Build your team

You may be the lead organizer for your event, but having a dynamic team of decision-makers will help you manage the many requirements of a TEDx event.

Recruit a dedicated team  

The majority of your TEDx team will be volunteers. Whether they’re work colleagues, fellow students or a group of talented friends, it’s important to find the right people for the job. A few things to keep in mind:

Who can get the job done?

Search for people who can take ownership of certain primary tasks. They should have both the skills and the bandwidth to fulfill their role. Prioritize bringing in organized, self-managed and hard-working individuals.

Tap into the TED community

Considering inviting local TED community members, like TED volunteer translators, TED Fellows and past TED attendees. They are already part of the TED community, so are probably passionate about TED's mission, too.

Let your team help you recruit others

New team members may be able to introduce you to other potential volunteers through their networks. Let them help you bring in new recruits for the core team, or other volunteers you may need along the way.

Executive team & roles

Every person on your team should be designated a role that fits their specific skill set. Often, team members take on more than one role, depending on the size of your event – just make sure that they have the capacity to get those jobs done!

As lead organizer, you are the ultimate steward of the event. Your job is to manage the executive team, which we’ll talk about more in the next section. The executive team works under you, and each of them often has a team of volunteers that will work under them.

A lot of TEDx organizers also choose to share the role of leadership with a co-organizer. This takes the workload off of one person’s shoulders, and fosters the spirit of collaborative leadership.

Your executive team of volunteers should consist of the roles below. Under each role are the relevant sections in our Organizer Guide for that specific team member. (To prevent confusion, every member of your team should read and be aware of the TEDx rules)

Licensee

The lead organizer (that’s you!) is also the primary licensee. This person is also the point of contact for the TEDx team and should know the rules and processes and everything it takes to put on a great event.

Sections relevant to this role:

Curator(s)

This person decides who will be speaking at your event. Much of the time, the lead TEDx organizer is also the curator, but we suggest to many organizers that they create a selection committee (or curation team) of multiple people, so you can provide different perspectives when choosing speakers.

Sections relevant to this role:

Executive producer

Your team’s executive producer will lead all production and planning for the day of the event. They oversee all of the roles happening on the day of your event related to content production, stage management, technology, and video.

Sections relevant to this role:

Event manager 

This person manages most of your event’s day-of logistics, and is responsible for creating a “TEDx experience” for your guests. They serve as the contact with your venue’s staff, manage day-of event activities outside of the main stage, and are often in charge of ticketing and registration needs.

Sections relevant to this role:

Sponsorships and budgets manager

This team member is responsible for raising money from sponsors for event expenses, and managing the event’s finances. They should be someone who has experience with fundraising and development, since this is one of the most important components of the event planning process.

Sections relevant to this role:

Designer

You’ll want someone with experience in design to help you create the event logo, website, branding materials and other aesthetic components of your event.

Sections relevant to this role:

Communications, editorial and marketing director

It’s important to have a person on your team to create and manage a strong online presence of your event, including website content, a blog and social media. Oftentimes, the same person who manages this is also your marketer – the team member who is responsible for promoting your event to the public.

Sections relevant to this role:

Website manager

The person responsible for developing and managing your website is often your Communications manager, but sometimes you’ll need a separate person to manage this significant task. They’ll be working with the designer and developers to create a website that is accessible and easily managed, since you’ll likely be sharing updates with your community there.

Sections relevant to this role:

Video and production lead

This person has the important task of overseeing the video and production of the event – from managing audio and video needs, camera operators and the livestream of your event.

Sections relevant to this role:

Backup volunteers

Most of the time, you will need a secondary team of volunteers to assist your executive team in their tasks, and for support on the day of your event. You should let your executive staff help you find the right people for the support they need, or if necessary, you can designate someone with the role of volunteer recruitment and management.

When you need to hire 

TEDx events are purely volunteer endeavors, and the licensee should not make money from the event, and volunteers should not be paid. But, some professional assistance can end up saving time, and elevate the quality of your event. For example, consider hiring vendors for graphic design, speaker coaching and AV production. It’s always a balance, and something you should think carefully about before doing.

You’ll find more suggestions on who might want to think about hiring throughout our Organizing Guide.

TEDx Tips

  • Many TEDx organizers bring on a co-organizer: another person or persons to help oversee the entire TEDX event. Sharing the leadership with another person can be a terrific advantage. (And more fun!)
  • Don’t just invite your friends to be on your team – especially those who know each other. It’s important that you have variety of individuals when it comes to your core team. If everyone is friends, that can often mean the event will be less interesting, more homogenous, and maybe even hold more potential conflict.
  • Scale your team appropriately; quality is more important than quantity. Plus, if you’re having a smaller event, you may not need a team of 10 or more. Figure out what is the best number based on the kind of event you’re having.
  • If you don’t have event planning or project management experience, try to recruit organizing team members with that kind of experience. They can help provide important insights and help you navigate the challenges of putting on the event.
  • Ask volunteers to sign a Volunteer Agreement that lists expectations of the volunteers over the course of the event planning process, including things like guidelines for communication etiquette, time commitment and deadlines, and understanding how to represent the TEDx vision. Your team should also know all of the TEDx rules.

Want more tips? Check out Community Resources to connect with the TEDx community and ask other organizers for advice.