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Questions from a fellow regional burn planner

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  • soulfulstephey
    Hello from fabulous Maryland! Hey all-- my name is Jill and I help plan Playa Del Fuego, the mid atlantic regional burn that takes place every Memorial Day and
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 27, 2010
      Hello from fabulous Maryland!

      Hey all-- my name is Jill and I help plan Playa Del Fuego, the mid atlantic regional burn that takes place every Memorial Day and Columbus Day weekends. First, please let me say that I do not represent the PDF board of directors, and can't speak on their behalf. I'm solely on the planning committee. There, now that that's out of the way...

      I'd like to open up a discussion on some of the issues we face in planning our burn, and am hoping to tap on you all to see if you have better ideas or better organizational methods. I hope you don't mind, but seeing as how you are Burners, I'm betting it's alright.

      Our biggest problem this past burn, it seems, was getting enough volunteers to cover our greeter's station and ranger shifts. Despite having increased our ticket cap-- we're now up to 1250-- we still had problems filling shifts. We thought that with the increased number of participants that this wouldn't be a problem. But that wasn't the case.

      Could you let me know how you promote volunteerism? Currently, we have people sign up ahead of time on our website, and then we have a Participation Station on site where people can sign up. In addition, we have a volunteer appreciation party and hand out swag like buttons and laminates.

      Any input would be so appreciated! If you want to reach me directly, please send an email to jillnado@....

      Best,

      Jill
      Takoma Park, MD
    • Brianne
      I honestly think that most individuals don t know how needed volunteers really are. I know that we get more volunteers the more we chatter about it onlist. We
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 30, 2010
        I honestly think that most individuals don't know how needed volunteers
        really are. I know that we get more volunteers the more we chatter about it
        onlist. We literally beg, plead, and grovel. We jokingly force volunteer
        shifts on people. Volunteering is FUN - it's work, but it's more FUN than
        work. People just don't 'Get' that.

        If you have pictures of people volunteering and being silly - post them
        If you have newbies asking what to do and where to go - have them volunteer.
        Greeter shift is the best way to meet people and know your community.
        If you aren't posting your shift lists weekly - then start doing it

        I'm sure I'll come up with more later....

        smoooch!
        *bri

        On Sun, Jun 27, 2010 at 4:54 PM, soulfulstephey <soulfulstephey@...>wrote:

        >
        >
        > Hello from fabulous Maryland!
        >
        > Hey all-- my name is Jill and I help plan Playa Del Fuego, the mid atlantic
        > regional burn that takes place every Memorial Day and Columbus Day weekends.
        > First, please let me say that I do not represent the PDF board of directors,
        > and can't speak on their behalf. I'm solely on the planning committee.
        > There, now that that's out of the way...
        >
        > I'd like to open up a discussion on some of the issues we face in planning
        > our burn, and am hoping to tap on you all to see if you have better ideas or
        > better organizational methods. I hope you don't mind, but seeing as how you
        > are Burners, I'm betting it's alright.
        >
        > Our biggest problem this past burn, it seems, was getting enough volunteers
        > to cover our greeter's station and ranger shifts. Despite having increased
        > our ticket cap-- we're now up to 1250-- we still had problems filling
        > shifts. We thought that with the increased number of participants that this
        > wouldn't be a problem. But that wasn't the case.
        >
        > Could you let me know how you promote volunteerism? Currently, we have
        > people sign up ahead of time on our website, and then we have a
        > Participation Station on site where people can sign up. In addition, we have
        > a volunteer appreciation party and hand out swag like buttons and laminates.
        >
        > Any input would be so appreciated! If you want to reach me directly, please
        > send an email to jillnado@... <jillnado%40hotmail.com>.
        >
        > Best,
        >
        > Jill
        > Takoma Park, MD
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • bill keiser
        at TFUS last week, i think shifts were filled up pretty well. (don t quote me on that) - you can announce that the event will have an attendance cap dependent
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 30, 2010
          at TFUS last week, i think shifts were filled up pretty well. (don't
          quote me on that)

          - you can announce that the event will have an attendance cap
          dependent on the volunteer participation. for each event, the cap will
          be calculated by the number of volunteer slots were filled(and actually
          show up!). it has always been my personal philosophy that there is no
          need to grow your burner community too fast. virgins are yummy, but too
          many at once are hard to assimilate. (see the current discussion on the
          TFUS list on this)

          - one of our theme camps offers an extravagant buffet for all
          volunteers. additional swag has been shoulder bags, flashlights, etc.
          useful swag is probably better appreciated than souvenir buttons that
          you can only hang on your souvenir wall. (how many gift necklaces can
          you wear at once?!)

          billy sharpstick - tampa

          > Hello from fabulous Maryland!
          >
          >
          >
          > Our biggest problem this past burn, it seems, was getting enough volunteers to cover our greeter's station and ranger shifts. Despite having increased our ticket cap-- we're now up to 1250-- we still had problems filling shifts. We thought that with the increased number of participants that this wouldn't be a problem. But that wasn't the case.
          >
          > Could you let me know how you promote volunteerism? . . . In addition, we have a volunteer appreciation party and hand out swag like buttons and laminates.
          >
          >
          > Jill
          > Takoma Park, MD
        • jason
          I find a little bit of feigned disappointment goes a long way. Talk to people that you don t recognize, and ask them what volunteer shifts they re doing.
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 30, 2010
            I find a little bit of feigned disappointment goes a long way. Talk to
            people that you don't recognize, and ask them what volunteer shifts they're
            doing. Then act a little disappointed that they aren't volunteering. If
            they show interest in volunteering, or offer up an excuse, show them how to
            sign up. :)

            Also, when I'm doing a shift like portapotty duty, I'll recruit virgins to
            come with me. They find out how easy it is, and how not gross it is, and at
            the end of the shift you drop them off at the volunteer sign up sheet and
            encourage them to sign up for something.

            my two pence
            _trash


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • SigneS
            Hi Jill, I used to to be the Outreach Coordinator at WMNF, our local community radio station. Over the years, I recruited and worked with hundreds of
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 31, 2010
              Hi Jill,

              I used to to be the Outreach Coordinator at WMNF, our local community radio station. Over the years, I recruited and worked with hundreds of volunteers. Here are some suggestions (long post, sorry):

              1. A long-term goal is essential. Don't just plan for each event as they happen.

              2. Select someone to be the Volunteer Coordinator. With over 1000 attendees, this person should have at least two "helpers". This person will be in charge of recruiting before and during the event.

              3. Before the event, this person should have a large on-line presence, using all avenues of social networking (not just your own website). For example, I posted to alot of Facebook pages and forums when I was looking for Med Team volunteers for Preheat this year. I didn't just limit myself to the FB page or forums specific to the event, I posted to *all* the pages that related to burns and burners in Florida. I got a pretty good response just from that effort. Obviously, a timely response to inquiries is critical. Make it fun. Answer all their questions. A lot of people are shy, and if they are assured that they will not have a heavy load or have to deal with serious issues alone, they are more likely to give it a try.

              4. At the actual event, your Vol Coord and Helpers should literally walk around *every day* and promote volunteerism. They need to introduce themselves, be visible and become the "face of the event" for volunteers. Carry flyers or "business cards" with the Coordinator's email address and any other contact information to make it very easy for people to contact the Coord for the future. They should also be able to sign people up on the spot for the current event (see #5). It's all about sales: stress your selling points for volunteerism, and approach people with positive, happy enthusiasm.

              5. Make it real easy to sign up on the spot for slots. This is critical. You need to grab each and every interested person as soon as they present themselves. We had a lot of people walk up to the Ranger/Med tent wanting to sign up as Rangers, but the Ranger Coordinator was asleep and no one else knew how to sign them up, so we lost those people right at the peak moment of their enthusiasm to volunteer. It's important to have a quick sign-up system for all categories on-hand.

              6. Reward, reward, reward. When you talk to them, emphasis community/friends/"inner circle". At MNF, we gave volunteers a ticket to the concert of their choice. Besides the swag given to my Med Team volunteers by the event organizers, I personally bought them neat blinky-colored-flashlight-necklace-things, Positive reinforcement works wonders.

              7. Keep them "in the loop" between events via email. Send out regular updates. Ask them for suggestions/concerns/complaints. Ask them what kind of situations they had to deal with so you can tailor your training and provide them with the tools they need. Ask them what they are doing for their summer vacation - anything to keep them connected between events in a way that make them feel like they are a part of a special "group" and so you don't lose them. Over time, you will build up a Core Group of volunteers that you can count on. (Remember: long-term point of view).

              Sorry for the length of this letter. Hope it helps! Say hello to DC for me, I grew up there, my mom lives in VA :-)

              peace, signe

              --- In Burnt-Oranges-Events@yahoogroups.com, "soulfulstephey" <soulfulstephey@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hey all-- my name is Jill and I help plan Playa Del Fuego, the mid atlantic regional burn that takes place every Memorial Day and Columbus Day weekends. F
              > Could you let me know how you promote volunteerism?
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