Service Day Survival Guide

ACMAC Service Day Survival Guide

Created by: Debbie Saylor & Mandy Murphy, Spring 2006

This page is adapted from a PDF (available here). Please help format it for this wiki.

The Planning Committee

Welcome to the ACMAC Service Day Survival Guide. This guide is to act as an outline for you in your quest toward planning and carrying out a successful service day. The goal of this guide is to provide you with a greater understanding of what is needed to reach your service day goals.

Planning a service day takes a lot of preparation, coordination and hard work. Since it isn’t wise or sustainable for one person to put on a service day alone, the first step in the planning process is to create a committee. At the end of this guide you will find a list of Montana National Service Contacts. Use this list to find other people in your area committed to service. Contact these people, team up with them and create a Service Day Planning Committee. If you don’t have a wide pool of National Service Representatives in your area you can contact staff of local non-profits, college students in service related groups, friends, church groups and other community groups. The sooner you meet with these people, the greater chance of creating a more organized service event. Your committee should consist of at least four people, ideally it should be anywhere from 4-8 people.

Here is a general list of roles committee members may play in the arrangement of the service event:

• Overall Committee head (oversees entire operation, schedules committee meetings, acts as the “go to” person)

• Logistical Committee head (deals with reserving venue/schedule coordination etc.)

• Sponsorship Committee head

• Donation Committee head

• Volunteer Recruitment/Retainment Committee head

• Public Relations Committee head

• Communication/Transportation Committee head

• Entertainment Committee head

Depending on your organization style you may feel there is a need for more committees or that a few of the committees could be combined. Create the committees in a way that feels most comfortable to you and the group. You should start planning your event as soon as possible, the larger the event means a larger time commitment required for planning. The planning for most events should take place at least four months in advance.

During the first month of planning the overall committee should meet at least one time to discuss goals and objectives of the day. For the next two months committee heads should be talking with the overall chair twice a month and meetings with the whole group should continue monthly. During the final month of planning the committee should meet each week. The final week before the service day the committee should meet as much as necessary (at least twice) to work out any logistical holes. Finally, after the event is complete the committee should meet at one time to do follow up work, such as evaluating the entire process (planning and event), writing thank you cards and to brainstorm ideas for the following year.


As an ACMAC member it is your responsibility to be involved in two service days during the term of your service; Make a Difference Day and National Youth Service Day. As a coordinator for these service days you must first decide the goals for each event. First discover your own goals and then discuss the service day committee’s overall goals. Allow your goals to be both broad and direct. They can range from the number of volunteers to the type of entertainment for the day.

Individual Goals:

1) ______ 6) ________
2) ______ 7) ________
3) ______ 8) ________
4) ______ 9) ________
5) _______ 10) __________

Service Day Committee Goals:

1) _________ 6) _______
2) _
________ 7) _______
3) _________ 8) _______
4) _
________ 9) _______
5) ________ 10) _________

Once you have established your goals and your committee’s goals – prioritize these goals. What will make the day a success and what goals if not met will still allow the day to be a success? What decides if the event is or isn’t a success – be sure to discuss this with your committee and make a decision as to what is most important.

Our most important goals to reach are:

1) _________
2) _________
3) _________
4) _________
5) _________


Now that you have your goals prioritized you need to determine the objectives and outcomes for the service day. Objectives and outcomes are different than goals because they act as things you physically want to accomplish. There are a number of factors to consider when planning a service day such as:

• Recruitment of volunteers

• Where to do service

• Type of service

• Sponsorship

• Donations

• Transportation

• Liability

• Communication

• Venue

• Entertainment

• PR / Media

• Schedule / Coordination

The following pages of this survival guide are dedicated to the above objectives. Keep in mind this guide is an overview of things to consider when planning a service event. Use your own creativity in deciding how you want to go about organizing the day.


Recruitment of Volunteers

Make a Difference Day was started by USA WEEKEND Magazine as a service day where neighbors help neighbors. Each year the magazine encourages their readers to take part in the day and in 2004 over 3 million people participated. Individuals, small groups, large groups, the young, the old and everyone in between are welcome to participate. The goal of the service day is simple — for people to make a difference in their communities. Every year it is held during the fourth Saturday in October.
National Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world. Millions of youth participate each year in the United States and globally. It is held every year during a weekend in April. The purpose of NYSD is to mobilize youth to identify and address their community need, to support youth in making a life-long commitment to service and to educate the public, media and policymakers about the contributions youth make everyday in their communities.

While recruiting volunteers for your service event keep in mind who the service day is attempting to target. On Make a Difference Day anyone is welcome to attend and serve, during National Youth Service Day everyone in the community should be encouraged to participate, but the main focus is on youth volunteers.

There are a number of ways to recruit volunteers for a service event. In your community there are youth groups, church groups, after school programs, school sport teams, boy scout groups, girl scout groups and organizations such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club. You can ask these groups to volunteer at your event together or you can go about seeking out volunteers by printing ads in local newspapers, magazines or by placing fliers in public areas such as grocery stores, the library and area restaurants.

Regardless of how you choose to promote your event to the public make sure your promotional tool is eye catching and interesting to the reader.

When writing an ad or creating a flyer:

• Clearly state the What, Who, Why, When, Where and How

• Identify what people will get out of the experience:

Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world. For one weekend in April youth across the globe will be participating in service events in their community. Here in __ youth volunteers will spend their time doing a number of activities such as _, _, _. Free food and entertainment will be provided for all who attend. T-shirts (or some other promotional item) will be given to the first 100 registered volunteers.

• Explain why there is a need to do service:

Last year over one hundred families in our area were unable to pay their heating bill due to the increased cost of energy…

• When creating a flyer use large, clear fonts and colored paper or ink that will stick out among the 100’s of other flyers posted.

Since Global Youth Service Day is aimed at youth involvement, consider creating a youth advisory board. These youth can be from local high schools, middle schools, church groups, etc. Here is a position description and application recently given to Missoula area high school students:

Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) Youth Planning Committee Member

What is GYSD?
GYSD is a nationally recognized day of service that encourages communities and youth to work together to plan and implement volunteer projects to engage young people in service. The event will take place April 22nd, 2006. Past projects have been painting murals at McCormick Park, food drives, and community clean-ups.

The committee member would serve on the planning committee with four other Missoula High School students to help assess community needs and plan the day of service. They would work directly with four adult AmeriCorps members to plan the event.

Duties and responsibilities:

*Serve on youth planning committee for GYSD
*Attend all planning meetings
*Help recruit other youth to take part in the project
*Communicate regularly with the coordinators
*Serve as group leaders on the day of the event


*Current High School Student
*Interested in volunteering
*Cares about the Missoula community and its needs

Time Frame:

January-April 2006


  • Great leadership experience
  • Build your community involvement experience for your college application or even for a summer job!
  • Gain great references for job or college applications
  • Free T-shirt!
  • Get to know other high school students and make a difference in the Missoula Community.

NYSD Planning Committee Application:

Year in School: Fr So Jr Sr

Please answer (if you need more room, use back):
1. How have you been involved in your community in the past (church groups, extra-curricular activities, etc.)?

2. What leadership positions have you held?

3. Why do you want to be apart of the planning committee for NYSD?

4. Is there anything that may prevent you from being able to fulfill all of the obligations?

5. What do you feel are the most critical community needs of Missoula?

A youth advisory board can plan the big picture of the event such as:

1) Determining the community needs
2) How long the event should last
3) Where the event should be held
4) What type of entertainment would draw more youth


Volunteer Coordination

Coordination of volunteers can be a somewhat challenging task if you are not an organized person. Once the promotional items are displayed for the public there will be people contacting you at random times to learn more about the service day. Make sure to write down the contact information for every person who you speak with about the day even if they are uncertain about their desired role. For each individual you speak with that expresses interest you should have the following information recorded:

Name: Date: Who took message:
Telephone number:
Individual Volunteer: Yes _ No _
Group of Volunteers: Yes _ No_ How many volunteers in group: # _
Age: _
If under 18 will a parent be joining them in service: Yes _ No _
Parent must be present during registration of event in order to sign waiver form.
Additional information:

There are two things every volunteer should fill out in order to participate in a service day. The first is a waiver form acknowledging the risk the individual may face throughout the course of the day, and relieving your organization of any fault. This form needs to be signed and turned in by the individual or the youth’s parent if under the age of 18, during registration. The second is a volunteer survey to be filled out at the end of the day in order to get feedback on the event. The more volunteer surveys gathered the greater chance of an accurate assessment of the day.

The waiver form can be simple and straight to the point:

I ___, fully understand that I or my child ___, may face risks during (Make a Difference Day / National Youth Service Day) activities which may cause bodily harm or damage. I am voluntarily participating in these activities and understand that ___ organization is not responsible for any harm caused to myself or child, by my actions, the actions of other participants, or by the location of the activity. I release ___ of any legal responsibility should I or my child be harmed during the course of the event.

____ _____ Date _____
Signature of Guardian Printed Name of Guardian
____ _____ Date ___
Signature of Minor Printed Name of Minor

Emergency Contact: _________
Relationship to youth: ________
Phone Number: __________

Other volunteer coordination ideas:

1) At the registration table have volunteers sign in, sign the waiver form and create a nametag or have one already designed for the registered participants.

2) Try to always greet volunteers by name.

3) If there is more than one service project taking place during the day allow volunteers to sign up for the project they would like to work on.

4) Don’t split up friends unless necessary – it is already difficult to get people to volunteer and feel comfortable – if you take away their comfort level they might not volunteer again in the future.

5) Have a schedule of events and a map of the area available for all volunteers.

6) Stick to your time schedule. If the service project is only supposed to last three hours make sure the volunteers are finished and able to leave as soon as that third hour hits.

7) Be organized – make sure the registration table is at a visible location – have the food and beverages be next to the registration table so people have to walk past it to get to the food.

8) Once it is time for the scheduled event to officially begin, thank the volunteers for coming, go over the schedule of events, and have a speaker from the community (mayor, president of university, etc) welcome the volunteers and send them on their way.

9) At the end of the day schedule in time for a reflection activity for the volunteers. Have them discuss in small groups things they learned from the day, if they felt they accomplished or made a difference, things that happened they weren’t expecting, etc. Then bring them back as a large group and have a few people say what stands out in their minds from the day.

10) Enjoy food and entertainment at the end of the day.

The Service Component

Now that you have your volunteers recruited, your goals established and your objectives outlined it is time to discover where to do the actual service portion of the day.

• Contact non-profits in area

Call non-profits and speak to their volunteer coordinator. Talk to them directly over the phone or write them a letter explaining the service day, what you would like to accomplish, and how you would want to partner with their organization.

• Brainstorm with your committee community needs.

• Allow youth committee to decide the service project based on needs they see in community.

• Attend a local government council meeting and listen to issues in community for ideas.

Partnering with organizations in your town may be the best approach to your service event for the following reasons:

• They will set up the project and be helpful in managing the volunteers

• The organization will or should have the supplies needed to complete the project.

• They may have waiver forms and liability issues for volunteers already covered – relieving you and your organization of any legal issues.

• Non-profits are a good resource to have for future service events – they can offer insight in to how to run a service day, managing volunteers, transportation, and they already have the need for volunteer service.

If the service committee or the youth planning committee decide to not work with a non-profit or organization in the area you will probably need to spend a greater portion of time coordinating the service event. If this is the case you will need to think about the following things:

• Supplies for the day – (i.e. if you are picking up trash along the river – you will need gloves, trash bags, drop off points for trash, maps of the route, times to be at each drop off point, communication tools for volunteers incase of an emergency, someone certified in first aid/CPR, “team leaders” placed at the front, middle and back of the pack, waders for people to get trash out of the river, dump trucks, etc)

• Communication tools – cell phones or radios so each “team leader” can be in touch with the “base” incase of an unexpected event.

• Contacting city officials – parks and recreations, police, etc to inform them of your objectives of the day, how many people to expect, ask about laws/issues for doing project in certain neighborhoods, or along the river, or roads, and to learn about safety issues, etc. to share with your volunteers on the day of the event.

• Number of volunteers to complete project

• Check to make sure there is enough work for everyone to stay busy.

• Group leaders should be trained, responsible and able to manage their group.


Transportation is a logistical issue that is often overlooked when planning service sites and projects, however it should have a heavy focus from the planning committee. If the service day will not have a central meeting point for all participants you can have the volunteers meet at the site where they will be doing service. If they are youth participants you can have someone pick them up from that same spot after the project is complete. This way you don’t have to worry about transporting volunteers.
However, if you’re thinking about having all volunteers meet at a central location – i.e. a park – and go to their service sites from that location then consider the distance to each site. Having volunteers walk to the sites, as long as it is a pedestrian safe route, would be better than driving the volunteers to a site.

• Walking to a site provides the volunteers the opportunity to leave at their own convenience.

• There is not a liability issue when walking to a site versus the concern of an accident or insurance when transporting volunteers in a vehicle

• If the service project at the site is finished early, on the way back to the central site volunteers can pick up litter along the route.

If it is absolutely necessary to drive volunteers from one location to another you need to account for the following:

• Reserving vehicles or obtaining vehicles to use.

• Reviewing insurance policies of the rented or borrowed vehicle

• Having a driver who is responsible and sole role throughout the day is driving volunteers.

• Cover in the waiver form the use of vehicles.

Regardless of what you choose with vehicle issues make sure there is at least one or two vehicles that can be used in case of an emergency.


Any service day with a large number of volunteers and participants needs to have a good form of communication in place. For every 15-20 volunteers there should be one “team leader” who has an insider’s understanding to what is taking place. For example the team leader should know and be able to do the following:

• Share information with the volunteers on a need to know basis

• Be the contact person with the non-profit or organization where the service is taking place

• Know minute details such as where the bathrooms are, where water is, how long the service event will last, some background information about where and why they are serving at a certain location / non-profit.

• Have contact with the “base” where other coordination is taking place.

Good communication is essential in having a smooth running service day. Many unexpected events will occur throughout the course of the day and questions will arise that the team leader may not have the answer to. Being organized is the best way to approach the communication aspect of the day. Below is a form where team leader’s names and cell phone numbers can be plugged in and copied to be given to every team leader and the people at the base.

Name of base coordinator:
Base Coordinator’s Number:

1) Team Leader Name:
Location serving:
Telephone number:

2) Team Leader Name:
Location serving:
Telephone number:

3) Team Leader Name:
Location serving:
Telephone number:

4) Team Leader Name:
Location serving:
Telephone number:

Everyone in a leadership role may not have a cell phone or may not be willing to use their cell phone minutes for communication between groups. Find this information out as early as possible. If cell phone use is not an option, consider getting radios. City traffic departments often have radios they are willing to loan out for a weekend. Be sure to contact the traffic department early, assure them the radios will be handled with great care, recharged when returned. Remember to designate someone to pick up the radios and someone to return the radios.

The Venue

Now is the time to go and check over the goals you outlined earlier. Evaluate how many people you expect to show up to this day of service, are you going to have entertainment, if so will that entertainment need a sound system or other power generated supplies? Based on these factors decide where the best place is to hold the event.

What to think about when securing a venue:

• Make reservations as early as possible. If you are planning a service day you should contact places to act as a central location for all volunteers as far in advance as possible.

• Weather is unpredictable – the venue should have some type of coverage for people to go under in case it rains or snows.

• A venue such as a park with playground equipment is ideal because it will give people something to do while they are waiting for the projects or entertainment to begin.

• Cost of a venue may be expensive, so ask about scholarships that may be available for non-profits.

• If one venue is too expensive, don’t hesitate to ask if the people in charge of that venue can recommend other sites.

• Tables / chairs / benches should be at the venue if any type of food will be served.

• Location is key – somewhere that is well known in the community and central to where service sites are located is a plus.

How to reserve a venue:

• Contact the people in charge of the venue – if it is a city park or property then the city department building will probably be able to direct you to the right person.

• It is best to talk to the contact person directly over the phone to learn what the process is in reserving the venue.

• If a letter is required to make a reservation include the following information:

Date/Time of event
Number of people expected
Purpose of event
What you can offer the venue – publicity, sponsorship benefits, cleaning up after event, a service project for the venue, etc.

Once you have your venue reserved or while you are in the process of considering the venue be sure to ask:

• Are there outlets and power for a sound system, stage equipment?

• What are the cleaning requirements for after the event?

• What are the regulations/rules for the venue?

• Who do you contact if there is an emergency the day of the event?

• What is the address of venue?

Public Relations and Media

Radio stations, television stations and newspapers are an excellent source for relaying information about your service day. Use the media to your advantage to advertise your making a difference in the community through service.


• Write a press release and public service announcement two to three months prior to your event. In these items include: What the event is, where it will be held, who is invited to attend, when it will take place, how it will be scheduled and why people should participate. Keep the press release and PSA short. For the PSA you can write one that takes 15 seconds to read, 30 seconds to read and 60 seconds to read. Each one will have slightly more detail. This will create a greater chance of it being read over the air during different time slots.

• Continue to send out the PSA each month until the day of the service event.

• Roughly 3 weeks prior to the event send out a fresh press release to each newspaper in your area calling for volunteers. Include either the schedule for the day or a detailed list of the happenings throughout the day.

• If it is possible try to get a reporter from a local newspaper to cover the event.

• Write a letter to the editor (free!) during the week of the event.

• Request to be on calendar of events in a newspaper.

• Call a TV station a week before event and request a reporter and cameraman to cover the event. Call the station a day before to confirm when the reporter will be arriving.


• Write a follow up press release stating the number of volunteers who participated, what was accomplished in the day (i.e. 2,000 lbs of trash was removed from the river, 1000 pounds of food was collected in the food drive, 500 letters were sent to troops across seas, etc). Also, include survey results – 77% of volunteers said they felt the day was a success and 80% said they would volunteer in the future.

• Check papers for any articles written about the event and clip them from the paper to keep in a file for recording purposes.

To find out how to submit your press release to a newspaper, find the newspaper in the phone book or online and call the general information line. Whoever you talk to should be able to put you in contact with the right person. Once in contact with that person ask them what they are looking for in a press release and be sure to include that information before submitting it.
You can also find local radio stations in the phone book or online. Go through the same process with the stations as you did with the newspapers. This may seem tedious at first, but if you keep a record of who you contacted, it will make the next set of PSA’s and press releases an easy task.


Name of newspaper:
Name of contact:
Telephone number:
Fax number:
Email address:

Radio Stations:

Name of station:
Name of contact
Telephone number:
Fax number:
Email address:

Television Stations:

Name of station:
Name of contact:
Telephone number:
Fax number:
Email address:

Sponsorships and Donations

Sponsorships and donations are very similar in their purpose for an event. The process for requesting a sponsorship or donation can be accomplished in a similar manner. However, there are a couple ways to distinguish between the two. A donation is usually something that is given to an event as a one time, quick and easy exchange. For example a pizza shop donates drinks and 20 pizzas and an outdoor store donates 5 water bottles to be raffled off as prizes. Donations often are in the form of physical things, food, drink, prizes, where as a sponsorship usually comes in the form of money (but not always).

A sponsorship is a bit more complex in nature. There is a larger time commitment needed from the sponsoring organization or business and a stronger relationship should be built between you and that sponsor. For example, the venue you would like to reserve is owned by a local business, after talking and negotiating with the business they agree to let you use the venue, as long as you advertise their name during announcements and their name is printed on all publicized materials. Other sponsors could include a business that gives you money to reserve the venue, to buy food, to hire entertainment. The business also advertises your event to their patrons and you in turn advertise their name on all printed materials.

Tips to use when contacting potential donors or sponsors:

• The earlier you make the initial contact the better. If your event is in April contact the business by January. If your event is in October contact the business by June. At least four months in advance.

• Make phone contact first, ask who in the business is in charge of giving donations. Ask to speak to this person or to leave a message.

• If you leave a message give the person about 3-4 days to call you back. If they don’t contact you by this point call them back.

• When you reach the person you need to talk with ask what the process is for people to request a donation (i.e. a letter, a phone call, how long it takes to get a response).

• If you are unable to talk to the person in charge of donations ask the receptionist or whomever you are speaking with the process.

• Be sure to get the spelling of the name of the person you need to address the letter. Recheck the address before sending the letter.

• Keep a record of when you make the first contact, when you send the letter, when the expected contact date is, and what the response of the business was.

• If you are asking a business for a donation, either in a letter or over the phone, clearly state what you need. Explain what the event is, how many people you expect to attend the event, the purpose of the event, and what you need from the business. If you need 10 pizzas for 100 people ask for 10 pizzas.

• When contacting a business for a sponsorship share the same information with them as you would with a donor, but then tell them why you want them to sponsor your event. For example, tell them you value what they have done for the community, that they are a respected establishment and that you believe a partnership between your service event and their business would create a successful, positive experience for everyone involved.

• Make sure the language used in the letter is clear and concise.

• Keep the letters short – no longer than one page, and have the purpose stated in the first paragraph.

• Invite the employees of the business to participate in the event.

• The following are items you may need at your service event:
Food: Napkins, plates, silverware, cups, water
Power supplies: Generator, extension cords, duck tape, microphones
Port-O-John: Toilet paper

The most important tip to keep in mind when contacting potential donors and sponsors is to stay ORGANIZED! The next couple of pages are templates for how to remain organized when contacting businesses.

Your Name or use letterhead

Contact Name


Dear _____,

Last year on April 16, over 200 youth in Missoula participated in National Youth Service Day (NYSD) completing seven different service projects around the community. These youth, ranging in age from 5-24 years old participated in a food drive, cleaned city streets and spent time making crafts with senior citizens. We are hoping for the same type of success for this year’s National Youth Service Day.

NYSD is the largest service event in the world and we are helping it find a permanent place in Missoula. The purpose of NYSD is to mobilize youth to become involved in the community and to partake in activities that will impact their journey toward becoming a civically engaged individual.

In order for National Youth Service Day to be a success we need the help of local businesses. We would like this year’s service event to have more youth participants than last year in an attempt to meet a greater amount of Missoula’s needs. For this to happen we need businesses to sponsor the event by donating money or supplies such as food, drink and prizes for volunteers and participants.

We hope that you are interested in becoming involved with National Youth Service Day here in Missoula by making a donation. All monetary donations we receive will be administered by __. Please make checks payable to ______. In-kind donations (goods, services, waived fees) will be picked up by a member of the Missoula Alliance for National Youth Service Day prior to the event.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact me at __or via email at _____. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours in Service,

Service Day Survival Guide
Sponsorships and Donations

Service Day Sponsor / Donation List

Name of Business / Organization
Phone Number
Date of 1st telephone call
Date of 2nd Contact
Date Letter was sent
Date of Response
Yes / No
What is donated?

Keep in mind that any item that is donated needs to be picked up and brought to the service event. Designate one or two people whose sole responsibility is picking up donations and being in charge of those donations throughout the course of the whole planning process and service day.

If food is donated those responsible for donations should plan enough time to set up the food and clean up the food before going to get other items for the day. Or you can designate a team of people to set up and clean up the food.

Schedule for picking up donations:

Business / Organization Name
Address of
Business /
Date to pick up donation
Time to pick up donation
Place to take donation

Proposed Budget

This is an example of a budget. Tailor your budget to your specific needs and be as specific as you want. It is an important piece of your planning.

Expense Amount Details Status
Bonner Park and Bonner Park band shell Reservations $110 Missoula Parks and Rec Dept. charges a fee for use of their facilities. This fee could not be waived, despite our non-profit status Confirmed- this expense has been confirmed and we have an invoice from Missoula Parks and Rec.
Breakfast and Lunch food items $300 We are trying to get the food donated through in-kind donations from local businesses, but there will be items we cannot get donated. In the works-we are still working on in-kind donations.
Printing Costs $50 This includes the cost of paper and printing for flyers and banners needed to publicize the event In the works
Misc. $100 In the event we have unforeseen expenses associated with either the community service projects or organization of NYSD, we will use these funds.
Total Budget: $560


Entertainment is not a necessary component to your service day — however it might be what people remember from their time spent volunteering with you versus all of their other volunteer experiences. The entertainment factor might be what makes people decide to volunteer next year with National Youth Service Day or Make a Difference Day. Recruiting entertainment for free or at a low cost might be a challenging task but it is possible.

• Use the community’s resources: local bands, the juggling club, the outdoor club, an acapella group, a drum circle, an interactive fitness class for your entertainment.

• Advertise your need for entertainers around town – college campus, community center, high schools. Make posters and flyers to hang.

• Most entertainers – as long as they aren’t famous –will most likely be willing to work with you on compensation issues or be willing to do it for free with the promise of publicity.

• Create a schedule and allot time for setting up and tearing down.

• Entertainment doesn’t have to be just at the end of the day – you can have an entertainer perform during the registration period in the morning to keep people from straying too far before the start of the event.

• Ask ahead of time if the entertainer will be bringing all of their own supplies and what they need for you to provide.

When booking an entertainer make sure they are committed to performing — you could even have them sign a “contract.” If you are booking a band consider listening to them practice or have them send you a set list with lyrics to their songs. You want to make sure the entertainment is “family” oriented and it will not be offensive to anyone in attendance. Tables are provided on the following pages to keep your entertainment information in order.

Entertainment Contact Information

Phone number
Type of Entertainment

Entertainer Information

Type of entertainment
Supplies provided
Supplies needed

Entertainment Schedule

Type of Entertainment
Time performing
Name of person introducing
People who are setting up and tearing down

Allow at least 15 minutes in between performance times for preparation for next performer.

Creating Schedules

The actual day of the service event has the potential to be a chaotic experience. However, if you keep an organized and detailed schedule and you stick to that schedule your day should run smoothly. Below is one type of schedule form to be given to your planning committee for the day of the service event.

Schedule for Service Day
Title of Event:
Meeting Time:
Meeting Place:
Names of Participants:

Roles of Participants and their contact telephone numbers:


End Time:
End Meeting Place:
Schedule of Events:


This is a very general schedule – as the planning goes on for the event you may find you need a more detailed outline of the day’s happenings. However you choose to organize your day, make sure to give the final schedule to your committee or anyone who is acting in a leadership role. You should also meet with your leaders prior to the day to review the schedule and to fix any logistical holes.

Registration Form




It is important that someone (e.g. group leader) leads a reflection and closing at the end of the day of service for the group. This will help wrap up the day and bring a sense of closure for everyone and also to solidify key learnings.

Good Closings:
-Don’t take too much time (15 minutes maximum)
-Involve everyone in the group
-Happen immediately following the last activity

How to Facilitate:

1. Set up the activity by quickly and concisely explaining how it is going to work.

2. Conduct the activity-move things along in a sensitive manner

3. Close the activity by saying something that puts a definitive end to the activity (“thank you all for sharing and being here today”)

Ideas for Reflection:

Spider Web
Have everyone make a circle. One person starts with the end of a ball or yarn and says something he or she learned from the day, learned about themselves, etc. They then pass the ball to someone else (other than the person next to them), while holding their end. Proceed until everyone has had a chance to speak and a spider web is formed! The web symbolizes unity and how everyone is connected.

Appreciation Papers
Give everyone a piece of paper, piece of tape, and a pen or marker. Have them tape the piece of paper to their back. Tell everyone to walk around the room and find 5 (or more/less depending on size of your group) people’s backs to write on. They should write something they appreciate about the person whose paper they are writing on. After everyone is finished, tell participants to take the paper off their back and read!

Round Robin
Ask a specific question that relates to the day and go around and have everyone answer it.

Volunteer Survey

The following is an example of a volunteer survey:

Service Project Description:___________
City:_______ Date:_____
In order to improve future service projects and gauge the effectiveness of this service project, your input would be extremely helpful on the following questions:
1. Male_ Female_
2. Youth (under 18)_ College Student_ Adult Community Member_

Please place an X in the box most appropriate to your thoughts/feelings about the following statements:

3. This service project was worthwhile.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

4. I feel my contribution was helpful.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

5. Overall, this was a positive experience for me.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

6. Due to my involvement in this project, I
will continue to volunteer in the future.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

7. As a result of volunteering, my view of the
importance of people becoming actively
involved in their communities has strengthened.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

Please explain your answer:

8. As a result of volunteering, I will be more
actively involved in my community.
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

9. As a result of my experiences volunteering, I believe that the most important way(s) for a person to be actively involved with her/his community is to:
Strongly Agree
Strongly Disagree

Getting people to participate in your service day is a great accomplishment, but you should always be thinking of ways to retain those volunteers for future events. Reviewing the surveys and taking into consideration the suggestions and comments for the next service event is key to showing your volunteers you care about their opinions and needs.


Creating a timeline is a great way to stay on top of your “to do” list. Below is a general timeline which can be adapted for any type of service day event planning.

Vol. Recruitment
Press Releases

Month 1

  1. Create committee and committee heads. Meet as group at least once.
  2. Create fliers and advertisements.
  3. Decide who you want to recruit and make initial contact with those people.
  4. Make a list of what you will need during the day and of local businesses for potential sponsors or donations. Make phone calls to get correct contact information
  5. Write first draft of PSA and Press Release. Make a list of all media contacts in your area.

Month 2

  1. Each committee head should talk with the overall chairperson at least twice during the month. Entire committee should meet once /month
  2. Do follow up with volunteer invitations. If you are creating a volunteer board begin the meeting process.
  3. Send out letters requesting donations/sponsorships
  4. Give 1-2 weeks before doing follow ups.

Send out PSA and Press Release. Be sure to include who, what, where, when, why and how!

Month 3

  1. Each committee head should talk with the overall chairperson at least twice during the month. Entire committee should meet once during month
  2. Continue to recruit volunteers through fliers and advertisements.
  3. Continue to do follow ups on letters and phone calls. If you have trouble getting donations or sponsors be persistent until the day of event. Last minute calls do work.
  4. Resend PSA and Press Release

Month 4

  1. Entire committee should meet 1/week and during final week before event should meet at least 2 times or as needed.
  2. Have contact with volunteers to confirm their participation in the day. Get information for registration and nametags
  3. Make list of who will be responsible for gathering donated items.
  4. Rewrite PSA and Press Release adding in more detail of the schedule for the day.
  5. Contact media folk and invite them to write a feature and check out the event.

Day of event

  1. Make sure everyone knows where they need to be and when. Be sure everyone has contact information in case of emergency
  2. Register volunteers, greet them by their names, be friendly, be sure they are able to leave at scheduled time
  3. Publicly thank any one who acted as a sponsor or gave donations
  4. Greet any media that came to event

Week after event

  1. Send thank you notes to:
  2. Volunteers / businesses / any media who supported your event.
  3. Send thank you notes
  4. Send thank you notes
  5. Send thank you notes


MLK Jr. Day

Join Hands Day

Make A Difference Day

Global Youth Service Day

National Service Sites

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