Workforce planning for events

Workforce planning for a major event must take into account all the phases, from recruitment to acknowledgement.

Main phases

The main phases in workforce and volunteer management for a major event include:

  • workforce planning
  • the recruitment programme
  • the application process/procedure
  • staff/volunteer training
  • provision for volunteers
  • communication
  • acknowledgement
  • volunteer legacy.

Developing the workforce plan

To develop the workforce plan you need to:

  • understand the nature of the event and the rights holders’ expectations and organisation requirements
  • scope the number of scope the number of paid staff and volunteers required to run a quality, world-class event
  • determine the different types of roles available and the skills needed for each role
  • consider all volunteer roles and the number of positions in major areas
  • refine, integrate and assess staffing/volunteer requirements based on budget and organisation expectations
  • work out start and finish dates for all roles based on the level and amount of work required and the level of responsibilities within the parameters of your workforce/volunteer budget
  • determine which roles will be filled by employees, contractors or volunteers
  • determine the reporting and communication lines and develop an organisational chart.
  • ensure workforce roles and reporting lines are clearly defined,eg directors, managers, supervisors, coordinators, assistants
  • develop and finalise your workforce plan.
  • create job descriptions for all roles (voluntary and paid).


  • Event management pressure points will vary at different stages. Regularly monitor your workforce strategy — including start and end dates — so that you're in a position to respond to the shifting workloads that arise leading up to the event.
  • Event organisers typically underestimate the workforce needed to deliver a quality, world-class event. Be careful not to do so, as it could jeopardise your event.
  • Don't underestimate your workforce expenses when setting your event budget.

Position descriptions

Volunteer roles span many industries and carry out many different activities. A defined title with a relevant job description gives volunteers a clear understanding about their role. Leave out ‘volunteer’ in your volunteer role description and provide meaningful titles and descriptions.

Below we've provided a list of position descriptions for a variety of volunteer roles, and sample job descriptions from the FIFA Under 17 Women's World Cup.