Volunteer Workflow

See the Managing Volunteers section of the wiki for more templates and workflows.

There are lots of ways to work successfully with volunteers, but this workflow has been easy and effective for several groups. You’ll need the following:

  1. An email list
  2. A sign-up form

1. Email List

Create a volunteer email list using a tool like Google Groups to manage all your volunteers who are committed enough to express interest but aren’t yet full co-organizers.

Who should be a member?
Everyone who expresses event a tiny bit of interest! Recruit volunteers via periodic emails to your group and by asking for help during your events.

Most of your list members will be quiet or inactive most of the time, but this gives you a chance to keep in touch.

When should I email my list?
I suggest you email the list starting two weeks before your event, with a final reminder sent out the day before your event. Use this template for your messages and this list of volunteer jobs if you’re short on time.

2. Sign-Up Form

There are a million great, complex options more managing volunteers. But if you’re starting from scratch we suggest the following free tools:

Each one of these tools allows you to create a list of volunteer jobs and then invite people to select a shift publicly without having to create an account.


Here’s how you tie it all together:

  1. Create your volunteer sign-up sheet (see example)
    • once you’ve created your first form simply duplicate and modify for subsequent events
    • Tip: if using doodle turn on “Yes-No-Ifneedbe poll” in the settings
  2. Email your volunteer list 10 days before your event
  3. Re-send the recruitment message to your list three days before your event
  4. Send final email to volunteer list 1 day before event. Include the following:
    • Date and location; who has taken on which shifts; which shifts are still un-filled
  5. Print off the volunteer sheet for your event
  6. Let your volunteers work their magic during your event
  7. Thank your volunteers and tell him you love them!
  8. Rinse and repeat the following month for your next event


This screencast gives an overview of the process, including how to use doodle.com for managing volunteer sign-ups.