A massive thank you to everyone who made WordCamp London 2016 a success!
It was a great team effort and without everyone’s support, enthusiasm and time, we wouldn’t have been able to create a WordCamp we’re all super proud of.
After the debrief, we identified some of the things that could have worked more seamlessly during the 2016 event, and I decided that I would like to lead the organising team for another year in order to polish some of these areas. I asked for the 2016 team’s support and with their enthusiasm and dedication I’m ready to apply for WordCamp London 2017.
We’ve identified many roles that need more organisers behind them and before I can put in an application, I need to know who’s with me?
I couldn’t have lead WordCamp London 2016 without the team to support me, and share my dream of putting on an accessible event. I believe that the organising team is the core of any event, and that the event is a magnification of the organising team. That is why it’s important to me that we have an organising team that shares the same values and vision.
To become part of the organising team you don’t have to have any previous experience of organising a WordCamp, or even any general event organising experience. We welcome anyone with the enthusiasm, dedication and willingness to make this event work.
With this in mind, I’d like to share my vision and plans for WordCamp London 2017, with the hope that you will be willing and able to spare some time to help turn this dream into reality.
Vision: Organising a slicker version of the 2016 event
Despite many people telling me how seamlessly they felt the event ran, the reality is that there were many things behind the scenes that were less than ideal.
I think an achievable goal for 2017 would be to host a more polished event and reduce the stress placed on all the organisers.
All the 2016 organisers gave a debrief that I’ve collected into notes. The debriefs were a great way of gathering feedback, highlighting weak areas and getting specific about all the details we could improve in future. The plans I have for 2017 come from these debriefs.
Plan: WordCamp London 2017
Ideally, I would have all the previous organisers back on the team for 2017, but we certainly need…
More hands on deck
There were several people who took on lots of different roles last year, and while it worked, it’s important for the cohesion and longevity of the event that roles are defined and broken down granularly into specific responsibilities. This will not only lessen the workload on individuals, but also enable organisers to work more efficiently.
We’ve spoken a lot this year about evening out the workload for organisers as well as integrating a new generation of organisers who can carry on the high standards we’ve set in future.
For this reason, we’ll be operating a new buddy system which requires each team to have at least TWO organisers (ideally it would be the organiser who previously ran that team and one other person). If you’re interested in joining or continuing to be part of the WCLDN organising team, please consider who you might want to have as a partner in your team, or make suggestions about other people who might want to join the team.
During the 2016 closing remarks, I talked about the volunteers being much more than volunteers: they were the cavalry who swooped in on the day and turned the planning into reality.
Whilst we planned for the 2016 event, I noticed how many smaller tasks could have been assigned to a volunteer, so I would like to test the idea of having pre-event volunteers otherwise known as Runners.
These would be volunteers who lurk in the public channel (almost all the WCLDN organising was done publicly in the UK WP Community Slack channel #wcldn) and would be willing to offer their time if there is a specific task that needs doing. Ideally, runners would also attend as many of the weekly planning meetings as they can to be kept up-to-date with the general status of things and notice if something needs to be picked up from an organiser.
This would be a great way to support the organising team without having to commit to organising the event ahead of time.
WordCamps are multi-faceted events that rely on many different areas coming together, and delegating tasks is one of the most important parts of planning for a smooth event. Below are all of the roles (and the number of organisers required in each team) we’ve identified as being fundamental to putting on a good WordCamp, as well as what individual roles entail;
Lead organiser – x 1 Event Conductor
Just like in an orchestra, the role of the lead organiser is to ensure that the entire event organising team works in harmony. They should support the team and enable all the organisers to do their jobs.
They’re also the main point of contact to the WordPress.org global team.
Communications Team – x 3
- Internal communications
– Ensures all internal planning documentation is updated as required, weekly meeting notes are kept and posted in p2 etc.
– Documents how the organising team plans and creates the event; produces a full and comprehensive manual of how the event has been organised as a blueprint for the next organising team. Documentation should be written for different teams as they happen.
- External communications
– Responsible for all external communication; mainly in the form of posts on the website. They should be working closely with other teams to ensure the tone of the event is consistent and accessible. They should ensure any communication (on website, social media platforms etc) is kept up-to-date
- Social media accounts – schedules and posts important announcements and general information via Facebook and Twitter
On the day comms (x 4 volunteers);
- Social media accounts (Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook)
- One volunteer per track + one general
Swag Team – x 2
The Swag Team comes up with swag ideas that designers can turn into swag reality. We love swag, but it’s not something we budget for; rather, we accommodate for swag as sponsorships come in and the budget allows.
As well as creating cool swag ideas for us to buy or produce, swag organisers can significantly lessen the financial burden on our sponsors by coming up with interesting ideas that could help our sponsors support us with branded swag.
Swag Organisers should;
- Research options, cost and lead times
- Make sure they are ordered and shipped to the right place
- Propose ideas that would help sponsors provide swag as a way of supporting the event
On the day;
- Organise the space and volunteers to hand out swag
Design Team– x3
Designers are responsible for all the visual work. As well as working in conjunction with other teams to help with any design work needed, the design team has a specific list of responsibilities;
- Create 2017 theme
- Design signage poster templates for A4, A3 & A2 (portrait & landscape)
- Wapuu & event sticker designs
- Lanyard badge designs; these should be very clear and visible as they are used as security badges for venue building access
- Design wifi codes to be printed as stickers with username and password
- Organise the printing of stickers for badges to identify speakers, sponsors, volunteers, organisers, attendees
- Design keynote template to be used for all communications
- Lunch hall bunting designs – 100m
- Lunch hall posters – to specify lunch area and to help with lunch queues
1 x person whose sole job is to create the following required slides;
· Slides for announcements & comms in-between sessions
· Rocket ground floor slides
· Lunch room slides
· Slides for any spare TV’s (announcement & comms)
· Slides for Happiness Bar
· Contributor day slides
· Slides for opening & closing remarks
Website Team – x 2 (required skills: CSS)
- Work with designers to make the site design come to life. There is a very limited amount of functionality available for a WordCamp site developer. There is no extra JS, no extra plugins, no extra PHP. Almost all work will be using HTML to build the content and CSS to manipulate.
- Fix website issues as they come in. These issues are usually accessibility issues as we become aware of them or content design considerations that we hadn’t thought off.
Sometimes the team working on the website are part of the design team, but it shouldn’t be assumed that designers know how to or want to do CSS.
Contributor Day Team – x 2
Contributor Day Organisers are front of house at the event. The role includes:
- Organising Contributor Day signups
- Reviewing attendees list to find suitable CD Team Guides
- Liaising with CD Team Guides to ensure they have everything to prepare for Contributor Day
On the day;
- Organises Attendee Registration (WordCamp London does an early registration for those who attend Contributor Day)Ensures Team Guides have everything they need
- Liaising with the university team for any venue or catering related to the Contributor Day event
Volunteer Coordinators – x 3
General Volunteer Coordinators (x3)
Pre event: The volunteer coordinators should imagine the amount of volunteers needed for all required tasks throughout the event. Before the event, their role will include:
- Doing a Call for Volunteers
- Sending out volunteer ticket vouchers
- Requesting what sessions volunteers do not want to miss
- Creating a volunteer schedule for the event
- Checking in on volunteers to ensure they are still intending to turn up
- Preparing and sending out a full volunteers pack for all volunteers
- Doing a digital volunteers orientation beforehand
- Ensuring all volunteers are able to access one general communication channel
- Ensuring documentation is available and accessible to all volunteers
- Create an inventory of all the gear and information that volunteer roles will require.
On the day;
- Ensure volunteers have what they need and know where they are expected.
Volunteer Organisers must be available on the day of the event as they will be the main point of contact for all volunteers
Social Event Coordinators – x 2
Social event organisers are responsible for organising all the fun after-parties and any social events. They should work closely with the general volunteer coordinators to ensure there is a smooth transition from the day time events and evening events.
Their role involves;
- Researching and finding a location for the Speaker & Volunteers Social
- Inviting all Speakers & Volunteers to social
- Organising the event After-Party and Conference Dinner & Social (entertainment, catering, etc)
- Announcing the After-Party on the website and social media
- Ensuring there is a guest list of people invited to any social if required
- Organising entertainment for the official event after-party
Speakers Team – x 2
- Lead speaker duties
- Do a Call for Speakers
- Liaise between organising team and speakers
- Arrange speaker mentorships
- Responsible for keeping online schedule up-to-date
On the day;
- Generally ensures speakers are looked after and have everything they need
Sponsors – x3
- Lead sponsorship duties
- Do a Call for Sponsors
- Liaise between organising team and sponsors
On the day;
- Generally ensure sponsors are looked after and have everything they need before, during (and if necessary after) the event
- Work closely with the Budget team to ensure budget spreadsheet is kept up to date
Budget Team – x 2
The Budget team should be made of two people ideally. Even though each person in the team will have a specific responsibility, the team should work together to ensure that information is not stuck with one person. It’s also very important that the Budget and Sponsors team maintain constant communication and keep each other up-to-date with developments and changes.
- Ticket Organiser- x 1
Works closely with the Treasurer to ensure ticket sales are recorded and updated in the main spreadsheet
- Treasurer – x 1
The Treasurer’s main responsibility is to keep the books balanced and work closely with the Sponsors team to ensure budget is kept up to date.
University Communication – x 1
- One organiser is required to liaise between the organising team and the university for venue room requirements and catering
- Organises furniture required for rooms, ensuring all vendors, speakers, sponsors etc will have what they need in their specified areas
- They should work closely with the Accessibility Organiser to ensure accessibility needs are met and there is a backup Accessibility Organiser should they be required
Accessibility & Q.A (Quality Assurance) – x 1
The Accessibility and Q.A Organiser should have a keen eye for detail and spot any accessibility issues as they go out of the door.
- Organising crèche, STTR & A/V teams
- Swag, printers, social vendors – should be dealt with by respective team members
- The should buddy-up with the University Comms Organiser to ensure there is a backup organiser in that team should they be required
Runners x as many as we can get
Surplus organisers whose role is to support the other organisers and teams. They are expected to keep on top of organising decisions and help support the other organisers when they are available and if required.
- The main responsibility for Runners is that they do what they say they’re going to do. Ideally, Runners should attend the weekly meetings as and when they can but are welcome to look through meeting notes and suggest task they are happy to take on.
Organising roles which don’t have specific duties during the event (ie; the roles which are more involved with pre-planning) may be given other responsibilities to cover such as overseeing areas the volunteers are handling, or manning the control desk etc.
Since we’ll be using the majority of the same vendors, I think we can dedicate the time saved to support a new generation of organisers to the front of each team.
The buddy system will only work if everyone plays their part. I know time constraints were a real burden for everyone last year, but I hope with the 9 months we have ahead of us, we can plan a lot more ahead of time which should spread the load and lessen the organising stress.
If you are interested in being a WordCamp London 2017 organiser, our only request is that you live in the UK and ideally, either in or a reasonable distance from London. We want to nurture organisers who are more likely to be able to help sustain and grow our community and give back everything that it has given us so far.
I think if everyone is ok with it, I would like to maintain weekly meetings on a Monday at 8pm. They should be short and kept under an hour as everyone should be posting reports before 7pm on the day to be reviewed by the team before the meeting. Please note this time and date is not set in stone and once we’ve established the full organising team, we’ll review this again and accommodate for any other requirements.
WordCamp London Dates
The current provisional date is 25th March 2017, but it’s important to note that this is subject to the venue’s availability and may change.
How do I join the Organising Team?
Yay! We’re delighted you want to join us.
If you are interested in being part of the WordCamp London 2017 Organising Team in any capacity please let us know by filling in the form below and submitting it before the 25th August.
You can also get in touch with us directly with any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekly meetings will begin the first week of September, but if you are able you’re welcome to start on any tasks in advance of this date.
If you’re interested in being an organiser but feel you may not be able to be there on the day (for whatever reason) we strongly encourage you to get in touch anyway. Some organising roles are required during the event, but other roles are really crucial during the pre-planning stage and much more flexible during the event.
WordCamp London is for the London WordPress community by the community. We would love to have you on board to help create the 2017 edition.