Improving Volunteer Scheduling for the Edmonton Folk Festival

In: Business and Management

Submitted By tugcehanci
Words 7688
Pages 31
Vol. 34, No. 5, September–October 2004, pp. 367–376 issn 0092-2102 eissn 1526-551X 04 3405 0367


doi 10.1287/inte.1040.0097 © 2004 INFORMS

Improving Volunteer Scheduling for the Edmonton Folk Festival
Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2G5, School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2R6,

Lynn Gordon Erhan Erkut

The annual Edmonton Folk Music Festival is run almost entirely by its 1,800 volunteers. While people are usually enticed into volunteering for the folk fest by perks, such as free access to the entertainment, gourmet meals, and T-shirts, their willingness to return year after year depends on an intangible degree of satisfaction. In spring 2003, a crew coordinator sought to automate the scheduling process for his crew of about 35 volunteers to save time and to accommodate volunteers’ preferences when possible. We developed a spreadsheet-based decisionsupport tool that generated shift times, scheduled volunteers according to various constraints and preferences, and produced master and individual schedules. Key words: programming: linear; organizational studies: personnel. History: This paper was refereed.


he Edmonton Folk Festival is a four-day outdoor event that has been held annually since 1980 ( In 2002, 15,000 people attended the afternoon workshops and the evening main-stage performances featuring local artists and internationally renowned musicians. With only a handful of paid staff, the event’s success and longevity are attributable to its volunteers. In 2002, 1,800 volunteers worked on 35 crews (for example, gate, kitchen, and security) contributing over 50,000 volunteer hours. In return for their hours of service, the festival gives volunteers free admission, T-shirts,…...

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