Rules of Engagement: All Hands On Deck

Micro-volunteering roles build loyalty at events.

There’s a lot to do to make an event run smoothly. Some of that work can be turned over to the attendees themselves. Peggy Hoffman, CAE, president of Mariner Management and Marketing, earns loyalty among members of associations that Mariner manages by enlisting them for “micro-volunteer” roles.

Hoffman defines these ad hoc roles as those “in which a person has a very time-constrained, very focused responsibility.” Volunteers feel involved without being asked to go out of their way. The appeal is simple, Hoffman says: “Hey, you’re coming to the event. Would you like to get involved as long as you’re going to be there?”

Here are a few examples of micro-volunteer jobs:
1. Greeters: Welcome attendees and direct them toward registration, coat check, seating, and so on. “They’re sort of the tour guides,” Hoffman says.
2. Front desk: Check in attendees when they arrive.
3. Set-up and tear-down: Arrive early or stay late to help with assembly and disassembly of the event space.
4. Social media guides: At computer stations, help attendees log in to LinkedIn and join the organization’s group.
5. Photo, video, and blogging: These volunteers “capture the essence of the event in a lot of different ways, then feed to the web team what should be shared on the web,” Hoffman says.

Joe Rominiecki

By Joe Rominiecki

Joe Rominiecki, manager of communications at the Entomological Society of America, is a former senior editor at Associations Now. MORE

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