Volunteers keep show societies afloat so it’s important we look after them so they can look. Here are 10 things you can do to look after your volunteers.

  1. Make volunteers feel welcome. You can do this by introducing them to key show personnel and other volunteers personally. Encourage senior leaders (secretary, treasurer, presidents) to come in and say hello.  Demonstrate that your company is welcoming, kind, and approachable. Give them the key contact details for those people; and vice versa, provide the new volunteers details to the show executive. 
  2. Keep in contact with your volunteers. You want to know how they’re doing. This could be in the form of regular online catch ups, email updates, text messages, whatsapp or messenger groups, social media posts and phone calls.
  3. Demonstrate gratitude regularly. Show your volunteers you are thankful for their efforts. You could write them a personal note, host a morning tea, barbeque or pre-show dinner, and mention them during the official opening. Emerald Show hosts a volunteers and sponsors preview the night before their show starts. Family of volunteers and sponsors also attend and enjoy snippets of the entertainment program being demonstrated and a dinner under the stars. It creates a real sense of community and recognises those contributors before the big event starts. 
  4. Celebrate the committee’s teamwork. Celebrate your volunteers, write articles for your newsletter or local paper. Post achievements and show milestones on social media, especially during National Volunteer Week, and before and after your show. Perhaps present annual awards for longevity and new ideas, for example, to celebrate your team members.
  5. Don’t wear them out. Make sure your volunteers get regular breaks so they don’t suffer from burnout. Come up with a plan to combat this when your organisation is light on for volunteers.
  6. Upskill your volunteers. Give your volunteers every opportunity to success by identifying and enrolling them in relevant training. Not only is this a benefit to your volunteers, but it also means your volunteers are more qualified.
  7. Ensure they have the tools. Make sure your volunteers have everything they need to get the job done.  PPE, hats, sunscreen, water and provide meals if they are volunteering over a long period of time, like show day which can start at 5am or earlier and finish at 10pm or later. A uniform can also be a great way to build a sense of teamwork and purpose. 
  8. Make it social. Volunteering is a fantastic way for many people to meet new people, so provide opportunities to do so. Make meetings a great social occasion that people want to attend. 
  9. Change it up. Rotate your volunteers where possible so they’re not doing the same thing day in day out. This is great for your organisation too because it means you have more than one person that can do a certain job.
  10. Have a written plan. Have policies in place so that everyone knows what is expected. It’s also important to give your volunteers a thorough induction prior to the event.