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An Olympian feat of volunteerism

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

From Feb. 12–28, Vancouver will host the Olympic Winter Games. Nearly 30,000 volunteers will do everything from pick up trash to provide medical services.

The massive mobilization of volunteers is often overlooked during the Olympics. But it’s a reminder that large-scale events require passionate support from a wide range of supporters.

As you plan initiatives for 2010—from company picnics to PR campaigns in your community—use the Olympics as your guide. Just as Olympic organizers worked well in advance to lay the groundwork for the festivities, think ahead and make it easy for people to contribute to your success.

Allen Vansen, manager of staff operations for the Vancouver Organizing Committee, publicized the need for volunteers in 2008 and received more than 60,000 online applications by April 2009. That’s when his team began offering positions.

Set ground rules from the start when you enlist volunteers. Vansen sought people motivated to participate in an epic event, not to see their favorite sport for free. Follow his lead and communicate the type of volunteers you seek to attract and what’s in it for them.

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