THANK YOU to all of our 2017 volunteers!
Check out some of our favorite moments from this year’s festival HERE!
Volunteer Applications are now closed. Check back in the fall for more opportunities!
In 2011, people thought that we were seriously crazy when we said we wanted to put on a 10-day festival of laughter. Seven festivals later, LaughFest is wildly successful, garnering praise from artists and attendees alike! How does Gilda’s LaughFest manage put on so many diverse events at multiple venues during the course of the festival?
ONLY WITH LOTS OF VOLUNTEERS! Our volunteers are not only part of what makes LaughFest so great; they are also a big part of what makes it possible.
When you volunteer for LaughFest, you are instrumental in creating a fantastic festival experience for all. We have needs before, during, and after the festival, so you can volunteer to help out in many different ways. While you are volunteering, a Gilda’s LaughFest staff member or volunteer leader will work with you to provide direction, answer questions, and make sure you’re having a lot of laughs along the way!
Whether you choose to volunteer a little or a lot, know you will be bringing smiles and laughter to the lives of many…all while helping Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids!
Front of House Team (FOH)
This team is the public face of LaughFest for many festival guests. FOH volunteers greet and direct guests, check coats, guard doors, take tickets and usher guests to their seats. FOH volunteers may sometimes provide support to the Retail and High Five teams. Recommended skills and experience for this position include: customer service, hospitality and special event work. Recommended for volunteers with an outgoing personality.
Retail volunteers promote and sell LaughFest merchandise at various venues and events throughout the festival. Merchandise will be sold by volunteers at tables as well as by ‘roving’ through the crowds at events. Customer service and sales experience recommended. We provide iPad training for sales. Must be able to multi-task, enjoy working with people and have an upbeat and positive attitude. Retail volunteers may sometimes provide support to the High Five team. Recommended for volunteers with an outgoing personality.
LaughFest Central Team (LFC)
Housed within the Grand Rapids Art Museum, LFC is our ticket hub and primary merchandise outlet. LFC volunteers welcome guests and provide recommendations for LaughFest events and other GR destinations/experiences. LFC volunteers also promote and sell LaughFest merchandise. Other duties include answering phones and upkeep of retail space. Customer service and sales experience / knowledge of downtown GR and surrounding area preferred. We provide optional CTA (Certified Tourism Ambassador) training. Pre-Festival and during Festival shifts available.
FSC Beverage Sales Team
Volunteers on this team will be responsible for selling drink tickets, checking IDs and serving alcoholic and other beverages at LaughFest events taking place at Fountain Street Church. Must be 21 years of age or older. TIPS certification encouraged / may be required for some team members. Bartender, server, customer service experience preferred. A background check and interview will be required prior to approval to this team.
High Five Team
High Five volunteers serve as ambassadors of the LaughFest High Five Campaign, raising funds that go directly to our Grand Rapids and Lowell Gilda’s Club grief and cancer support programs for kids. At events, High Five volunteers ask attendees to make a $5 contribution to the High Five Campaign in exchange for a wearable pin. This team leads the way when it comes to letting people know about the connection between Gilda’s Club and LaughFest. Recommended for volunteers with an outgoing personality. Experience with fundraising and securing donations a plus.
As an Office/Clerical volunteer, you will help support LaughFest staff with various administrative tasks and projects, working behind the scenes at the Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Clubhouse. Office/Clerical volunteer shifts begin in the days leading up to the festival and continue through LaughFest. Office experience, phone and computer skills preferred. Office volunteers may also be called on for in-the-moment tasks including distributing event materials, running errands and fulfilling last-minute and unforeseen needs as they arise. Great for volunteers able to multi-task and with an upbeat and positive attitude willing to go with the flow. Knowledge of downtown GR and surrounding area preferred. May need to use for own vehicle. This position may have some inactive down time.
Merchandise Room Team
Merchandise Room volunteers work with LaughFest retail items behind the scenes at the Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Clubhouse. Duties include sorting and inventory of merchandise and preparing / packing merch and snacks to be distributed to LaughFest Central and LaughFest events each day. Good organizational skills a plus.
Back of House Team (BOH)
Back of House volunteers are instrumental in setting the stage, literally, at LaughFest events. Duties may be specialized or non-specialized. BOH volunteers set up for events as well as tear down and reset venues. Specialized duties require specific production and backstage technical experience (spotlights, sound system, video cameras). Volunteers may be asked to lift and transport equipment, ability to lift 40+ pounds recommended. This position may have extended periods of inactive down time.
Volunteer photographers and videographers are crucial when it comes to capturing the look, feel and special moments of LaughFest. Volunteers on this team are expected to have good training and experience and must be comfortable working in low-light situations without the use of flash photography. Applicants must submit a portfolio for review prior to approval to this team.
Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge Team
The Seriously Funny Adventure Challenge is a family-friendly, amazing race between teams around downtown GR to complete fun timed challenges complete with awards. Volunteers help prior to the event with assembling challenge participant packets. On the day of the event, volunteers greet and check in attendees as well as set up and monitor challenges.
FUNderwear Run Team
The FUNderwear Run is a unique 5k walk or run that invites participants to wear their finest and funniest! underwear over their running clothes in support of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids! FUNderwear Run volunteers help by guiding runners on the course, distributing water and snacks and cheering along participants. A perfect fit for outgoing volunteers! This position requires the help of volunteers outdoors in potentially cold and wintry weather.
Transportation volunteers are the wheels of LaughFest operation, moving volunteers, staff and artists to and from various locations during the festival. Must be 25 years or older to be considered and with a valid Michigan Driver’s License and valid Driver's Insurance. A background check and interview will be required prior to approval to this team. Positions are limited. Daytime, evening and late night shifts available. This position may have extended periods of inactive down time.
Venue Captain Team (VC)
Volunteer Lead Position. Venue Captains run the show at LaughFest events, managing and empowering volunteers on Retail, High Five, Front of House, etc. teams to ensure a successful event as well as a fun experience for volunteers. VCs must be comfortable in a management role and must commit to a minimum of 5 volunteer shifts over the course of the 10-day festival. Ideally these shifts should be limited to no more than 2 venues in order to provide consistent leadership for general volunteers. Pre-festival, Venue Captains attend a mandatory VC-Only training session as well as lead the training of Retail and High Five volunteers. An interview will be required prior to approval to this team.
Do you have a group of volunteers who would like to help at LaughFest? Please contact email@example.com directly and tell us about your group. The LaughFest Volunteer Coordinator will follow up with you to determine which event or events seem like the best fit. Training for all group members is required. We will work with you to schedule training specifically for your group on a date and time that is convenient ahead of the start of the festival.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (616) 735-HAHA.