Staffing Your Event 101

Your event is looking good! No seriously - you've set up your ticket page, your marketing is rolling out, and the pieces are starting to come together! Now that you can see your event as a bigger picture, it might be dawning on you that you'll need a little help to ensure everything goes smoothly. Or a lot of help. Or clone yourself (twice).  

To run your event efficiently, you might need a few people to have your back, whether it's menial tasks like putting out cups and water, to more complicated tasks running a lighting board and sound system. 

How do I know how much staff I need?

Take the over on this bet. if you think you need two people, get three. If you think you need 10, get 12. Until you are a whiz at events and you have a few under your belt, it's hard to understand how much time specific tasks will take. For instance, you might plan to set up the tables for dinner, but you’ll be surprised how much time that actually takes. That means receiving all the rentals, unpacking each item (often they come individually wrapped), setting them all up and taking away all the packaging and garbage. In the case of tasks like this, two sets of hands are always better than one and an extra person will lower your stress. 

How much do I pay them?  

It depends on a few things, like the tasks you need them to handle and how much event expertise they're coming in with. For someone who is running your coat check, you're probably fine to offer minimum wage or a set dollar figure for the day. But if you're bringing in event staff to run key components of your event, like your social media or your event takedown, then you'll want to pay them a competitive market rate.

What's the difference between staff and volunteers?

Volunteers are there because they are passionate about what you are working on and are usually happy to be compensated with access to your event. In contrast, staff is there because they are capable humans that you need to execute a specific duty. Volunteers are great to care of low key aspects of your event, for things like ushering or registration tables-- these roles allow them to take advantage of your event after they have done their duty. Depending on the size and scale of your event, you might be able to pull off the entire thing with volunteers. If you're not sure if a job is a volunteer role or a paid staff role, ask yourself what the stakes are if the task isn't completed correctly. If the stakes are high, pay an expert.  


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