Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)

Event Staff Scheduling


The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America. Founded in 1976, it is now the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. 

The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 450 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. Their 600 screening events require coordination across a dozen venues throughout the city. In addition, SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements and film showings 365 days a year at three different venues, reaching more than 175,000 attendees annually. 


The Challenge

It takes well over 800 active volunteers and around 60 paid/regular, contract, and hourly staff to run festival operations each year. Like most festivals and seasonal events, many SIFF volunteers are new and need to be brought on-board quickly but in a productive manner. With such a steep volunteer ramp-up prior to each event, online scheduling and recruiting tools that require minimal training are critical.

For example, in order to host over 450 films across multiple screening venues, and also to stage numerous industry parties, special events, and other activities, SIFF requires at least 4,500 positions to be scheduled and reliably filled by qualified volunteers and staff members. Such roles include: usher, box office, theater operations, special events and hospitality, office/clerical, promotions, and dozens of others.

“Typically, managers had to ask the volunteer coordinator to schedule shifts for them.”

– Monica Hinckley, Volunteer Coordinator
Seattle International Film Festival

Shiftboard Event Scheduling Software

Shiftboard hosted software system provides SIFF round-the-clock scheduling and communications for the festival. SIFF is one of Shiftboard earliest not-for-profit customers, having used the system for event scheduling since 2005.

Designed and updated for the unique, ever changing SIFF look and feel, the system includes:

  • Web registrations, group communications, and complete access to online scheduling 24 hours a day, seven days a week—from any web browser
  • Color-coded schedule views, sign in sheets, email reminders and confirmation for upcoming shifts
  • Ability to view, print and report entire schedules from a single source

“Monica Hinckley, SIFF’s volunteer coordinator for two consecutive years, says that scheduling continues to get easier. “Getting people on the system went exceptionally well this year. Everyone within the SIFF organization uses Shiftboard, our paid workers and volunteers. Being user friendly and flexible, everyone, including our most loyal retirees and senior citizens say to me, ‘Shiftboard is great!’”

Hinckley also says that Shiftboard has made a huge difference compared to what the volunteer coordinator’s job has traditionally been. “Typically, managers had to ask the volunteer coordinator to schedule shifts for them,” she explained, “but now we have at least 10 team managers on our Shiftboard site, each of whom can schedule and communicate directly with their volunteers any time of day.”

Hinckley uses Shiftboard reporting and signin sheets every day. “I use the visual charts to see where and when I need people and also to compare my current coverage expectations to any previous years results.”

SIFF has realized the following benefits using Shiftboard

Easy, 24-hour online scheduling of volunteers and paid workers.


Powerful reporting features to track hours worked, percentage of coverage, and other key metrics.


Ability to handle large volumes of shifts by allowing team managers to schedule their own team members.


Event scheduling software with no training required.

Discover Smarter Scheduling

“Shiftboard has revolutionized my job at SIFF and makes organizing at our size possible. Using Shiftboard makes event scheduling both fun and rewarding as opposed to stressful.”

– Monica Hinckley
HR Manager & Volunteer Coordinator
Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)