This weekend’s Des Moines Arts Festival marks the 10-year anniversary of VolunteerLocal, a volunteer management software that was first created for this very festival in 2003. Brian Hemesath, the man behind the technology, talks about the need identified by the Des Moines Arts Festival ten years ago:
“Mo Dana, the director of the Festival at that time, approached me and said, ‘Brian, I have a problem.’ She needed to recruit, organize and communicate with 350+ volunteers for the two-day event, and she wasn’t interested in using spreadsheets or sharpie markers to do it.”
In short, Mo Dana needed a technology solution – and in 2003, VolunteerLocal was born.
We’ve built our business in much the same way Brian built that first iteration of VolunteerLocal: by listening to volunteer coordinators (for festivals, races and nonprofits alike) and then building out the technology they need to get the job done.
“VolunteerLocal makes it so simple, so easy, so integrated.” – Stephen King, Director of the Des Moines Arts Festival
Ten years later, Stephen King, the Director of the Des Moines Arts Festival, can’t express how grateful he is for the volunteer force that keeps the Festival running. “It sounds like a cliche, and I guess it could be a cliche,” he says. “But we honestly, seriously, completely and totally could not hold the festival without our staff of volunteers.”
King has worked in this industry for 25 years, and he attends 3-4 festivals outside the state every year – but what makes Des Moines special, he explains, is the kindness of the guests and the level of interaction at the Des Moines Arts Festival. “We could not provide the kind of service, outreach and the kind of caring that it requires to produce a festival at this level without our volunteers.”
And VolunteerLocal? King says, “It’s kind of like having heated car seats in Iowa: once you have them, you realize you can’t live without them. There’s no way I’m owning another car without heated car seats as long as I’m living in Iowa – to me, VolunteerLocal is like that.”
The Des Moines Arts Festival is still seeking volunteers! Click here to sign up today!