MOD 021: Manage the Unknown of Race Day Volunteers

Merchants of Dirt Episode #21

Race day volunteers can be a key element in your race’s success but only if you can recruit, manage, and deal with them in an effective way.

Key Take Away #1: Volunteers start out as strangers

Replace the word volunteer with stranger.

When you are in the role of race director, it is your job to lead every aspect of your event.

You know when a volunteer is not working out, and you know it is your job to decide when a volunteer needs to go.

During the time it takes for that stranger to go crawl back into the van they arrived in, you just might find another volunteer — a better volunteer — who puts your best interests at heart.

Key Take Away #2: Your Volunteer Captain of volunteers

#1 – The Volunteer Captain’s Role: The Volunteer Captain is a leader of volunteers, and helps coordinate and support volunteers during one event.

#2 – The Volunteer Captain’s Responsibilities: The Volunteer Captain takes the pressure off the Volunteer Director and/or Race Director by being in charge of a group of volunteers.

#3 – The Volunteer Captain’s Authority: Your Volunteer Captain has as much authority as you give them.

#4 – Volunteers are not Your Staff: It is important that you remember that volunteers are there to socialize and be active in their community, not act as your labor force.

Key Take Away #3: How to recruit enough volunteers

Tactic #1 – Sense of family: Transform family members into volunteers by recruiting them onto your athletic support team.

Tactic #2 – Sense of belonging: Some people are very new to the sport and want to see what it is all about.

Tactic #3 – Sense of Reward: Give a volunteer a reason to volunteer their time and effort, and you will win them over.

Bonus Tip

Make sure you know how many volunteers you need to make your race happen BEFORE you start any heavy recruiting.

Once you know what you need, the rest is a matter of putting each tactic to work. Good luck with your recruiting!

And now you know.

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Thank you so much for listening to Merchants of Dirt Podcast. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me @MerchantsofDirt on Twitter, by Email, or my Contact Form.

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Kyle Bondo
Kyle Bondo is a thinker, podcaster, author, and creative strategy dragon seeking to make a small dent in the universe. He is the founder of Reckoneer, host of the Merchants of Dirt and Get Lost Racing podcasts, and an avid adventure racer.
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