We’re Turning Ten!

Des Moines Register

This weekend’s Des Moines Arts Festival marks the 10-year anniversary of VolunteerLocal, a volunteer management software that was first created for this very festival in 2003. Brian Hemesath, the man behind the technology, talks about the need identified by the Des Moines Arts Festival ten years ago:

Mo Dana, the director of the Festival at that time, approached me and said, ‘Brian, I have a problem.’ She needed to recruit, organize and communicate with 350+ volunteers for the two-day event, and she wasn’t interested in using spreadsheets or sharpie markers to do it.”

In short, Mo Dana needed a technology solution – and in 2003, VolunteerLocal was born.

We’ve built our business in much the same way Brian built that first iteration of VolunteerLocal: by listening to volunteer coordinators (for festivals, races and nonprofits alike) and then building out the technology they need to get the job done.

“VolunteerLocal makes it so simple, so easy, so integrated.” – Stephen King, Director of the Des Moines Arts Festival

Des Moines Register

Ten years later, Stephen King, the Director of the Des Moines Arts Festival, can’t express how grateful he is for the volunteer force that keeps the Festival running. “It sounds like a cliche, and I guess it could be a cliche,” he says. “But we honestly, seriously, completely and totally could not hold the festival without our staff of volunteers.”

King has worked in this industry for 25 years, and he attends 3-4 festivals outside the state every year – but what makes Des Moines special, he explains, is the kindness of the guests and the level of interaction at the Des Moines Arts Festival. “We could not provide the kind of service, outreach and the kind of caring that it requires to produce a festival at this level without our volunteers.”

And VolunteerLocal? King says, “It’s kind of like having heated car seats in Iowa: once you have them, you realize you can’t live without them. There’s no way I’m owning another car without heated car seats as long as I’m living in Iowa – to me, VolunteerLocal is like that.”

The Des Moines Arts Festival is still seeking volunteers! Click here to sign up today!

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Find Festival Jobs

These gatherings aren’t your campus keggers.

Summer festivals are big, bold, social affairs. Fueled by good music, good food and the power of self-expression, festivals (like their attendees) become their own living, breathing things. The secret behind every successful festival? A staff of key players who coordinate the entire ensemble, from campground maintenance to port-a-potty placement, wristband distribution to mainstage transitions. If you’re struggling to put together a rockstar staff for this year’s festival, look no further – we know just the right people to help you Find Festival Jobs.

Find Festival Jobs

FindFestivalJobs.com virtually connects job seekers, interns and volunteers with festival employers throughout the world. Whether it’s an art festival, a music festival, a film festival or a bacon festival – FFJ is your one-stop shop to find qualified applicants for available positions at your event. Riggers, production managers, operators or marketing specialists, Find Festival Jobs has it all.

Even better, it’s free. The site features unlimited job postings for employers, and an “Immediate Hire” board for those seeking rapid placement. You may want to consider paying for a one-year subscription to receive cool perks like Featured Job Postings, access to a resume search tool and one-month of banner ads.

“We would love to see more festivals utilize our service,” says Kayce Dewey, founder of Find Festival Jobs. “It’s a free service and can really connect qualified people into these roles.”

But it’s not just for the employers. Dewey adds, “A lot of young people don’t want to work 9-5 jobs – they want to have adventures and travel. Working for festivals gives them this flexibility, and in addition to that, really expedites their skills. They’ll learn a lot in a small amount of time.”

To join their mailing list, send an email to info@findfestivaljobs.com with your first and last name.

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Join the Happy Sams!

    Want to volunteer this summer in Des Moines? Join us!

We are very excited to share with you today the launch of our VolunteerLocal street-team, the Happy Sams. With the support of the Junior Chamber, the Happy Sams is now actively recruiting members online at the Summer of Volunteering webpage. Happy Sams is an organization that seeks to bring together volunteers who have a desire to make an impact with meaningful community service opportunities in Des Moines. Meet new people, make new friends and give back this summer as a member of Happy Sams!
Happy Sams is free to join and free to enjoy – plus, the first 100 applicants get a free t-shirt. All participants are invited to a kick off mixer in July.
The Goods. As a member of the Happy Sams, you’ll receive weekly email reminders with available jobs/shifts for all events listed on the Summer of Volunteering portal, a schedule of events for the summer, free entrance (plus one) to the kick-off party and the first 100 registrants online will receive a free t-shirt!

Guerrilla tactics. You’ll see the Happy Sams gettin’ all crafty at the Des Moines Arts Festival, melting faces at the 80/35 Music Festival and kissing babies at the Hy-Vee Triathlon. You may catch ’em rollin’ out at the Moonlight Classic or tapping kegs at the Iowa Craft Beer Tent. These serial volunteers are all about making it rain community service – and if you experience a Happy Sams sighting, be sure to share it on social media using the hashtag #HappySams or by tagging us on Facebook!

The Bigger Picture. The Happy Sams project seeks to bring exciting and fun volunteer opportunities back into the hands of the community. Our mission aligns with Healthway’s Blue Zones Project and Volunteer Iowa’s What’s Your 50? campaign, among many other community endeavors to get Iowans out, connected and actively involved.

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