Volunteering

Volunteers are the real heroes of our story.

Open Meetings

The primary purpose of the open meeting is for new people to interact with staff, make suggestions, and participate in discussions.

Open meetings are usually held at 6pm (Pacific Time) on the 3rd Thursday of every month, at the Grand Sierra. The exact meeting room varies from month to month, so check Twitter, Tumblr, or this page for updates.

Online participation is appreciated and encouraged! Our meeting is streamed (audio only) on Youtube. Moderators will be watching the chat for relevant questions and discussion.

The agenda for the current meeting can be found on Google Docs.

2016 open meeting schedule:

  • January 19th, 2017
  • February 16th, 2017
  • March 16th, 2017
  • April 20th, 2017
  • May 11th, 2017
    (one week earlier than normal)

Apply To Volunteer

We are working on a new volunteer tracking system and will have volunteering links here in the future. In the meantime, checking the "I want to volunteer" box in the registration system will ensure you get contacted.
See below for the difference between volunteers and staff, and which you should apply for.

Volunteer Rewards

VolunteerWork only the hours you choose
Can apply at-con, but easier to apply before the con
  • 4 hoursA special volunteer thank-you gift
    Two meal vouchers
  • 8 hoursTwo more meal vouchers
  • 12 hoursTwo more meal vouchers, and your choice of either:
    A refund of your attendee-level badge, OR
    A ticket to the Sunday night Staff Appreciation Dinner
StaffDo whatever it takes
Must apply by May 1st
  • 4 hoursA special staff thank-you gift
    A free attendee-level badge
    Access to staff feed
  • 8 hoursA ticket to the Sunday night Staff Appreciation Dinner
  • 12 hoursOne night removed from your hotel bill (multiple staff members sharing a room can earn this benefit)

Note: Staff and Volunteer food will be provided privately in a convention-space room, not in an on-site restaurant. Staff will show their badge to enter; anyone else must use a Volunteer meal voucher to enter.
Volunteers: You can gift your meal vouchers to anyone, or use your second voucher to bring a friend with you!

Volunteer Levels

Volunteers

Volunteers are unproven people we haven't worked with yet. If we don't know you yet, you will be a volunteer for at least a year while you prove your reliability. Most volunteers end up signing up at-con, but if you know you will volunteer, please apply before the con; we can set up your schedule earlier, and you'll probably get more favorable hours to choose from.
When you sign up, we will build your schedule around the hours you're willing to work. If we run short on people outside your scheduled times, you may get a phone call asking for help. Responding to our call and helping will count 1.5x time.
Sometimes, you may end up "idle," waiting for assignment in the volunteer lounge. You're welcome to socialize while waiting, and we'll also try to have some entertainment options in the volunteer lounge. "Idle time" counts 0.5x time.
Any hours worked on Thursday or Monday count 1.5x time.

Staff

Staff are people we know we can rely on. They work scheduled hours of the con, and have previously proven they will work as scheduled. Staff are also expected to step up and do more if needed, to "do whatever it takes." Staff consider the success of the convention as more important than their own personal enjoyment.
Staff must apply and be approved before the con, must be known to be reliable, and are usually either people we've worked with before, or well-established staff members from other conventions.
Note that a staff member usually has one job, but not always, and that staff members don't have to be leads (though leads do have to be staff members).

So will I be considered Staff or Volunteer?

If we haven't met you before: Volunteer.
If you only want to work a certain number of hours and are not willing to do more: Volunteer.
If you care more about the con's success than your own enjoyment of it, and will do "whatever it takes": Staff.

Job descriptions

If you're curious what the different convention jobs entail, click below for more information.

Operations

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Communication skills, people skills, late hours possible, problem solving
  • Execute whatever plans are currently in place
  • Deal with non-security situations as they arise
  • Direct requests and incidents to the appropriate team
  • Request (free) services from the hotel (paid services need to be approved by Exec)
  • Operate Lost and found
  • Monitor hotel for noisy rooms, ask to tone down

Panels and Events

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Communication skills, punctuality, organization, detail oriented, brief public speaking
  • Maintain event schedule on website
  • Maintain a list of contact info for all panelists
  • Work with panelists to schedule their panels
  • Schedule "con-operated" events as well
  • Announce upcoming events over PA systems
  • Work with panelists to make their panels as good as possible (examples: offer to listen to a rehearsal, find helpful props/materials)
  • During-con: check up with each panelist shortly before their panel; make sure they have what they need
  • During-con: continue updating event schedule both online and at-con as it changes

Fursuit Lounge

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Friendliness, service oriented, creativity
  • Stop photographers
  • Restock gatorade, cups, straws, towels
  • Stay in lounge, clean as needed, hand cold towels upon entry to area
  • Help suiters stay looking good, assist them re-suiting, etc.

Convention Events

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Creativity, communication skills, punctuality, detail oriented, brief public speaking
  • Plan fursuit parade route
  • Design fursuit games (just design; leave any construction to the construction team)
  • Emcee for art-on-stage sessions
  • Design any other convention events
  • Work with the Panels & Events lead to schedule events

Registration

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Money handling, people skills, salesmanship, computer skills
  • Must be willing to sign NDA agreeing not to release con-goer personal info
  • Pre-con: process pre-registrations, and send summaries to Exec team for entry into master accounting record
  • Pre-con: prepare procedures and paperwork for offline registration (all computers down), and also paperwork for rain checks on swag items
  • Pre-con: pre-print all badges, pre-stuff all swag bags
  • During-con: process at-con registrations for attendees, collect and disseminate swag
  • During-con: reconcile cashiers at end of each shift

Con Store

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Money handling, inventory management, salesmanship, point of sale
  • Sell swag items
  • Reconcile cashiers at end of each shift

Dealers Den Assistant

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: organization, money handling, punctuality
  • Must be willing to sign NDA agreeing not to release con-goer personal info
  • During-con: do dealer food runs
  • During-con: do dealer supply runs (maybe)
  • During-con: bring dealer sales items to replenish con store stock
  • During-con: distribute and collect paperwork
  • During-con: assist in locking the dealers den

Art Show

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Legible handwriting, organization, money handling, accurate with numbers
  • Single point-of-contact for all art show panel space assignment
  • Pre-con: prepare bidding system and all associated paperwork
  • Pre-con: bring in auction items, sell panels, bill artists for their panels
  • Pre-con: double-check expected submitted items for possible copyright violations (ex. Non-OC MLP), warn artist these items may be pulled
  • During-con: catalog items submitted by each artist, accept bids from bidders, create and distribute invoices for bidders, collect payment for items won
  • During-con: check bags
  • Post-con: calculate tax, create final payment forms for artists, submit to Exec team for check writing and final mail-out

Decorating and Theming

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Creativity, thorough research, cheapskate
  • Team tasked with finding ways to decorate and theme the space for this year
  • Pre-con: research cost of various theming options, report to Exec team for final decisions on what the con can afford
  • Pre-con: work with construction team to create decorations as needed
  • During-con: act as part of logistics to set up theme specific decorations

Con Book

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Print layout software experience, organization, artistic temperament, networking skills (people)
  • Solicit artists, writers, other contributors for con book content
  • Extra focus on soliciting content for con book "activity book" section
  • Solicit potential advertisers for con book advertisements
  • Design activity book items for the con book, if none are submitted
  • Assemble the final con book into a PDF for print by T-minus 6 weeks
  • Assemble the final con schedule insert (or pocket program) by T-minus 2 weeks

Marketing

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Networking (people), Creativity, persistence, computer savvy, furry community savvy
  • Find local furry community websites around the country; work on getting them to mention BLFC
  • Design and disseminate flyers; solicit friends attending other conventions to help get flyers to more locations. Look for artists/vendors who do mail-out sales within the community, provide flyers to them for inclusion in outgoing orders
  • Design ads for other conventions for placement in their own con books
  • Design ads for posting on other websites
  • Possibly: Organize any other events that happen outside the actual convention (example: campout, barbeque, etc)
  • Possibly: manage procurement of swag and other giveaways

Social Network Manager

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Furry community savvy, knowledgeable with social network platforms
  • Keep news posted to social media accounts, and answer questions
  • FA
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr

Twitter Manager

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Creativity, sense of humor, furry community savvy
  • Manage twitter
  • Answer questions
  • Entertain twitter followers

Website Manager

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Web design (PHP/HTML/CSS/SQL), computer skills, work time estimation
  • Solicit artists for website artwork
  • Manage and design website elements for the main public-facing convention website
  • Execute additions and design changes in a timely fashion
  • Manage and design convention registration system (must sign an NDA)
  • Prepare next year's website by T-minus 1 week

Construction and Logistics

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: tools, carpentry, mechanical engineering, electrical, creativity, safety-conscious, cost estimation, lifting
  • Team tasked with constructing anything the con may need
  • This team mostly executes design ideas fed in from other teams
  • Generally must estimate cost of any jobs, and run by exec for approval
  • Load in, set up
  • Tear down, load out
  • During-con: monitor convention space, clean/fix as needed

Video Gaming

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: organization, video game knowledge, careful with electrical connections, need some night owls
  • Set up and tear down video game setups
  • Maintain inventory of equipment
  • Lock and unlock video game area if not 24-hr
  • Handle changing of video games and video gaming setups
  • Manage tournaments, including prize selection

Tabletop Gaming

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: organization, board game knowledge, tidy
  • Handle inventory and checkout for valuable tabletop games
  • Inventory game internals upon checkin before re-checking-out
  • Lock up valuable games when not staffed
  • Manage tournaments, including prize selection

Audio-Video

You may be responsible for one or more of:

  • Skills: Set up and operate pro-level equipment, follow instructions
  • Set up AV gear
  • Monitor noise levels, make sure the social space is always quiet enough for conversation
  • Set up staff radios
  • Be prepared to staff the dance from 10pm Saturday to 7am Sunday