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Author Topic: Need Help and Info  (Read 5001 times)

Leor

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Need Help and Info
« on: 27.10.2012, 14:43:09 »

Hi,

I'm Leor, a furry from Portugal and I have the intention to start a convention with benefits for charity. Can you help me and others with this or you know someone else more specialized or with the time to help us with that?

It is suppose to happen in 2014 about 4 or 3 weeks before EuroFurence of that year but the decision of make it possible is up to you since you are the best from Europe and you are into this for longer.

With regards,

                     Leor
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Cheetah

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #1 on: 29.10.2012, 09:13:06 »

Hi Leor!

To quote a good friend of mine, who also happens to run a fairly large convention, when asked the same question: DON'T! :)

That is of course a bit of a cynical response, I really don't want to discourage anybody from starting something for the good of the community. But you need to be prepared to go to a lot of grief and pain, since getting your own event off the ground is really, REALLY hard. You need to find a team to start with, and you also need to find an audience to attend your event  - which is especially tricky if you're not a well-known name among the people you're trying to attract.

To make things even worse, there is no strictly "right" or  "wrong" way to do it, so if you had hoped that I can point you to someone who can basically take your hand and guide you through the process, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you.  However, If you have any more specific questions than "how do I run a con", I'll be glad to answer. And since a lot of staffers read this forum, others may chime in every now and then, too, if they're interested.

As a general piece of advice for someone new to this business, I would say: Start Small. Try running something like a furry BBQ event, or something to the extend of a large birthday party. At first, you won't be able to attract a large number of people for your first event, anyways. You'll basically have to start with people from your own circle of friends and acquaintances, maybe in forums where people know you. Those are the people who trust you, and might be willing to attend an event you run. See how many you can gather. If you know a lot of people, maybe you can even rent a small location, like a youth hostel or a camp ground, and make some initial experiences with the logistics of a larger party. But anyway, don't plan for 200 people on your first event.

As for the charity bit - if you're planning to collect money, that is something that will only make sense if you either have a really small charity (like, supporting the good cause of one single person), or a more substantial number of attendees. I mean, a good charity will appretiate any donation ... and even if it's just €10. But on the other hand, don't expect a medal of honour for it :) You'll have a hard time getting people to attend your event in the first place - and motivating people to donate any substantial amount is really hard work, and that work will only really pay off if you have a few hundred attendees to work with.

Of course, collecting money from your attendees is not the only way to be charitable. You could, for example, organize events with fursuiters attracting attention for charitable causes - the classic is, go to a children's hospital in fursuits. Or, help a charitable organisation by providing fursuiters as mascots for their own donation drive in the city. You can be very creative. But of course you'll first have to find out if they feel comfortable with that kind of attention, and choose wisely who you'll send there - knowing how socially awkward some members of our community sometimes can be.

Another good reason to start small is that, for any larger event, you also need a large team - and you can't build a large team out of thin air over night. It's the most painful part of running a con: Building a team and keeping it together. In terms of challenges, this is MUCH harder than running the actual event, and it is always underestimated. Most new conventions that fail don't do so because of mismanagement of resources. The do so because of the team breaking apart.

Working with volunteers takes some serious leadership skills, and you will have to acquire those skills by trial-and-error. (Well, unless you're a trained manager, but if you were, you wouldn't be asking these questions.) I can't stress this enough: Building your team is the hardest part. Finding people who share your vision and goals is hard. When you start out, everyone has different motivations, no matter what they say. Finding people who are willing to admit their mistakes, and learn. Finding people who you can depend on, and who actually go through with what they have promised.

Don't try to be a con chairman, if you are not prepared to fire your best friend.



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yours,

Cheetah

Leor

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #2 on: 29.10.2012, 11:54:08 »

From what I read from your reply to my help request I feel that Im going on the good way so far.
The ground camp, the children's hospital, the birthday thing, attract attentions and plan the places are things that are are being thought for some time now, I may say 8 months and those things are not far from happen.

Now about don't be known, well... have powerful friends may bring to me opportunities that can be a blast and I learned that waste a good opportunity is never good, I regret of many mistakes I did on the past but i moved on. I need all the support I can get from my best friend and the furry community because for years I got rejected, bullied and grounded by kids from school for look different, be too smart for the general kids of my age, for critizise teachers by their mistakes and that was worst than anything else that could happen, I lost a big part of my childhood because of that and now is pay back time.

I want make others smile, I want help who needsthe most, I want to fulfill some of the goals that I set in my life and make them happen someday is what Im doing to do. The objective is make this happen in the year 2014 and save the animal reserve of wolves on the Sierra Gerês because if no one do nothing to help them sooner or later they will have to close because they barely have money to keep feeding them and keep hunters away. I know it is possible to do something else to help them like a event of charity to sensitize people and get some money to delay that for a few months or years but can we do what? what?

2 important questions:
How much money (we don't know if the prices here and there are the same but this numbers already tell a lot of what is ahead)  in euros you spend in average in euro currency, taking the lowest and highest numbers from the Eurofurence of 10 years ago until the last one? I know is a very hard question and rude to ask but is really necessary to help us in our costs.
What can we avoid? (this question adapt to every problem for example the media, the visitors, the fursuiters, etc).

I didn't quite understand what you mean with your last words :/
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Tekumseh

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #3 on: 29.10.2012, 17:10:53 »

The last few words meant: naturally you are going to have your friends in staff positions, very likely team leads. And though they are your friends and helped you in the beginning, they might proof incapable of doing the job right. So if you want a successful convention, you will have to release them from their duties - which is not an easy task. Make sure the friendship doesn't break over the issue.
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Leor

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #4 on: 30.10.2012, 00:00:12 »

The last few words meant: naturally you are going to have your friends in staff positions, very likely team leads. And though they are your friends and helped you in the beginning, they might proof incapable of doing the job right. So if you want a successful convention, you will have to release them from their duties - which is not an easy task. Make sure the friendship doesn't break over the issue.

I could undertand the meaning of those words but that really happened to anyone fire thebest friend?
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Cheetah

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #5 on: 30.10.2012, 10:23:57 »

I could undertand the meaning of those words but that really happened to anyone fire thebest friend?

It is a figure of speech. It means that, in the long run, you will have to act like a manager. Maybe you don't have to "fire" your best friend. But eventually you will have to tell people what to do, and if they do it wrong (or more likely, don't do their job at all), you must be prepared to tell them, and possibly replace them with someone else. Most people, especially when they're close to you, take that very personally. So when you run a con with friends, be prepared for potential trouble and disagreements.
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yours,

Cheetah

JonathanO

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #6 on: 30.10.2012, 17:37:56 »

its really hard to run a convetion, I know becase in 2011 i started my first conevtion with 1000 attendees en 2012 1300 attendees thats becase i'm alreday in the animeworld like 2004 so i knew enouf poeple to get the word spread and thanks to facebook en some good freinds who are also in the group organising a con.

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Jake R

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #7 on: 30.10.2012, 18:49:02 »

In regards to hiring / firing friends, my experience as a volunteer manager at another convention taught me this: don't find the right job for the person, find the right person for the job.

Finding the right job for a person implies that you found a person and are looking for the job where he'll fit best... but if you need to look at all, apparently his strong points aren't a clear thing right from the start. So what you'll actually be doing most of the time is trying to find the job where he'll do the least amount of damage. For the love of everything, don't do this. It will ruin your organisation, your friendship, and your sanity.

Short term this means you might have to tell people you don't have any place where you need him/her right now. As mentioned above, this is hard, but frequently unavoidable. If they hate you for it, was the person really your friend? Long term this means you'll have a better staff, better organisational structure, a better convention... and enough sanity so that you'll be able to stay nice and happy and enjoy time with your real friends.


Good luck with starting your own convention. You will need it. But when you finally pull it off, it's all worth it. =)
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Leor

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Re: Need Help and Info
« Reply #8 on: 30.10.2012, 19:42:46 »

All I can say is thank you for your advices. I will do my best to commit no mistakes and have all ready with the best. Slow we go far  :)

Thank you *hugs*


          Leor
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