Last year I took on the marketing of SQLSaturday and a good time doing it, with some nice results for the extra effort I invested. As I thought about what I wanted to do this year and what I had time for, I realized I couldn’t make the long commitment marketing requires (months of continuous effort). After some discussion with the team I’ll be leading our volunteer efforts, ranging from describing the tasks to finding the volunteers to celebrating their accomplishments. It makes sense to have a core team leading the event, but I really like seeing 10, 20, 30+ volunteers engaged in the couple weeks prior and during the event. Room proctors, check-in, photos, greeters, etc, etc, are great ways to engage volunteers and make the event run smoother. I’m still working on a real vision, but right now I have these ideas:
- Average task should be 1 hour
- Should be clearly described – task, location, duration
- Should overstaff, expecting some cancellations or no-shows
- Task should not take them away from learning (or if it does, for not more than an hour)
- Tasks should convey how they add value to the event/attendees/volunteer
- Not all tasks are glamorous (picking up ice, end of day cleanup)
- I do want to explore hiring a couple of “movers” to move heavy stuff and take on some of the sweatier tasks
- Need to describe my goal – is it # of attendees? satisfaction? value add?
- Listen on the planning calls for volunteer opportunities
- Volunteers are a great place to grow/identify future leaders
Speakers are volunteers too, and we treat them well and as they get ‘managed’ separately, about the only thing I have in mind for discussion is making Friday more valuable to them. Last year we offered them a 50% discount on the Friday seminar and I think that is worth repeating, but I also wonder if we shouldn’t look at a full day/half day event just for speakers on Friday.