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Running Your Theater
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Quote chelserin Replybullet Topic: Volunteer Management
    Posted: 5/05/12 at 7:55pm
What do your theatre's do to organize and manage your volunteers? At the moment we do not have a way to manage, organize or collect data about our volunteers. I have tried to keep a spread sheet of people who have worked on shows (sets, costumes, lights, etc), but it seems the communication of information doesn't always happen.

I've looked at online management system and software, but we really can't spend money money to purchase software or pay an ongoing fee. Are there any free programs you've used?

Any thoughts, ideas or advice is appreciated. Thanks!
To be in the world, and of the world, and never to stand aside and watch.
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Quote colugino Replybullet Posted: 6/20/12 at 11:10pm
Our theatre company created an Excel spreadsheet and use Google docs (to share online) that we maintain info for all staff, volunteers and actors. At several points throughout the production we have staff meetings to see how people are working out. We try to update our spreadsheet after each production to basically rate everyone to decide in the future who we will use and who we won't.
For example, we did a production last year and one of our building staff would argue and debate every piece of set construction and ended up losing valueable time which in the end, we had sets we could not build because we did not have time. He also did not listen to anything he was told to do - one huge example is that we currently do not have our own theatre building. As a memento we keep one of each of our show billboards so when we do have our own building we can hang them. Everyone that comes in is told this. He took it upon himself to build sets out of several of our billboards (and destroyed them). During the shows he would go into the dressing rooms (boys and girls) to talk to his kids, which is a HUGE NO unless we have the person's child clearance on file. Bottom line was that after the show was done, he was red flagged and will never work with us again.
On the spreadsheet for volunteers, for example, we have the following columns:
1) Name
2) Email
3) Home Phone
4) Cell Phone
5) Times available during last production (When were they available to help)
6) Productions worked on
7) Last production worked on
8) Areas worked (set construction, costumes, props...)
9) Has child clearance?
10) Has worked with money? (Such as at a former job or with our company)
11) Comments, concerns, etc
12) Provide rating of 1(worst) - 5(best) if we should ask to help again
13) Explain rating (Ex. (received a 3 rating) Joe was great at taking instructions, however several times we had to remind him to clean up after working on sets. Also told us he was available 4 days a week to help build and would be available to help stage crew for all tech and shows but ended up only being available 2 days a week for both).
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Quote vickifrank Replybullet Posted: 6/21/12 at 5:36pm
Volunteers are not all interchangeable.  So a Set Building volunteer may not be the same as an usher.  So the best organized community theaters I've worked with have had a binder for each leadership position: Producer, Set Designer, Lighting Designer, Costume Mistress, etc..  Each of these binders have contact information for experts in these areas from past holders of these positions, to Board Members with connections, to donors of equipment, to volunteers.  Basically a set of 'resources' page.
So if I'm wondering what hoops I have to jump through with the firemarshall to have a flash pot on stage I can ask the last guy who did "Wizard of OZ".  Or if I wonder what was the secret of the person that raised so much money to put on "Annie" I can ask.  Or I need to know where they got that great 1950's car for ....
Its low tech, but very valuable.

The theater scrim people
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