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Last updated March 29, 2017

Volunteer Expos are a great way of exposing potential volunteers to organisations looking for volunteer support. If you don’t have one in your region yet, maybe you could collaborate with your local volunteer centre and put one together. Remember, for many people your stand will be their first introduction to your organisation, so it is important that you make a good impression. Check out these five good ideas for making the most of your volunteer expo stand.

1. Create Visual Impact
A tablecloth, a few balloons and a sagging sign is not going to attract people to your stand. You need to create a visual impact that is both professional and welcoming. To do this, make sure you choose a key message and use consistent branding – colours, fonts, images. If you do not have professional looking signage already, check out the cost-effective options available through www.vistaprint.co.nz or touch base with some great creatives at www.fiverr.com .

In creating your display it is important that you pay attention to the little details that can affect the overall look. Is the tablecloth straight? Are photographs properly mounted on the board? Do your props need dusting? Are the people manning your stall in uniform or at least matching colours? The type of volunteers you attract will depend on how you present yourself.

2. Let Your Volunteers Speak
It’s one thing for you to say how much fun it is to volunteer with your organisation; it’s another thing altogether when it’s the volunteers who are singing your praises. Whether or not you have volunteers manning your stall, it is important that they get a chance to tell their stories.

Make sure you include testimonials from volunteers on your display and be creative with how they are presented. You may like to include photographs of individuals with their testimonials in speech bubbles at the side, or you could have a short video clip of testimonials looping in the background. Ask your volunteers to express why they volunteer and what they enjoy most about the experience.

3. Tell the Whole Story
It’s important that potential volunteers appreciate the scope of your organisation and all the different opportunities that exist for volunteering. Make a list of volunteer roles and when choosing photographs to display, make sure you include images that show volunteers doing a variety of tasks. It’s also important that you show the diversity of volunteers within your organisation – particularly in regards to age, gender and ethnicity.

Be creative in how you present the roles within your organisation. Perhaps you could create a giant mind-map with different icons representing the various volunteer roles available, or maybe a 3D jigsaw puzzle made with a range of volunteer images.

4. Q&A’s
Make sure that any person manning your stall is well informed about your organisation and knows just what’s involved with becoming a volunteer. It’s a good idea to write a list of frequently asked questions and answers to have on hand, and you should always host a short training session a few days prior to the expo for everyone involved. When organising a roster for the stall, make sure that less experienced volunteers are paired with those who have sound knowledge of your organisation and its processes.

5. Follow-Up
Few people will be prepared to sign-up as a volunteer on the spot, so it is important that you have a basic information pack for interested parties to take home and that you gather contact details so you can follow-up with each person after the event. A follow-up phone call should happen within 48 hours; otherwise any interest they have showed may disappear. Remember they are likely to have registered an interest in volunteering with other organisations also, so if you leave it too late they may well get snapped up by somebody else!

Kerri Tilby-Price
Kerri is a Facilitator / Trainer with Exult and has over 20 years experience working in and for the community sector.

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