International Volunteer Managers Day

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By Laura Pearson-Clark | Friday 03 November 2017

We talked to Jess Sayer, Community Fundraising Manager, to find out more about her experience recruiting and supporting a dedicated team of volunteers this Autumn to help at the Chariots of Fire race in Cambridge.

Why did you need volunteers for your event?

“We were very fortunate to be chosen as the charity to benefit from the 26th Chariots of Fire event, an annual road race around Cambridge. As part of the partnership, we were asked to provide a large number of volunteers to help with marshalling, recruitment and general jobs on the day.”

How did you recruit volunteers for your event?

“We have a lot of lovely and willing volunteers in the Cambridge area who were more than happy to help out – however we didn’t have enough to reach the large number we needed on the day. To increase numbers, we asked our corporate partners if any staff would like to take part and quite a few said yes, providing fantastic volunteer support on the day. We also had members of Alzheimer’s Research UK staff helping out which was great and we advertised the volunteering role on our website.”

What do you enjoy most about managing and supporting volunteers?

“I love it when a volunteer comes up to me at the end of the day and says “I really enjoyed that!” We want to help provide experiences people enjoy and prove they’re making a difference. Without the support of a large network of volunteers we wouldn’t have been able support such a successful day, which raised over £50,000 for life-changing dementia research.”

What’s the most challenging part of managing volunteers?

“I always oversubscribe volunteers for events where possible due to last minute drop outs. This is to be expected due to personal issues and other things sometimes overtaking the importance of the day. Some people may also express enthusiasm when the volunteer opportunity is offered and then go quiet as it gets nearer. There are always jobs that need doing and I would rather have too many volunteers than too few. This also allows for people to buddy up and take on tasks together which can form new friendships and a greater sense of teamwork, which is fantastic.”

How did the day go?

“It was a brilliant day and the weather held out for us! Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was a wide variety of volunteering opportunities available so quite a few people managed to do two or three different jobs on the day which was great for variety.”

What advice would you give to anyone else managing volunteers?

“It’s crucial to stress the importance of their role and show how they are making a difference. Also ensure you have an organised plan of which volunteer will be taking on which role and send it round to your volunteers beforehand so they know what time they need to be there and what they will be doing on the day. If volunteers can see how their role will help, it will make them feel more involved.”

What are you pledging to do for International Volunteer Managers’ Day?

“In my new role as Community Fundraising Manager I am looking forward to supporting our team of Regional Fundraising Officers across the UK to continue to provide great volunteering opportunities that are fun and rewarding experiences.”

We are currently recruiting for Collection Crew Volunteers to carry out bucket collections and bag packing at over 20 Sainsbury’s stores up and down the UK.  Register your interest now and your local Regional Fundraising Officer will be in touch with further details shortly.

To find out more about the different volunteering opportunities we have on offer please visit our website at

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About the author

Laura Pearson-Clark