Volunteer at the Flea

It takes a village to plan a successful Flea and it takes a small city to execute a successful Flea! We need over 350 volunteer positions filled for more than 2,000 hours of volunteering in a span of 72 hours. We can’t do it without you, so please help, even taking a single shift makes a difference!

General Volunteering Roles
Programming Volunteer Roles
Volunteer Perks
Sign Up Instructions

Please carefully read the job descriptions for which you are applying to better understand the expectations and responsibilities!

General Volunteer Roles

Accessibility Runner || Accessibility Table
Doors & Floors || ID Checker || Load In/Out || NELA Associates Table
NELA Sales Table || Operations Dispatch || Volunteer HQ|| Wristbander

Accessibility Runner

Fetching supplies, delivering messages to varying staff and volunteers, providing physical materials to the American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters and/or various other tasks to help where needed.

Accessibility Note:

This job requires being able lift 5-10 pounds – including boxes, paperwork, etc, being able to retain verbal instructions for up to 30 minutes, speak or text efficiently in English on a personal device (such as a phone), and be able to navigate crowded spaces quickly. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

Accessibility Table

Tasks may include responding to questions from attendees regarding assistive technology and/or American Sign Language, directing attendees to accessible copies of the program book, checking in and out signage for accessible seating in classrooms, and/or requests for valet parking passes or large-print forms.

Accessibility Note:

Volunteers should be able to speak professionally and respectfully to people of all flavors of ability and disability, provide positive customer service responses, identify available assistive technologies, hard-copy forms, and passes, must be comfortable sitting/standing in one location for 120 minutes at a time without a break, lift up to 10 pounds, and be able to professionally communicate via radio (verbally in English) or via text message with Programming Headquarters. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities Top

Doors and Floors

Most likely you will be assigned a position in front of one of the main entrances.  You will ask to see everyone’s wristband as they enter the event. There will be a key of all wristbands given out in the volunteer HQ to reference.  If someone does not have a wristband you will direct them to the appropriate location: Attendees: Registration table | Vendor: Vendor Check-in | Volunteer: Volunteer HQ | Presenter: Programming Room

You may be the first person an attendee sees at the event and they may ask you for directions.  Using the provided map, you will provide the requested directions.

If there is a question to which you do not know the answer you will find a NELA Board Member or Staff member with a radio to ask for assistance.

Accessibility Note:

Volunteers must be able to visually identify different colors and patterns of wristbands from a distance of up to 10 feet, must be comfortable verbally speaking to every attendee and asking them to clearly display their wristband – including calling verbally, or personal phone/text device to ask for help from a supervisor where needed, and be comfortable sitting/standing in one location for 120 minutes at a time without a break; chairs may be provided upon request. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

ID Checker

This is an 18+ event. NO EXCEPTIONS. Every attendee MUST have a valid, government-issued picture ID and be born before February 14, 2002.

In case a person does not meet those requirements, you must be comfortable politely asking them to step out of line and using a radio to call for a NELA Board member.

Accessibility Note: Volunteers must be able to visually see legal identification cards as presented by attendees – including birth dates, must be comfortable verbally speaking professionally to attendees including asking them to show their ID for age verification – including calling verbally, or personal phone/text device to ask for help from a supervisor where needed, follow additional directions as provided by COIL registration, and be comfortable sitting/standing in one location for 120 minutes at a time without a break; chairs may be provided upon request. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

Load In/ Load Out

These volunteers brave the weather and carry in/out vendors’ goods. This role earns DOUBLE volunteer credit: if you work two (2) hours on the Load In/Out team, we credit you 4 hours of volunteer work!

Accessibility Note: Volunteers must be able to lift and carry potentially fragile items and items weighing 25-75 pounds, push or pull pallet jacks, 2- and 4-wheelers and dollies through narrow (<30” wide) hallways, must be able to work cooperatively on a team and retain and follow verbal instructions from “the Dock Boss,” and other team leads, must be able to visually navigate non-attendee spaces with caution and quickness. Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

NELA Associates’ Table

As the volunteer manning the Associate’s table, you will have the authority to make and sign NELA Associates cards.  You must be comfortable using a laminating machine (we will provide instructions if necessary).

Accessibility Notes:

Volunteers must be able to read or hear instructions, retain information, use a laminating machine, must be able to use a tablet and a credit card swipe device, must be able to write legibly (your handwriting doesn’t need to be perfect, just readable), must be able to read and understand paper applications with possible small writing, must be able to maintain an organized workspace with accurate records of sales transactions, must be comfortable handling cash, change, and credit card forms of money – including providing correct and exact change, must be comfortable sitting/standing for 120 minutes in one place without breaks, and must be courteous, friendly, and professional with every Flea attendee and staff. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

NELA Sales Table

NELA has several T-shirt designs and small items with the NELA logo.  Several signs with the Donation amounts to receive these items will be placed around the area.  You will be given an envelope with a small amount of seed money and a list to fill out with every item sold (including size) and amount collected.  At the end of your shift you will return the envelope and list to the Volunteer HQ.

Accessibility Notes:

Volunteers must be able to read or hear instructions, retain information, must be able to use a tablet and a credit card swipe device, must be able to write legibly (your handwriting doesn’t need to be perfect, just readable), must be able to maintain an organized workspace with accurate records of sales transactions, must be comfortable handling cash, change, and credit card forms of money – including providing correct and exact change, must be comfortable sitting/standing for 120 minutes in one place without breaks, and must be courteous, friendly, and professional with every Flea attendee and staff. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities Top

Operations Dispatch/Log Personnel

This position can be more mentally taxing than other volunteer positions. Before Volunteering you will need to be interviewed for this position. Before Volunteering please consider the following questions and descriptions of the skillset necessary to perform this task.  Are you able to type at a reasonably efficient speed?  In this position you will need to notate activity that comes across the  radio quickly and thoroughly, correctly cataloging each scenario.  Are you at least moderately comfortable with public speaking? As a dispatch operator you will be verbally directing radio traffic in a clear and organized fashion.  Can you be discreet?  Although not every situation is of sensitive nature by being a dispatch operator you are privy to many goings on within the flea weekend. It’s not up to you to decide what can or cannot be spoken about. If you choose to assist dispatch, do not discuss any details pertaining to your position outside your team/board members or department heads. This is a zero-tolerance policy and volunteers caught discussing/gossiping etc about their position will be immediately dismissed and banned from working dispatch again. This zero-tolerance policy is in place to protect our attendees.

All applicants will be screened via a brief interview with the Operations Coordinator.

Accessibility Notes:

Volunteers must be able to hear well through a radio (with or without an ear-piece), must be able to listen and type simultaneously, read or hear instructions and retain information, must have basic computer/word processing skills, must be able to communicate verbally in English professionally and efficiently, must be able to maintain calm stature while in potentially high stress situations or environments, must be able to maintain an organized workspace with accurate records information (written on paper or computer), must be able to focus on current task, and multitask in possible distracting environments, must be comfortable sitting/standing for 120 minutes in one place without breaks, must be comfortable interacting verbally and/or in written communication with Flea Volunteers, Staff, security, safety, and hotel personnel. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

Volunteer HQ

One person will be responsible for keeping a list of all the volunteers working during a time and what jobs they are assigned to.  Other responsibilities will be handed out by a Board Member during your shift.

Accessibility Notes:

Volunteers must be able to read or hear instructions and retain information for up to 2 hours, must be able to use a laptop computer, lift and move boxes of up to 25 pounds each, must be able to write legibly (via computer or on paper), must be able to maintain an organized workspace with accurate records of transactions and notes for a supervisor, must be comfortable working independently, must be comfortable sitting/standing for 120 minutes in one place without breaks in a space of about 2’ radius, and must be courteous, friendly, and professional with every Flea volunteer staff member. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities. Top

Wristbander

You are responsible for securing each Flea attendee’s wristband after their purchase is complete. You must be comfortable interacting with Flea attendees and briefly touching them for the purpose of securing their wristband. You also may be asked to hand the goodie bag to Flea attendees.

Accessibility Notes: Volunteers must be able to visually identify different colors and patterns of wristbands and must be comfortable putting the correct color/pattern on an attendee,  must be comfortable professionally, verbally speaking to every attendee – including calling verbally, or personal phone/text device to ask for help from a supervisor where needed, and be comfortable sitting/standing in one location for 120 minutes at a time without a break; chairs may be provided upon request. All spaces within the hotel are wheelchair accessible and Service Dogs are welcome at the Flea. Reasonable accommodations will be made for volunteers with disabilities Top

Programming Volunteer Roles

Introducer || Door Monitor|| Time Keeper || Advanced Track Helper
Stable Hand/Art Exhibitionist || Self-Care Steward || Page

Introducer

The Introducer reads aloud a short paragraph at the start of the assigned class; they introduce the presenter and get the class going. They also keep attendance records for the class by counting the number of people in the room at the 30- and 60-minute mark. The Introducer ensures the class starts and ends on time. They are our eyes and ears inside the classroom and are responsible for troubleshooting any issues and staying in touch with programming staff as needed. Introducers stay inside the room during the class, but they may not participate in hands-on classes.

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to read from a printed sheet of paper, visually count numbers of people, speak on a wall phone or text/speak on a personal cell phone, keep track of time with a personal device (watch/cell phone), and communicate in spoken English. All classrooms are wheelchair accessible and service dogs are welcome at the Flea. Top

Door Monitor

Door Monitors watch the doors of a class or lounge/event/social and maintain a good flow of traffic. Door Monitors hand out feedback surveys and pencils as people enter the room and collect them as people leave. They ensure every person entering the room has a wristband and maintain a headcount to ensure the room’s capacity is not exceeded. Door Monitors then sit outside the door while the class/event/lounge/social is in session to ensure that not too many ins & outs occur and enforce boundaries if the class/event/lounge/social is full or there is no late admittance allowed. This job often involves telling people that a room is full and being polite, but firm, and 2 hours of hanging out in one spot without much to do (books, knitting, etc. are allowed!). Door Monitors do not stay inside the room and therefore cannot partake in the class or event.

Note 1: There will be 5 door monitors for all classes in the Rotunda as there are 5 doors to this room, however, only 1 will count and distribute surveys. The rest will be stationed at doors that are not to be used as entrances (exit only) and will direct people on to the door they can use.

Note 2: There is one door monitor for the basement. This person will only check wristbands while stationed by the elevators. They will be asked to check in on socials and lounges happening in the basement but there’s no need for strict headcounts as there are no formal classes in the basement

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to visually see wristbands on attendees at a distance of 5 feet, the ability to count people entering a room, and hand out/collect pieces of paper. The ability to communicate in spoken English is strongly preferred, but not required. Door monitors may sit or stand outside the room and chairs will be provided. All rooms and hallways are wheelchair accessible and service dogs are welcome at the Flea. Top

Time Keeper

Time Keeper is a new position that is designed to assist Programming Staff in Programming Headquarters (PHQ) by helping to clock volunteers in and out of their assigned shifts. Time Keepers will be taught to use a computer to keep track of each volunteer’s hours, but we’re still working out the exact details with how this will work (we can all learn together!). Time Keepers will also hand out packets to volunteers, answer basic questions, take notes on paper timesheets, delegate and relay information on small issues that may arise, and other such tasks. This is a new and evolving position and needs may change, but in general this position does require attention to detail and the ability to react quickly and calmly in a busy environment.

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to operate a computer, write on paper, visually read printed materials, keep track of time with a personal device (watch/cell phone), ability to communicate in spoken English, ability to remember details and enter data methodically and correctly, and ability to react quickly and calmly to multiple stimuli in a busy environment. PHQ is a wheelchair-accessible room and this job will be performed seated at a table. Service dogs are welcome at the Flea Top

Advanced Track Helper

Advanced Track Helpers assist the Advanced Track Captain (PandaPet) to do anything and everything in regards to running our advanced class track (formerly “Masterclasses”). Advanced Track Helpers may assist with any of the following roles: introducing an advanced class (see position description above), monitoring the door for an advanced class (see position description above), helping with ticketing (checking, giving out, or collecting tickets), or helping with setup or breakdown for advanced classes (moving chairs, putting down tarps, cleaning up after a class, placing props, etc.) Advanced Track Helpers must be able to stay for the entire Advanced Track and will not be able to partake in any of the Advanced Classes. Advanced Track Helpers will work a 7-8 hour shift on Saturday, and due to the intensity of this position, they will earn double volunteer credit. (An 8 hour shift counts as 16 volunteer hours).

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to visually see wristbands on attendees at a distance of 5 feet, count people entering a room or in a room, hand out/collect pieces of paper, read from a printed sheet of paper, speak on a wall phone or text/speak on a personal cell phone, keep track of time with a personal device (watch/cell phone), lift and carry up to 20lbs, and communicate in spoken English. All classrooms and hallways are wheelchair accessible and service dogs are welcome at the Flea Top

Stable Hand / Art Exhibitionist

Stable Hands assist the Pony Paddock by watching over the paddock’s equipment when the ponies are out and about in the fields and meadows (so to speak, anyway!). The Stable Hand will also make sure that attendees partaking the paddock behave appropriately and have a wristband. Similarly, the Art Exhibitionist watches over the Kinky Art Gallery and the art and equipment in that room. This involves ensuring that attendees visiting the gallery have a wristband and follow all rules of the space. The Art Exibitionist will also ensure that fire codes are maintained and the room does not get too crowded at any given time. Both positions may hand out surveys if needed.

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to visually see wristbands on attendees at a distance of 5 feet and hand out/collect pieces of paper. The ability to communicate in spoken English is strongly preferred, but not required. These positions may sit or stand during the shift and chairs will be provided. All rooms and hallways are wheelchair accessible and service dogs are welcome at the Flea. Top

Self-Care Steward

Self-Care Stewards help monitor our Self-Care Suite, which is the Flea’s dedicated quiet room for attendees to decompress and chill out (formerly the “Serenity Space”). Stewards check the wristbands of people entering and exiting the room and control traffic flow. They sit or stand just inside the door during their shift to ensure that not too many ins & outs occur and enforce boundaries if the room is too full or an attendee does not have a wristband. Self-Care Stewards also check in on the Self-Care Suite to ensure that the rules are followed, noise is kept to a minimum, things remain tidy, and supplies stay well-stocked.

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This job requires being able to visually see wristbands on attendees at a distance of 5 feet and the ability to count people entering a room. The ability to communicate in spoken English is strongly preferred, but not required. The Self-Care Suite is wheelchair accessible, though it is a smaller sized room that may be hard to maneuver in if one has a large mobility device. Service dogs are welcome at the Flea. Top

Page

Happy to do any of the above positions and can’t decide what to choose? Be a Page! Pages (formerly called “Runners”) are our catch-all helpers who are flexible enough to help fill in any of our roles as needed. Pages will be based out of the Programming Headquarters for their assigned shifts, and on the go, helping us solve any issues that may arise. They may fill in for any other position if another volunteer is a no-show or they may help out by delivering extra items to classrooms, cleaning up PHQ, helping us sort surveys and enter feedback into an online system, or other miscellaneous tasks.

Accessibility Note/Job Requirements: This position must be able to move across the hotel rapidly (walking/running is not required, just being able to move quickly!), read from a printed sheet of paper, visually count numbers of people, visually see wristbands on attendees at a distance of 5 feet, speak on a wall phone or text/speak on a personal cell phone, keep track of time with a personal device (watch/cell phone), operate a computer, and communicate in spoken English. The ability to lift and carry 20 lbs is preferred but not required. All rooms and hallways are wheelchair accessible and service dogs are welcome at the Flea. Top

Volunteer Perks

Any number of hours: Access to the Volunteer Lounge (a quiet space to relax after a busy shift), access to a limited amount of free food and beverages (typically snacks, coffee, tea, etc), an official volunteer name badge, and the undying gratitude of NELA and Fetish Fair Fleamarket Staff.

  • 4 hours: Admission to FFF54
  • 8 hours: the above and a NELA Associates Card (1 year) and a NELA T-Shirt
  • 12 hours: all the above and admission to the Volunteer Appreciation Event for just yourself
  • 16 hours: all the above and admission to the Volunteer Appreciation Event for yourself and a guest
  • 20 hours: all the above and your choice of either 1 meal voucher ($10 value at Crowne Plaza restaurants) OR $10 in NELA Bucks (redeemable at any vendor at FFF54)
  • 30+ hours: all the above and an invitation to the Super Volunteer (Dead Dog) Dinner on Sunday evening.

Additional Perks for Programming Volunteers:

If you volunteer with Programming (Indroducer, Door Monitor, Time Keeper, Advanced Track Helper, Stable Hand, Art Exhibitionist, Self-Care Steward, or Page) for 24 hours or more you may be able to reserve a hotel room through Programming. Please contact progvolunteers@nelaonline.org for more information and to reserve this perk. Space is limited; first come, first served! Top