Management of volunteering events - Advance
Course Code: 0EM3_EN
Management of volunteering events - Advance
Tags: THE EVENT TEAM, MEASURING YOUR SUCCESS
Starting: 07/09/2015 Ending: 07/09/2017
The event team
The event team
No matter what type of event you choose to throw, an essential part will no doubt be the team you choose. You have to make sure you work with the people with relevant skills to achieve success with your event.
While for low key events the team could be formed of three-four people from your organization that you have already worked with before and have no trouble finding and involving, when you are preparing for a large scale event such as a national/international volunteer fair or a international conference tackling present volunteering issues, you will definitely need a larger team.
Depending on the size and nature of the event, you first have to determine the key areas of responsibility. These may include:
- Event Manager
- Event Assistant
- Finance Manager
- Marketing Manager
- PR Manager
- Fundraising Manager
- Program Manager
- Production Designer
- Guest/Participant Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Venue Manager(s)
- Volunteer Manager
This list is only an example of types of roles that one could find in event management. Depending on the size of the event and on your team’s workload, and the specifics of your event this could be insufficient. On the other hand, one person could assume more roles, like the Finance Manager, that could also manage fundraising, or the Marketing Manager that could also act as the PR. In small events, only a handful of people will play all these roles. Whatever the case, you have to be prepared to meet the challenge you set for yourself.
The best way to start putting the team together is to think about the job descriptions for the positions you want to create. This will clarify simply what you expect everyone to do, and the skill set required.
The next stage is to decide the nature of each agreement: are you seeking a freelancer, short-term contractor or permanent member of staff? Will you pay weekly or monthly? Will you pay overtime? How many hours a week? How many days holiday? Will any bonuses be paid? You should aim to provide the right conditions to attract the kind of staff required within the budget available.
At this point it’s a good idea to draw your organizational chart, setting out the structure of your team, as well as the chain of command. Here’s an example of a conference organizational chart.IDENTIFY PEOPLE
Start your recruitment activity as soon as possible. Advertise positions, or ask for recommendations from other event managers (many event professionals are freelance and move from event to event as a result of recommendation), but make sure you have plenty of time to get responses and interview your future team.
Clarify roles and responsibilities: It is vital that everybody knows exactly what their departments are supposed to do, as well as it is extremely important for them to know what the others do. This way you ensure that all the tasks that are supposed to be handled by someone specialized in a field will be handled by that person only, and the issues will be solved by the one person that has all the data in the specific department.
Internal Communications: It is essential that you operate good internal communications. Make sure everyone has the contacts of the whole team, so they can quickly get in touch if they need to. Below, you have some examples of types of communication your team might engage in planning as well as during the event.Volunteers
: If you plan to include volunteers in organizing your event, make sure you know exactly what you need them to do, and then clearly let them know. They should also be aware of the hours they will need to volunteer, the trainings they might have, the small incentives, who they report to and so on. Volunteers need to be managed carefully and your relationship with them will be different to your relationship with paid staff.
Evaluation – Measuring your success
Measuring your success
Evaluation is a systematic determination of a subjects merit, worth and significance, using criteria governed by a set of standards.
Thinking that evaluation is a phase you only need to worry after the event ends, is not only gravely misguided, but will also make this very important step worthless. After the event takes place you might find yourself having a feeling of accomplishment, but your feeling might not be shared by your team or the participants, and it might not be accurately reflected when cranking down the financial aspects.
As it is stated in the definition, during the evaluation phase you will determine the merit, worth and significance of various aspects of your events, using specific criteria and according to the set of standards you deem appropriate.
In order to do so, you have to decide what the subject(s) of your evaluation will be, the criteria you will use to determine the success or failure and the standards you wish to hold.
Then you need to keep track of how things evolve for two reasons: to be able to improve what can be improved during the process, and to be able to analyze the issues you couldn’t fix after the event, to prevent them from happening again.
In the end, you should have a final report that you could provide you with experience, as well as solid verifiable data for press releases, event presentations and any other follow-ups, even for gaining future financing.
THE SUBJECT OF THE EVALUATION
First of all, you need to decide what would be of interest for you to evaluate. It goes beyond saying that at the end of the event you need to be able to report to what degree you reached your objectives.
Aside from the general event’s objectives, you might find it useful to analyze and evaluate other aspects of your event. In events that include accommodation you might be concerned about your participants’ satisfaction with the hotel or camping, even though it is not directly one of your objectives. A team that works well together performs better. Whether you are throwing a volunteer gala or a volunteer fair, you might want to know what went well and what can be improved in this respect.
In other words, there are some aspects of organizing an event worth measuring and evaluating, because they contribute indirectly to your success, and they speak to the management process.
Some examples would be:
- Teamwork and staff efficiency
- The volunteer work
- Participants satisfaction
- Accommodation / venue, catering
- Event Program
- Marketing and Communication
- Financial Management
Monitoring is the process in which you gather the data you need to make your final evaluation.
Above are some examples of large areas out of which you have to determine what is relevant for you to keep track of. This will practically boil down to setting some secondary objectives you would like to see achieved by the end of the whole project such as:
- No deadlines missed by any department, no absences at the team meetings, at least 5 team meetings before the event takes place.
- At least one 2-hour training for the volunteers with the head of the department.
- 90% participants that understood the value of volunteering
- 97% guests happy with the accommodation
- 90% satisfaction with the event agenda (not too lax, not to tiring, great free time alternatives)
- reaching at least 250 seniors as potential future volunteers, breaking even on the production costs for your promotional materials
- Spending less than 110% of the original budget.
Monitoring the work of your team can be done through monitoring work progress software, if you feel a specific need and your budget allows you to acquire one. If you don’t feel the need to invest so much in this aspect of the evaluation, you can also use the meeting minutes, and a communication system that requires cc to the next hierarchical position for a particular type of information.
Gathering data to reflect the satisfaction of your participants (volunteers or otherwise) can be done through feedback forms, filled in before the event is over. These forms can have whatever questions you find relevant for your evaluation, and they usually address topics such as:
- communication with the organizing team
- agenda of the event
- learning process (if case be)
- venue, logistics, etc.
Evaluating the budget is one of the most important parts of the evaluation. The numbers count for your superiors, for your future funding opportunities and they reflect directly on your perceived managing skills. If all goes well, the initial projection should look almost exactly like the final financial report.
If you underspent as well as if you overspent, you need to know exactly what happened, and back it up with good arguments. The process can always deter from the initial plan, but you have to be able to back up all the financial decisions that changed the initial course.
Monitoring the impact of your event is probably the most important aspect you should focus on. This will help you evaluate the overall success and the degree to which you managed to achieve your goal. Depending on the goal and objectives, the monitoring process will differ. When you want 100 new recruits for a volunteering programme, you may want to monitor how many enlist on the spot, and how many in the following weeks. If you want to raise awareness about corporate volunteering opportunities, you might measure through the number of new corporate e-mails for your newsletter.
CHOOSING YOUR EVALUATION SYSTEM
There is no monitoring and evaluating system to satisfy every type of event or project. You have to design your own, in the planning and designing stage, after you identify the important aspects for your situation. There are though a few things you need to consider:
- The cost-benefits balance – you need to monitor the team progress, but do you really need that brand new software?
- The team workload – you need to monitor the volunteering hours, but is it feasible to ask your Volunteer Manager alone to monitor 300 volunteers over one month, while still having other responsibilities? You do not want the monitoring to get in the way of the execution of the event.
- The relevance of the data you gather for the final evaluation. Do you really have to know the gender percentages of your participants when you try to determine their satisfaction?