flexible volunteers willing to jump in on the day of. It will not be a problem to have 10% too many volunteers!

• Check-in:

- 6-8 volunteers at check in tables
- 2-3 greeters
- 2-3 volunteers handing out wine glasses and explaining that this will be their glass for the afternoon 

• Request committee chairs to help develop the volunteer pool. Consider requesting a specific number from each chair. Give them a goal! 

• Choose a volunteer coordinating ‘lieutenant’.  Probably someone on your committee who is involved in the minutia with you. This person needs to be, organized, a good problem solver, cool and calm under pressure, and work well with all sorts of personalities. He or she will probably be on their feet much of for the day before the event, the day of the event, and the day after the event, so think about physical abilities as well. 

• Plan to have a few ‘floaters’ on hand who are willing to run last minute errands, make last minute communications or provide support if ‘challenges’ arise. Consider having a floater dedicated to your requests and/or your lieutenant’s requests

• Start developing Day Of Event guidelines.

Day of event guidelines: 

• Timeline - in collaboration with logistics committee and other chairs (i.e. fashion show, parking, shuttle, and auction etc). Consider assigning this to your task group leader. This will make them more invested in their specific task area and help develop relationships before the day of the event. It also puts a few layers between you and the volunteer pool so that you are not in the position of answering every minute question that arises. 

• Develop volunteer job descriptions and hours required. (CHARITY can provide support in this area) Much of this is venue specific. Work with Logistics Committee to designate at least one volunteer to monitor and distribute materials to volunteers. (trash cans, can liners, decorations, linens, tables, chairs etc)

• Think through specifics of your volunteer needs and guidelines. For example, professional etiquette description for the event (e.g. one glass of wine if 21+, no swearing, nothing too low cut or short, comfortable shoes, etc.) 

• Volunteer dress code (may be different for different roles; may require flats not heal on the lawn); instructing volunteers that children cannot accompany them; when and if volunteers may have a glass of wine, peruse the vendors or participate in auction bidding; where the volunteer bathrooms and food/water station will be located. 

• Identify lead for each volunteer task group. Each distinct group of volunteers (i.e. fashion show, set up, trash, etc.) should have a lead. The lead should report to your lieutenant. You should not assign yourself any task for the event. General oversight will give you plenty to do!

• Start soliciting volunteer groups (e.g. church groups, high school sports teams, fire or police departments)

- As you collect volunteer names, record their address, e-mail and phone numbers on the master list. You will need a cell phone number for the day of the event. 

- Send date, time and venue address to each volunteer 

- Communicate contact information for their task group leader. This will insure that you do not receive every call asking ‘where should I park, what time should I be there, should I bring my own food…”

- Provide the ‘guidelines’ you have developed

- Communicate exactly when volunteers can expect future communications from you. This will pre-empt calls from your hyper diligent folks! Communication example: “You will receive a reminder email the week of __XX__ that will have event details. You will receive a second reminder email the week before the event.”

• Create a Best Practices binder for your committee. You will hand this off to the chair for next year’s event. Items to include:

Committee time line

List of contacts and contact information (with important notes)

What worked/what didn’t

Budget (with important notes)

Day of event notes

Suggestions for next year


Five months before event:

• Check in with committee chairs regarding contacts for volunteer pool 

• Confirm number or volunteers needed by each committee chair

• Continue to solicit external groups for volunteer support 


Four months before event:

• This is a good goal date to have all volunteers lined up 

• Work with logistics chair to be sure all supplies will be on hand for your volunteers. (For example: If volunteers will be placing trash containers and lining them with bags, logistics will insure that the cans and bags are at the venue)

• Work with CHARITY and logistics committee chair to create an event map to be distributed to volunteers. CHARITY can also help with design and production.

• Decide if food or snacks will be provided (water is a must!). Coffee and tea are always well-received by early morning folks. Volunteers will have limited (if any) access to vendor food, so plan instructions accordingly for day of – A good budget middle-ground is to request volunteers to bring a bag lunch/breakfast and we provide beverages and a snack. 

• Designate specific break times and location. This gives you a chance to address all volunteers at the same time – good last minute communication opportunity, allows volunteers who are there for extended hours to get off of their feet for a few minutes and prevents random breaks. 

• Determine a volunteer assembly area in collaboration with logistics committee. Insure there are chairs for volunteers to get off their feet for a few minutes, shade, water, tables. Consider where volunteers will secure their personal belongings.


One month before event:

• Confirm date and times with each volunteer – the communication mentioned above. This could be managed by each task leader who would then report to your lieutenant and then to you. Be sure every communication says ‘thank you!”

• Send each volunteer the location address, directions, job descriptions, where to report, volunteer guidelines (attire requirements, professional etiquette description for the event (e.g. one glass of wine if 21+, no swearing, nothing too low cut or short, comfortable shoes, etc)

• Get walkie-talkies from Sunny Hills. Charge, test, practice, buy extra batteries. These will be distributed to key people. You, your lieutenant, logistics chair etc.

• Gather materials – clipboards, pens, notepads, a few band-aids, sunscreen etc.


Two weeks before event:

• Hand off your home/family/professional duties. Figure out coverage at work, meals, carpools etc for your family for the weekend of the event. Take care of yourself!


One week before event:

• Send final confirmation with any last minute changes to each volunteer (or task leader)

• Meet with task leaders to review their various chores, materials they will need, who to check in with and the concept of finishing one chore and reporting in for direction to move to another area.

• Make name tags with a ‘Volunteer’ designation (CHARITY can work with WWS to create these)

• Purchase supplies (food, water, first aid, etc.) 


Day before event:

• Charge your cell phone! 

• Have some cash on hand for last minute runs to the store (your floater)

• Charge walkie talkies. This is your task because you absolutely need to be sure that it happens.

• Gather handouts and materials

• Be sure you have food, beverages, change of clothes or shoes – everything you need to be comfortable for a few long days!

• Create a checklist for yourself to review before leaving home. You don’t want to have to go back!

• Get a great night’s sleep! 


Day of the event:

• Set up volunteer check-in table

- You should be first on site and last to leave for your committee
- Thank your volunteers
- Task assignments printed
- Name tags
- Contact information spreadsheet
- Water
- Maps of venue – one per volunteer
- Instruct volunteer task leaders to report back to your lieutenant when their assignment has been completed. Your lieutenant should “sign-off’ on the task and then direct the volunteer to a new task or to assist another group. (Realistically, both you and your lieutenant will be coordinating this.) This prevents volunteers from completing a single task and then wandering. Volunteers come ready to work. It honors their commitment best to be organized and use them to their best capacity. 

• Send volunteers to meet with their contact person for a brief overview

• Have a volunteer call any volunteers who have not arrived 

• Check in with group leaders to see if they have everything they need 

End of Day:

• Do not release your volunteers until the last chore is completed and you have walked the site. Send groups to the various quadrants to insure no detail is left unattended to. You do not want to end up doing final touches for hours at the end of the day.

Thank your volunteers and release them

You and your lieutenant should do one last walk through to insure that every chore is completed.

Have a glass of wine! Celebrate your amazing accomplishment!


Week after the event:

• As soon as possible, write down your notes from the event.   What worked? What would you change for next time? This will be incredibly
  useful for next year’s committee chair.

• Send a thank you note to your volunteers. CHARITY can help with notepaper and production.  Here's a sample:


Hi Geniuses, 
I want to offer a huge shout out of thanks to you all for your participation on Friday. The e-auction brought in $433,000, a full $83,000 more than last year, and the Auction brought in an astounding total of $16.9 mil! 
You helped to raise awareness, you took bids, you talked to wineries about promoting their lots, you made a difference to Napa with the money you helped to raise, and you were generally fabulous. We so appreciate you and all your do. Without the volunteers, there is no Auction. 
The volunteer party is June 27 at William Hill Winery from 5 pm to 7 pm. I hope to see you all there. 
Thank you again!!


• Return any CHARITY supplies to the CHARITY

• Return your event binders to CHARITY at the wrap up meeting

• Continue to bask in the afterglow of a job well done!

Start working on a volunteer "Thank You" party.  



 Lessons Learned



     •  Expect a 10% no-show and plan a group of flexible volunteers willing to jump in on the day of. 
        It will not be a problem to have 10% too many volunteers!

     •  Ensure that the volunteers know to report to the volunteer captains in their assigned committee--not the
        volunteer committee




 Sample Documents




 (For Viewing & Downloading)


 Sample Availability chart day of event

Sample Volunteer Sign Up List

Sample Event Day Volunteer Assignments