NAFSA 2020 Annual Conference & Expo

After careful consideration, and in deep concern for the health and safety of our attendees, the NAFSA board of directors has decided to cancel the 2020 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo scheduled to take place on May 24-29 in St. Louis, Missouri.

More than 200 volunteers are needed each year to help make the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo a success. Volunteering is a great way to network while getting a behind-the-scenes look at the conference and potentially earning a conference discount. Volunteering is open to all conference attendees. Volunteers assist and support the following key areas of the conference.

  • Bookstore and publication sales
  • Career Center
  • Conference Information and Hospitality Center
  • NAFSA Pavilion
  • On-site registration
  • Sessions Aids/Monitors
  • Special Events
  • Workshops registration and information
  • And more

Based on documented hours worked, volunteers may be reimbursed 50-100 percent of the general conference registration fee paid.

How to Volunteer

In order to have access to volunteer shifts, you first need to sign-up with Shiftboard, NAFSA’s online scheduler. Volunteer shifts will open on March 23rd at noon.

Shiftboard allows each volunteer to pick up and drop shifts and simplifies the communication between volunteers and team leaders. Once you submit your information in Shiftboard, you will receive an e-mail asking you to click on a link to complete your enrollment. You will then receive a welcome e-mail from us with your login and password information. You can then sign in to Shiftboard to access your account and begin scheduling. Be sure to view the home page for helpful tips on customizing your account, password, calendar, etc.

Scheduling and Attendance

All volunteer scheduling will be handled through the Shiftboard web page. Shiftboard also allows volunteers to do the following:

  • View available shifts in event calendar
  • Pick up shifts you want to work and manage your shifts based on your availability
  • Receive confirmation of all of your shifts in a timely fashion
  • View and print your calendar of scheduled shifts at any time
  • Change and/or cancel shifts as needed prior to start of conference
  • Communicate with volunteer managers and receive updates via e-mail regarding your shift details

Please check your Shiftboard calendar for your scheduled shifts and arrive on time. Prior to your first shift of the conference, you will need to check in at the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) office, located in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, to receive your time sheet for the week and your volunteer identification.

Any "no-shows" or habitual tardiness could affect your registration rebate and your ability to volunteer at future conferences. If a scheduling conflict arises, please alert the Volunteer Coordinator at least 24 hours before the shift is scheduled to begin. There will also be a phone number available during conference.

Reimbursement Policy

Based on documented hours worked, volunteers may be reimbursed 50%-100% of the general conference registration fee paid. Reimbursements are processed 4-6 weeks after the conference and are paid in the same manner as your registration fees (i.e. credited to credit card, check cut back to institution, etc.)


40 or more

100% reimbursement


75% reimbursement


50% reimbursement


No reimbursement

Expectations of a Volunteer

Volunteers are the face of the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo. As such, volunteers are expected to be punctual, respectful and helpful during your shifts. It is very beneficial to you to become knowledgeable on various aspects of the conference such as event locations, layout of convention center, general conference information, and program details.

Scheduling more than 200 volunteers for a seven day event requires a tremendous amount of planning and cooperation; NAFSA appreciates your willingness to help make this year’s conference a huge success, by honoring your shifts, showing up on time, and staying until the job is done!

Volunteer Descriptions

Volunteers will assist in the bookstore by answering questions, directing customers to products, and assisting them complete their bookstore order forms. They may also be asked to assist with restocking shelves and displays.

Career Center
Volunteers will promote and facilitate NAFSA Career Center events: job fairs, educational and employer information sessions, and resume review sessions.

Hospitality Center
Volunteers will work with the Local Arrangements Team provide information to attendees who visit the Hospitality Center. Duties will include answering questions, directing attendees to various conference activities, and handing out local maps and brochures.

NAFSA Pavilion
Advance your own career by becoming knowledgeable about various ways to connect with NAFSA, meet with other members, and get to know staff. Volunteers will be asked to recruit conference participants to connect with NAFSA.

On-site Registration
Volunteers will assist attendees registering and checking in for the conference. Duties will include handing out conference materials and answering general questions at the registration desk.

Sessions and Workshops
Volunteers will be responsible for ensuring individuals find seats, assisting in handout delivery, guiding participants to events, and other duties assigned by NAFSA staff.

Special Events
Volunteers will assist attendees at all NAFSA special events. Because many of the events are ticketed, volunteers will be asked to take tickets at the door, assist with crowd control, and hold signage.

Volunteer FAQs

How do I find out about volunteering at the annual conference?

The 2020 NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo needs many volunteers to assist with workshops, sessions, and other activities. For information regarding volunteering, contact [email protected].

Are registration discounts available to conference volunteers?

All conference volunteers must first register and pay conference registration fees. Based on documented hours worked, volunteers may be reimbursed 50–100 percent of the general conference registration fee paid. Reimbursements are made 4–6 weeks after the conclusion of the conference.

What are the benefits to being a volunteer?

Based on documented hours worked, volunteers may be reimbursed 50-100 percent of the general conference registration fee paid.

What are the requirements to be a volunteer?

You must be a conference attendee in order to serve as a conference volunteer.

What jobs will I perform as a volunteer?

Examples of shifts are as follows:

  • Taking tickets and directing traffic at plenaries and special events
  • Assisting with exhibitor check-in at registration
  • Working registration area to hand out materials and tote bags
  • Providing local information and conference directions at Conference Information and Hospitality Center
  • Working as monitor for sessions, handing out and collecting session evaluations

Still have questions or concerns?

Please contact the Volunteer Coordinators at [email protected].