Top Tips for Effective Delegating

You do too much!”

“Let somebody help you!”

This is what the volunteers are for!”

If you’re in charge of non-profit, school, or church events, there’s a good chance you’ve heard at least one of the above statements. While we’re encouraged to delegate, sometimes it’s hard to do, especially if you have a way you like to get things done.

When interviewed, our customers often extol the virtues of getting help on your event. Delegating can save your sanity, make your event even more successful than it would be if you did it all alone, and gives you a chance to work on a team. Or it can make you crazy. The difference is in your approach. Here are our top tips for successful delegating.

  1. Start Small It’s probably not wise to put someone new in charge of a major facet of your event, unless they’ve got a lot of experience in that area. Choosing a caterer or planing the food, booking entertainment, or obtaining a venue are not good first-time event tasks. However, smaller tasks like picking things up, setting up chairs, sending out marketing materials to the local press, addressing invitations, and updating the Facebook page are a good way to quickly figure out who is responsible and helpful and ready for more responsibility.
  2. Check In Sometimes, people are flaky. You will give them one of the aforementioned simple tasks and they just…don’t do it. This does not have to be a major problem, if you check in with your volunteers on an early and regular basis. Communicate deadlines clearly, and ask if they’ve completed it. Don’t be afraid to enforce your deadline in a kind way: “Sue, I need the invitations by Monday, so if it turns out you don’t have time to address them this weekend, just let me know. I’m planning on picking them up Sunday evening, is that good?”
  3. Let Go Yes, you’re the event planner, and yes, you probably have a way you’d like to do things. But if you’re too picky, the only way you’re ever going to be happy is if you do everything yourself. And the whole point of delegating is to stop that from happening. Certainly you can have your standards, but allow room for other people’s creativity and ways of doing things.Your volunteers will know you trust them and value their input, not just their free labor.
  4. Celebrate and Appreciate Let your volunteers know how much you appreciate their help. Write them thank you notes. Recognize the things they do. They’ll have more fun, and so will you. And they’ll be more inclined to volunteer next year…