Thursday, June 7, 2012

Seize the moment

So often I am involved in conversations about  my favorite nightmare- Spontaneous volunteers! Yes they are a reality of the disaster scene and in many cases useful.  But lets suppose our spontaneous volunteer plan worked perfectly and now we are winding down the disaster and have 1,000 Spontaneous volunteer cards... Can we convert any of these folks into registered volunteers (you will need less next time)
So here are some things that have worked for me:
  • After all is calm, set up a potluck have everyone bring something; your organization can spring for drinks (water, soft drinks.etc) 
  • Once you have RSVP's invite everyone to e-mail pictures they took during the event (everyone has a smart phone) Then ask your PIO for any photos they took or can find of volunteers in action.
  • Set up a slide show of disaster pictures to run on the wall during the event.
  • Make thank you certificates for each volunteer (even those that didn't RSVP, you can mail them)
Once the evening (or weekend lunch) arrives, greet everyone at the door and welcome them.  Introduce them to someone else, then ask them to introduce themselves around.
  • Invite everyone to line up for food, serve themselves and sit and enjoy, (not too many tables so they have to sit together).
  • Show the slide show, everyone likes to see themselves. It will cause conversation
  • After dinner/lunch , introduce the disaster, the scope, what your organization (with their help) accomplished, how many people they helped, etc.
  • Hand out certificates, thank them again
  • Explain whats next, how much work their is to do the get ready for the next one
  • Invite them to stay on as full time volunteers
  • make sure everyone has the volunteer manager as well as the supervising managers email addresses.

We did this after Hurricane Gustav @ the Red Cross and had a very good conversion of volunteers.  Write something like this into your plan.  What to do after the calm!

disaster_ dave

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