Dear Event Doctor: As our event has grown, our use of volunteers has become more extensive and, frankly, more central to our success. While we sincerely appreciate our volunteers and try to express this appreciation, it is clear that we need to extend and expand our overall volunteer program. Any ideas? -Hope We’re Doing Enough

Dear Hope: You are exactly right. As I have written here before, it is our volunteers and their contributions that can define our events and be the most powerful memories for our event participants and spectators. It is also true that volunteerism needs to be carefully managed. For many events, it is common practice to accept as volunteers anyone who applies with hopes of getting screening done as the event approaches. Obviously, this concept has flaws even if the volunteer pool is tight. Rather, you should develop a series of criteria for volunteers, both in the aggregate and for individual roles. While it may seem a bit tedious, the value of defining expectations, needs, skills and experience will have a wide array of benefits. An excellent way to accomplish this

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The Event Doctor is Jack Kelly, a sports-industry veteran who has served in a variety of event-related roles, including as CEO of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, CEO of the Space City (Houston) Sports Commission, president of the 1990 and 1994 Goodwill Games, and president of two United States Olympic Festivals. Questions for The Event Doctor can be emailed to Jack Kelly at