How to Prevent (and Handle) Last-Minute Volunteer Cancellations
An all to real situation volunteer managers have to face when coordinating a busy schedule for lots of volunteers is last-minute cancellations. Not only can this seriously affect the support your volunteer event so vitally needs, but it can cause undue stress and lead to further scheduling complications. Check out these 5 top tips for preventing and handling last-minute volunteer cancellations:
1. Coordinate volunteers online: Free, online volunteer scheduling systems like VolunteerSpot afford volunteer managers the capability to rely on comprehensive online tools to schedule, manage and communicate with volunteers (to avoid last-minute cancellations). An easier alternative to paper sign-up sheets and 'reply-all' emails, free, online sign-ups from VolunteerSpot ensure all your volunteers the convenience of checking out available spots to get involved from their computer or mobile device; as well as captures contact information for the organizer and issues automated confirmation and reminder messages. Try a free demo
2. Ask volunteers to swap: Establish a 'swap' policy with your volunteer group where if someone cannot make their shift, they're in charge of swapping their spot with another volunteer who can cover them. *Note: VolunteerSpot's unique "Swap" feature makes it super easy for volunteers to message and swap spots with one another, right from the online sign-up. Learn more
3. Share a 'sub' list: If the total spots for your volunteer event filled quickly, but you still have interested individuals, ask them to serve as subs or alternate to be on call if someone cancels. Build your substitute list in VolunteerSpot as a "no date" sign-up, or share with your volunteer group using Google Docs or Dropbox, free cloud storage tools.
4. Invite volunteers to bring friends: When recruiting volunteers for your school or nonprofit, encourage individuals to come in groups or with friends. Volunteers may be less likely to cancel last minute if they have both a commitment to the event and to another person they're going with.
5. Use group messaging tools: Find easy ways to communicate with your entire volunteer group quickly in case of a last-minute cancellation. VolunteerSpot's online sign-ups come with free messaging tools that help leaders email volunteers in seconds as a group or by status (i.e. signed up, invited, etc). Apps like Voxer and Facebook Messenger let you text, message, or live voice chat with your volunteer group wherever they're at on any device.