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Welcome to Black Rock City and THANK YOU for volunteering! Our city would not exist without people like you. We hope that through volunteering and participating you will have a more gratifying and personally valuable experience to take off the Playa with you; one that will keep you warm through the winter months! This little guide is not comprehensive, but it provides a few helpful hints and some valuable information that you may not know about volunteering at Burning Man. We hope using it will help make things a whole lot more fun! Be sure to read it and pass it on to your fellow volunteers!
As a community-driven event operating in the spirit of the Ten Principles, volunteering is a form of participation, gifting and civic responsibility. No matter your skills or interests, there are ways to contribute your time, energy, and resources to help make the event happen, both in Black Rock City and year-round.
“Volunteering my time for Burning Man was the best way I could contribute to the community that has given me so much.” ~B.C., Burning Man volunteer
It takes approximately 2000 volunteers to build, run, and clean up the city. For more information on this massive effort, how it happens, and the intricate details of the magic of Burning Man volunteerism, please take time to read about each group under the Volunteering section of the web site.
Working and Volunteering for Burning Man
Volunteering at Burning Man is not like volunteering anywhere else.
When it all sounds fun and exciting and you're tempted to volunteer for EVERYTHING, please remember to ask yourself if you might be stretching yourself too thin? Not only will the environment take its toll, but other commitments can too. That said, if you do commit to volunteering certain shifts, know that you are being counted on to show up. Remember that for every shift you sign up for but can’t or don’t make it to, the responsibilities get piled onto someone else.
If you can’t decide what you’d like to commit to before you hit the playa, you can still volunteer! Visit the V-spot located in Center Camp where the Volunteer Resource Team (VRT) is happy to serve as your volunteer wrangler on playa. This is the “go to” spot for participants who are looking for a way to lend a helping hand during the event. They list all the volunteer opportunities available for the day, based on daily requests from different teams.
If this will be your first Burn and you are considering volunteering at Burning Man, you’re in the right place!
The Burner community considers volunteering as a gift to the community and an opportunity for civic participation. This is one of the qualities that makes Burning Man the unique experience that is so close to our hearts.
Things to Know
- Unlike many other events, volunteering at Burning Man does not automatically equal a ticket. If it does occur, it usually applies to volunteers who work within the organization year-round and are highly accountable. These are not roles that are easy to jump into.
- So, as a rule of thumb, you should always use your own methods to obtain your ticket, and not expect to receive it from the team for which you volunteer.
- If you are interested in volunteering for a team managed by Burning Man, choose no more than two teams on your volunteer questionnaire.
- The only way to get subscribed to Burning Man’s volunteer announce list is by filling out a volunteer questionnaire.
- Burning Man is built and experienced based on the strength of its community. To tap into the community for info and to share resources, keep an eye on ePlaya.
- Burning Man, among many things, is also an exercise in self reliance. It’s important to take the time to read the First Timer’s Guide and Preparationsections of the website.
How to Volunteer for a Burning Man Team
Fill out a volunteer questionnaire and check your desired team(s) on the form.
If you don’t hear back from the team in a couple weeks, send them an email (you can find the team’s contact info in the Volunteer Teams section).
The following teams recruit new volunteers every year. However, please note, many of these teams are done with recruitment as early as May:
- Air Playa Info (Reno Airport)
- Artery (limited opportunities)
- Center Camp Cafe
- Cleanup/Leave No Trace
- DPW (only for cleanup after the event)
- Earth Guardians
- Gate/Perimeter/Exodus (primarily for Exodus)
- Media Mecca
- Playa Info
- Recycle Camp
- SF Office Volunteers (SF Bay Area residents only)
- Community Events (year-round, SF Bay Area)
- Tech Team (mainly year-round and not during the event)
- Temple Guardians
- Volunteer Resource Team (mostly but not limited to SF Bay Area residents)
These teams do not recruit first year burners:
- Box Office
- BMIR, unless highly skilled and come highly recommended
- ESD, unless experienced in a specific needed area and come with awesome recommendation from a long time ESD team member
Volunteering Pre-and Post-Event
Access to the playa during setup and cleanup time is strictly limited to the setup and cleanup crew. Every team, theme camp or art project has its own setup and cleanup team. To find out more, contact the team, theme camp, or art project directly.
Volunteering for a Burning Man Project
Browse the projects (art installations, theme camps, mutant vehicles, or whatever) seeking help on Spark and/or create a listing advertising your skills.
You can also do the same on the ePlaya.
Volunteering in Your Region
To volunteer in your own region, fill out a volunteer questionnaire and contact your local regional group.
Volunteering on Playa
During the event, you can always stop by the V-Spot in the Portals of Center Camp and the 3:00 and 9:00 Civic plazas to find out about volunteer opportunities whenever you’re in the mood! No need to sign up before the event, but, if you do volunteer, remember to fill out a volunteer questionnaire after the event.