Volunteer At Otakon
When we say Otakon is "for fans, by fans", we mean it!
We have two levels of volunteers. First, our Volunteer Staff work year-round to bring Otakon to you. They're typically dedicated to an individual department or function within the convention. However, we do require the help of additional volunteers who only work during the convention. We lovingly call this second group "gofers", and they're essential to us being able to put on a show our size.
Think you want to join our ranks? Signing on as a Gofer is the best way to find out more about the inner workings of the convention.
What do Gofers Do?
Here are a few examples:
- Help out at Registration
- Assist staff in areas like Workshops, Panels and Masquerade
- Involved with the running of our Video rooms
- Assist at the Otakon sales table
- Assist staff with checking badges in busy areas
- Help with line control
A few things you WILL NOT do as a Gofer:
- Handle money
- Act as Security or Medical
- Interact with Otakon VIPs, Guests or Convention Security
Why Gofer at Otakon?
- To be a part of this wonderful thing we call Otakon!
- Meet new people who may also share your same interests!
- You brought your kids to the con and want something to do other than follow them around.
- You brought your parents to the con and want something to do other than follow them around.
(Seriously though, we get many families who volunteer together and find it a fun experience to share!)
- Being a Gofer is a pathway to becoming staff!
- Because Gofer'ing at Otakon is FUN!
Why might I NOT want to be a Gofer at Otakon?
- We need TOP-NOTCH people for Otakon Gofers. That means you present yourself well, put Otakon's needs before your own when on duty, and carry a friendly, helpful attitude with everyone you deal with, members, staff and fellow Gofers alike. We will ask you for the hours you are available to work and do our best to only schedule you during those times. If you're not sure you will be able to commit to working at least the 4 hours minimum we require, please consider joining us another year. First and foremost, we want you to enjoy the convention. Volunteer work should come after that (though many of our gofers find they enjoy volunteering just as much as the con!)
Requirements to Gofer:
- You must be at least 16 years of age by the start of this year's con.
- You must be registered for Otakon 2017. If you are pre-registering to be a Gofer, you must be pre-registered for the convention.
- You must attend one of our Gofer Orientation meetings. They're typically held on the Thursday or Friday of the convention.
- You will be asked to fill out an IRS W-9 form (or its international equivalent) to verify your eligibility to receive some of the incentives we offer as a thank you for volunteering with us.
If you would like to volunteer with us, we highly encorage you to pre-register as a Gofer. Though we may take a limited number of signups at the convention, we do place a cap on the number of Gofers we accept, so pre-registering is the only way to make sure we have a spot for you (and we typically do reach our cap).
What Incentives are there for Gofering?
None of our volunteers (Staff or Gofer) are paid, however, we do offer the following incentives as a Thank You for volunteering with us. They are based on the number of hours you put in.
- Every four (4) hours you work we'll provide you with a food voucher. With the change in venue in 2017, we're still working on aspects of the voucher.
- After eight (8) hours, you'll get a Gofer T-Shirt. This is a special design available only to our Gofers!
- After twelve (12) hours, you'll get this year's Otakon T-Shirt (the one they sell at our merchandise table).
- After sixteen (16) hours, you earn a full membership reimbursement. We mail reimbursement checks after the con (typically 2-3 weeks) for the amount you paid for your membership.
- For the most dedicated volunteers who put in twenty (20) hours or more, you will get your choice of either a valuable prize grab bag or a $40 per room night (max. 3 nights) hotel reimbursement. As with the membership reimbursement, the hotel reimbursement will be a check mailed to you after the convention. Please see our FAQ for more details.
How Do I Register to Volunteer/Gofer?
You've made it this far, we hope you're still interesting in joining us! As mentioned above, in order to pre-register to Gofer with us, we require that you be registered for this year's convention. Once you are registered, you can use the button below to submit your Gofer Registration.
All registrations require approval from our Gofer Ops department heads. Once you submit your registration, you should receive an email confirming the submission. When your registration is approved, you'll receive an additional email with the approval.
By pre-registering to Gofer:
- When approved, you will be guaranteed a spot as a Gofer.
- You do not have to wait in line for the Friday morning Gofer Call (if there are even spaces available).
- You will be eligible to attend one of the Thursday orientation meetings.
- You can check-in and receive your registration materials (badge, program guide, etc.) at Gofer Orientation on Thursday (no waiting in line!)
- You will be eligible to work hours on Thursday (based on department need)
If you have more questions about our Gofer program, check out our Gofer/Volunteer FAQ page.