The Benefits of Volunteering at SQL Saturdays

Editor note: The call for volunteer and speakers is open at on the Pass Data Community Summit 2024 site  for this year’s Summit coming up in Seattle November 4-8! Volunteering for local data events large and small is a great way to get into the data community and make connections that will last a lifetime.

How it all started 

After attending PASS Summit in 2022 my husband set a goal to speak at as many SQL Saturdays as possible in 2023. We both work remotely so I have been able to travel to the different cities and attend these SQL Saturdays with him.

The first stop this year on our tour of SQL Saturdays was Jacksonville in May. We had been to SQL Saturday Jacksonville in 2022 so this was familiar territory. In 2022, both Jason and I were attendees in Jacksonville, but we did not take full advantage of all the benefits and networking opportunities that SQL Saturday provides.

In previous years of attending SQL Saturday, we did not take advantage of any of the extras, like the after-party, nor did we get involved by speaking or volunteering. This year Jason and I decided this would be a year of SQL Saturday travels and that we would all in and take full advantage of all SQL Saturday has to offer, as well as giving back in any way we could.

Benefits of Volunteering 

I decided to volunteer my time during the gaps in my SQL Saturday session schedule at SQL Saturday Jacksonville this year. After my experience in Jacksonville, I decided to volunteer at other SQL Saturday events that we were attending.

You don’t quite realize the work and effort that goes into a SQL Saturday until you start to volunteer. It all looks so simple and well staffed as an attendee, but SQL Saturdays can always use extra hands and volunteering is a mutually beneficial win/win for all involved.

The obvious benefit of volunteering at SQL Saturday is giving back to this free event so they can keep them free. But there are hidden benefits too, like all the people you meet while volunteering. One of my favorite spots to volunteer in has been registration. I enjoy greeting the eager attendees right before they start their day of learning. Over the time spent at an even, you get to know a lot of fellow volunteers and attendees.

One of my favorite parts of volunteering at SQL Saturdays has been the speaker/volunteer dinners they typically have on Friday night before a SQL Saturday event. While the dinner is nice, is an even better chance to meet and get to know the speakers who are professionals in the industry, as well as other volunteers. The people who speak and run SQL Saturday events are a close knit group but are also a very open group too. Once you see these people at an event or two, friendships start to emerge.

A considerable benefit to attending and/or volunteering at SQL Saturday is visiting new location. My husband & I live in Nashville, TN. In every city we have traveled to for SQL Saturday, I look for things to experience in/around that city on Sunday after the conferences before we head home. For example, Attending SQL Saturday Baton Rouge led us to a Sunday fun day seeing the sights of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. In Denver, we rode the train to the top of Pikes Peak. SQL Saturday Silicon Valley led us to San Francisco & Santa Cruz.

Volunteering and attending sessions 

Most types of volunteering doesn’t mean you have to miss out on SQL Saturday sessions. In fact, some of the volunteer positions available include attending sessions.

Every SQL Saturday I’ve attended I have been able to volunteer as well as attend sessions. 

A few of my favorite sessions I have attended so far have been a session around the role of a Business Analyst in an agile environment and a session about how to give a technical presentation at Baton Rouge SQL Saturday. Another session around how to have hard conversations with your boss at Silicon Valley SQL Saturday called Navigating Difficult Conversations Through Play also was very memorable..

Learning is awesome, but it is also about the people you meet and places you go along the way 

If it hasn’t been clear so far, let me reiterate: “The best part of volunteering and attending a SQL Saturday event is the people you meet along the way”. While volunteering at SQL Saturday Jacksonville I connected with another volunteer and their family. I met up with this same group at SQL Saturday Minnesota to do some sightseeing after SQL Saturday.

It has also been great to experience the SQL family by seeing familiar faces at multiple SQL Saturdays and again at the PASS Data Community Summit. It isn’t always the same faces each stop, but there is always some of the same people, which makes it feel very comfortable.

How to Volunteer 

How do you volunteer? For SQL Saturday, look at the SQL Saturday website for the SQL Saturday in the city you would like to attend. The website will either provide volunteer instructions or information about who to contact about volunteering. 


In conclusion, volunteering is a great way to get involved, give back to the community, learn new things, and meet new people.