October 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio October 1999 Current Issue
October 1999 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The following checklist was adapted in part from the American Management Association The AMA Guide for Meeting and Event Planners by Catherine H. Price, Amacom (a division of the AMA), 1601 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10019.


  • Determine who will be responsible for recruiting the volunteers.
  • Consider the time and costs involved in recruiting and using volunteers.
  • Ascertain the number of volunteers that will be required to staff the event.
  • Identify the jobs that will be assigned to volunteers (runners, greeters, staff office, information desk, coat check, etc.)
  • Identify all jobs that should not be assigned to volunteers, such as those involving decision-making.
  • Avoid assigning volunteers duties that could result in injury or jeopardize your professional liability.
  • Ask your insurance broker if volunteer actions are covered under the meeting's liability insurance. If not, you might want to consider purchasing additional coverage, because the legal liability arising from the use of volunteers rests with the event.

  • During the recruitment process, provide a thorough, comprehensive briefing of your event.
  • Ask candidates whether they have prior volunteer experience.
  • Take into account their dress and manner of speech.
  • Explain the available volunteer jobs and ask whether they have any skills that might be suited to a particular assignment.
  • Try to tie the personal aptitudes of the individual to the work to be assigned. For instance, if your event is expected to attract a large number of Spanish-speaking attendees, a volunteer who speaks Spanish would be an ideal candidate to staff the information desk. Likewise, senior citizens might make wonderful greeters and students good runners.
  • Ask up front whether there is any job they would prefer not to be assigned. This is a good way to avoid no-shows.
  • When recruiting from campuses, consider whether a particular assignment will clash with students' academic responsibilities. Ask students to be honest about their available time.
  • Obtain personal information on each candidate, such as name, address, telephone number, emergency contact and, if possible, character references.

  • Create a job description for each volunteer activity, and include the name of the staff person to whom each volunteer will be reporting.
  • Form groups of volunteers based on job responsibility, and review with them their job duties, including what they are not permitted to do.
  • Introduce each group to the job supervisor to whom they will be reporting.
  • Give all volunteers a copy of their job descriptions, including detailed information on location or area to which they are assigned, days and times they are to report for duty, and the times and duration of breaks.
  • Provide a phone number they can call if they are unable to report for duty.
  • Inform them of the event's dress code.
  • Allow ample time for a question-and-answer session. This may be the only opportunity to evaluate volunteers before they report for duty.

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