Organizing the Day

 

Now the fun begins! You have already planned your event and recruited your participants; it's now time to focus on the details that will make sure your day runs flawlessly. Here are some tips to help you make that happen:

Provide a Detailed Schedule

 

Work out a detailed event schedule. It's important to stick to this schedule, as it will help you coordinate all of the different pieces to your day. Be sure to schedule times for breakfast, lunch, breaks, cleanup, reflection, evaluation, and travel. NALP has provided a sample schedule of a full day program for your reference.

Pay Attention to Logistics

 

Here are some questions to think about when planning:

  • Is the project site easy for the participants to get to?
  • Is this project accessible to people with disabilities? Has that been communicated to all?
  • Is the site and project "family friendly"?
  • Who is managing the project site? Is that person properly trained?
  • Should participants bring their own food or will you be supplying food and beverages?
  • If the building or venue is normally closed, will the facilities (i.e. bathrooms) be open and available for use? If not, you will need to plan accordingly. Are facilities even available for use if your project site is not at a building?
  • What happens if it rains? Do you have a contingency plan?
  • Is security needed or does the venue's/building's security need to be notified of your project?

Make Checklists

 

Create a list of roles and responsibilities, including contact information, and distribute it to the key leaders (i.e., team leaders, site managers, and/or volunteer coordinators). You can also provide specialized checklists to people who are managing volunteers, food, supplies, etc. to help them do their jobs well.

Prepare for the Unexpected

 

Some things to be prepared for include early or late arriving participants, lower- or higher-than-expected participant turnout, weather problems, and what you should do if your project doesn't get completed in your allotted time frame. Also, have a first-aid kit on hand at the project site, and be prepared if a more serious injury occurs at the site.

Think Safety

 

NALP has taken a leadership role in the industry in safety education, assisting members and service providers in creating safe work environments. It is very important that your company ensure that all safety measures are in place for the Day of Service and that you educate all participants about proper safety practices.

Learn more about NALP's safety programs.

 

Document Your Project

 

Be sure to keep detailed records of your event. It is a good idea to capture quotes from project participants, which will come in handy when planning and promoting future projects. Upload your photos at the conclusion of your project. When uploading your pictures, be sure to include the names of the participants and a description of the photo. It’s important to have all participants sign a photo release form prior to you uploading and sharing the pictures. We have a sample release form that may be used for this purpose.

Every project will be different, but successful events typically have the following elements:

Registration

 

This allows your participants to sign in, receive their task, and receive their T-shirt, which also builds a sense of excitement and purpose among everyone. Items to include at registration are a sign-in sheet, photo release forms, T-shirts and any other promotional items, schedule of events, sunscreen, and bug spray.

Kickoff Ceremony

 

Depending on the size and scope of your project, you could consider having a kickoff ceremony at the beginning of your day. This ceremony can be small and low-key, but it is an opportunity to gather everyone together and energize the group about what their day will involve. You can use this time to explain the significance of your project and to showcase the work of your company or organization. Keep the ceremony short and focused.

Site Orientation

 

Team leaders should take the participants on a walk around the site and explain the time line of the day, all while giving them specific instructions on what their tasks will be. Everyone should be told when breaks will be throughout the day and where to find the restrooms, water, and supplies.

A Photographer or Videographer

 

This will be determined by the size of the budget for your project, but it would be great to either assign a photographer and/or a videographer, or hire a professional to capture these great moments so that you can share them afterwards. We encourage you to post photos of your event to this Web site so others can see your completed projects. Not only should you plan on posting these photographs on your Web site, but you should also use them in your marketing materials as this is a great public relations opportunity. Please make sure you have participants fill out a photo release form. We have a sample release form that you may use for this purpose.

Evaluation

 

Don't let your participants leave without soliciting their feedback on how they viewed their experience. Gather this feedback through conversations or have a form ready for them to provide you with this information. This will be valuable to you as you plan future events. Our sample evaluation form can help you collect this information.

Closing Ceremony

 

Many events end with participants being given an opportunity to share their experiences, relax, and enjoy themselves. Take a group photo with everyone in their Day of Service T-shirts.