Conferences play an important role for many organizations, providing a great opportunity for like-minded people to come together and learn from one another. With slashed budgets and reduced headcounts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers are set to play a pivotal role in the delivery of events as organizations lean on volunteers to supplement the reduction in resources.
What are some of your previous conference experiences? While things like the venue, speakers and hospitality all play an important role in the operational success of a conference, more often than not it’s the little things that we remember. Volunteers provide real value to conferences in the form of experience, energy and knowledge, which are important elements to consider when planning your next conference.
So what are the roles and responsibilities of a volunteer at a conference? We’ve put together our top 10 volunteer roles that you should consider for your next conference that will have your guests singing your praises for months to follow.
Copywriter.Volunteering can go beyond only volunteering on-ground at the event. Challenge yourself to really think about where you could use assistance and how a volunteer might be able to fill that void beyond just a conference volunteer. Volunteers choose to volunteer for a number of reasons, bringing with them a wealth of knowledge and experience. Why don’t you speak with your local university or college about final year communications students who are looking to gain relevant industry experience? Bring them into the office one day per week to help develop communications including:
- Conference agenda
- Supplier and speaker briefs
- Take home flyers, pamphlets and other marketing materials
- Content on website and ticketing page
2. Bump in & out.
- Conferences don’t just happen. They require a lot of time and event planning and as the saying goes - many hands make light work. It’s important to incorporate volunteering roles that assist with setup and pack down. These types of roles may include:
- Setting up tables and chairs
- Setting up registration including name badges and gift bags
- Displaying merchandise
- Setting up coffee and tea stations
- Putting together event collateral including pamphlets and flyers
- Displaying event signage
3. Registration and check-in.
- Now more than ever, making sure the check-in process is professional, welcoming and compliant is the first step towards a great first impression for your conference. Use volunteers to check in your attendees, provide name tags and be there to welcome guests with a friendly smile. When attendance tracking is so important, make sure you spend the time training your volunteers on your attendance tracking software to ensure that they’re confident and comfortable using the system.
4. Volunteer Management.
- Depending on the size and scale of your conference, you may need to have a dedicated Volunteer Manager whose role is to look after the wellbeing of volunteers throughout their shift. From check in and check out, volunteer meetings and uniform distribution to role briefings including volunteer roles and responsibilities, using a volunteer to manage convention volunteers is a great way to provide leadership opportunities within your event.
5. Wayfinding and support.
- Volunteers provide great energy at an event so use this to your advantage. Make sure you have a selection of volunteers reserved for wayfinding and support - providing assistance to guests throughout the conference. It’s really important that you educate your volunteers on the types of questions that may be asked so that your volunteers can provide an informed response and take immediate action.
Did you know Rosterfy can help you train your volunteers? Create custom training modules, designed to help you get the most out of your volunteers.
6. Audience Q&A.
During your conference you may need to facilitate Q&A with the audience which may involve roving microphones. This is a great role for a conference volunteer who can aid with the distribution of microphones amongst the audience.
Photographers can be expensive - especially when budgets are tight. Again, why not engage with your local university/college to see if there are any aspiring photographers looking to build their experience. In exchange for your photographer volunteering your time, let them include a selection of images in their portfolio - a great win-win for both parties involved.
8. Social Media.
There are many different types of volunteer roles. Let’s face it, today’s youth are great with social media. Why not engage a volunteer to run your social media accounts for the day featuring live stories, interviews and photos to make your event engaging from start to finish. If your conference runs consecutive years, this is a great way to build hype and content, which can be used to promote ticket sales for consequent years.
Volunteers provide relief in the areas that we can’t plan for. Whether it’s running equipment to securing coffees for talent or acting as a guide for a VIP, volunteers who do a bit of everything and essentially act as your assistant play a really important volunteer role during a conference.
10. Raffles & Fundraisers.
A great way to make your conference memorable and unique is through a raffle, which can be run in large by conference volunteers. Allocate a small number of volunteers to roam throughout the conference to engage with attendees and sell tickets for a charity close to your heart.
We hope you enjoyed our top tips for volunteer roles at conferences which detail the importance of volunteers in creating a pleasant event experience. If you’re planning to run a successful event in the near future, learn more about how to better manage and engage your volunteers through Rosterfy’s world-class volunteer management solution.