Giving back to the community is an important part of many organizations’ business strategies. But putting that strategy into action at an event might seem a bit cumbersome. Our Making a Difference series shares a few different ways you can encourage your attendees to support causes you care about with monetary and supply donations. But what about taking action?

Whether you’re hosting a virtual or in-person event, organizing a volunteer fair can be an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved. By connecting people with organizations and volunteer opportunities, you’re putting your commitment to service on display. But how do you make it happen? Here are four steps to help you organize a successful volunteer fair

Choose Your Partner Organizations

It’s likely that you know what types of organizations you’d like to partner with. But there are some significant considerations you need to make that go beyond the mission. 

  1. Are your attendees local or coming from multiple locations? This will help you determine if you’ll want to partner with organizations that have local, in-person opportunities or organizations that might have chapters around the country. You can also consider organizations who have online and virtual volunteer opportunities. 
  2. Does the organization actually need volunteers? Sure – most organizations are constantly looking for volunteers. But if your event brings lots of people to the booth looking for opportunities, you’ll want to make sure that the organization actually has enough of them. 
  3. What types of opportunities are your attendees likely to be interested in? In this case, you’ll want to think strategically about what volunteer opportunities your attendees might be interested in. You’ll want to set expectations with the organization up front – how many volunteers they’d like to recruit, if they’d like recurring volunteers, etc. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver, so be conservative with your estimates to make sure that partnership is mutually beneficial. 

Secure a Space

If you’re hosting an in-person event, you’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of space for organizations to set up shop. Provide a space that is easy for everyone to access, move about, and have conversations.

If you’re hosting a virtual event, consider creating a landing page that links directly to and organizes a volunteer sign-up page. You can also invite partner organizations to create videos, provide a small description, or share materials that give details about their volunteer opportunities. This is a great time to share virtual-only volunteer opportunities! 

Organize Activities and Workshops

The volunteer fair is a great space to pull all of the organizations together in one room for your attendees. But you may also consider giving the organizations space throughout the event. Invite representatives from the organizations to sit on panels or present a workshop. Organize a volunteer project that allows attendees to participate in the moment before committing to a project outside of the event. Offer basic training sessions to help prepare volunteers for the roles they might be interested in. The more exposure to hands-on experiences, the better.

Wrap it Up

Once your event has wrapped, feedback and follow up is imperative. Ask your nonprofit partners to stay in touch about any attendees who have committed to volunteer projects. Check in regularly to determine if there are more opportunities for volunteers.

Gather honest feedback from organizations and attendees to determine if the volunteer fair was worthwhile. And finally, thank your organizations and your volunteers. Acknowledging their participation shows that you’re engaged and helps you achieve buy-in for future opportunities. 


Organizing a volunteer fair requires careful planning and coordination, but the positive impact it can have on your event and your community makes it all worthwhile. By following these steps, you can create an event that not only connects volunteers with meaningful opportunities but also fosters a stronger, more engaged community.

Kadi McDonald is a freelance writer, marketing strategist, and proud Cleveland sports fan.