Following are some specific tasks for your project management “to do” list that will help make your MLK Day initiative go smoothly.
Train Staff and Volunteer Leaders
Make sure there are enough staff and volunteer team leaders, trained in advance, to help manage the day. This is especially important for large scale projects.
Do Site Visits
A staff person experienced in project management visit each site prior to project day. Trained volunteer team leaders should accompany staff to ensure they are familiar with the project site prior to MLK Day.
Review the Projects to Be Completed
Have the projects been divided into smaller tasks that will allow small groups of volunteers to work on and complete each task? You should try not to start tasks that cannot be completed. The site visit will allow you to assess the project needs and to ensure that the project is one that volunteers are able to implement successfully.
Develop “To Do” Lists
During the site visit, the volunteer team leader(s) should be developing lists of everything that will need to be done on the day of the event. For large-scale projects, create a step-by-step script of who, what, and where things will happen throughout the day. If this script needs to be in five-minute increments, so be it. ALL details should be written out.
Ensure Delivery of Equipment and Supplies
Whether supplies are being provided by the project site or the MLK Day organizing group, the delivery of all equipment and supplies to complete the project should be confirmed prior to event day. For supplies being delivered on the day of, make sure to have a contact person’s cell phone number since many businesses are closed on the King Holiday.
An agency may say they need 50 volunteers. However, a site visit and assessment of the service project may determine that the project could still be successful with 35 – 60 volunteers. Ask sponsoring organizations to be flexible regarding the number of volunteers.
Set Up a Walk-In Project
Due to news coverage on the day of the events, people will call you that day to ask how they can serve. Accommodate their interest by setting up walk-in projects that can use last-minute volunteers such as a food drive where people can drop off canned goods. Have a sign-up sheet available at food drop-off locations to encourage people who donate food to volunteer at a later date.
Assign a Clean-Up Crew
Once a project is completed, volunteers usually depart and may leave behind a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Assign a small group to ensure that the site is cleaned up at the end of the service project.