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What's it Like to Volunteer for... a Special Event?

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, July 18, 2016
Updated: July 15, 2016

2016 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards - Volunteer 
Photo courtesy of the YWCA. View on Flickr

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Have you ever dreamed of helping bring a big event to life? Does the idea of organizing a star-studded gala for a good cause fill you with excitement? Then consider volunteering as part of a special events team! Whether it’s a small appreciation party, or a major international fundraiser, at many events volunteers make sure events go off without a hitch.

Angela Ho, volunteer on the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards 
 Angela Ho

We chatted with Angela Ho, a volunteer with YWCA Toronto about her role as a Production Assistant for the organization’s annual Women of Distinction Awards.






What’s the name of the organization you volunteer for and what is your role there?

I’ve volunteered with the YWCA Toronto, an organization that advocates for women and girls, for three years. I worked as a Production Assistant for the annual Women of Distinction Awards and gala. This event recognizes outstanding women who create new opportunities and strengthen the voices of women and girls in the community.


How would you describe your current volunteer role?

As a Production Assistant, I provide behind-the-scenes support for the gala. I work backstage to organize awards for distribution and provide stage directions to presenters.


Was training provided for your role?

Volunteers are required to attend a 1-2 hour orientation session before the event. During this meeting, volunteers meet other team members, receive a behind-the-scenes event overview, and Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) training.


What is the time commitment involved?

The time commitment involved for this role is about 4 hours, including the pre-event orientation and activities on the day of the gala. People often assume that volunteering requires a long-term commitment. However, there are many short-term opportunities like this one that are still extremely important.


What skills and characteristics do you feel contribute most to success in your volunteering?

This role requires organization, patience, and attention to detail. I think the ability to be personable and detail-oriented matters more than any specific technical skill.

To be successful as a Production Assistant, a volunteer must be able to follow directions while taking initiative to ensure things are executed correctly. You must be comfortable working in the dark (literally as you’re behind the stage!) and willing to help others make the most of their moment to shine!


What have you learned from your volunteering? What has been surprising or challenging?

I’ve developed a strong appreciation for the amount of teamwork and time it takes to make an event run smoothly. That being said, it's also important to be flexible and able to problem solve quickly. Despite all the planning that goes into an event, there will always be unexpected challenges!


What advice do you have for anyone looking to do this type of volunteering?

Be open to volunteering in roles that are out of your comfort zone, you'll learn skills and meet many different people. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Attend any of our free information sessions on volunteering in Toronto!


Tags:  Awards Ceremony Volunteer  Event Volunteering  One-Day Volunteer Opportunities  short-term volunteering  YWCA 

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