A community volunteer fair can be a great recruitment tool. Potential volunteers can browse the booths in a low-key environment, while, at the same time, local organizations have the opportunity to raise public awareness of their missions. A volunteer fair also allows individuals who are considering donating time a chance to explore the options available in their area. Additionally, if held in the fall, a volunteer fair is a way to recruit high school and college students seeking a chance to fulfill service hour requirements for classes and Greek/honor societies.

Some Food for Thought

If a volunteer fair sounds like a good idea, but the task seems daunting, team up with another agency or two. Perhaps you could approach your local high school or a college in the area to provide a space, while another community group might be able to help organize the event.

A great resource to help you through the entire volunteer fair planning process is Volunteer Manitoba. Its website offers:

  • Things to consider when planning your volunteer fair
  • A timeline
  • Task list
  • Sample letter and registration form
  • Sample evaluation form
  • Sample thank-you letter

In addition, the Volunteer Manitoba site gives sample PSAs, press releases, flyers, and more. If you are interested in taking a look at Volunteer Manitoba’s information, visit the group’s site by clicking here.

Additional Ideas for Volunteer Fairs

Valuable information on volunteer fairs is also supplied online by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Some tips listed on its site include:

  • Create a fun atmosphere with free refreshments
  • Invite local nonprofit and other community organizations to participate at no cost
  • Request that each participating group provide a door prize, which will encourage attendees to stop at more booths
  • Ask participating agencies to complete a feedback form for guidance with the following year’s fair
  • Advertise through area churches as well as through newspapers, radio spots, etc.
  • Decide what kind of volunteer opportunities your organization will feature at the volunteer fair
  • Be mindful of your display space — since it will be limited, “think vertical”
  • Display pictures of volunteers working in past events
  • Think in terms of inexpensive promotional items to hand out — pencils, pens, etc.
  • Make sure to take time to look at the displays of other participating organizations

Click here for more information on this subject from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

So, if you’ve been thinking about it but weren’t sure where to begin, here’s the springboard to getting a volunteer fair started. Not only will it be an important opportunity to recruit new volunteers, but it’s also a terrific way for community members to see all the valuable resources nonprofit agencies provide in your local area.