Monthly Archives: January 2015

How Event Volunteer Programs Can Help Event Organizers

From community festivals to large conferences, many special events rely on
volunteer support, making volunteer management an essential skill for event organizers.

So what goes into designing, recruiting, and managing event volunteers? Check out our tips and tricks below.
event volunteers holding hands

Design Your Event Volunteer Program

Choose Job Duties Wisely
Fact: Not all jobs can be done by volunteers. Volunteers should be trusted with positions such as greeters, room monitors, and information desk personnel, rather than positions that involve long-term event involvement.

Volunteers Love Perks
While volunteer positions are typically established to fill an event need, it’s important to understand what type of incentive the volunteers may desire. Are they looking for special access? A great giveaway? Free passes to the event? Asking volunteers why they are
interested in your event can help you provide the right incentives for your event volunteer program.

Make Sure You Know The Laws
As an event organizer, you must be very careful and make sure that your event volunteer program conforms to all the labor laws. Always refer to the US Department of Labor
website if you have any questions as to what your volunteers should, and should not be doing.

Volunteers Are Not A Crutch For Your Budget
The importance of volunteers cannot be understated but it is important to make sure your event has the budget to support essential, skilled full-time staff. Don’t let volunteers
become a swap for full-time staff to maintain the budget of an event.

Recruit Event Volunteers

Set Your Volunteer Selection Criteria
When recruiting event volunteers, it is important to state your selection criteria up-front and include practical requirements such as language and equipment skills. Selection rules will be especially important for positions that are likely to be very popular.

Volunteer Perks
Let’s face it, most volunteers are participating at your event because they would like
something in return: merchandise, special access, internship credit, etc. State what your incentives are from the get-go so no event volunteer is surprised or disappointed.

Make Connections With The Community
If your event needs a continuous amount of volunteers, consider partnering with groups in the community. Look for groups whose mission is in line with your event goals.

Match Each Volunteers Skills Accordingly
It is crucial that the volunteer job skills match the volunteer job. Be prepared for
individuals who may want to participate at your event that have special needs, or physical limitations. Just as with an employment position, it is important to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, and avoid discrimination.

Managing Event Volunteers

Volunteer Position Descriptions
Just because an event volunteer is not being paid for their services doesn’t mean they do not need a description of their duties. Be sure to clearly inform event volunteers of their role, who they report to, and what hours they are expected to work.

Event Volunteer Code of Conduct
In addition to a description of duties, you as the event organizer should also include a code of conduct and bill of rights. A typical volunteer code of conduct includes, the expectation to arrive on time, demonstration of a positive attitude, respect to co-workers, reporting risks and injuries, and of course, to have fun. You should also make it clear to volunteers that they have obligations as well, including a fair, safe, healthy work environment free from harassment.

Plan For The Best But Expect The Worst
“Every one of my event volunteers showed up and did exactly what was expected of them.” – said no event organizer ever.
There is always a chance of volunteers not showing up, or following through on their
responsibilities. To help reduce the risk of this happening, make it clear what the
repercussions are for volunteers who no-show. This could include withholding any
incentive intended to be given or in some cases, charging a volunteer for benefits that may have already been received. In addition to a plan for no-shows, there should be a plan of action to deal with difficult volunteers who may need to be assisted or removed from the program.

Training for the big event
An orientation for volunteers prior to your event is a critical step to helping make sure that all runs smoothly during your event. The orientation should provide background on the event, and demonstrate any tasks an event volunteer may be doing. The orientation is a great opportunity to review and provide any special equipment that might be needed such as t-shirts, badges or safety equipment.

After The Event: Give A Million Thanks!
Happy event volunteers return and more than likely volunteer again for others. So remember, you can never say thank you and recognize volunteers enough! In addition to saying thanks, provide evaluations and seek feedback from volunteers to find out how you can improve next year.

Volunteers can be a great resource for event organizers and an invaluable part of helping to make an event run smoothly, with the proper training.

Have you had positive experience using volunteers? Tweet us @InsuringEvents

Does Your Nonprofit Need Insurance?

What would happen if…

Someone gets injured at one of your events?
The cash box disappears?
A member distributes false information?
A member forges a signature?
The board makes a bad decision resulting in a lawsuit?
Your group just bought new computers and they were stolen?
Your parent group gets sued for running elections incorrectly?


You may believe that your nonprofit group can’t afford insurance, but if something like this happens to you, and you are not adequately insured, your board members could be
personally held financially responsible. If your organization has no insurance, whether you are staff or a volunteer, consider running out the door now until it does! Your nonprofit group cannot afford to not have insurance.

Protect your volunteers and manage risk responsibly to avoid lawsuits. As our friends at MoneyMinder say, insure to be sure.

Is Nonprofit Insurance Right For My Group?

Annual nonprofit insurance policies start as low as $50 from RV Nuccio & Associates, with a wide variety of coverages that can be tailored to fit the needs of your group.

One size fits all is not true for most nonprofit groups so why buy insurance with limited coverage choices? RV Nuccio and Associates nonprofit insurance offers 5 optional
coverages including: General Liability, Crime (bonding), Property, AD&D, and Directors & Officers. Annual policies also include free, unlimited Certificates of Insurance.

How Do I purchase Nonprofit Insurance?

Ready to purchase insurance for your nonprofit but unsure what coverages your group needs? No problem! Call and speak with a representative M – F 8:30am – 5:00 PST to
discuss each coverage option available or visit www.rvnuccio.com

How The Lawsuit Filed By Victims of Deadly SXSW Crash Will Impact Events

On March 13, 2014, Rashad Owens sped away from an officer after being stopped for suspicion of DWI and drove the wrong way on a one way street, plowing into a crowd of SXSW attendees, wounding 22 and killing 4.

On December 19, 2014, the victims and their families filed lawsuits against the two private companies that own the festival, SXSW Holdings INC, and SXSW LLC, the traffic design consultant SXSW hired to oversee the road closures, as well as Rashad Owens.

The victims and their families are claiming the tragedy was avoidable and as it was reported from local NBC affiliate KXAN, “[The lawsuits] claim SXSW
planners did not adhere to ‘industry standards’ for traffic control and took ‘inadequate’ steps that allowed ‘a dangerous opportunity’ for an errant vehicle to enter the festival zone and given Federal Transportation and Texas guidelines, that rigid barriers should have been deployed.”

With this deadly accident and recent lawsuit, one can only imagine how not only SXSW 2015 will be affected, but also how festivals and other special events nationwide will be changed to prevent future tragedies.

How Will SXSW Events Be Impacted?

In the case of SXSW, according to a report by the City of Austin released in September, crowd management issues, including traffic congestion, are the biggest problems. The
report also highlighted that two major issues that must be addressed are alcohol
consumption and over-programming for a venue’s capacity, whether that be indoor or
outdoor.

SXSW planners have long argued the problem is non-sanctioned “splinter” events that draw over-sized crowds with free alcohol into downtown venues that aren’t equipped to handle that many people. More than 75 temporary permits for events were issued during the 2014 festival in Austin’s central business district — an area that already has nearly 200 permanent establishments with liquor licenses — and in 2015, the city is looking for ways to rein in this number.

Members of the Austin Center for Events, the city’s regulatory authority for permitting
outdoor special events, have declined naming any specific course of action the city is
considering to further regulate the 2015 SXSW festival, but they have emphasized that public safety and the well-being of Austin’s residents and visitors are at the forefront of the decision-making process.

A Change.Org petition started just this month calls for at least the rigid barriers be added by SXSW organizers. The petition currently has 579 signatures.

As of January 6, 2015, the city of Austin’s music and entertainment division released an
interactive graphic
showing the various do’s and don’ts for the festival to dispel any myths about acquiring a permit for the 2015 South By Southwest festival.

2015 SXSW Events Permit Graphic

With the typical permit crunch running from now until mid-February, SXSW festival
organizers are hoping the graphic helps event planners and companies outside of Austin learn about the city’s regulations for the festival.

What Steps Can Be Taken To Prevent Similar Tragedies At Other Events?

As mentioned above, event organizers who are holding events near public roads should strongly consider the following:

– Use rigid barriers that can absorb and deflect vehicles away from massive crowds.

– Prepare an emergency plan that addresses potential dangers facing workers, including overcrowding, crowd crushing, being struck by attendees, violent acts and fire.

– Train all employees regarding emergency plans and also share them with local public safety agencies.

– Most importantly, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have the proper event insurance coverage for whatever your event may be.

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2015 Lineup Announced

Celebrating its sixteenth year, Goldenvoice has announced the 2015 Coachella Music and Arts Festival lineup of artists and music fans of all ages will not be disappointed.

AC/DC, Jack White and Drake are each headliners for the three-day festival that takes place in Indio, California in April each year.

In addition to the headliners, highlights include Ride, Steely Dan, Tame Impala, Azealia Banks, Flying Lotus, Raekwon and Ghostface, Lykke Li, Caribou, Todd Terje, Action Bronson, Cloud Nothings, the Weeknd, Belle & Sebastian, Ratatat, FKA Twigs, SBTRKT, Tyler the Creator, Father John Misty, the War on Drugs, Run the Jewels, Swans, Parquet Courts, Perfume Genius, Florence and the Machine, St. Vincent, Jenny lewis, Jamie xx, Lil B, Mac DeMarco, Built to Spill, Panda Bear, Angel Olsen, and many more.

General Festival Passes go on sale Wednesday, Jan. 7th at Noon PT, starting at $435.

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2015 Lineup