What does a HeadCount volunteer do?
The main responsibility of a HeadCount volunteer is to approach people and ask “Are you registered to vote at your current address?” and then assist them as they complete a voter registration form. You need to be outgoing, a good communicator, and a true believer in democracy. You also need to work hard – volunteering is fun but it definitely requires high-energy and a can-do attitude. You’ll engage in this activity from the time the doors open to when the headlining act starts playing, and also be working set-break. In addition, you will participate in a training, plus set-up and take-down of the HeadCount table.
What is the time commitment?
There is no requirement for how many shows you must volunteer at. You can sign up for whatever shows you’re available for. But when you do volunteer at a concert, you often need to arrive about one hour before the doors open to the show, which can be two or more hours before the actual showtime. Then, you will be registering voters before the show, during setbreak and sometimes after the show or during the music. So volunteering can be upwards of a five-hour commitment.
Do I get into the show for free?
In almost all cases, yes. Generally you’ll receive access to the general admission or standing area at the show, or a “working pass” that allows you access to the venue. Note that you will usually miss all of the opening acts while registering voters, and may miss some of the headliner’s set in some circumstances. For this reason, we discourage anyone from volunteering when their absolute favorite band is playing. There are also rare instances where, because of venue rules, we are not able to see the show at all (this is extremely rare and we try to avoid it, but it can happen). But yes, seeing live music (for free) is a huge part of the HeadCount volunteer expereince.
What’s the difference between a volunteer and a “Team Leader” or “Regional Coordinator”?
Volunteers, or as we sometimes call them “Field Volunteers,” register voters at concerts but have no responsibility beyond the events they sign up for and work. Being a regular volunteer is a great way to get started with HeadCount. You can sign up for any shows or create a volunteer profile by visiting www.HeadCount.org/volunteer. Team Leaders and Regional Coordinators have larger responsibilities that involve overseeing and organizing other volunteers on an ongoing basis. Click on each position to get a better description and learn how to apply for these roles.
How much of the show am I going to be able to see?
This will vary, but typically we shut down the HeadCount table after the headlining artist begins their final set. On rare occasions, a venue will not allow our volunteers access to the venue area and we do not get to see the show. But this is unusual. Generally speaking, you can expect to see most of the show but will probably miss some portions of it. We suggest that people never volunteer if their favorite band is playing, because you need to be prepared to miss some of the music.
Are you hiring for paid positions?
HeadCount is often seeking new Team Leaders and Regional Coordinators, who are eligible for stipends of up to $1,000 per year. However, we still consider these to be “volunteer” positions, as the amount of hours required are considerable for very limited compensation. From time-to-time, a full-time paid position at HeadCount opens up, but this is rare. Check our “Open Positions” page to learn more about all volunteer and paid positions within HeadCount.
Can you choose which events to sign up for?
You sure can! On HeadCount’s events page, you can see all the upcoming shows in your area and sign up for only those you’re interested to in volunteering for. You’ll need to log in to sign up for shows, and then can pick any you wish.
Do I have to be a registered voter to volunteer?
Barring any state-specific laws, no, you do not have to be registered to vote to register other voters. Also, what better way to get registered yourself than at your first HeadCount experience!?
How old do I have to be?
You must be 18 to sign the HeadCount volunteer waiver. Volunteers below 18 are considered on a case-by-case basis, and must have their parent or guardian complete a permission form. All of this is part of the HeadCount volunteer sign-up process. If you are below the age of 21, there may be some shows you can not volunteer at because the venue or concert is limited to those 21 or over. However, this is not very common.
What is the dress code?
We require you to look respectable and non-partisan. This means you can dress any way you wish within the following limitations:
* Absolutely no partisan pins, t-shirts or statements may appear on your person
Can I bring a friend?
We encourage you to invite friends to also sign up for a show you’re volunteering at. If you have friends signing up with you, be sure to let the Team Leader know so they can do their best to confirm you both. However, you can not bring friends unless they are confirmed as a volunteer.
Can I show up late and still get in?
No. Being late is a guaranteed way to create a difficult circumstance for everyone involved. If you are late and miss the opportunity to enter the venue with your team leader, you very likely will be denied access to the show.
Will I get to meet the band?
We can’t say that happens regularly. The artists we work with are very supportive and from time to time our volunteers get to meet them, but this is unusual and not something to plan on.
Do you provide transportation to events?
No, we’re afraid you’re on your own for getting to and from the venue. For festivals we encourage volunteers to carpool together, and will try to help you arrange that when possible.
What is the drug/alcohol policy?
You must be 100% sober when volunteering for HeadCount. 100%. That means no alcohol or drugs can be consumed before or during the time you volunteer.
What if I leave the show early?
You are free to leave the show early as long as you stay until the HeadCount table shuts down. If you have a reason you expect you’ll need to leave early, make sure that you communicate that with the Team Leader when they’re confirming volunteers for the show.
My political beliefs are very different than a lot of people I know. Can I still volunteer?
YES! HeadCount is a non-partisan organization and we welcome people with all viewpoints and perspectives!
What if I do not register anyone to vote?
We’re pretty confident that if you try your best and pay attention to the training, you’ll register a few people. Plan for success!
What if I don’t vote?
If you personally don’t believe in voting or have never bothered, this probably isn’t the best volunteer opportunity for you.
What if I cannot vote?
Then volunteering for HeadCount is a great way to still participate in democracy and encourage others to make their voices heard.
Do I need previous volunteer experience?
No. HeadCount is a great way to get started. No experience is required to volunteer at a show.
Does this count for community service hours?
It can. For volunteers in good standing, HeadCount is happy to provide any documentation you need.
How can I volunteer for a festival?
You can sign up for a festival just like any other event. But there are several differences between festivals and regular shows. For one thing, at multi-day festivals you usually need to arrive at a festival the day before the music starts, and it can last for several days. You also will need to provide a credit card as a deposit. If your plans change and you need to cancel, you will need to do so at least three weeks in advance of the festival, or your card will be charged the price of a general admission ticket.
How many hours do I have to work at a festival?
Generally it’s six hours each day (in shifts of two or three hours). In addition, you need to participate in training, setup and takedown. When not working, you must still abide by HeadCount’s festival policies, which your Team Leader will detail (nothing surprising, but you must refrain from certain illegal activities and represent HeadCount well at all times).
How can I volunteer again?
Just visit www.HeadCount.org/volunteer and sign up again. You also can stay in touch directly with your Team Leader and let them know what shows you want to work, but you must also sign up through our website.
What is my likelihood for getting chosen for a show?
More often than not, you will get confirmed for any show you sign up for. But for very popular shows, you may find yourself on the waitlist instead. We encourage you to sign up for any show that interests you, but be prepared to get started with some weekday shows or shows by smaller bands.