Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 10

Justin Ingraldi
Toronto International
Film Festival

W

7 TIPS FOR
WORKING WITH
VOLUNTEERS

orking with volunteers is one of the most
rewarding elements of planning an event. Not
only do volunteers offer invaluable support,
but they bring a unique jolt of enthusiasm
and energy that elevates the experience of your event.
I work with more than 3,200 volunteers annually to help
execute one of Toronto's largest public events, the Toronto
International Film Festival. Having worked in the field
of volunteer management for almost a decade, I have a
plethora of tips on how to best work with volunteers, but in
the interest of brevity, I've managed to narrow it down to
my Top 7.
1. Find volunteers who are passionate about your
event. You'll get the most out of individuals who have a
connection to, and passion for, your cause or mission.
2. Don't shy away from thoroughly screening your
volunteers. Have prospective volunteers provide a resume,
fill out an application form, or complete an interview
(phone or in-person). Don't just take on anyone who is
interested. Have a clear understanding of their motivation
for volunteering and make sure it aligns with what you're
looking for.

3. Set very clear expectations from the beginning. Be
sure your volunteers clearly understand what they'll be asked to
do and provide this information to them in writing so there are
no misunderstandings. Outline expected behaviours. At TIFF,
being friendly and positive is in our volunteer contract! Make
sure you're on the same page when it comes to their schedule
and level of commitment.
4. Make sure you have the right volunteers in the right
roles. One size does not fit all. Many people working with
volunteers make the mistake of thinking that they can fit any
volunteer into any position. This is not the case. Get to know
your volunteers' skills, experience, and interests - match them
with a role that suits all three.
5. Preparation is key! Give your volunteers the tools and
information necessary in order to be successful in their roles.
Set up a training session (when possible), create an information
package or FAQ sheet, and give them a chance to ask questions!
The more information you can provide volunteers in advance of
the event, the better prepared they will feel, the more engaged
they'll be, and the more you'll get out of your team.
6. Think outside the box when it comes to recognition.
Some volunteers like being recognized with tangible rewards -
perhaps you could provide them with tickets or access to your
next event. Some are looking for work experience - providing
a reference letter could be a meaningful takeaway. Others are
looking for the social interaction with their peers - in which case
you could organize a post-event social. Understand that every
volunteer has a different motivation for donating their time and
view recognition differently. The one thing all volunteers have
in common is that they appreciate and value a genuine "thank
you" for their time and efforts - so say it, and say it often. And
then say it again in a note, email, card, letter or tweet.
7. Give your volunteers a voice. Getting your volunteers'
feedback on your event and on their volunteer experience
is invaluable and will help you make improvements for next
time. Build feedback mechanisms for volunteers into all of the
engagement opportunities you provide them. You'll be
stronger together. ●
Justin Ingraldi is Senior Manager, Volunteer & Intern
Resources at the Toronto International Film Festival and can
be reached at jingraldi@tiff.net.

10 * meeting | MAY/JUNE 2017 | LINKEDIN: MPI TORONTO CHAPTER



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017

President’s Message
Editor’s Word
Upcoming Events
Welcome, New Members!
Ecosystem of the Planner-Supplier Relationship
The Evolution of Site Selection
7 Tips for Working with Volunteers
Member Spotlight: Toronto Chapter – Stand and Be Recognized!
Destination Spotlight: Vancouver
Creating Larger Business Opportunities
Starting a Business in the Events Ecosystem
Chapter Speaks
What Inspires Me – The Power of Creativity
iSpy MPI
Advertiser Index
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Intro
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - cover1
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - cover2
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 3
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 4
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - President’s Message
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Editor’s Word
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Welcome, New Members!
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Ecosystem of the Planner-Supplier Relationship
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - The Evolution of Site Selection
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 7 Tips for Working with Volunteers
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Member Spotlight: Toronto Chapter – Stand and Be Recognized!
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Destination Spotlight: Vancouver
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 13
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 14
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 15
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Creating Larger Business Opportunities
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Starting a Business in the Events Ecosystem
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Chapter Speaks
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - What Inspires Me – The Power of Creativity
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - iSpy MPI
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - 21
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - Advertiser Index
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - cover3
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - cover4
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert1
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert2
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert3
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert4
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert5
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert6
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert7
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Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert9
Meeting MPI Toronto - May/June 2017 - outsert10
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