The Key To Volunteer Management

volunteer management

The Key To Volunteer Management

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: one of the best things you can do for yourself and your concession stand, before the school year even begins, is build a bustling volunteer roster. Take a page out of the coach’s playbook and fill the field and the benches with lots of options for various plays. Everyone has skills and strengths they’ll bring to your team. It’s your job to put them all to good use. But no matter how many volunteers you have or their role at the concession stand, one thing is for sure to improve their experience and how you manage volunteers, and that’s good communication.

Why Communication is the Key to Volunteer Management

It sets expectations. Don’t be afraid to post expectations right in the booth. People forget, they lose emails, and miss meetings. Clear communication is the number one conflict prevention tool, especially in volunteer organizations. It also helps avoid missteps. Let folks know how much food they can comp, both for themselves, and other VIPs (for example, refs, visiting coaches, etc.). What are the key things to know for opening and closing up shop? Is any of your equipment less than user-friendly? A note with a few reminders will empower your team, and prevent breakdowns. Also, it doesn’t hurt to establish a uniform of sorts, so that fans can easily spot who is working in the booth. In short: walk around the stand and pretend it’s your first volunteer shift. If anything isn’t clear, or something could be confusing, now’s the time to fix it! 

It creates a positive experience. Talk to your volunteers about what they’d most like to do. If one person really loves organizing, let them be in charge of opening and closing duties, including cleaning, organizing, and logging inventory into the Blitz Concessions platform. If someone else makes a weekly Costco run for their family, ask if they’d be willing to get a separate cart for concession stand needs, and dub them the team shopper. Financial guru in your midst? Great! You’ve just found your cashbox supervisor. Their job will be to ensure the cashbox has enough change for early transactions, make any deposits necessary. This person can also be responsible for the pre-orders from Blitz Concessions. Also, get to know your volunteers a bit. Does someone have a basketball star? Someone else have recurring evening obligations that would prevent them from working certain shifts? Get all the insight up front, so everyone can feel they’re contributing in ways that work for their life. This is the best way to keep your volunteers coming back season after season. 

It keeps volunteers happy! Make life easy and fun for your volunteers. Invest in an anti-fatigue mat if the person on the front lines will be standing for long periods. Keep a couple folding chairs handy in case things slow down. Make sure everyone is comfortable using the Blitz Concessions platform, so they can swap shifts if necessary, or update their calendars with the whole season’s schedule at a glance. At the end of the season, throw a little appreciation party. Let everyone know how much money you raised working together, and give them a chance to provide ideas for improving the process next season. Everyone loves to be heard, and be thanked. 

Improve Your Volunteer Management Skills

It’s important to highlight the interpersonal and true management skills a concession admin must possess. How you manage people will impact not only volunteer retention, but also your fans’ experience. It’s tried and true, but happy volunteers mean happy fans. So it’s important to create a positive experience for them, so they have fun and exude that positivity with every transaction. Set expectations during onboarding so they avoid missteps. Ask them what role they prefer. If you can place them in a position that comes naturally to them, you’ll create that positive experience that will have them on time, ready to work. Then, don’t forget, these are volunteers and appreciation goes a long way. If you’re not able to provide incentives like discounts on merch or comped snacks, at least let them know how appreciative you are of them.

Need more help?

Blitz Concessions benefits concession admins, not only with organizing concession inventory, but also with volunteer management! Learn how this robust platform, created for volunteers by volunteers, helps with volunteer onboarding and training. Visit blitzconcessions.com for more information and get a personal tour when you sign up for a demo.