This is going to be a short blog, I just got home a few minutes ago and was going to head bed, but I wanted to write about volunteering. I volunteered at a charity fundraiser tonight at the House of Blues to benefit the homeless in Boston. This was the 3rd year that I volunteered at this event, it is an awesome event. The reason that I'm writing about is that they treat the volunteers so well- they are a role model of how to engage volunteers who are helping at events. I hope that people who volunteers at Project Smile feel the same way after they help at our events. I arrived at the event and was at first a little unsure about what to do, I found the woman who was coordinating everything and even though she was running around with a million things to do- she was so pleasant, had such a positive attitude and really seemed to care about the people who were volunteering. She mentioned the different volunteering tasks, I immediately wanted to help sell raffle tickets- I like meeting people and chatting, so I thought that would be a job that I would be good at. She was very clear with her instructions and also made sure to tell us a few times to make sure that we enjoyed the event as well, eat some food, etc. I worked with a girl who had actually volunteered at our date auction last year! It went really well, we sold a ton of raffle tickets and we got to enjoy the event as well. I was so appreciative of how nice the woman was who was coordinating everything. I know how hard it is to run events, how everyone comes at you with every possible question/need and you have to keep it all calm and collected. It felt great to feel welcomed as a helper. I try to do the same with my Project Smile volunteers, I always thank them for coming and let them know how much I appreciate them. I want them to feel as included as possible. I also believe in letting people choose their volunteer tasks. People have certain skills and I believe in letting people do what they are good at. Of course, once certain tasks are filled, not everyone gets to choose what they want to do, but I try to give people choice as much as possible. The only thing is that not all of my volunteers at the date auction get to enjoy the event, particularly the ones that are working up front.
I have volunteered at other charity events where they don't make the volunteers feel particularly welcome and it hasn't been an enjoyable experience at all. It is hard when you're planning big events and I know that sometimes volunteer handling can slip, but it really makes such a difference when you engage volunteers and make them feel appreciated. I had a wonderful time tonight, I felt that I did a task that suited my skills, we sold a lot of raffle tickets and I got to enjoy a terrific event that hopefully raised a lot of money for an important cause.
I had my networking lunch today for the DWC Metro West chapter that I run, that went well, except I was 20 minutes late. I left my cell phone behind and had to go back to pick it up. I went to Braintree after to pick up all our auction items for the silent auction at Wine Fest on Saturday. We have some awesome items. Tomorrow, I need to do the bid sheets. I got to Boston early and spent some time in a coffee shop in Cambridge, catching up on emails and following up with people that I met last night at the networking event.
Well friends, that's it for tonight. I'm going eat my grapefruit- I was quite happy that I found one last grapefruit in the fridge! Until next time...