[Foss4g2008loc] Volunteers FOSS4G2008

Cameron Shorter cameron.shorter at gmail.com
Thu Aug 14 18:07:58 EDT 2008

Dave, you have lots of excellent advice here and I encourage you to add 
it to the FOSS4G 2007 Lessons Learned.

On thing that stood out from Paul's lessons learned summary was that it 
would have been cheaper to hire help rather than pay for volunteer's 
meals etc.

Dave Patton wrote:
> On 2008/08/14 7:12 AM, Russell Hope wrote:
>> Hello
>> I am in the process of completing the Volunteer Handbook but a few
>> unanswered questions have popped up.
> Brian Low was the volunteer coordinator for FOSS4G2007,
> so he may have some feedback, but I believe he is on
> holiday until the end of the month.
>> Will they get lunch and refreshments?
> Because we had volunteers working "1/2 day" shifts,
> with a 30-minute overlap between morning and afternoon
> shifts, the idea was for the afternoon volunteers to
> get their lunch 'at noon', eat it, and then relieve
> the morning volunteers, who could then go get their
> lunch. This proved to have problems. The 'still on
> duty' morning volunteers couldn't 'leave their post',
> as they were guarding the rooms, and in some cases
> there wasn't food left by the time they were relieved.
> The same sort of thing can happen with LOC committee
> members who might be busy 'when the food is served'.
> My suggestion is to have a separate room/area/table
> just for "volunteers and committee members", to make
> sure they all get fed.
> > Have you got a sponsorship for T
>> shirts or any form of easily recognizable clothing?
> For FOSS4G2007 we used the same design as the delegate
> T-shirt, but had it printed with "VOLUNTEER" across
> the back, and used Orange shirts, so they were
> easy to spot. Volunteers had to specify their sizing
> when they 'signed up', and had to wear their shirt
> when they were "on duty" during the conference.
> > 3 - Exhibition
> For FOSS4G2007 we didn't have specific volunteers for the
> Exhibit Hall, but our "security access control" was done
> at 'the entrances to the convention floors'. One thing
> that wasn't planned was the need to have people to 'clear
> out' the Exhibit Hall. For example, the hall was supposed
> to be completely closed during the closing plenary, to
> avoid noise through the 'curtain wall'. Brian and I had
> to 'play police' to try and get everyone out of the hall.
> Despite being told ahead of time, some exhibitors refused
> to leave, because they had to do the tear down of their
> booths, because they had booked an afternoon flight.
> > 6 - Registration
> Your numbers are higher than what was used for FOSS4G2007.
> > 6 - Workshop (2 per room as names will have to be checked)
> > 2 - Labs - Roof Terrace and Room 1.4
> (further down you use "3 x access control",
> so that should be "2 x access control"?)
> > 3 - Presentations - Rooms 1.4, 2.4 and 2.6
> For all three of the above, to the "volunteer's duties" I would add:
> - assisting the Instructors/Presenters with anything they
>   need in order to deliver their Workshop/Lab/Presentation
>   (e.g. might involve communication with the Volunteer Coordinator
>   and/or venue staff re facility issues, handing out materials, etc.)
> For FOSS4G2007 the 'access control' for Labs was both to 'guard'
> the room when it was empty but not yet locked(to protect the
> equipment), and to restrict entry (first come, first served)
> to the maximum allowed for the room size. While our policy was
> "max 2 people per computer", some instructors were willing to
> have people stand at the back of the room, which I didn't think
> was very professional. I'd suggest establishing a clear policy
> with the Instructors prior to the conference, and making sure that
> the volunteers are aware of the policy.
> For FOSS4G2007 the evaluation of Presentations was done as part
> of the overall conference evaluation, but Workshops and Labs had
> their own individual evaluations. If Workshops and Labs are to
> have the same for 2008, then I would add:
> "coordinating the distribution and collection of evaluations"
> to the list of duties for Volunteers. For 2007 the logistics
> of collecting completed evaluations and delivering them to the
> 'conference office', and the distribution of evaluations and
> 'Instructor materials'(info sheets, course materials, etc)
> before the Workshops/Labs wasn't really "planned out in advance",
> so I ended up doing much of it, but it could have been handled
> by a volunteer (supervised by the Workshop/Lab coordinator).
> Three things that I see missing are:
> - The Volunteer Coordinator and the Workshop/Lab
>   Coordinator, from the perspective of what duties
>   they will have during the conference. I mention
>   that because Brian and I ended up doing some things
>   that weren't planned, and had they been anticipated,
>   might have resulted in using some more volunteers.
> - Counting attendance. For FOSS4G2007 one of the PCO
>   representatives went around during each 'session' to
>   do a count for each room, so they could include that
>   in their report. That was something that didn't come
>   up in the Workshop/Lab planning. I would suggest that
>   volunteers have an 'attendance sheet' for each room
>   (Workshops, Labs, and Presentations), which they can
>   fill out before each session ends. All it needs to
>   be is "a number"(how many people were there), but it
>   could include other info, such as if people came late
>   or left early, whether people sat 'two to a computer'
>   or spread out to use every available computer, whether
>   all of the Instructors/Presenters showed up, etc.
> - No mention of volunteers helping setup and tear down
>   the computers for the Workshops/Labs

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