Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gala 2012


Gala season is over!!!

The week before gala is a lot like tech week before a show. For those of you who bother to read my blogs and have never been involved with theatre, tech week is nicknamed "heck week" but not actually "heck"

You know, the bad place. The really, really hot...bad place.

It's stressful and crazy and yet creates a camaraderie between you and the others on your team (or cast).
As Dana, Jason and I chatted and emailed at one in the morning...throwing about labels like "pot" and "kettle" and I watched the volunteer sign ups go up and down as people have to back out and others sign up, as we take t-shirts home to bundle and books home to stuff...we are at one moment confident this is going to be the best gala ever and the other confident that everything will fall apart.

I was confident in the programming and the decor...but having nightmares that not a single volunteer showed up and I was trying to single handedly greet everyone at the door while serving dinner to 350 guests at the same time.

In the end, it came together beautifully.
You can read a recap and see some pictures here: http://wellspringliving.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/gala-highlights/

I do have to say that this was a learning experience for me. Last year I came in at the last minute and my main role at the gala was to sign in the volunteers. I was shocked to find that only about half the volunteers they were expecting actually came. Confident that I could do better this year...I have to say I don't think I did. We never actually got the number we needed signed up and only about 60% showed up. I tried to organize this like a group project but it feels a bit different. And I seriously let the stress and disorganization get to me. I have a few ideas in mind to make next year better, but I'd love to hear any feedback from those with volunteer administration or event planning experience.

Maybe we could start a conversation:
1) What can we do to make sure that the volunteers who sign up, show up? Do we just expect to only have 50-60% show up and therefore recruit double the number we need?

2) How can we organize teams, leads, etc with a chance of only half of them actually being there?

3) Advice on keeping your cool? Best ways to make event volunteers appreciated?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! We started a conversation about what happened with your volunteer needs. Here at The Volunteer Center, we know what it is like to recruit volunteers and to keep up communication with them. I would be interested in hearing more about your experience (and disappointment), even just to talk about ideas on how to make it better next year. Email me: amie@volunteer-center.org (Due to the holiday, I was unable to keep up the conversation on Twitter and it may be easier in email).