The World Orienteering Championships start at the end of July 2015. As a minority sport, this event is being delivered by a tiny group of part-time professionals and a large “Event Team” of volunteers. I’m the Volunteer Manager and I’m a volunteer. Our event team currently stands at 400 and I’m pleased to say that all lead posts have been filled. We are still building the delivery team and expect to reach around 600 volunteers in total.
The event is now hitting the local press and volunteers are pouring into my inbox. We are appointing and organising, informing and introducing, nurturing and updating a workforce that is spread all over the UK and Europe. We have sports people specialising in planning and event organisation. And we have volunteers with experience gained at the London Olympics and Glasgow Commonwealth Games. I’d love to be sharing what we are doing as we are doing it. But we are just too busy getting on with it. All I can do for now is share some advice about what I think is helping:
- start early – thank goodness I started 3 years ago
- plan for scale – we built and refined our opportunities pages, and our sign up system before the rush
- build up healthy working relationships – I’m enjoying the strong and trusted relationships that I have with colleagues
- build a good team around you – my collaborative and good-humoured team are one of the highlights of this event for me. We Skype’s fortnightly and keep in close touch
- talk to people – you can feel like a real human being, achieve good things, and avoid painful misunderstandings by speaking sometimes instead of e-mailing
A typical day in the life of an Event Volunteer Manager starts at 7, ends at 11, includes a run and far too much time at a computer. It has laughs and lists of lists and occasional desk-thumping frustrations. Overall it is pretty damn good. I haven’t got time to write a day in the life. When it is all over I’ll write about how we did it. Let’s get there first!