[Hacker-event-theory] HEDP #1: Make it easy and rewarding to Volunteer

Nick Farr nick at nickfarr.org
Thu Sep 12 10:52:01 CEST 2013

(As Walter said in his introductory message, the purpose of this list is to
look at the past few hacker camps and really get at the heart of what makes
these events run well and codify those lessons into simple Design Patterns.
[1] [2].  My hope is to throw out a few design patterns for comment every
few days and hope everyone here will contribute their own.  At some point,
we can collect what we've discussed here and present our findings.  What I
want to AVOID is negativity or commentary that specifically points out what
went *badly*.  We're here to find what went right.)

Hacker Event Design Pattern #1:
Make it easy and rewarding to Volunteer.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of true Hacker Events.  Without Volunteers,
the costs of running an event would be exponentially higher--and that fact
should be kept in mind when thinking about amenities and rewards for

Make it easy for participants to volunteer.  The Volunteer recruiting area
should be near a well-trafficked spot in the conference and adjacent to the
volunteer lounge.  There should be a well-informed dispatcher who is eager
to attract new volunteers, accept volunteer labor requests and make sure
the volunteer lounge is clean, comfortable and well stocked.

If at all possible, identify the key "do-ers" in your community and offer
them free admission in exchange for volunteering.  If this is not possible
for cultural or other reasons, make sure that the rewards for volunteering
are tangible and visible to all who attend the conference even if
volunteering is a sought-after position.  Having a volunteer credential
should garner respect and thanks from attendees--and more than a few
applications during and after the event.

References (please read!)
[1] : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_pattern
[2] : http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Design_Patterns

Nick Farr
+1 203 441-3277
D762E03B / N0FAR
Church Street Station / PO BOX 3471 / NY NY 10008-3471 / USA
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