Be a Volunteer
2016 Volunteer Meeting Information
Meetings for All Volunteers:
- All Volunteer Meeting 1: Mar 20, 2016
- All Volunteer Meeting 2: May 21, 2016
- All Volunteer Meeting 3: July 17, 2016
Meetings for Directors only:
- Directors Meeting 1: Jan 10, 2016
- Directors Meeting 2: Mar 20, 2016
- Directors Meeting 3: May 21, 2016
- Directors Meeting 4: July 17, 2016
- Directors Meeting 5: Aug 20, 2016
See chart for specific times and location:
|Jan 10||Directors||4pm-6pm||Hyatt Regency|
|Mar 20||Directors||3pm-4pm||Sheraton Atlanta|
|Mar 20||General Volunteers||4pm-5pm||Sheraton Atlanta|
|Mar 20||Area||5pm-6pm||Sheraton Atlanta|
|May 21||Directors||3pm-4pm||Hilton Atlanta|
|May 21||General Volunteers||4pm-5pm||Hilton Atlanta|
|May 21||Area||5pm-6pm||Hilton Atlanta|
|Jul 17||Directors||3pm-4pm||Hyatt Regency|
|Jul 17||General Volunteers||4pm-5pm||Hyatt Regency|
|Jul 17||Area||5pm-6pm||Hyatt Regency|
|Aug 20||Directors||4pm-6pm||Hyatt Regency|
|Sep 1||On-Site Volunteer Check-In||TBA|
Thank you for your interest in working as a volunteer at Dragon Con, one of the world's largest mixed-genre conventions! Working as a volunteer can involve hard work and require patience, but it's also a great way to make new friends and enjoy the convention with an added sense of camaraderie. It's also a lot of fun. Some of our volunteers have been sharing their time and skills for over twenty five years!
If you are interested in becoming a Dragon Con volunteer, please review the "What Does Working As A Volunteer Member Entail?" section below. The next step is to decide where you want to put your particular skills to use. Once you decide where you would like to volunteer, contact the director for that section directly using the "Contact Us" page. If the section you want no longer has an opening, they will inform you of such when you email them and you will have to contact the director of another section. When in doubt, Registration, Security, and Tech Services often have openings. Or you can come see everyone in person at one of our Pre-Con Volunteer Meetings which can help you decide which area of Dragon Con you would most like to volunteer for.
If you have recently joined our volunteers and are still a little uncertain about what to do, see the New Volunteer FAQ section below.
Please keep in mind that the individual directors have the bulk of the input as to who gets placed in a particular area. E-mailing the Dragon Con Office or the Volunteers Director may get you on our volunteer list, but e-mailing the director of the specific section of the convention where you want to volunteer is much more likely to get you placed in that area.
Again, thank you for your interest in volunteering at Dragon Con, and we appreciate your effort to help us make the convention an ongoing reality.
NOTE: We will no longer be accepting checks. All payments for volunteer fees must be made with cash, credit card, or debit card.
What Does Working As A Volunteer Entail?
Good question! Here's a few things to keep in mind:
- Continuing Dragon Con volunteers receive a complimentary membership to the convention. First-time volunteers are generally required to pay a one-time-only non-refundable fee of $20. This fee can only be waived in certain special circumstances.
- As a volunteer, you'll be expected to put in a certain number of hours of work during the convention, to be assigned by your director, often in four-hour shifts. You can request certain times to work and certain times to be available (to attend panels, performances, etc.). Your area director will make every effort to grant your requested schedule, but it cannot be guaranteed. It will be up to your director to evaluate your performance as a volunteer. If needed, your director will provide you with a timesheet or area logsheet so your hours can be recorded. In some sections, it may be possible to volunteer part of your obligation prior to the convention.
- Because Dragon Con is a membership organization, it is required by law to maintain certain minimal demographic information on all of its members, including volunteer staff. This information includes:
*Date of Birth (May be provided at a later date)
...as well as a handful of other optional items such as
-CPR certification expiration date
-First Aid certification expiration date
-Name you want printed on your badge (if different from your real name)
-Emergency contact information
-Special Medical needs
PLEASE NOTE: The convention does NOT share this information with ANY other organization. As a volunteer, you will need to provide this information to your director and it is in your best interest to keep this information up-to-date.
Please also remember that e-mail is not a secure form of communication. If you are uncomfortable sending your mailing address and DOB in e-mail, we can collect it at a later time in a more secure fashion.
- Volunteers who work are favorably evaluated at the end of the convention are:
- Automatically eligible to attend the traditional post-con "Dead Dog Party" (paid for by the convention) in the evening after the con closes, held at a restaurant or facility within walking distance of the convention.
- Certification that your work was satisfactory earns you a spot as a volunteer for the following year's Dragon Con.
- Please note that you'll be expected to adhere to a few "common sense" policies:
- Dress Code: The convention does not enforce any formal dress code, but we ask that you not wear offensive t-shirts, or clothing that might offend guests or convention members. Some areas, like Guest Operations, have higher requirements.
- No drinking or use of controlled substances while working for the convention. If you become intoxicated while on duty or report for work while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, you will be removed from our volunteer list, ejected from the convention, and barred from becoming a volunteer for not less than two years.
- Try to be helpful and polite: the attendees around you have paid to enjoy the con, whereas you might not have. It is far less expensive (and better for public relations) to remove you as a volunteer than it is to alienate paid attendees. Try to acquaint yourself with as much of the convention as possible, where things are, etc. If you don't know the answer to a question, instead of saying "I don't know," say "I'll find out!" -- or direct the person to the area that he/she needs. If all else fails, the Information Desks will have the answer, or they'll be able to make a referral.
- Try to show up at least a little early for your shift, for two reasons: it allows time if you have to be briefed, and it's a lot less nerve-wracking to the person who's waiting for you to show up. Keep in mind that you'll be in the same anxious shoes near the end of your shift!
- Unless your director informs you otherwise, your badge will be held at the Volunteer Registration booth in the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel for you to pick up. The Volunteer Registration booth will be open on the Thursday prior to the convention (hours to be announced), and is also open during most of the convention (hours to be announced). If you will be arriving at a time when the Volunteer Registration booth will not be open, then you will need to make arrangements with your director to pick up your badge, or wait until such time as the Volunteer Registration booth is open to pick it up.
- DON'T LOSE YOUR BADGE! Fairly often, lost badges are recovered and returned to Ops or the hotel's Lost and Found, but you dare not depend on that.
- While you're volunteering at the con, you do not have special privileges; you do not get priority access in autograph lines, etc. If you are not on duty, you have exactly the same privileges as any other convention attendee.
- Try to get enough to eat, and enough sleep. Taking a shower and changing into fresh clothes once a day is also a good idea. Yes, we know this can be hard, especially when you just KNOW if you fall asleep you'll miss something interesting. But the convention needs reasonably alert people, not zombies. And finally...
- Don't let all that stuff above freak you out! Working as a volunteer at Dragon Con can be an incredibly rewarding experience; that warm glow of teamwork and accomplishment that comes with a successful year will last long after the convention ends. And end it must....but you'll be richer and wiser for it.
New Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a minimum age requirement to be a volunteer?
Persons who are under the age of 16 on the first day of the convention are not eligible to participate as a volunteer. Persons under the age of 18 on the first day of the convention must volunteer in the same section as their parent or legal guardian (who obviously must also be a volunteer member). In addition some volunteers sections have other age requirements for legal or medical reasons, which you will be told when you ask that director to be in their section.
This is my first year as a volunteer, so how do I pay the $20 volunteer fee?
You can pay your fee in one of the following ways.
- Pay your fee by credit card over the phone by calling the Dragon Con office during regular office hours EST/EDT. The phone number is also on the "Contact Us" page. Again, payment via this method must be received AT LEAST 2 weeks before the start of the convention.
- You can pay the volunteer fee at one of the volunteer meetings (mentioned elsewhere on this page). At the meetings we can only accept cash or checks.
- You can pay the fee at the Volunteer Registration desk at the convention, which is located in the same area as regular convention registration. At the convention we can only take cash. And your badge will NOT be printed ahead of time, which means you will have to wait for it. Please allow time, about 45 minutes, for this process in total.
- NOTE: We will no longer be accepting checks at the convention.
The good news is that once you have paid this fee, you should never have to pay it again, even if you take a 10 year sabbatical from being a Dragon Con volunteer.
What do I do if I want to be a volunteer but have already purchased a membership?
If you have already purchased a membership, you do not have to pay an additional $20 volunteer fee. The purchased membership will cover your volunteer fee. If you meet all volunteer requirements at the show, you can have your membership price refunded minus the $20 volunteer fee after the show.
What are the criteria for having the volunteer fee waived?
There are several ways to qualify for the waiver of the volunteer staff fee.
- The person must possess a skill or training or value that cannot be obtained in the regular volunteer pool. Also, the person must be in a section where that asset is going to be used. Further, there must be a shortage of that skill-set among the current volunteers in that section that the director of that section is actively trying to fill. And the director must be aware that the person possesses the desired skill-set. Some examples that have qualified in the past (but may or may not qualify currently, depending on need) are: Off-duty policeman in Security, wiring technician in Tech Ops, computer store owner in Digital Gaming, or auctioneer in the Charity Events section, etc.
- OR the person must have been actively recruited by their director to fill a specific need that our regular volunteer pool cannot fill.
- OR the person must have proof (either a logsheet or testimonial from a current Dragon Con director) that they have volunteered 25+ hours at a single prior convention (not 10 hours each at 3 different Dragon Cons, but at least 25 hours at a single Dragon Con).
If you meet at least one of the above criteria, then the volunteer fee waiver must be approved by the senior director of the section in which you are to volunteer. Even if a person meets one of the above criteria, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the person's fee may not be waived. As soon as your fee waiver is approved, your director will be notified and will let you know.
Now that I'm an official volunteer, where do I pick up my badge?
Volunteer badges are generally not available until after 2:00 PM on the Thursday prior to the convention. By default, they are available at the Volunteer Registration desk which will be in the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel at this year's convention. However, many directors choose to pass out volunteer badges on their own, and will set up a specific time and place to meet with you and give you your badge. Directors who choose this option effectively prevent the Volunteer Registration desk from being able to pass out badges to their volunteers, so it is important that you are aware of your director's preference.
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST YEAR AS A VOLUNTEER AND YOU STILL OWE THE $20 VOLUNTEER FEE WHEN THE CONVENTION BEGINS, you will have to bring the fee (cash only) directly to the Volunteer Registration desk (in the Convention Registration area) and wait for your badge to be printed (please allow 45 minutes for the process in total). Your director will NOT be able to give you your badge. Please note, the volunteer fee of $20 is non-refundable.
Where do I get my free T-shirt?
Everyone who signs up to volunteer by the first of August and is accepted into a department will receive a unique volunteer lanyard and t-shirt. Volunteers after this date will receive a unique volunteer lanyard and a t-shirt while supplies last. You director will be responsible for distributing your T-shirt.
How do I get into the Dead Dog Party?
If you have worked the hours your director has required, you will receive a ticket to the Dead Dog Party from your director sometime on Monday afternoon at the convention. They are not available prior to that time, so please plan on meeting with your director in that time frame if you are planning on attending the Dead Dog Party. Hope to see you there!
What is a logsheet and what do I do with it?
The logsheet or timesheet is a piece of paper in your volunteer packet that your director may require you to use to log the hours you have volunteered for the convention. You will turn it into the director of the department to which you are officially assigned (i.e. the one on your badge). You can turn it in upon completing that last shift, or when you meet up with your director to receive your Dead Dog Party ticket, or any other time that you and your director agree upon. In a pinch you can also return your logsheet to the Volunteer Registration desk in the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, but this option must be exercised BEFORE 5pm on Labor Day.
What about crash space/hotel rooms?
The convention does not provide crash space for volunteers. But your director might. Ask them. If not, you should get in contact with other friends attending the convention and make arrangements, or other volunteers whose contact information your director will have. You can also touch base with one of the Dragon Con Facebook pages or volunteer listservs on Yahoo! looking for room-mates.
Where do I park?
There are plenty of lots around the convention hotels for about $10.00 per day, although these fill up when the convention gets into the weekend. And if you park in a daily pay lot, please "feed the meter". Having your car booted just sucks. The hotels all have valet, as well, and while they are secure, you pay a substantial premium for it. And with the hotels being full, waiting on the valet can be time-consuming. Of course, you don't really need your car during the convention if you're staying in one of the convention hotels. Atlanta also has a rapid transit system and buses, and the convention hotels are at a metro stop and along many bus routes. Check out the Transportation Resources page on this website for more information.
Volunteer Application Form
Volunteer Application Forms are available at all of our Volunteer Meetings, or for download at Volunteer Application Form. Once you have completed the form, please scan and email the form to office_at_dragoncon.org or mail it to:
PO Box 16459
Atlanta, GA 30321-0459