Volunteer FAQ

Volunteer FAQ

General

How old do you have to be to volunteer for Anime Expo?

  • You must be 18 years or older by May 1st, 2020.

I don’t live in the United States, am I still eligible to volunteer?

  • Of course! As long as you are 18 years or older by May 1st, 2020. Please note that we do not provide any airfare accommodations for our volunteer program.

I volunteered/applied to be a volunteer last year, do I need to redo my Shiftboard application?

  • No, if you previously volunteered or applied, your Shiftboard account should already exist and thus you should be able to log in to access it on shiftboard.com/spja. If you are unable to log in, please feel free to reach out to Volunteer Resources at vr@spja.org.

I accidentally hit “Submit” too soon on my application and need to edit it. What do I do?

  • If you received a Welcome Letter via Shiftboard, then you should be able to log into your Shiftboard account by going to Profile > Registration or Profile > Skills tab to update your application details.

It says my Shiftboard account is on hold! Oh no! Why?

  • This can happen for an assortment of reasons. Please reach out to Volunteer Resources at vr@spja.org for assistance.

AX Volunteer Program

My friends and I want to volunteer, but we want to stay in the same department. What do we do?

  • While we cannot guarantee that you will all be accepted into the same department, you can apply to be in the same department. You can choose your department preference on your Shiftboard Application. You can also update your preferences in your Shiftboard Profile account.

How will I know if I’m accepted as an AX Volunteer?

  • Department Leads and Assistant Leads will reach out to the applicants they would like to interview for their respective departments. Once you have been interviewed and confirmed, you will need to complete your Volunteer Onboarding Requirements (Forms, Background Check, Youth Protection Portal Quizzes, Shiftboard Required Fields Information). If you did not get accepted into a department, you can still volunteer as an Attendee Volunteer. Click here for more information.

I’m available to volunteer right now! I’d like to get started on my hours right away! What can I do?

  • We’re glad to see the enthusiasm! You will still need to apply and go through the onboarding process for the AX Volunteer Program to join a department. Please note not all AX Volunteer Departments have pre-con hours, as a majority of hours are completed on site during the convention. Our other Attendee Volunteer Program hours do not begin until Day 0 of Anime Expo.

Can I volunteer for multiple departments?

  • You can only volunteer for one department at a time every Anime Expo show year in the AX Volunteer Program.

Are meals provided for AX Volunteers?

  • Yes. Meals will be provided for AX Volunteers starting Day -2 to Day 4 (June 29th, 2020 – July 5th, 2020). Volunteers are allowed (2) meals per day. Volunteer Meal Tent Hours of Operation will be provided in June. The Volunteer Meal Tent will be located outside of West Hall in the North Apron (location may be subject to change).

Will outside food be permitted into the Los Angeles Convention Center?

  • Food and beverages are permitted for personal consumption only. This means only food and beverages that you would be able to consume individually is allowed. Food and beverages brought in bulk will not be permitted into the convention center. We highly recommend bringing a refillable water bottle. There are several water stations all around the convention center. We want to make sure you stay hydrated during the day. All consumables are subject to inspection by LACC/AX Security.

Where and when can I pick up my AX Volunteer Badge?

  • You must pick up your AX Volunteer Badge at the USC Hotel from Day -2 to Day 0 (June 29th, 2020 – July 1st, 2020). You must present a valid government-issued photo ID to receive your badge. No exceptions. We do not accept any school IDs. Volunteer Badge Pickup Hours of Operation will be finalized in June. Look out for email announcements from Shiftboard.

Attendee Volunteer Program

When do Attendee Volunteer applications open?

  • Applications will open in April! Check out our Anime Expo website around that time to apply!

Can I choose what department I want to volunteer in?

  • As an Attendee Volunteer, you will be assigned to a department the day you check-in on-site for your shift.

Do I need to buy a badge to volunteer as an attendee volunteer?

  • No. We will lend you a temporary Attendee Volunteer badge for your shift. Upon completion of a 4-hour shift, you will be given one (1) complimentary code to redeem a 1-day badge. You may use this code to redeem a badge for yourself or you may give the code to your friends or family members. Selling or trading your complimentary code is strictly prohibited.

How many hours can I volunteer?

  • You may volunteer up to 8 hours per day (you cannot sign up for back to back shifts). Please keep in mind that you can only earn up to a total of 4 complimentary codes per attendee volunteer.

Can I bring food or beverages to my shift?

  • Staying hydrated is important, so we recommend bringing a refillable water bottle. We also recommend bringing a light snack to your shift, if needed. Be mindful that the Los Angeles Convention Center has a strict policy of allowing only personal sized meal for consumption.

Shuttle Transportation & Parking

Where are the Volunteer Hotel Pick-up and Drop-off locations for Shuttles?

  • The USC Hotel, Westin Bonaventure, and USC Dorms.

Where is the Shuttle Pick-up and Drop-off location for Volunteers at the Los Angeles Convention Center?

  • The intersection of Hall Drive and West Pico Boulevard.

What are the Hours of Operation for the Shuttles?

  • The Hours of Operation for our Volunteer Shuttles will be finalized in June. Please look out for Shiftboard Email Announcements!

How does a volunteer request ADA Shuttle Transportation?

  • You will need to reach out to a specific phone number. This number will be provided to all confirmed AX Volunteers in June. Look out for AX Email Announcements from Shiftboard! Please keep in mind that the ADA shuttles have limited availability so plan ahead! We recommend a minimum of at least one hour to call ahead before your requested pick-up time.

Is parking provided for AX 40-Hour Volunteers?

  • Parking is provided on a first-come, first-served basis at the USC Hotel. Limited spaces are available, and carpooling is mandatory to receive a free parking pass. You may form your carpool by signing up on Shiftboard in your Profile Account. You can pick up your parking pass at the USC Hotel during Anime Expo. If we run out of the allotted parking spaces, you are still eligible to park at the USC Hotel, USC Dorms, and the Westin Bonaventure at their standard parking rate. Each hotel property varies in their parking rates. SPJA does not offer any parking reimbursement.

How many people do you need to form a Carpool to obtain a Volunteer Parking Pass?

  • A minimum of (3) Volunteers in a car. 1 Driver + 2 other Volunteers. Enter your Carpool Buddies on your Shiftboard Profile Account under Profile > Additional Information Tab. You can update this tab up until the day you pick up your Parking Pass at the USC Hotel during Anime Expo

When and where can I pick up my parking pass?

  • The USC Hotel from Day -2 to Day 0 (June 29th, 2020 – July 1st, 2020). You must present a valid government-issued photo ID to receive your badge. No exceptions. We do not accept any school IDs. Hours of Operation will be finalized in June. Look out for email announcements from Shiftboard. If you are picking up your Commuter Pass after Day 0, please contact the VR Text Line. Phone number will be provided to our Confirmed AX Volunteers in June.

Are Commuter Parking Passes available for AX Volunteers?

  • Yes! If you are not staying at the USC Dorms, USC Hotel, or Westin Bonaventure, you can obtain a Commuter Parking Pass instead. Look out for Email Announcements from Shiftboard on how to request for a Commuter Parking Pass. Commuter Parking Passes are eligible for pickup at the USC Hotel from Day -2 to Day 0 (June 29th, 2020 to July 1st, 2020). This pass will allow you to park at the USC Hotel only. If you are picking up your Commuter Pass after Day 0, please contact the VR Text Line. Phone number will be provided to our Confirmed AX Volunteers in June.

My parents are dropping me off to volunteer for Anime Expo, where should I go first?

  • Arrive at the USC Hotel first to pick up your Anime Expo Volunteer Badge, you must present a valid government-issued photo ID to receive your badge! If you are staying at a hotel that is within the Volunteer Hotel Block, there will be shuttles at the USC Hotel that will take you to either the USC Dorms if you are a Volunteer Lead/Assistant Lead or the Westin Bonaventure.

Hotel

For Anime Expo 2020, all Volunteer Leads and Assistant Leads will have their own Volunteer Housing Block that will be open from April 10th to May 10th, 2020. Our AX Leaders will be housed at the USC Dorms and will be able to sign up for rooms and pick their roommate on Shiftboard when the block opens for the USC Dorms. During this time, SPJA will be handling all housing accommodations pertaining to the USC Dorms.

Our AX 40-Hour Volunteers will have a General Volunteer Hotel Block that will be open on May 11th to June 10th, 2020. AX Volunteers will be utilizing a website called Passkey to choose to stay at either the USC Hotel or the Westin Bonaventure. Our AX Housing Provider, Conference Direct, will be handling all hotel inquires within this block. Remember the primary person/card holder of each hotel reservation will receive a hotel reimbursement after meeting all reimbursement requirements after Anime Expo 2020.

We want to provide a premium hotel experience for our volunteers for Anime Expo. With this process, volunteers will have the freedom to choose their own roommates and their hotel within the block. We have carefully vetted out all properties before selecting USC Dorms for the Leads and USC Hotel and Westin Bonaventure as our designated General Volunteer Hotel Block.

Do volunteers who are staying in the same room together need to check-in at the hotel on the same day?

  • The Primary person/card holder on the reservation will need to check-in first. Although it is recommended, volunteers are not required to check-in on the same day to room together.

Do our carpool parking pass buddies need to match who is on our hotel reservation?

  • Although it is recommended, volunteers are not required to have the same people in your carpool to match the people in your hotel reservation.

Hotel – AX Volunteer Leaders

When does the Volunteer Housing Block open for Volunteer Leaders?

  • The Volunteer Housing Block for Leaders will open on April 10th, 2020 at 10 AM PT and will close on May 10th, 2020 at 7:30 PM PT. If you are a current Volunteer Leader for Anime Expo 2020, you will receive email announcements from Shiftboard on how to obtain access to this Housing Block via Shiftboard.

How do Volunteer Leads/Assistant Leads book their room in the Volunteer Leaders Housing Block?

  • Volunteer Leads/Assistant Leads will receive email announcements from Shiftboard on how to book their room. AX Volunteers Leaders will be picking their room assignments on Shiftboard.

What hotel locations are included in the Volunteer Leaders Housing Block?

  • At this time, only the USC Dorms is available in the Volunteer Housing Block. If a Volunteer Leader does not want to stay at the USC Dorms, they can wait until the General Volunteer Hotel Block opens and may choose to stay at the USC Hotel or the Westin Bonaventure.

What are the Check-In and Check-Out Days for the USC Dorms during Anime Expo?

  • June 30th, 2020 to July 5th, 2020

Are the USC Dorms Co-Ed?

  • No; all rooms at the USC Dorms are single gender.

How many Volunteer Leads/Assistant Leads are booked in a room for Anime Expo?

  • (2) Volunteer Leads/Assistant Leads per (1) Room at the USC Dorms. A Volunteer Lead/Assistant Lead may choose to stay in a room with one other Leader, or they may choose to have a General Volunteer as their roommate as long as the room remains single gender.

What do we do if our spouse is Volunteer Lead or Assistant Lead and I am just a regular AX 40- Hour Volunteer, but we want to be in the same room for Anime Expo?

  • If a Volunteer Lead/Assistant Lead wants to book a room with their spouse, they may wait until the General Volunteer Hotel Block opens. Both the USC Hotel and the Westin Bonaventure are Co-Ed. Keep in mind, in order to be eligible for a full Hotel Reimbursement, you must have a minimum of (3) AX Volunteers listed in a room reservation.

Can Volunteer Leaders stay in the same room as regular volunteers?

  • Volunteer Leads and Assistant Leads may choose to room with (1) other Lead/Assistant Lead or General Volunteer at the USC Dorms as long as the room remains single gender.

Why are Volunteer Leaders being booked at the USC Dorms and not USC Hotel?

  • Due to high housing demand and to ensure we are also able to accommodate our other attendees, industry, artists, guests, vendors, and staff, we have carefully vetted out all properties before selecting USC Dorms as the main housing for our Volunteer Leaders. Due to limited room availability, we are only able to house the leads at the Dorms during this time unless the lead chooses to room with a non-lead volunteer.

I’m a Volunteer Lead/Assistant Lead who needs to come on Day -2. How do I book my room?

  • The standard date range for hotel check in and out are between June 30th (Day -1) and July 5th (Day 4). Shifts earlier than June 30th will require approval from your Division Manager. Once approved by your Division Manager, you may book a room as the primary person or choose to room with another approved volunteer with the same or earlier arrival date. If you are booking your room as a primary person on Shiftboard, but your roommate does not have a shift on Day -2, please reach out to Volunteer Resources at vr@spja.org to confirm who your roommate will be.

Do I need to bring anything for the USC Dorms?

  • You must provide your own linens if you are staying at the USC Dorms.

Hotel – AX 40-Hour Volunteer

When does the Volunteer Hotel Block open for regular AX Volunteers?

  • The Volunteer Housing Block for Leaders will open on May 11th, 2020 at 10 AM PT and will close on June 10th, 2020 at 8 PM PT. If you are a confirmed AX Volunteer for Anime Expo 2020, you will receive email announcements from Shiftboard on how to obtain access to this Hotel Block.

What hotel locations are included in the General Volunteer Hotel Block?

  • At this time, the USC Hotel and the Westin Bonaventure are the two hotels volunteers can choose from in the Volunteer Hotel Block.

What are the Check-In and Check-Out Days for the General Volunteer Hotel Block during Anime Expo?

  • June 30th, 2020 to July 5th, 2020

How are regular AX Volunteers booking their room reservations?

  • Confirmed volunteers who are in an AX Department for Anime Expo 2020 will receive an email about the General Volunteer Hotel Block. Within that email, volunteers will be provided a unique weblink that will redirect them to a website called Passkey. In Passkey, a volunteer can start booking their hotel reservation.

What are the hotel rates in the Volunteer Hotel Block?

  • Rates are guaranteed starting at $135.00 to $234.00 per night not including tax and applicable fees. There will be a $10.00 additional fee after the 2nd guest in a room reservation. This applies to both hotel properties. We highly recommend you book your room as quickly as possible, so you can lock in the lowest rate available.

Who will be handling all hotel inquires for the General Volunteer Hotel Block?

  • If you have any questions regarding your hotel reservation, holding/modifying/canceling a room, etc., please reach out to our Housing Provider, Conference Direct:

I’m an AX Volunteer who needs to check-in on Day -2 and/or check-out on Day 5. How do I book my room?

  • The standard date range for hotel check in and out are between June 30th (Day -1) and July 5th (Day 4). Shifts earlier than June 30th will require approval from your Division Manager. Once approved by your Division Manager, you may book a room as the primary person or choose to room with another approved volunteer with the same or earlier arrival date.

Can I book a hotel room outside the General Volunteer Hotel Block?

  • You are not required to stay at our Volunteer Hotel Block and may seek other lodging accommodations. However, hotels outside the Volunteer Hotel Block (USC Hotel or Westin Bonaventure) are not eligible for reimbursement.

What if you are sharing your room with someone who is not a volunteer?

  • To be eligible for a full reimbursement, volunteers must have a minimum of 3 (maximum of 4) volunteers to a room within the General Volunteer Hotel Block. The primary person and card holder on the room reservation must be a volunteer.

What will happen if the cardholder drops - what is the replacement process?

  • If the Primary Volunteer and Card Holder in a reservation is suddenly unable to volunteer, Conference Direct can hold the room for a 24-hour grace period until a new volunteer is confirmed to be the new Card Holder & Primary Volunteer. If you are the Primary Volunteer and card holder on a reservation, you must let Conference Direct know who to transfer the ownership of the reservation to. Otherwise, the original credit/debit card will remain on-file for the reservation.

I don’t have a credit card, is there another way for me to book a room?

  • A credit card will be the only way to book a hotel room through Passkey. Upon checking in at the hotel, you do have the option to pay with a cash deposit. When booking your hotel reservation, your card will NOT be charged. The card is simply to hold your room reservation.

How can I cancel my hotel room reservation?

  • Please refer to the cancellation policy on your hotel reservation confirmation email. You may also reach out to Conference Direct if your cancellation is within the General Volunteer Hotel Block. If you would like to cancel after the Housing Block closes, you may contact the hotel directly. There is no penalty for cancellations made at least 48 hours prior to arrival.

Will my card be charged at the time of reserving my hotel room or upon check in? 

  • Your card will not be charged until upon checking in for your room. If you need to cancel your hotel reservation, you must contact the hotel directly 48 hours prior to arrival to avoid any penalties.

Are visitors allowed in the room?

  • We strongly discourage volunteers from having visitors and parties. Only the guests on the reservation are permitted to be inside the hotel room.

What is the maximum number of occupants in a hotel room? 

  • All hotels have a maximum room occupancy of (4) people to a room. There will be a $10.00 additional fee after the 2nd guest in a room. This applies to both the USC Hotel and the Westin Bonaventure.

I don’t know other volunteers to book a hotel room with. What do I do?

  • You can hold a room reservation, by contacting Conference Direct:
  • Volunteers who cannot find roommates can access a link on the Passkey Hotel Website that will direct them to a Shiftboard Distrolist that they may request to join. Within that Shiftboard Distrolist, volunteers can reach out to each other on their own. SPJA will not be randomly assigning volunteer roommates for the General Volunteer Hotel Block.

What happens if a Volunteer double books a hotel reservation?

  • We can ensure that volunteers will not be able to double book a hotel reservation. If we notice a discrepancy, Conference Direct will contact that person individually to confirm which reservation is correct.

The General Volunteer Hotel Block is closed, can I still book a hotel room at the USC Hotel or Westin Bonaventure?

  • Yes. You can book a hotel reservation at these two locations, but we highly recommend you book your room during the Volunteer Hotel Block. We cannot guarantee the block rates will be available once the Hotel Block closes. You may also book at any hotel that is outside the General Volunteer Hotel Block, but please note that booking outside the Volunteer Hotel Block will not be eligible for a reimbursement.

What happens if I am the Primary Volunteer on the reservation and I put my credit card down for the room and someone else in the room doesn’t finish their volunteer requirements? Will I still be reimbursed?

  • SPJA will handle all case-by-case situations during the reimbursement process. Please reach out to Volunteer Resources at vr@spja.org for assistance.

What happens if no one in a room is able to afford a hotel room? Do we have to drop from being a volunteer for Anime Expo?

  • We worked very diligently to ensure the hotel rates in the Volunteer Hotel Block are some of the lowest rates you can find in the Downtown Los Angeles Area. You are free to seek lodging accommodations outside the hotel block within your budget range. Keep in mind, rooms booked outside our Volunteer Hotel Block will not be eligible for reimbursements. We would still love to have you volunteer at Anime Expo nonetheless! We do offer Attendee Volunteering as another option. You will be able to work a minimum of (4) hours and still get a (1) day badge in return! Click here to find out more about being an Attendee Volunteer.

Hotel – General Volunteer Hotel Block Reimbursement

How are AX Volunteers eligible for a reimbursement?

  • There must be a minimum of 3, maximum of 4 Volunteers in the reservation with all required fields entered in Passkey (Shiftboard ID, Name, and Email). The primary person/card holder of the room reservation must be a volunteer.
  • All volunteers must fulfill a minimum of 40-hours of volunteer work for Anime Expo 2020 and adhere to SPJA Code of Conduct outlined in the Volunteer Handbook when carrying out their duties and interactions.
  • Primary Volunteer must upload a fully completed and signed W-9 Form onto their Shiftboard Profile Account. The home address on the form must match the mailing address on your Shiftboard Account. This form must be uploaded to your Shiftboard Profile Account or emailed to Volunteer Resources (vr@spja.org) within 30 Days after the conclusion of Anime Expo (August 5th, 2020).
  • Your room must be booked within the Volunteer Hotel Block at the USC Hotel or Westin Bonaventure.
  • The reimbursement check will be distributed to the Primary Approved Volunteer who booked the hotel reservation.

Can I book a hotel room outside the General Volunteer Hotel Block and still get a hotel reimbursement?

  • You are not required to stay at our Volunteer Hotel Block and may seek other lodging accommodations. Please be aware that hotels outside the Volunteer Hotel Block (USC Hotel or Westin Bonaventure) are not eligible for a hotel reimbursement.

Why do I need to upload a W-9 Form on Shiftboard if I am receiving a reimbursement?

  • This is the only form SPJA will require from all Primary Volunteers of a room reservation to submit a hotel reimbursement. This document will be used to confirm your legal name and mailing address matches the information on your Shiftboard Profile Account. This will also ensure reimbursement check(s) will be issued to your legal name and reaches you at your current address on a timely basis. A lost check or incorrect name will result in a $30.00 Reissuance Fee that will be deducted straight from the reimbursement. Your assistance in completing the IRS Form W-9 in its entirety is greatly appreciated to assist in processing your reimbursements quickly and accurately.

Do I need to upload my hotel receipt to receive my reimbursement?

  • No, SPJA will have all hotel reservation receipts on file shortly after Anime Expo 2020. We do recommend you keep a copy for your records.

Can I book directly with the hotel instead of using your booking through Passkey and the Official Anime Expo Volunteer Housing Block? 

  • We strongly encourage volunteers to book through our Passkey Hotel Website. Rooms are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. You are welcome to use another hotel booking site or book directly with the hotel, but reimbursement is not eligible for hotels booked outside the General Volunteer Hotel Block or outside of Passkey.

How long will it take to receive my hotel reimbursement?

  • Primary Volunteer must upload their fully completed and signed W-9 Form onto their Shiftboard Account or submit to vr@spja.org within 30 days after the conclusion of Anime Expo 2020 (August 5th, 2020).
  • Reimbursement Check will be issued within 60 days after Anime Expo 2020.

What happens if your reimbursement check gets sent back to SPJA or gets delivered to the wrong mailing address?

  • There will be a $30.00 Check Reissuance Fee that will be deducted from your reimbursement. Please have all your Shiftboard Profile Information (Name and Mailing Address) updated alongside uploading your fully completed and signed W-9 Form by August 5th, 2020.

What does the hotel reimbursement include?

  • Hotel room & tax which includes applicable fees only. Incidental charges and parking will not be reimbursed.

I am the Primary Volunteer of the room reservation. If I moved, how long do I have to update my mailing address?

  • You can update your Shiftboard Profile Information (Name and Mailing Address) and upload your fully completed and signed W-9 Form up until August 5th, 2020.
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