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A key resource for any festival or event is the volunteer. Many events and festivals would not exist without the people who contribute their time. Volunteers are needed both for planning and for carrying out the actual event. Make sure an adequate number of volunteers are in place.

To recruit volunteers, first look for people from within your organization. Your volunteers or staff may know people who are interested in volunteering. Also contact service clubs and advertise for volunteers through newspapers or bulletins. Some corporations will volunteer employees to assist non-profit organizations for a period of time. Volunteer Thunder Bay! will place interested volunteers with non-profit organizations.

Volunteer Placement
Since volunteers are not paid, provide them with a job that is worthwhile and rewarding. Your organization may wish to employ a volunteer coordinator to develop job descriptions for the event and find people to fill each position. When recruiting volunteers, understand both the time commitment that is required and the type of responsibilities that are involved in the position.

Orientation and Training
Give volunteers an overview of the event and the organization. Introduce them to the people that they will be working with. Make them aware of policies and procedures. Pair new volunteers with experienced ones or with staff who can provide the volunteer with an orientation to their job and to the organization. The amount of training required will depend on the complexity of the volunteer’s tasks. Development and training should be ongoing.

Once volunteers have a good understanding of their duties, empower them to perform their tasks. Keep them in the loop and encourage them to share in decision making.

Be aware that a volunteer is providing their time and recognize them by:

- a party
- letters
- certificates
- special gifts

- award special citation
- recommend to prospective employer
- enlist to train other volunteers
- post volunteer honour roll in reception area

Encourage volunteers to complete an evaluation assessing their job satisfaction and willingness to volunteer again. The Volunteer Coordinator should also make an effort to assess the performance of each volunteer. Keep this information on file for future reference.