The International Storytelling Center is grateful for the support of more than 500 volunteers that work with ISC staff and technicians to pull together events that will make Jonesborough proud! Volunteers do more than just dedicate their time – they help further our mission, share the power of storytelling with the community, and are advocates for the arts in Jonesborough, Northeast Tennessee, and Appalachia. 

If you would like to be added to our volunteer list, please e-mail our Volunteer Coordinator at festivalvolunteer@storytellingcenter.net

Year-Round Volunteers

Our year-round volunteers help the center with things like pre-festival preparation, manning the gift shop, and hosting Storytelling Live and other special events in our theater. Volunteering throughout the year doesn’t just make you an ambassador to storytelling and to Jonesborough, but you can work to get festival swatches! 

Festival Volunteer

It takes hundreds of volunteers to make the National Storytelling Festival run smoothly. There are many volunteer positions at the National Storytelling Festival for individuals, students, and community groups. Plus, you can get a swatch to the National Storytelling Festival! 

Group Volunteering 

Whether you are involved in a local business, faith-based organization, or community organization, we invite all to partner with us to share the power of storytelling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Year-Round Volunteers work with ISC’s on-going activities including Festival-related activities that can be performed prior to or after the Festival’s official dates.  The most common Year-Round volunteer opportunities are in the Gift Shop, as a Host for Teller-in-Residence performances, and general operations support. 

  1. Each individual must complete an application. This is now required for both returning volunteers and new volunteers.
  2. The application will request information about unique skills and experiences as well as circumstances and conditions that must be considered in making the best placement.
  3. Applications may be submitted throughout the year, but shifts may already be filled.
  4. The year-round volunteer application form is available at the ISC or via email by calling 423.913.1276 or emailing centervolunteer@storytellingcenter.net.
  5. For new volunteers, an interview may be required based on the position.
  6. New volunteer applicants will be notified by email when selected as a year-round volunteer.

All volunteers selected as a year-round volunteer for the Gift Shop and Teller in Residence hosting must complete a Volunteer Orientation before being placed.

Generally, a volunteer must be 16 years old to volunteer. Some positions may have specific age requirements that are older. 

The volunteer year begins on the Monday following the Festival and continues until the Thursday prior to the next Festival.  In order to earn Festival tickets, shifts must be scheduled and completed within this time frame.

The ISC Volunteer Coordinators maintains a protected database with basic volunteer information.  This information is available only to ISC personnel authorized to access the Volunteer database.   An individual volunteer’s information will not be released externally for any purpose without written permission.

Volunteers may earn Festival tickets by working a required numbers of shifts rather than hours.  A shift may be completed by volunteering a specific number of hours or by completing a specific task regardless of the number of hours involved.  The number of hours in a shift may vary from position to position.  Volunteers will be advised on the requirements for receiving a ticket when they are assigned to specific position.

An individual volunteer may earn up to two (2) Festival tickets.  Tent Hosts and Swappin’ Ground volunteers are uniquely managed but this policy applies to all volunteers.

Single Day Festival tickets are available.   Indicate your preference on the Volunteer Application and to the Volunteer Coordinators.  Your supervisor will work with you to identify the number of shifts required for a single day ticket.

No.  Selling a ticket earned by volunteering may result in restriction from future volunteering.

Volunteers must complete their shift requirements by the Thursday before the Festival begins. No hours or shifts can be transferred from one Festival to the next. 

The ISC policy does not refund Festival Ticket purchases.   If you wish to volunteer after you have purchased a ticket, you can give away or sell the ticket you purchased, or wait to volunteer next year.

Gift Shop and Teller-in-Residence hosts will be required to attend orientation.  Several sessions will be provided in order to accommodate all volunteers’ schedules.

Please self-identify your special need(s) on the volunteer application. The Volunteer Coordinators will coordinate with the ISC supervisors to try to identify a position that can accommodate your special needs. 

The ISC not only highly values diversity in its volunteer workforce, it proactively recruits volunteers that diversify the workforce.

If you have not completed your scheduled shifts prior to the Festival, tickets will not be given. Neither shifts nor hours will be transferred to the next year, even if they exceed the number required to earn the ticket.  

Illness, accidents and other emergencies happen.  If you cannot work your shift, please contact ISC staff as soon as possible by CALLING (423)913-1276. DO NOT EMAIL THIS INFORMATION.  

If the injury or illness is life threatening 911 will be called immediately.  Your emergency contact listed on the Volunteer application will also be notified.  Any accident involving injury to you or a visitor should immediately be reported to the nearest ISC supervisor regardless of whether medical assistance was used.  

ISC supervisors and the Coordinators of Volunteers welcome your input at any time.  An opportunity to participate in a formal evaluation about your job and the entire volunteer experience will be provided.

No. All travel, parking, lodging, meals, and other individual expenses are the responsibility of the volunteer. All materials required to do the job will be provided by ISC.

For Year-Round volunteers, your ISC supervisor will identify how your time will be recorded.  

Meeting the operational needs of the ISC, both year-round and during the Festival, is the primary driver in volunteer placement.  This includes being sure that the volunteer has the skills and abilities to perform the job and give excellent service.   Additional factors in volunteer placement include satisfactory past ISC job performance, date of application, special needs accommodation, and individual job preferences.  The Volunteer Coordinators make all placement assignments in consultation with individual ISC volunteer supervisors.