Associate Director of Volunteerism

Location: San Francisco, CA

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Senior Manager/Supervisor


The Associate Director of Volunteerism will inspire, revitalize and guide our network of rich and dynamic volunteers and processes.

This position will:

  • Create a clear understanding and adherence to the true nature of the Volunteer Lifecycle and embed the best practices into every Volunteer Team culture
  • Enlist Volunteer Leadership to unite the vision, tools, and process, as well as streamlining and consolidating where necessary while allowing individuality and diversity
  • Focus on ensuring all levels of the organization are currently trained on our philosophy and dedication to Volunteerism
  • Utilize the latest tools, trainings, appreciation & recognition rituals/traditions as well as additional resources to support our Volunteer Network and Global Community

Due to the nature of the position, the incumbent will need the ability to work outside of standard office hours, including nights and weekends. This position works across all departments in the San Francisco Burning Man office, in conjunction with the Volunteer Leadership Council (VLC), the Regional Network, and on playa during the Burning Man event.



  • Manages the Volunteer Leadership Council (VLC) and is responsible for running/facilitating meetings, driving deliverables, documenting workflow, organizing quarterly retreats and iterating and defining the body of work and identity of the council
  • Approves the activities submitted by the VLC.
  • Hold the highest standards for the volunteer network of our organization at all times to ensure we are treating our volunteers well
  • Act as one united voice of volunteerism, represent at all levels with professionalism and consistency
  • Attends and is active in appropriate departmental and cross-departmental meetings
  • Represents Burning Man Volunteerism to not only the internal audience but to external communities, organizations and the public-at-large


  • Creates a clear understanding and adherence to the true nature of the volunteer lifecycle and embed the best practices into every volunteer team culture
  • Monitors Volunteer Team progress and implements necessary improvements to ensure overall health of the team and the staff
  • Manage and develop the volunteerism budget
  • Oversees the deployment of volunteers to enhance a project, department or other need.
  • Fosters and maintains an active network of volunteers and has intimate knowledge of the volunteers skills and desires to work on projects
  • Responsible for the maintenance and effectiveness of the Volunteer Questionnaire and overall recruitment strategy of the organization
  • Creates an onboarding system and accompanying materials for volunteers that can be imbued with the uniqueness of each team and included with each team’s program
  • Creates a central repository for analysis of the working requirements and resources allocated to volunteer teams
  • Key stakeholder for creating a central repository of volunteers history and activity
  • Oversees ongoing evaluations and creates a culture of feedback by volunteers and implements improvements as necessary in conjunction with Department head partnership
  • Oversees the creation and execution of a culture and official programs for appreciation and recognition of volunteers and their contributions
  • Oversees an updated central repository of Volunteer Team documentation and best practices for both teams and the organization
  • Oversees the periodic volunteer feedback survey process, collection of data and results dissemination
  • Creates and maintains program and process documentation for clarity and continuity   


  • Maintain and distribute existing trainings when required, for instance with a new volunteer role, supporting application, process or function
  • Support training styles that can be flexible and adopted between the various departments and teams
  • Create and design strategic trainings with a creative twist that can be replicated
  • Partner with the Education department in creating trainings
  • Stay up to date with current volunteer needs to keep training materials and content fresh
  • Manages the volunteer in-house trainer and train-the-trainers program
  • Manage and coordinate volunteer trainings, in-person and virtual, in conjunction with the Education department
  • Ensures volunteers are given appropriate training to be successful in their positions
  • Work in collaboration with our Regional and Education Departments to provide and share selective trainings and processes within our global network

Technology and Tools

  • Oversees the collective work with the Technology Department to maintain all technology tools and manage volunteer use as necessary
  • Ensure the technology tools and processes are relevant and track utilization  
  • Have a strong understanding for the technology tools deployed and utilized
  • Oversees the assessment and audit of the process and technology tools regularly to assure tools and processes are functioning as efficient as possible
  • Oversees the management and maintenance the volunteer network data in Salesforce and any other applications required for on and off playa-events
  • Partner with the Technology department to establish support Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the technology utilized by staff
  • Develop reports and analytics in support of the programs and teams

Communications and Reporting

  • Ensure communication processes are current, established, and maintained
  • Work collaboratively with the Communications Department to ensure volunteer communications are effective and consistent
  • Manage all communication documentation and archives as related to volunteerism
  • Provide comprehensive reports as needed for leadership updates
  • Develop and implement annual and quarterly goals for volunteerism which reflect the mission of the organization
  • Manages appropropriate email lists and utilizes the available email lists and networks to disseminate information

Other Functions and Responsibilities

  • Perform other duties as needed to support the Burning Man volunteer network  


  • Documentation - Drives the creation, publishing, and maintenance of process documentation related to assigned duties
  • Teaching – Takes a leadership role in the acculturation and training of staff. Promotes a culture of teaching and learning throughout the community
  • Mentoring - Mentors subordinates in acquiring the knowledge, skills, and experience that will allow them to advance in the organization. Aids, encourages, and inspires their team
  • Training development - Collaborates with the education team to develop training materials in their area of expertise or drives as needed
  • Learning – Pursues ongoing learning in their area of expertise, working to stay current on emergent knowledge, skills, and processes. Participates in conferences, forums, and networking events, where appropriate
  • Speaking – Represents Burning Man as a subject matter expert and culture-bearer, as requested



  • 5+ Years of Volunteer experience either as a Volunteer leader or in Public Service
  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience
  • Strong project management skills; proven ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines autonomously
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to shift priorities swiftly as necessary
  • Excellent communication skills, including highly effective writing, presentation, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution and mediation skills
  • Strong computer skills i.e. advanced knowledge of MS Word, Excel, Internet browsers, email clients
  • Experience as a trainer or facilitator, including producing and delivering training
  • Strong public speaking experience
  • Ability to effectively represent Burning Man to a wide variety of participants and local community members at various events and functions
  • Strong collaborative management and team leadership skills
  • Strategic and global perspective in delivering programs and support
  • Dedicated to 10 principles of behavior and ethics of the Burning Man organization
  • Ability to adjust schedule seasonally to work at the Burning Man event held in Nevada
  • Ability to work nights and weekends


  • Experience in Organizational development
  • Intermediate to expert level experience with SalesForce
  • Proven ability to translate organizational needs and executive direction into concrete project plans, timelines, content and finished products
  • Dynamic individual with a breadth of experience across national and international networks
  • It is helpful if the candidate has previously been to Burning Man and/or is familiar with its culture


  • Off-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary in nature. This role may require some work outside of the traditional work day in order to accommodate meetings and events in the evenings and weekends to work around volunteer and resource schedules.   
  • On-playa:  Work is primarily sedentary but will also include the need to find and meet with department representatives who may not be in the vicinity therefore this could include walking or using some form of transportation. Some of the work will be in outside weather conditions and will be exposed to fumes or airborne particles as well as possible extremes in temperature.


  • This position is a regular, full-time role eligible for benefits, working in BMHQ in San Francisco, CA and in Gerlach, NV around the Burning Man event.
  • Burning Man is an equal-opportunity employer.
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