Volunteers

Logistics

Recruitment:

  • Timing - start recruitment when registration opens. Historically there has been an option to “purchase” a volunteer ticket; this has been mostly successful in recruiting the number of volunteers needed to cover shifts.
  • Number - historically around 10 to 12 volunteers, depending on the number of shifts and duties.

Shifts - Each volunteer is expected to take two or three shifts during the conference. Shift lengths range from three hours to 4 1/2 hours throughout the conference. Longer shifts are usually on Writing Day and for registration shifts.

Code of Conduct - All volunteers must be familiar with the Code of Conduct (CoC) and be prepared to both answer questions regarding the CoC. In very rare cases, they may need to enforce the CoC, but generally reports should be escalated to the Code of Conduct response team.

Volunteer Regular Duties

  • Registration/info - register people for the conference, answer any questions or provide information about the conference
  • Speaker Wrangling - finding speakers and making sure that they’re where they need to be when it comes time to speak
  • Talk Timing - devising a system for timing talks and warning speakers when they’re running out of time
  • Floaters - remain prominently positioned in the main conference hall; prepared to answer questions and be generally helpful

Emails to send

Before sending, fill in the template, and make sure the information is correct for the event. Some roles may not be relevant for the event, and should be removed.

Welcome and Confirmation

Send this email to yourself with BCC to all potential volunteers, around 2 months before the conference.

Hello volunteers!

Thank you all for signing up to volunteer for Write The Docs <CITY> <YEAR>. Without you, we wouldn't be able to pull off the conference!

I'm <FULLNAME>, the volunteer coordinator for this year. We're currently in the process of putting together our volunteer schedule, and more information will be heading your way soon. For now, though, I'd like to take a quick head count to see if you are still able and willing to attend and volunteer. 

**Please respond to this email and let me know if you are still planning to volunteer at the conference by <DATE>.**

In the meantime, please feel free to ask me any questions about all things volunteering at the conference.

Thanks again and see you soon,
<NAME>

Roles, Draft Schedule, and Registration

Send this email to all volunteers (To field OK), around 1 month before the conference.

Hello everyone,

Thanks again for volunteering at Write the Docs <CITY>!

Firstly, here is a rough overview of the various duties and responsibilities of the volunteers:

* Room setup - Prepping the main conference hall for the main conference, including laying out cables/power strips, arranging tables/chairs, and other physical labor
* Writing day - Registering people and general information inquiries, most likely directions to various rooms and schedule questions, assist with other duties as assigned (supervised by the writing day coordinator)
* Registration/info - Registering people in the main conference hall and answering any questions
* Speaker wrangling - Finding speakers and making sure that they're where they need to be when it comes time to speak (supervised by the main speaker coordinator)
* Talk Timing - Devising a system for timing talks and warning speakers when they're running out of time (supervised by the MC)
* Floaters - Other duties as assigned. Assist with odds and ends requests from other volunteers and organizers as well as answering questions; overall, being generally helpful
* Unconference - Camping out in the unconference area downstairs, keeping the place in order, updating unconference room schedule, and so on (supervised by the unconference coordinator)


Now that you have a general idea of the roles you can take on during the conference, go ahead and look at the draft schedule <LINK>.

FYI - morning floaters and registration shifts for the main conference are the longest shifts, but there will be breaks, and we cover for each other in case of emergencies of course!

What you should do by <DATE>:

1. Confirm that you will be able to do the shifts. If your schedule has changed since you signed up and you cannot cover a particular shift, please communicate with the other volunteers to see if they would be willing to swap shifts or cover for you.
2. Fill out the contact information on <LINK>.
3. Make sure you have your volunteer ticket: https://ti.to/writethedocs/write-the-docs-eu-2017/with/07dcs8bseni. If you already paid for a ticket, please let me know so that we can get your ticket refunded.

I will be sending out more information nearer to the conference date. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions in the meantime.

Thanks again,
<NAME>

Final Schedule and Code of Conduct

Send this email to all volunteers, around 1-2 weeks before the conference.

Hello volunteers,

Now that the conference is coming up soon, I have some additional information for you:

*Shifts*
Please review the schedule again [1] as some recent changes were made. At the conference, please arrive 15 minutes before your first shift starts to meet at the registration desk for a quick briefing and to go over any questions you have before your shift. For shifts after, please arrive 5 minutes before. For the Saturday setup crew, I may not be on site; but there will be other organizers at that time, and they will be able to brief you.

*Volunteer identification*
You all will wear special lanyards for your volunteer shifts. This will let others know that they can reach out to you with questions and that you are gracious enough to donate some of your time to help make this conference succeed! In case you don't have the answers at hand, you can refer those folks along to me. You'll also receive regular attendee lanyards so that when you're not on shift you can rest and relax.

*Code of Conduct*
Please review the Code of Conduct [2] and the Response Guide [3], as we want to make sure that everyone is familiar with our guidelines and how to make the conference comfortable and inclusive to all. We take the code of conduct and incident response very seriously, and we expect all volunteers to take it seriously as well. In general, CoC reports will be handled by the CoC response team, which consists of XXXX.

If someone comes to you with a CoC report, grab one of us. Feel free to interrupt any of us from what we are doing at the time. If it’s not immediately possible, at least take down the reporter's details and ideally, what happened, where, when and who was involved. You can take action yourself only if you can’t reach any of us and if the situation requires immediate action, but ideally consult at least another organiser or volunteer. In non-urgent cases, please do not take action on your own, and don’t express to the reporter whether or not you think this is a CoC violation or what action should be taken. If you find yourself in a situation where you have any questions regarding CoC process, please feel free to ask one of us. I should stress that most CoC incidents are rather minor and not urgent at all, though we take those seriously also, but it’s important for us to be prepared for more severe situations as well.

*Roles*
Here are some details on what each role entails:

* Venue set up - you’ll go with the organisers to the venue after the boat ride. The tasks include preparing the registration desk, laying out swag, arranging boards for the writing day, putting up posters, and similar tasks. Organisers will give you more specific tasks at the venue.
* Writing day - Assisting the Writing Day coordinator, Kelly O’Brien. You can generally expect this to include general information inquiries, directing attendees to specific tables, helping writing day project leads with logistical questions, and similar tasks.
* Registration desk/Info - Registering people in the main conference hall, meaning you check their name on the attendee list, give them their badge and provide basic info about the venue. People will also come here with questions, but most of them are fairly basic, like “when is lunch”, “where is the bathroom” and “do I need to bring my badge to the social event”. For more complex questions, or if someone shows up that is not on the attendee list, myself and other organisers will be available. I’ll also be there at the start of your first registration shift to show you what to do, and will be around most of the time when registration is busy.
* Speaker coordinator - Finding speakers and making sure that they’re where they need to be when it comes time to speak. With this task you’ll be working with XXXX, our speaker coordinator.
* Speaker timing - Keeping track of the length of the talks and warning speakers when they’re running out of time. You’ll be guided by either the speaker coordinator, XXXX, or the emcee, XXXX.
* A/V and tech support - Assisting presenters at the time of their greatest need while on stage - issues with slides, video, or audio portions of their presentation. This task basically means you need to be present especially at the start of every presentation, to help out if needed. I’ve tried to combine this slot with speaker timing, because that means you’ll be in the room anyways.
* Floaters - no specific duties assigned, but you need to be available to help out wherever needed. That could be going out to buy some supplies, or filling in for another volunteer. Ensure that you are reachable on Slack, and receive notifications from Slack.
* Unconference - Camping out in the unconference area downstairs, keeping the place in order, updating unconference room schedule, and so on. For this, you’ll work with the unconference coordinator, XXXX, who will give you more specific tasks.
* Job Fair- Helping vendors set up their tables before the job fair, or helping with setting the room back for the unconference sessions that follow in the afternoon. For this, you’ll work with the job fair coordinator, XXXX.
* Social event - checking whether everyone who enters the social event has a badge or a wristband, and handing out wristbands to people with badges. Organisers will provide more details at the event.
* Venue take down - Take down the conference setup and leave the conference area tidy.

For tasks where you mainly work with others, I’ll be happy to introduce you to the right person. In general, we’ll make sure that you have all the information and resources you need.

I look forward to seeing you all soon! Safe travels, and please let me know if you have any questions. If you have questions during the conference and can’t find me, ping me on Slack, and I’ll receive a notification.

[1] XXXX
[2] http://www.writethedocs.org/code-of-conduct/
[3] http://www.writethedocs.org/code-of-conduct-response/

Thank You and Feedback

Send this email to all volunteers, no later than 1 week after the conference.

Hello everyone,

Thank you all for your time and commitment in making Write The Docs a great conference this year. Without you, we would not be able to run the conference. You all went above and beyond in both performing your duties as well as creating a welcoming environment for our attendees.

I am currently compiling thoughts about what went well and what we could change/do for next year's volunteer coordinating. I'd love to hear from you all as well, especially your thoughts about what went well with your experience as a volunteer as well as any suggestions for next year's wrangling. With your thoughts, I hope to continue to improve on the volunteer experience for the conference.

Please feel free to reach out to me directly with feedback, suggestions, and comments about how things went for you this year. You can also use the feedback form that we sent out, if you wish to provide feedback anonymously.

Thank you again and hope to see you next year!
<NAME>