Empowering your staff & volunteers

We’ve all been there before. You’re organising an event or two, you’re already stressed with things to be organised, calls to make, staff to recruit. Having three more people phone in to check if they’re working on the weekend, or to find out if there’s any work for the weekend can then be the tipping point.

There’s a multitude of things that given the chance, your events staff and volunteers can help with, including finding information out for themselves however some of your staff might not be able to do this, or would still rather call you. There may be a portion of your staff and volunteers who aren’t the best with technology, don’t have a smart phone or don’t know what their schedule is that far in advance.

If it saves even a¬†few minutes of your day then it’s worth investing the time to set up a process which lets your staff find out the answers for themselves.

If you spend a few mins each week implementing something which works for your team, then it means that you save those few minutes later in the week (sometimes many times over) when you’re a little busier.

It also means you can expand and hopefully not have to hire additional staff to cope with the increase in calls and queries, as what works for 10 people generally will work for 20 or 50!


This could be as simple as putting up a printout of the latest info on a noticeboard during your training nights each week. It could be emailing out the rosters to everyone so they know which events are still understaffed and which are already filled.

Here are a few ideas;

  • Send out regular newsletters with the latest news, changes and things which have happened over the past few weeks
  • Email out rosters to everyone so they know what is filled and what isn’t
  • Pass on understaffed shifts in advance so your staff can make time or let you know in advance if they can or can’t make it
  • Let your team know about changes — it’s even worse if someone hears it through the grape vine. This can be particularly detrimental for shift cancellations or time changes.

Giving up responsibility can be particularly hard, but it wil be a relief once you start seeing the results.

What else?

Giving people information is only the first step. Empowering them to do things for themselves can also mean giving them the tools to do more. This could be in the form of:

  • Updating their contact details or filling in any blanks which were previously missing
  • Letting you know about new skills and qualifications they might have
  • Passing on when they’re available (or on holidays)
  • Swapping shifts with other colleagues
    (this is sometimes a little trickier than it sounds if you’ve got particular skills required for certain jobs)

Try to think of all the things your events staff & volunteers typically need help with or have queries about, and automate it.

Ok, and then what?

Depending on your staff and volunteers, you might want to expand the list above to also include things like:

  • Re-stocking vehicles and work kits
  • Putting together reports from their shifts and events
  • Encouraging people to sign up to shifts weeks or months (or even further) in advance. This gives you ample time to plan ahead when you’ve got more time on your hands

Every few months or perhaps more frequently, revisit your list of things which seem to be keeping you busy, and ask yourself if you really need to be doing this, or is there something which you can get others to help with or take on.

Hopefully this gives you a few ideas and ways which can take even just a little bit of pressure off your shoulders!

Saying thank you to your staff and volunteers can mean the world to them
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