When working with a group, making a list is an excellent communication tool. Whether its the first event being planned, or the fifteenth, creating the list gets the group focused on what is needed for the event. Tasks can be detailed off so all of the work is fairly distributed and gets accomplished.

Food lists:

  • Make a menu.
  • Get the recipes
  • Decide how many the meal will feed.
  • Multiply recipes to desired amount
  • Make a master food list for only the amounts needed.
  • This is the list that can be used to scout prices.
  • After prices are scouted, break the list down into vendors
  • Decide the best time to pick up each item.
  • Write it on the vendor lists.
  • Now when you really go shopping, vendors will appreciate not having their time wasted. Its always easier to discuss discounts and donations when everyone is organized.

Non food lists:

Dishes: Count the dishes ahead of time. If volunteers are short, use paper ware to keep clean up manageable.
Cutlery: Is there enough of all the things you need for your menu? During the event is no time to find out that there are no spoons for the soup: )
Serving Utensils: There should be at least one utensil for each menu item, more if you have a large group and are using more than one serving line. Not having enough utensils will really slow down the serving time.
Food Wrap: If food is being prepared or dished into serving trays, have the saran and foil needed on hand. Preparation time will be slowed down if someone has to run out for these things at the last minute.
Cleaning supplies: At the very least, dish soap, sponges, cloths and paper towel will be needed, along with a small bottle of bleach.
Menus: People like to know what they are eating. At the very least you should have a big menu posted by the door.
Tickets: If you are offering more than one menu choice, consider also buying different colored tickets for the different items. Its always less stress and wastage if these things are known in advance.
Garbage and recycling: Will the group be responsible for removal or will it be part of the rental agreement.

Work detail

A. There should be a separate list for the food volunteers. Whoever is in charge of the food should break the menu down so that all of the work is done at the right time.

B. Setting up the tables and the serving area should be a separate work group.

C. Transporting is a big part of volunteer events. Food must be picked up, non food items ready and someone should be available for any last minute errands. No matter how carefully the plans are made, there will always be something.

D. Responsibility for cleanup must be assigned before the event starts. Volunteers for the next event will be harder to find if anyone is left to do cleanup shorthanded.

E. Traffic control, security and first aid must all be organized before the event.

F…What the tear down crew needs to do, and who will take part, must be settled beforehand.

Public relations:

At the very least, all discounts and donations should be followed up with a thank you letter, addressed to the company and showcasing how professional and helpful the person who the group dealt with was.

Check with the local paper about discounts for thank you ads for non profit community fundraisers.

Certificates are a low cost way to acknowledge significant contributions to an event.
If the group has a website, set up a thank you page for any sponsors.

Best of all, a personal phone call to say thank you will mean a lot and costs absolutely nothing but a few minutes time.