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A Volunteer Trade! -How It Works in the US

13 February 2006 at 12:02 pm
Staff Reporter
The latest fundraising concept from the US is "A Volunteer Trade" - an agreement to switch volunteers with another organisation for specific tasks during a specific event; and it's taking off according to consultants Auctionpay.

Staff Reporter | 13 February 2006 at 12:02 pm


A Volunteer Trade! -How It Works in the US
13 February 2006 at 12:02 pm

The latest fundraising concept from the US is “A Volunteer Trade” – an agreement to switch volunteers with another organisation for specific tasks during a specific event; and it’s taking off according to consultants Auctionpay.

Auctionpay says the concept allows an organisation to hand over to guest volunteers during an event so that your loyal volunteers are free to enjoy the outcome of their labours in getting the event off the ground.

Here’s an example. You send your volunteers to take registrations and monitor the silent auction at another organisation’s event and they do the same for yours.

Auctionpay says a volunteer trade frees up your volunteers during your event so they can:
– Bid on items
– Get the party rolling
– Motivate the crowd
– Meet and mingle with new donors and contacts
– Enjoy the food, decorations, and entertainment they helped to organise

To organise a volunteer trade, Auctionpay says look for Not for Profits with similar events. These organisations should agree with you on what a quality event looks like and how to run a smooth event. It says that in the US many schools and smaller organisations use this system successfully year after year.

Discuss ideas with your volunteers. They may already be involved in other events that would make a good match. Explain that you will be reciprocating the benefits by lending your volunteers to their organisation for their event as well.

Coordinate schedules with your partner organisation for each of your events. Decide how you will assign volunteers, as well as how you will get instructions and details out to each team (email can be very effective), as well as how you will handle training. (In the US Auctionpay systems provide credit card and EFTPOS style machines)

Select someone on your staff or volunteer team to be the leader of your Volunteer Trade. For your partner event, this person can be responsible for last-minute reminders and delivering driving directions or any other last-minute instructions.

At your event, this person will be the greeter of your guest volunteers. They can be responsible to answer questions and get the volunteers positioned and ready to run registration and silent auction.

At the Event – give yourself a half-hour before guests start arriving to greet your guest volunteers, finalise instructions and answer any questions. Your assigned coordinator can put everyone in place and get things started.

At the end of the night, have a few of your own volunteers and staff on hand to take the reigns for check-out and cashiering. They know more about the details of your event and can handle any questions that come up. You will also be able to better control and track payments for final reconciliation.

Overall Auctionpay says don’t miss these benefits of a volunteer trade:
1. Revenue will increase because your own volunteers are free to place bids!
2. Your volunteers are free to enjoy the event.
3. New contacts and volunteers learn about your organisation.
4. Using referrals can save you money.

To find out more about Volunteer Trades and other fundraising tips go to Auctionpay’s website:

If your organisation has tried volunteer trades, we’d love to hear about your experience. Just send us an email

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