Volunteer Benefits & Policies 2021
This year, our festival will be like no other and we are doing everything we can to ensure a positive experience for everyone involved, including our valued volunteers. Please read all the information on this page before submitting an application to volunteer.
All events are SUBJECT TO CHANGE and in-person events may become hybrid or digital events at the last minute as authors and hosts adjust to Covid requirements. Reduced capacity at our venues and a slightly shorter list of events may have an impact on how much we can offer volunteers by way of appreciation.
We appreciate our volunteers more than ever this year, amid the uncertainty and constraints of Covid. The Fest has updated our Covid protocols to maximize the safety of everyone involved.
Volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated and to wear masks while indoors as well as in congested areas outdoors.
In addition, there will be Covid Health-Check signs posted at the entrance to all venues. There will be masks and sanitizer available at the entrance to all venues. We will not be selling concessions at events. The Members Reception, Literary Cabaret, Poetry Bash, and Afternoon Tea will be the only events with food and beverage. No concessions will be sold at other events (we will have signage to this effect).
We are intending to offer volunteers scheduled for a minimum of 12 hours one free ticket to a Festival event, awarded through the Volunteer Ticket Lottery. Scheduled volunteers who have confirmed a minimum of 12 hours of shifts will be notified about how to submit lottery choices.
- This year, digital events are available to ALL volunteers. They are “pay-what-you-can” and $0 is an option.
- Volunteers can sometimes see events which they are working. This depends on the assignment and the event, and is at the discretion of supervising staff. Unfortunately access to events even for volunteers assigned to the event will be more restricted this year, simply because there are very strict capacity restrictions for each venue. Your patience and understanding about this are very much appreciated.
- Free admission may also be possible for events where unsold seating is still available, on a first-come-first-served standby basis, but not as often as in non-Covid years.
- 10% discount at the Festival Bookstore (the lobby of the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island). Show your volunteer badge.
- Free passage on the False Creek Ferries during the Festival Oct 18 – 24. Show your volunteer badge.
- We hope to provide tokens of appreciation at our Volunteer Orientation events as well as daily prizes in the Lounge, but our regular suppliers have reduced ability to donate to our cause this year. We are doing our best to find ways to show our appreciation!
- Volunteer Lounge: located at 1402 Anderson St this year, but with reduced capacity.
- Volunteer party, if possible, and open mic – Covid restrictions and capacity limits permitting.
- Reference letters on request.
- Laughter and the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills!
12-hour minimum commitment required; volunteers committing to the 12-hour minimum receive priority scheduling.
- Volunteers unable to commit to the 12-hour minimum may still be included, but at a later point in the overall scheduling process and are not guaranteed placement.
- Full-time students will be asked to serve only a minimum of 6 hours.
- Volunteers who work all of their hours prior to the Festival are asked to serve more than the 12-hour minimum, ie 15-20 hours. This is because they will be free during Festival Week to see events, whereas Festival Week volunteers will be busy fulfilling their assignments.
Shift times vary depending on your assignment. Some shifts start as early as 7:30 am and evening shifts can run until (and occasionally past) midnight! Click here to read our Volunteer Job Descriptions and decide which role is best for you.
Volunteers are accepted, assigned and scheduled according to the interests, activity preferences, availability, qualifications, experience and skills as indicated on their registration form, along with our vacancies and needs.
Here are thumbnail descriptions of the assorted volunteer roles we assign:
- Help with Mail-outs, stuffing envelopes, with general office chores and front desk reception.
- English fluency is a must for reception, as are a sense of humour and willingness to work as a member of a team.
- Walk writers to and from readings/events, or help with general author hospitality.
- Liaise with Festival staff, stage managers and other volunteers.
- Flexibility and people skills essential!
- Some late evenings and early mornings required.
- Must be fluent in English.
- Work with the Festival bookseller setting up and selling books at the Festival Bookstore and events.
- Moving stock, lifting and carrying, cash and credit card transactions all involved, as well as helping with book signings. THIS IS A PHYSICALLY-DEMANDING job!
- Retail experience helpful.
- English fluency a must.
- Sell and distribute tickets at Festival venues.
- Must be comfortable handling cash and credit card sales as well as dealing with the public, occasionally in high pressure environments.
- Previous retail experience and/or familiarity with box office procedures helpful!
- English fluency a must.
- Use of a cell phone is essential.
- Deliver Festival program guides and posters to specified locations along a designated route and keep it stocked from early September until the end of the Festival.
- Access to a vehicle is a definite asset, but programs can be delivered by bicycle and on foot.
- Taking direction and working independently.
- Use of a cell phone is required.
- Working special events or short shifts at the beginning of events where conventional ushering isn’t required.
- Flexible, multi-skilled and outgoing people required; able to take direction; have a sense of humour.
- Be ready for anything!
- Be available to help with a variety of tasks through the Festival, from running last-minute errands to filling in when regularly-scheduled volunteers cancel their shifts at short notice.
- Flexible people are needed, must be patient and resourceful.
- Ability to lift, carry, stand and walk for extended periods is essential, as is comfort with cash-handling and credit card transactions.
- Fluency in English is a must.
- A great way to be part of the inner workings of the Festival.
Food & Beverage:
- Assist Festival Food & Beverage staff with set-up and clean-up through Festival Week.
- Assist with service at our signature Sunday Afternoon Tea.
- Help with concession ticket sales, bartending and snack orders at evening events.
- Cash handling experience an asset and ability to lift, carry, walk and stand for extended periods are musts!
- Should enjoy working as a team-member and be ready to follow direction, laugh and “hurry up and wait”.
- *All Food & Beverage volunteers pouring alcohol will be required to have either a current Serving It Right OR a Special Event Server license.
- Help inform ticket line-ups at evening, Friday and weekend events about ticket availability.
- Shifts are short and mostly outdoors.
- Festival Ambassadors should be knowledgeable about the Festival program and Granville Island, willing to work outdoors, able to stand and walk for extended periods and enjoy dealing with the public.
Front of House:
- Ushering and patron assistance at Festival events.
- Must be comfortable dealing with the public, be able to stand for extended periods, take direction and work as a member of a team.
- English fluency a must.
- Assist Production staff with venue set-up and strike, moving chairs and signs, equipment pick-ups, technical needs on site, assisting stage managers.
- Some heavy lifting.
- Some late evenings/early mornings required.
- A fabulous way to have a “hands-on” Festival experience.
- Patience, a sense of humour and willingness to work as a member of a team all essential.
Raffle Ticket Sellers:
- Work with a partner to sell raffle tickets to patrons before events and during intermission.
- If you are a Festival enthusiast and enjoy people, this position is for you!
- Assist with ushering, book sales and signings as well as ticket sales/box office for the Festival’s pre- and/or post-Festival special events.
- Help at other Festival Special Events such as our annual Opening Reception and our Volunteer Orientations.
- Drive authors to and from YVR, as well as to media interviews and other in-town transportation needs.
- Use of a car is essential as is a minimum of $2 million in liability insurance on the vehicle as well as under-insured motorist protection.
- Use of a cell phone is essential.
Click here to see our volunteer opportunities and apply.