Staff Organization

I've seen many technical conventions where the core staff gets run utterly ragged because they're rushing around fighting fires all the time. SF fans have found that a lot of this can be prevented by having a well-designed table of organization.

Such a table has multiple functions. It defines areas of responsibility, so people know whose job a given task logically is. It helps pinpoint areas where staffing may be inadequate. And (perhaps most importantly) it helps the core staff figure out which jobs can be done by gofers. Gofer hours are cheap compared to core staff hours; you want to use gofers as far up in your organization as you can (but no further).

At SF conventions there are generally three tiers of organization; the convention committee, the core staff, and the gofers.

The convention committee sometimes incorporates themselves as the directors of a nonprofit organization formed to run the event; they're the people legally responsible for the convention. Their main job is to manage the core staff.

The core staff are volunteers recruited before the convention by the concom. Core staff have full-time responsibilities at the con.

Gofers (as we've discussed above) are part-time volunteers recruited at the convention itself. They're the footsoldiers.

The convention committee (or `concom' in fanspeak) are the managers of the core staff. Here are some of the jobs that belong on the concom:

Core staff are organized into departments, each directed by a concom member. Some departments (such as hotel liaison at a small con) can be one-man shows. Others (such as operations) need to be generously staffed.

Again, at the convention itself the core staff should spend most of their time managing gofers who do the actual legwork. One of the functions of a ``gopher hole'' room is to provide a labor pool.