Tips and tricks for making sure you’ll be able to cover all the bases when onsite at an event!
Festivals are a lot of work – we all know that. And when you add 500+ volunteers to the mix it can be a bit tricky to navigate work flow. With over 20 different departments and several hundred volunteer workers there’s so many permutations of shift assignments you can allocate. So how do you make sure you keep a flexible work team to ensure your event flows smoothly with the rapid changes that may arise onsite?
REQUIRE WORKERS TO BE AVAILABLE THE ENTIRE EVENT DURATION
When event staff are only available for half of an event or for specific time frames, it limits the amount of hours you can assign them. You want to confirm with all of your volunteers prior to the event that they will be available to work the entire event duration. This way, if problems arise and they can’t make an earlier shift, you can move shift times around to later days to compensate for the missed time (and we know other volunteers would love to work those earlier event days).
SCHUEDULE A WEEK OUT FROM THE EVENT
It seems like this doesn’t give much time to get your bearings straight, but actually it helps a TON when you schedule and release shifts a week out from the event. One pro of this is that any last-minute additions that departments may request volunteers for can be accounted for and added into your system. It also gives you plenty of time to confirm department requests prior to the event. Another pro is that you can compare the artist schedule to your shift schedule to confirm where the most help may be required.
ONLY SHARE SHIFT TIMES, NOT SHIFT DEPARTMENTS
This one is KEY for making sure you keep a flexible work schedule. There are so many changes that can come up with departments, from not needing any volunteers to suddenly needing 20 hands to handle an issue that’s come up. When you release your shift assignments to volunteers, only tell them what times they are assigned to check in and work. This way, when you’re onsite you can move volunteers around to meet the needs of departments if issues come up. Volunteers won’t know if they were originally assigned a toll booth shift but now have to help with grounds cleanup. There will be less complaints and more flexibility onsite!
ASSIGN FLOATER SHIFTS
This tip is the easiest to accomplish by far. When you have a “floater” department for each shift time, you can assign volunteers to this shift while you’re scheduling. Then when you’re onsite, you have your extra floater volunteers that can be assigned to fill any gaps or requests made throughout the day. This definitely helps keep things flexible onsite because floaters can move throughout departments while on shift to help out wherever necessary!
KEEP CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH DEPARTMENTS
When you’re onsite, you want to verify with department supervisors that they can make requests as they need throughout the festival. If departments don’t know that there are workers available, they won’t know to ask for the help! And vice versa, make sure departments know that if they have volunteers that are underutilized, they should let you know. This way, you know where you can pull volunteers from if additional help somewhere else is requested. Also make sure to let supervisors know when you have floater volunteers available so that they know they’re able to rely on your program for extra help!