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Take Action and Volunteer for YALI Serves
April 30, 2019

In honor of Nelson Mandela’s birthday this year, #YALIServes is encouraging all members of the YALI Network to plan a community service event or volunteer throughout the week of July 18th.

As you start to plan your #YALIServes event, the list of event planning tasks can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. By mapping out when tasks should be completed, you can approach the planning in smaller pieces. Provided below is a suggested timeline for planning a #YALIServes event beginning six-weeks before your targeted event date.

 How To Organize A Volunteer Event For #YALIServes : Week 1

Having a documented purpose and goal for your #YALIServes event will make it much easier to undertake the subsequent steps with a clear vision for what you need to accomplish. This week, take some time to think about your community’s needs and how you can help meet them.

Based on the community need you would like to fill, think about what type of event would be best to conduct. For example: If you would like a local school or community space to be improved, then organize an event to paint the building. Once you know the need of your event, you can start to consider the goals and logistics of the event itself.

This Week Don’t Forget:

  • Identify a need in your community and select a type of event that could address that need.
  • Create specific goals for the event and start to think of the logistics.
  • Take the YALI Network Online Course Community Organizing for Action”

 How To Organize A Volunteer Event For #YALIServes : Week 2

Setting the logistics is where you really get into planning the specifics of your event. You’ll want to think through factors such as where and when you’ll hold the event. Also consider how many volunteers you need, and whether there are any resources you need to hold the event.

To get started, use the type of event that you are holding to determine the best place to conduct it. For example: If you are planting trees, you’ll need to find an outdoor space where the trees will be welcome. From here, you can begin to estimate the number of volunteers required to accomplish your goals for the event. Then, take some time to think of potential dates that would work best for the schedules of your volunteers and your overall goals for the event.

Finally, think through the supplies and other resources you will need for your event. For example: If you are holding a beach cleanup event, don’t forget the trash bags and gloves. If your event is more resource-intensive, start to brainstorm possible local groups or businesses that could be interested in donating materials for your event.

This Week Don’t Forget:

  • Set a location for the event.
  • Set the time and duration of the event.
  • Determine how many volunteers/participants you will need.
  • Identify any resources you will need.
  • Solicit donations if needed — for supplies, refreshments for volunteers, etc.
  • Take the YALI Network Online Course “Servant Leadership – The Deciding Difference”

 How To Organize A Volunteer Event For #YALIServes : Week 3

Advertising and promoting your event around the community is critical to meeting the goals of your event. You’ll want to help get the word out about your event, to attract those community members you are intending to serve and to make sure the community is aware of the event and knows how to get involved.

This week, think about who would be most interested in attending the event and how to reach them. Consider advertising in local community centers, schools, or houses of worship. Also be sure to think about the best advertising materials like emails, social media posts, or flyers. You can receive a flyer to print out and hang by registering your event with the YALI Network. Visit https://yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com/serves-planning/ for more.

This Week Don’t Forget:

 How To Organize A Volunteer Event For #YALIServes : Week 4

Now that you’ve worked out the logistics and promotion of your event, it’s time to start recruiting help! This week, start to think through both the number of volunteers you need to support your event (identified previously) and any particular skills you would like them to have. From here, consider what populations around you would be best to recruit from and the best ways to reach them and entice them to participate in your event.

Once you’ve recruited a group of volunteers, be sure to plan tasks and communicate with volunteers in advance so they know what to expect. Things like a schedule for the event, assigned tasks for volunteers, and a channel of communication like WhatsApp, can keep things with your volunteers running smoothly.

This Week Don’t Forget:

  • Recruit volunteers and/or participants.
  • Set a time and means for organizing volunteers.
  • Figure out the best channel of communication to keep in touch with your volunteers before and during the event.
  • Watch the YALI Network Video Series “The Joy of Volunteering”

 How To Organize A Volunteer Event For #YALIServes : Week 5

In the last week before your event, take time to run through all of the details of your event. Make sure you’ve completed all of the planning steps and you have all your supplies on hand and ready to go. It might help to make a schedule for the day of the event, especially if you have tasks that need to be completed by you and your volunteers before participants arrive (setting up computers, posting signs, receiving materials, etc.).

Finally, use Facebook, WhatsApp, email, etc., to remind your participants, community and volunteers about your event a few days in advance.

This Week Don’t Forget

  • Gather and organize all of your supplies for the event.
  • Create a schedule for the day of the event.
  • Reach out to your volunteers and community to remind them about your event.

 #YALIServes Week 6 Regular

After weeks of planning, it’s finally here! All your hard work will pay off in big benefits to your community.

On the day of the event, remember to communicate with your volunteers and ensure they’re having a good time and thank them for their time. Also remember to document the event as it happens, particularly by taking photos. Time permitting, you can share your event on social media as it is happening, or share photos after the fact. If you have established any media contacts, see if they can stop by the event to share it with a wider audience.

But most importantly, relax! You have put a lot of work into planning the event, and now is the time to see that hard work pay off. Enjoy the event and reflect on how you are supporting your community!

This Week Don’t Forget

  • Thank your volunteers.
  • Thank your donors (if applicable).
  • Document your event.
  • Have fun!

 #YALIServes Week 7 Regular

Measuring and evaluating the success of your event will give you crucial data on how well your plans met your goals and if you made a difference in your community. Spend some time this week reflecting on your event. What went well? What could have gone better? Use this information to help plan future events throughout the year. 

Also don’t forget to thank the volunteers or participants who were involved in your event. These individuals can form a great foundation for future events or other community involvement activities you might plan. Be sure to keep in touch with them! 

This Week Don’t Forget

  • Promote the success of your event — publicize it on social media or approach local media about featuring the event.
  • Send thank-you notes to donors, volunteers, or other participants.
  • Think about ways to keep your volunteers engaged — and start planning a future event!
  • Report your event to the YALI Network: Visit https://yali.lab.dev.getusinfo.com/serves-event/ to report on your event and receive your #YALIServes certificate.