2015 Changes to Volunteer Compensation
I’d like to have an open discussion with the community on how we compensate volunteers, and get feedback on a couple changes we’re planning on making this year. (These proposed changes are for 2015 and beyond, and are not retroactive.)
We’ve never given credits worth a full registration to Staff because CFT has much higher marginal (per-person) costs than other types of conventions and we felt it was important to make it clear that Staff are volunteers too.
We also had this idea that it would be better to give some compensation to a large number of people than to give more compensation to a smaller number of people, but that hasn’t worked out as we hoped in a couple ways, under the current scheme:
- We haven’t been able to get enough volunteers for key areas like the kitchen and construction.
- Those who do volunteer for that harder work haven’t been compensated for going above and beyond what other volunteers are doing.
Therefore, we’re planning on introducing the concept of a “priority job” when determining whether someone qualifies as a volunteer, and what they qualify for.
A “priority job” a smaller amount of harder and/or more critical work that we want to give special recognition to and encourage more people to help out with.
At this time, these are what we consider to be a “priority job”:
- Working from prep through clean-up for any single meal service in the kitchen (counting each day separately)
- 3 hours of construction work during set-up (Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning)
- 3 hours of construction tear-down during take-down (Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning)
Tier 1 (half the cost of a basic “Attendee” registration)
You can earn a Tier 1 credit (toward your next year’s registration) by:
- Working a total of two “priority jobs” OR
- Working a total of 7 hours doing any volunteer work OR
- Being on Staff
If you do only one “priority job” plus a few hours of other stuff, that’s totally fine.
Tier 2 (the full cost of a basic “Attendee” registration)
If you work two or more “priority jobs” in addition to what you did to qualify for a Tier 1 credit, you will earn a credit worth the full cost of a basic “Attendee” registration, instead of only half the cost. (You can only earn this by working “priority jobs” and not by doubling one of the other Tier 1 criteria. Also, order doesn’t matter—we’ll always interpret the totality of what you did in your favor when it comes to determining which tier of credit you quality for.)
The criteria was chosen based on reasoning about the following scenarios:
- Someone who helps out with a meal every day deserves a free registration.
- Someone who helps with just a couple meal services still deserves something.
- Someone who does 3 hours of set-up and 3 hours of tear-down but doesn’t volunteer at all during the event still deserves something.
There are no higher tiers because we don’t want people burning out.
To put the above in perspective, here’s what Staff get:
- An automatic Tier 1 credit on the basis of work done throughout the year, in preparation for the event. (If someone is a member of Staff before they register to attend, they get this credit up front instead of it being for the next year.)
- One “Staff” t-shirt and the option to buy additional “Staff” shirts at cost. (If we want one that isn’t staff-colored or has our name on it, we have to pay for the upgrade to a Sponsor or Patron registration.)
That’s it. Our Staff have always been volunteers, and we don’t intend to ever change that.
Staff who do “priority jobs” at camp are eligible to earn the extra credit, which puts the maximum (registration credit) compensation staff can earn in line with what they could earn if they were non-staff volunteers.