Why Volunteer T-Shirts Are Important

17785365124_d1f69402b8_kHard to believe that WordCamp Miami is going into it’s 8th year.This year the lead organizer is a good friend of mine Ptah Dunbar. I can’t think of anyone right now more capable of keeping the ship on course.

One thing that I’m glad that Ptah, myself, and other organizers decided on: t-shirts especially for volunteers. Yeah, I know – sounds small and minor. But bear with me. In the past WordCamp Miami volunteers had various badges – great if you wanted to know if the person right beside you was a volunteer. But you can’t see badges at great (and not so great) distances. Also usually you have to be facing that person and have a direct line of site.

Why is this important and worth a few minutes of reading? Because safety for attendees at conferences should be very prominent in the minds of the organizers. Many times people look for volunteers to find rooms or areas at the venue – but what if they needed to find someone to report a Code of Conduct violation? What if they want to report a problem with the venue or the event that the organizers and volunteer are missing? Something that needs immediate attention. While events should have ways of reporting and notifying volunteers and coordinators of urgent issues privately (something that WordCamp Miami has had in the past, but will greatly improve in 2016), it’s important to take a look around you and easily be able to spot a volunteer.

And that’s why having a UNIQUE BRIGHTLY COLORED t-shirt for volunteers at events is important.

It’s so important that this year, WCMIA put dedicated t-shirts for volunteers into our base budget. Someone wearing a volunteer t-shirt should be approachable and be able to listen first and then if appropriate direct urgent matters to organizers. I know this has been done by MANY WordCamps and events in the past. This is nothing new. But something I thought I would share, as maybe it hasn’t been considered by some.

If you organize an event, consider putting unique shirts for volunteers into your base budget.

David Bisset

David is a full-time freelancer who specializes in WordPress (and BuddyPress) for startups, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between. Organizer of WordCamp Miami for 10+ years.