Conferences are a vital part of professional development and continuing education for nearly every profession and non-profit organization. A key element for conference organizers to strive for is to make the event as seamless as possible for all participants. But accomplishing this can take a ton of work! Staff and volunteers are essential for getting the job done. Below are the 10 must-have volunteer roles you'll be so glad you recruited for once your conference begins.
Chairs, tables, a podium, microphones, etc. are all a big part of every conference. Rooms have to be put together with adequate seating for attendees and often, this involves a quick change to the room layout for another session. Volunteers to quickly get these spaces set-up and then dismantled again are vital.
2. Coat Check
People don't really like walking around conferences with their coats and bulky belongings. Most sessions have chairs packed-in pretty close and there's not a whole lot of room for people to be lugging around a lot of stuff. Having a few volunteers that will work at an area specifically designed for people to leave and then later pick-up their coats is an important service to offer.
Some volunteer duties at conferences involve helping to fill a room in a systematic way. For large sessions, it's important to evenly fill the space. Having ushers to show people to a specific seat is definitely helpful. Even if you aren't ushering people, just having a greeter to help attendees know where to go or just verify that they are at the "right place" is a necessary service.
4. Audio Visual for Keynote Presenters
There's nothing worse at a conference than when the sound system isn't working! With keynote presenters, it's important that someone is there to make sure that any audio and video presentation is working. A flawless keynote presentation makes the whole conference look much more professional.
Other volunteers needed at conference locations include parking attendants. Parking space is always a huge concern and having people that will direct cars will make the most of your available space. It's one of the more labor-intensive jobs at the conference, but one of the most important.
Many volunteer duties at conferences include miscellaneous needs that pop-up at a moment's notice. Something may be needed in one of the breakout session rooms, or a message needs to get posted that a session is going to be in a different location. When things like this happen, having someone that can quickly attend to it is crucial. These runners keep the pace of the conference moving.
7. Coffee/Water Station
Keeping everyone hydrated and fueled at conferences is important. Having someone monitor the coffee and/or water for attendees is another important way to offer great service with a smile.
8. Information Table Attendant
There's plenty happening during a conference and attendees will frequently have questions. They'll need location information, time information and sometimes just a little help to find the best session for them. An attendant that is available at the information table is very helpful to attendees.
9. Registration Desk
Having people to get attendees registered and off on their way at the conference is a very important first point of contact. Smiling volunteers that help people get started at the conference is as important as the front desk clerk at a hotel. Use this as an opportunity to make a great first impression and to set the proper tone for entire patron experience.
10. Workshop Monitors
Sometimes called "presiders," these people stay in the workshop to make sure everything is running smoothly. They attend to anything the presider may need during the session and act as an official from the conference.
Have these 10 volunteer roles in place, and you'll be many steps closer to an efficient and smooth-running conference. Pair these efforts with a volunteer management software like InitLive to take care of recruitment, scheduling, and communication, and you'll have all the ingredients you need for an exceptional conference!
Don't forget to subscribe to our blog for regular updates relating to event planning and volunteer management.