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JulieRoSch -

Hi,
I´m Julie. Orinoco asked me to post what I´m doing and where I´m going to next. The next really nice place I`m going to is the Israel Convention. First time and I´m really excited. Secondly we´ve just started to set up the second Munich (local) juggling convention in October (24. - 27.10.14). One issue we started discussing is the voluteering concept for juggling conventions in general - which also applies for bigger conventions like the EJC; somehow expecting that another one might soon hit the ground so close to us, we are going to be involved even if we tried very hard to duck our heads ;-). So suggestions on what would be a really good way of getting people to dedicate some of their juggling time willingly to make the event work on a voluntary basis, are really welcome. Please let me know. Like: the ultimative juggler´s volunteer gold card that gets you free Gummibärchen any time at any convention or which gives the holder free and immediate access to the toilet at conventions, no matter how long the queue is ... stuff like that. What is so precious, money can´t buy, a must have, that would make a juggler (even you!) drop whatever he/she/you has/have in hands and lend the organizeres both hands for let´s say 2 - 3 hours? What or who would convince you to stand up immediately if the organizers call for help?
Thanks a lot - you´ve just won the first credits on the road to jugglers heaven :-)

Dee - - Parent

This (and more of this).

I am volunteer co-ordinator for both the BJC volunteer@bjc2014.co.uk and the EJC volunteers@ejc2014.org this year.

For the EJC especially, we want to promote the idea that everyone should do a little volunteering, rather than a select few doing a lot (although we know that a select few will do a lot!).  This is partially down to budget constraints - we can't afford to allocate free tickets to full time volunteers in advance of the convention as attendence numbers are just too unpredictable and we would prefer to be in a position of considering what to do with a surplus than having to try to make up a loss - but also its a philosophical one.  It should work slightly better at a smaller EJC..

So, does anyone have any interesting and low cost ideas - especially ones that have been done at other conventions (or even ones that have been done at non-juggling conventions / festivals).  Last EJC in Millstreet (2006), we essentially made access to the internet cafe to be volunteer only, which worked quite well at the time, but expectations have changed somewhat. 

The usual story is that getting volunteers for early and late badge control shifts are a problem [getting volunteers for badge control during the day isn't so bad].... what do people think about making these shifts "worth twice as much" - i.e. turning them into a 1 hour rather than a 2 hour shift?  We will have full security on a night, so at least we don't need to find volunteers to do badge control at 5am!

I've been working on a little setup that would allow people the option of syncing their volunteering / workshops calendar to their online calendars (and hence their phones), but I think that this may work better at a national convention, when people can use their own data allowance rather than almost everyone needing to use the WiFi.

Thoughts, suggestions? 

JulieRoSch - - Parent

Hi Dee,
so we have more or less the same ideas. One of my observations is, that lots of people don´t seem to know about the volunteer philosophy (anymore) I thought it might help for a beginning to talk about it at every possible opportunity. Homepage (central space, not hidden in a sub - menue) and at the registration desk. I also have the feeling that people are more likely to listen to people they know. So the campaign to make people voluteer should be headed by well known jugglers or others, people are likely to listen to: like Nathan. I would try to make up the volunteers team by people from different countries that are well connected in their communities and know to whom they have to talk if a bunch of helpers are needed - or try to give them the responsibility for a certainjob, eg. a place, badge controls are needed: badge control 1 (2,3,4,) is completely run by the british (frensh, german) jugglers (and friends) etc. This makes the whole issue less anonymous. People are more likely to respond and feel resposibility towords someone they know (and they know this guy knows them) or for a job they feel is their business (like "we want ""our"" badge control to work really well")
Having a list of (small) jobs ready at the registration desk - like Chris said - looks good. In Berlin 2012 you had to go to the volunteers desk first, get a job and only after that you would get your full badge. People got small cards with the job they signed up for. Mathias had a difficult job in collecting the information about where people were needed for what and when in Munich2011 from the team leaders; it is sometimes not easy to predict for what you will need help; but I guess this is easier for Millstreet as you have already had an EJC at that venue.
After Munich EJC we talked about restricting the mobile phone recharging service to volunteers ...

Orinoco - - Parent

Hi Julie. Welcome to the Edge & thanks for joining in.

I think it may be because festivals have become much bigger & better organised over time that some of the awareness of their volunteer nature has faded. Nowadays most festivals are in massive venues & are pretty slick, so much so that to anyone going in to one for the first time they would assume it was a professionally run event.

Whenever the question of how to encourage more people to volunteer comes up the focus of the conversation is increasingly on rewards. Unfortunately I think that reward is in danger of becoming expected if it hasn't already, which just makes it harder for each successive festival. Ticket prices will inevitably have to rise to cover the cost of rewards, but perhaps then maybe we will see a shift to more back to basics festivals.

Also I'm going to stick a #volunteering here to link this thread with a couple of others on this subject that I think will be worthwhile reading.

JulieRoSch - - Parent

Thanks.

There is a lot of truth to this. People believe the festivals are professional because they are high quality. But I believe there must be a way to convince people, that we want nicely organized festivals and indeed we are all willing and capable of doing a quite professional job, but professional is not the same as commercial, what is precisely what we don´t want to be.
As at big festivals one always has to invest a good deal of time in organizing the basic needs, time that keeps one from juggling - I believe that there are rewards that don´t cost much (or cost much and are believed to be a basic service free for everyone, like the Internet Cafe, recharging of telefones and cameras)... and everybody wants to have them.

Chris - - Parent

I was volunteer coordinator for BJC 2013, so I can share with you what worked for us and what didn't.

One thing that worked fantastically was having a notice board by the info point that had small (~10 min) jobs such as carrying stuff to places or restocking toilet paper. It meant that when people would come up to me and tell me that they had an hour to spare, I could allocate them a small job even if I didn't have any "big" jobs to do at that time.

Badges also worked particularly well for getting some of the younger people involved, and have been used for a good few years. Hopefully this will have a knock-on effect and these kids will grow into volunteering adults.

We also supplied hot water for hot water bottles in the evening. If people wanted hot water and we had some small jobs to do, we would often "trade" the hot water for something very small such as relaying a message somewhere, collecting some fresh water for the crews tea facilities or taking a cups of tea round to the security guards.

We collected phone numbers of people with the intention of calling them if a bigger job (such as pass checking or car park attending) came up and needed filling quickly. This didn't work so well as phones were running out of power within the first few days. Even if we did contact people, workshops and other things of the sort would often prevent people giving their time up on short notice.

Pitfalls were also experienced when trying to get people to sign up for the bigger jobs in advance. I had tried to timetable carpark attendees (which turned out to be one of the biggest jobs), and people would forget what times they had signed up for, or their slot would end up clashing with a workshop.

They were the main things. If more things come to mind, I will post them.

 

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