September 30, 2023

Managing Volunteers for Large-Scale Events: Insights from UK Event Planners


Volunteers play an integral role in the successful execution of large-scale events. Their dedication, energy, and passion can make or break the experience for attendees. In this article, we will seek expert insights from UK event planners on managing volunteers. We will address key questions about volunteer roles, recruitment strategies, perks, and training programs to ensure that your event benefits from a motivated and skilled volunteer team.

1. Essential Volunteer Roles for Large-Scale Events

The success of a large-scale event hinges on a well-structured volunteer team. Event planners in the UK emphasize several key volunteer roles that are crucial for a smooth operation:

Event Greeters and Ushers:

These volunteers are the first point of contact for attendees, setting the tone for the event’s atmosphere. They welcome guests, provide information, and assist with seating.

Registration and Check-in Assistants:

Ensuring attendees can quickly and efficiently access the event is vital. Volunteers in this role manage registration desks, distribute badges, and offer event materials.

Event Ambassadors:

These individuals are well-versed in the event’s agenda, sponsors, and key information. They serve as walking encyclopedias, helping attendees navigate the event and answering questions.

Logistics and Operations Support:

Volunteers are needed to handle various logistical tasks, such as managing traffic flow, assisting with equipment setup, and ensuring venues are clean and orderly.

Volunteer Coordinators:

These experienced volunteers or staff members oversee the entire volunteer team, ensuring that everyone is in their designated roles and has the necessary resources.

2. Finding Potential Volunteers

Recruiting volunteers for your event is a critical step, and UK event planners have some valuable insights on where to find them:

Local Universities and Colleges:

Many students are eager to gain experience in event management or contribute to their communities. Collaborating with educational institutions can be a fruitful source of volunteers.

Online Platforms:

Utilize social media, volunteer websites, and event-specific forums to advertise volunteer opportunities. Be sure to highlight the benefits and impact of volunteering at your event.

Event Partnerships:

Partnering with local businesses, community groups, or charities can help you tap into their existing networks of potential volunteers.

Previous Volunteers:

If you’ve hosted similar events in the past, reach out to volunteers who had a positive experience. They may be willing to return or recommend your event to others.

3. Offering Attractive Volunteer Perks

To attract and retain volunteers, it’s essential to offer meaningful perks in exchange for their time and effort. UK event planners suggest the following perks:

Training and Skill Development:

Offer workshops or training sessions that provide valuable skills and experience relevant to event planning, which can enhance their CVs.

Access to the Event:

Allow volunteers to experience the event they helped organize by providing them with access to exclusive areas, speakers, or sessions.

Networking Opportunities:

Encourage volunteers to connect with event speakers, sponsors, and attendees, fostering valuable professional relationships.

Recognition and Appreciation:

Express gratitude through certificates, letters of recommendation, or small tokens of appreciation. A little recognition goes a long way.

4. Creating a Volunteer Orientation and Training Program

Effective volunteer orientation and training programs are crucial for ensuring that volunteers are well-prepared and confident in their roles:


Provide a comprehensive orientation session that covers event objectives, expectations, and logistics. Make sure volunteers understand their roles and responsibilities.

Role-Specific Training:

Tailor training to the specific roles volunteers will undertake. Include hands-on practice and role-playing scenarios to build confidence.


Establish clear channels for volunteers to ask questions or seek assistance during the event. Ensure they have contact information for key event staff.

Feedback Loop:

Encourage volunteers to provide feedback after the event. This information can help improve volunteer programs for future events.


Managing volunteers is a critical aspect of hosting successful large-scale events in the UK or anywhere else. By understanding the essential roles, effective recruitment strategies, attractive perks, and robust training programs, event planners can ensure that volunteers contribute positively to the event’s overall success. Volunteer engagement not only enhances the event experience but also fosters a sense of community and collaboration in the world of event planning.

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