Volunteer Coordinator Guide

Volunteers are the lifeblood of an event. Without volunteers, riders would not have a competition to participate in, and organizers would not have the volunteer staff they need to be able to organize, conduct and host an eventing competition. Additionally, if event organizers had to pay for the jobs the volunteers do, this would impact the number and quality of events offered in each Area. Everyone in the sport (amateur and professional riders, horse owners, event officials) would be affected.

In short, organizers require a small army of volunteer staff to conduct and host any eventing competition.

As a volunteer coordinator, you are the “captain” of the volunteer team at your event. Your role is to organize and coordinate the volunteers to ensure the smooth running of the event for your organizer.

If you are a new volunteer coordinator, this guide was written for you! You will find helpful directions for preparing before the event, handling your volunteers during the event, and following up after the event.

If you are an experienced volunteer coordinator, use this guide as a reference and learn tips for helping you in your role. We also welcome your feedback and suggestions for changes or additions to this guide. Fill out this form to send in your suggestions.

Check out the Resources page for links to resources to help you with your volunteer coordinator role. Connect with other volunteer coordinators on the Volunteer Coordinator Facebook page to share ideas. And, check out the Volunteer Websites at events throughout the country to see how other volunteer coordinators manage their volunteers at their events.

Here are some helpful tips for streamlining your job as Volunteer Coordinator:


    • Set up an organizational system to help you keep track of all of the information you will need to coordinate volunteers: contact information, show information, etc.


    • If possible, schedule time in your calendar for your volunteer coordinator tasks. The amount of time you will need may vary, and you may want to start by setting aside more time than you think you will need. You can always cut back if you find yourself ahead of schedule!


    • Set up automatic reminders in your calendar to complete specific tasks prior to the event. Consult with the event organizer to get a sense of the timing for certain tasks. For example, if the organizer finalizes the cross-country course maps a week prior to the event, set up a reminder to alert you to work on the jump judge assignments for each level of the cross-country course.


    • You will need to have excellent communication skills (email, phone, text, social media) to keep in touch with your volunteers before, during, and after the event.
    • Volunteers expect and want information in a timely manner. A good rule of thumb is to respond to emails within 24 hours, and be reachable by phone or text during the event.