Volunteer Guidelines

Volunteer Decorating

We invite you to share in our sense of purpose, community and excitement by volunteering to join Team Donate Life! Our mission: to showcase our passion and commitment to our cause by decorating the most meaningful float in the Rose Parade!

Volunteer Guidelines

Volunteer Roles 

What will you do as a float decorator? There are many roles to fit the unique interests and capabilities of decorators. We have outlined the four primary volunteer roles, each distinct in their physical requirements of the volunteer. There is no need to sign up for a role, but on the day of your shift let the crew chiefs know if you have a preference of roles. Volunteers will be trained at the start of the shift on how to complete each task.

Decorating Role



Petal Pasting: Climbers and Crawlers

Climb scaffolding or move into hard-to-reach places to paste floral materials.

•   Able to handle and breathe adhesive and floral materials.

•   Able to be flexible and stable on scaffolding.

Petal Pasting: Sitting

Paste floral materials while sitting or standing on the float.

•   Able to handle and breathe adhesive and floral materials.

•   Able to stand and bend.

Petal Prepping

Cut and prepare flower petals and other floral materials.

•   Able to sit for extended periods.

•   Able to use scissors, sifters and other hand-held preparation tools.

Support System

Bring floral materials and supplies to the people prepping and pasting the floral materials.

•   Be attentive to the needs of those prepping and pasting petals.

2017 Donate Life Rose Parade Float Decorating Dates and Times

Featured Decorating Groups have reserved a select number of spaces during specific shifts to allow their members to decorate together. If you are a member of one of these groups, the organizer may send you a URL and password to allow you to sign up to decorate as part of the group. If you are not affiliated with any featured Groups, a limited number of spaces are reserved for unaffiliated individuals.

Note that until December 28, the main focus is on “dry decorating” with seeds, bark and other non-perishable materials. From December 28 to completion, “floral decorating” focuses on live flowers and foliage.

Arrival Time and Orientation

Volunteers should arrive at Donate Life tent 15 minutes prior to the start of the shift, allowing time to park and walk to the barn. The Paradiso Parade Floats crew chiefs will guide volunteers through a brief orientation.

Transportation and Parking

For directions to the Paradiso Parade Floats, click here. We will not be able to provide or assist with transportation to and from the decorating site.

Age Requirements

Due to insurance requirements at Paradiso Parade Floats and the need to show proof of age, all volunteer decorators must be at least 15 years old. All decorators between the ages of 15-17 must download the waiver, get a parent’s signature and bring a hard copy of the wavier with them to their decorating shift. If you do not bring the signed and completed waiver you will NOT be able to decorator. Teenage volunteers may be asked to show a high school student identification card or driver’s license as proof of age.

Float Merchandise

Official Donate Life Rose Parade Float merchandise may be purchased at the Hilton Pasadena Hotel located at 168 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101 starting December 29th until January 2nd.

Recommended Attire

Layered, old and warm clothing is most appropriate for decorating. If you will be climbing scaffolding, consider the flexibility your clothing allows and whether it could get easily snagged. Night shifts can get VERY cold. Other guidelines:

Team Shirt

When you register for your shift you will be provided a cotton T-shirt with the Donate Life Rose Parade logo on the front and the Donate Life logo on the back. We request that you wear this shirt (over long-sleeved garments as necessary) during your shift as it unifies our crew and sends a strong message when media are filming. It also easily identifies you as a Donate Life volunteer.

Other Tops

Because of the work environment, we recommend that you wear a long-sleeved shirt that can be worn under your T-shirt, or can be taken off to cool down. If you are easily chilled or are working a night shift, bring a heavier sweatshirt, pullover or jacket; even gloves, scarves and hats may be appropriate.


Long hair should be tied back. You may wish to bring a baseball cap to keep your hair out of your face.


Tennis shows must be worn by all decorators. NO UGGS are allowed and for safety reasons boots are not allowed.


Instead of carrying purses, consider placing valuables in a fanny pack that can be kept with you at all times. We are not able to hold personal items for you. We do not have a secure area to keep valuables.


Don’t forget to bring one! Small digital cameras can fit neatly into a fanny pack.

Work Environment

The decorating facility is a large warehouse and tent depending on location that can range from hot to cold depending on the elements and weather outside. You will be working in a covered area, but it does not have climate control. Keep in mind that the floor is concrete and, unless your task involves sitting, you may be on your feet for extended periods.


Snacks/Drinks:  We are not in a food-rich area.  Our shifts are short and intentionally avoid meal times, but if you think you’ll need a snack during your shift, please bring your own food with you.  We can’t have food out on our work tables, of course, but you can certainly take a break outside to enjoy any snack you might bring.  Please also bring water with you if you would like as we do not have a water fountain on site.

Decorating Supplies and Equipment

All decorating tools will be provided, including scissors, buckets, brushes, and adhesive.

What You Should Bring

  • Food: If you have any special food requirements you may wish to bring a bagged lunch or snack with you. No refrigeration is available.
  • Apparel: If you have decorated previously, bringing your old decorating T-shirt to wear helps our cause!
  • Supplies: Face masks are recommended for transplant recipients or those susceptible to strong fumes. Also, you may wish to bring gloves.

Medical Considerations

If you are a transplant recipient or have a history of medical conditions, we request that you notify your transplant coordinator and/or physician that you intend to participate in float decoration. Let them know you will be handling and surrounded by floral material, in an open warehouse with several hundred people, and exposed to strong adhesives. (A list of substances can be provided upon request.) Please consider using a face mask at all times during your decorating shift.

Before Signing Up, Please Note:

  • Shifts are 4 to 5 hours in length. You must be present for the entire shift.
  • Shifts will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • The adhesives used in float building have the potential to cause skin and respiratory irritation.
  • The facility has wheelchair access.
  • Although safety precautions are taken thoroughly into consideration, decorating a float is physical work.
  • Please notify us immediately via phone or email if you are unable to attend your assigned shift so that we can fill your spot and not leave our crew short-handed.
  • If coming from out of town, consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance.
  • While we appreciate your support, we will not be providing volunteers with grandstand seats or game tickets.
  • If you do not show for your decorating shift and do not cancel your registration online or call the cancellation hotline, you will NOT be allowed to decorate the following year.

Unaffiliated Individuals may register for most shifts as space permits. In order to register for a featured group, you will need to contact the group’s decorating lead to acquire the password. Volunteers will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Questions regarding volunteer decorating may be addressed to Volunteer Operations Committee chair Erika Ospina Awad, eospinaawad@onelegacy.org.

We’ll see you at one of our Paradiso Parade Floats locations!