Be part of something big – be a volunteer!
We are looking for up to 20,000 volunteers for the world's biggest inclusive sports event, the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023. More than 7,000 athletes from all over the world will travel to Berlin to perform at their best —and we need you to help make their stay unforgettable.
Join our international volunteer team and support us with your skills so that we can offer all Special Olympics athletes and guests a unique Berlin experience and celebrate an unforgettable festival of inclusion together.
- Meet international Special Olympics athletes
- Make friends with people from all around the world
- Free entry to the opening and closing ceremony and all competitions
- Volunteer clothing and merchandise
- Meals and beverages
- Volunteer certificate
- Free use of public transport
- And much more!
It does not matter if you already have experience or if you want to be a volunteer for the first time.
- Full application until 31 December 2022
- Minimum age 16 (by 1 May 2023)
- Communication in German or English
- Availability for at least 5 days
- Participation in volunteer trainings
Would you like to volunteer together with your classmates, friends, or acquaintances from your sports club?
You are welcome to apply as a Volunteer Group. Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, you can also apply as an Individual Volunteer. Don't worry! Even if you apply alone, you will get to know many people from all over the world and quickly make new friends.
Do you need some assistance with your application? Do you have questions about the process? Then contact us directly.
Our phone number is: +49 (0)30 629 33 60 60
Or write us an email via email@example.com
The health and safety of our athletes and all participants remain our highest priority with the COVID-Pandemic still being present all over the Globe.
In order to attend Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 and based on the overall Pandemic development you may be requested to complete a COVID survey or provide COVID related data including vaccination related information.
Details will be communicated to all client groups as soon as the COVID protocol has been defined by the LOC and SOI.
It is very likely that vaccination proof will be required for certain client groups and that COVID prevention measures, such as testing prior to and during the Games will be implemented. We look forward to welcoming you in Berlin and appreciate your support to ensure that we can create the safest environment for the event.
Your Volunteer Journey
Areas and roles
We will try our best to assign you to your preferred area, however, we cannot guarantee this.
Welcome the delegations and guests to the official hotels and provide them with support during their stay. Be the hotel's contact person and report to the accommodation team.
Assist in production, printing, and distribution of personalized accreditations. Support the daily operations at the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Center (UDAC).
Support in the various hospitality areas during the all-day catering supply for athletes and all other client groups at sports venues, as well as other event locations.
Support the overall planning and operations of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games. Help during rehearsals and provide support to athletes and performers during the ceremonies.
Support and participate in congresses and meetings of athletes, representatives from politics and science, as well as committed young people on the topic of inclusion.
Support the more than 170 participating delegations, for example, with their arrival and departure, their participation in meetings, the opening and closing ceremony, as well as other events.
Support family members of the athletes during the entirety of their stay in Berlin. Provide them with information about Berlin, the Games, as well as other events, and assist at the Family Desk.
Support in screenings and consultations in the Healthy Athletes® program, the world's largest health program specializing in people with intellectual disabilities.
Assist with the setup of temporary facilities at the venues. Support the warehouse and delivery logistics with tracking the arrival, departure, loading, and unloading of goods.
Support with creating Games content (photo, video, and text) for social media, our website, and other platforms. Take part in promotional activities and sponsor activations.
Ensure the smooth running of media centers and manage mixed zone operations (photos and interviews). Assist in content production and provide information to media representatives.
Welcome participants and introduce them to the different stations of the Non-Competitive Sports Offer (NCSO) in a fun environment.
Assist in the smooth running of the Special Olympics Festival at prime locations in Berlin. Support the artists, the backstage area and the booth partners.
Be the first to welcome spectators from all around the world and provide them with support at the venues. Ensure that they have memorable experiences during the Games.
Help organizing the various sports competitions and assist athletes, officials, and the competition manager. Provide support during sports presentations and award ceremonies.
Support with technology services at the venues. For example, with IT infrastructure, competition timing and scoring, and day-to-day checks of technical equipment.
Support the sale of tickets at the box offices and ensure a smooth admission of spectators. You are the first contact person for ticket problems and questions of the spectators.
Support the Special Olympics Torch Run. Participate to travel several days across Germany prior to the Games. Be a driver, take pictures and videos or engage with local athletes.
Support the movement of all constituent groups from arrival to departure, from hotels to competition venues, and other events. Act as a volunteer driver or help manage transport requests.
Support the overall management and daily operations at competition venues. This could include administrative tasks, overall setup before the Games, and supervision of all facilities.
Support the volunteer team with uniform distribution, onboarding activities, workforce planning, supervision of the volunteer lounges, and the organization of volunteer engagement activities.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What are the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023?
At the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 (17 - 25 June 2023), we will welcome around 7,000 athletes from more than 190 nations.
For eight days, athletes with intellectual and multiple disabilities will compete in 26 sports and Unified Sports® competitions. This makes the Special Olympics World Games the world’s largest inclusive sports event.
I am a person with a disability. Can I also become a volunteer?
I have never volunteered before. Can I apply anyway?
Yes! Don’t worry, there is a suitable task for everyone. We are happy about every helping hand, whether you are a first-timer or a "professional" volunteer.
You’ll receive extensive training and information to help you to perform your tasks well and have a great Games' experience.
Do I have to live in Germany to become a volunteer?
No, applications are open to people from all over the world. Everybody who is interested in volunteering can apply.
However, you need a valid entry permit for Germany to participate as a volunteer. Please inform yourself about the visa requirements that apply to your country of origin when entering Germany. You can find more information on the website of the Federal Foreign Office.
Will there be any accommodation arrangements for volunteers?
All volunteers are responsible for arranging and paying any accommodation they may require before or during the Games. However, we will be happy to help you get in touch with other volunteers so that you can organize accommodation together.
What Covid measures will be taken to ensure the safety of volunteers?
At the Special Olympics movement, the health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, coaches, families, and staff are our top priorities. The current situation is changing very rapidly, and we are always following the government guidance. More details to follow.
Until when can I apply as a volunteer?
You can apply until 31 December 2022 for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
Will I be automatically accepted as a volunteer after applying?
No. But we are looking for a high number of volunteers to support us during the Games. Your chances to be selected are therefore very high.
Still, you must fulfill our minimum criteria to be a volunteer at the Games. We will inform you once you are selected as a volunteer for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
I would like to volunteer together with others as a group. Is that possible?
What do I do if I have problems filling out the application form?
We are happy to support you during the application process. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and attach a screenshot of the problem.
We also provide you with an application handbook, a video tutorial and telephone support to help you with your application.
For more information in Easy English visit our support page here.
My availability has changed. What should I do?
The days you have selected in the application form are not yet binding. You can adjust your availability any time in the Volunteer Management System.
I have applied as a volunteer but want to withdraw my application. What should I do?
Can I get time off from my employer to participate as a volunteer?
As soon as you have been selected as a volunteer, we will provide you with a cover letter for your request for special leave to present to your employer. We recommend that you speak to your employer about this topic as soon as possible. Please note that the entitlement to special leave varies from each country or federal state.
How many days do I need to be available?
You must be available for at least 5 days (5 shifts) during Games time. Of course, you are welcome to also support us during preparations or the post-event phase. We appreciate any help.
How long is a shift?
On average, a shift will be between 6 and 8 hours, including a break. Shifts can vary depending on your area or role.
I prefer to have my shifts in the afternoon. Will there be a chance to choose?
Yes! There are morning and afternoon shifts. You can specify your preferred working time in the application form. When assigning roles and shifts, we will consider your preference accordingly.
What kind of training will all volunteers get in the lead up to the Games?
To get you prepared for the Games we will hold mandatory training sessions for all volunteers. Prior to the Games, everybody must complete the following training:
General Training – General information about Special Olympics, the Games and volunteering at the Games.
Diversity and Inclusion Training – Training in cultural awareness and interacting with people with disabilities.
Protective Behaviors Training – Education to prevent physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and general mistreatment of people with intellectual disabilities.
Role-specific Training – Information about specific tasks you will perform in your area and role.
Do I have to be in Berlin for the trainings?
No, most training will be held digitally. However, you should be in Berlin for the Venue Training which will take place a few days before the Games.
Are the trainings for everybody and barrier-free?
The training sessions will be held in German and English as well as in Easy Language (German and English). If needed, we will also offer simultaneous interpretation in German Sign Language or International Sign. For training sessions that are held on site, we will ensure a barrier-free access.
If you need additional support, please contact us at email@example.com, and we will find a solution.
How much time will the trainings take?
Each training session is currently scheduled for 60 min to max. 120 min. The total amount of training is therefore about 5-6 hours. However, the trainings do not take place all at once, but over a period of several months.
What is a Key Volunteer?
Key Volunteers act as the link between the different work areas, the volunteer team, and the volunteers. They act as responsible staff members in several venue- based roles as well as have supervisory duties over volunteers.
A Key Volunteer will work longer and more shifts but will in return also receive some more benefits. You will take over more responsibility, however you will also gain many impressions of the organization of major sporting events. As a Key Volunteer, you will be involved in operations even before the event.
What is a Delegation Assistant Liaison (DAL)?
Delegation Assistant Liaisons (DALs) are volunteers who are integrated into a delegation to be their main point of contact of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC). DALs act as cultural mediators, informal translators, and guides to make the adaptation of the delegation in Berlin easier.
DALs are hosted at the same accommodation as their assigned delegation and receive the same benefits as all delegation members during the stay.
However, as a DAL you also commit to longer shifts and more working days compared to a "normal" volunteer.
Along with good organizational and communication skills, DALs must speak English and ideally the language of their assigned delegation. They are familiar with the country and culture of the assigned delegation and possess intercultural awareness.
Tandem Team – I have a disability. Can I volunteer together with somebody I feel comfortable with?
Yes, you can. During the Games we will have so-called Tandem Teams. A Tandem Team consists of two volunteers, one with and one without disabilities. The team will perform all tasks together.
You can be part of the team with a tandem partner you already know. Or we can find a partner for you. Of course, you will get to know your partner in the run-up to the Games to see if you can work together well.
Healthy Athletes® program – I have a medical background. How can I use my skills at the World Games?
Special Olympics has a special health program called Healthy Athletes®. The program supports all athletes and provides professional medical examinations of the eyes, ears, teeth, feet, and physical as well as mental fitness.
Many athletes who come to Berlin have limited access to medical care and may receive it for the first time at the Games. For this important task, we need volunteers with a medical background.