There are two aspects of training the volunteers who will be manning your Check-in and Check-out stations:
A. Showing volunteers how to use the software to check in guests, sell items, and check out guests - then providing opportunities for them to practice. Our Auction Night Tutorial can help with this.
B. Making sure your volunteers know:
- How Bidder Numbers/Bid Paddles will be distributed.
- How to respond to requests to check out early (before live portion of your gala and/or data entry is completed).
- Whether guests have been/will be invited to check-in online prior to your event and/or check-out on their smart phones.
- How to refer Guests to a help station (manned by you or another person proficient with the software) if their transaction threatens to bog down the regular line. (Highly recommended.)
- How Guests will pick up/receive their items and/or gift certificates.
These are decisions your auction team will make based on past experience, personal preferences, and what works best in your event venue. Your task is to make sure your auction night volunteers understand the plan. Tips for running a smooth check-in/out can be found here.
In a pinch, you can send a link to the Auction Tutorial to your front desk volunteers and ask them to complete the tutorial (A) at home, then arrange a mini-training an hour prior to the start of your event to cover the logistical elements (B). This approach often works better in theory than in practice. Inevitably, someone will be late, someone else will have forgotten to do the tutorial, and the event venue is likely to be noisy and chaotic just prior to launch.
A more effective approach is to host a training session a day or two prior to your event for those able to attend. You will probably still need to hold a mini-training just before your event, but it's incredibly valuable to have 2-3 volunteers who are already up to speed and can help with the training and/or early arrivals if things go sideways. (As they often do in the final moments!)
Planning a successful training session:
1. Set up volunteer user records for your team ahead of time. The software tracks which "cashier" checked a guest out, which can be helpful if you need to unravel complicated or confusing transactions after your event.
2. Preview the tutorial yourself and note any differences in the settings on your site, and decide how you will communicate these to your team. Note: the playpen site is wiped clean each night. You are welcome to change any of these settings on the playpen site, but there is a remote chance someone else might override your changes at some point during the day. . .
- Receipt set-up: # of copies to print?
- Allow guests to prepay with cash? If so, process cash sales immediately?
- Payment methods accepted (and default method if other than cc)
- Items available for sale at check-in? If selling raffle tickets, how will the physical ticket(s) be distributed?
- Custom Data fields?
- Required guest info fields?
3. Arrange for each person to have access to a laptop and swiper (if possible). While it's rarely possible (or worth the effort) to set up all of the hardware you’ll be using on event night, use as many of the same laptops as possible. Your volunteers will feel more comfortable with them on event night, and you'll get the added bonus of discovering any browser/OS, password, or other security obstacles ahead of time.
4. Consider rounding up some low-risk credit cards for practicing vaulting and processing. Our training site is set-up to mimic an actual credit transaction, but the transaction is never submitted for processing and the transactions are wiped clean each night. (You will see a clear message on payment screens stating that the site is operating in Demo mode.) It is perfectly safe to use your personal credit card to “buy” $10,000 worth of goodies on our playpen site, however, we understand that some folks will never be comfortable doing so. Expired cards, prepaid cards with $0 balance, and/or any card with a cc logo and magnetic strip will work just fine on the tutorial sites.
5. Work out the logistics described above (B) as well as any "shift" scheduling for the team and clearly communicate both.
6. Allow time for everyone to work through the tutorial. (It's a known fact that tutorials are always more fun when everyone in the room is doing the same thing.)
7. Direct your team to the correct Tutorial. The check-in screens vary substantially depending on how you are assigning bidder numbers: