[Hacker-event-theory] HEDP #2: Communication with volunteers

Nick Farr nick at nickfarr.org
Sun Jan 26 05:27:03 CET 2014

Just an observation to add to Piet's really excellent post:

The Day 0 meeting (i.e. evening prior to event start) should be MANDATORY
for ALL STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS.  The failure to recognize the importance of
this meeting is probably the most critical error made during OHM2013.

The mandatory outcomes from such a meeting are:

* Knowledge of all key players.  Everyone who is a volunteer should know
who ALL the team leads are and what issues to refer to whom.  This way
organizers are not scrambling to find a VGA to HDMI converter, nor are
newbie volunteers talking to BBC reporters.

* All the Day 1 program related shifts should be completely scheduled.  If
there are holes to fill, they should be filled before this meeting is
dismissed for the day

* Any departments that require training (i.e. Herald, A/V, Cash Desk, etc.)
should have training briefings AFTER the meeting, preferably held twice in
case volunteers wish to attend two trainings.

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

On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 2:41 PM, Piet De Vaere <piet at devae.re> wrote:

> It is crucial to have good communication with volunteers: ideally a
> volunteer should know what to do without having to do any research.
> Unfortunately this is not possible, but we can do our best to minimise the
> efforts a volunteer should put in to get instructions.
> Communication with volunteers should include, but not be limited to:
> * General assembly's with everyone on the event terrain on the days prior
> to the event. These gatherings should outline the progress made since the
> last assembly and the plans for the next day. It is important that people
> are motivated to help out, and that it is made easy for them to figure out
> where hands (or brains ;) ) are needed.
> * On the last day before the official start of the even the assembly
> should be even more extensive. Extra efforts must be made to get as much
> people as possible to attend, and every teamlead should give a brief
> overview of what his/her team does and what (s)he needs volunteers for.
> This does not only give attendees an idea of the efforts needed to run a
> hacker event, but it also gives teamleads some recognition for their hard
> work. After the meeting every team should give introduction sessions to new
> volunteers. Make sure this gets announced during the presentations, and
> that potential volunteers know where to go. During or right after these
> sessions, it should be possible to register for shifts
> * Document -- Yes, really. Documenting is not usually a hacker's strong
> suit, but when working in teams like you will be doing during the
> organisation of an event it is *crucial*. Every team should have a proper
> wiki page set up, outlining the tasks of the team, and if more volunteers
> are needed, giving instructions on how to enroll. Again, make it as easy as
> possible for a volunteer to join the team. Also, make sure there is a link
> between the volunteering system and the wiki.
> * ...
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