Volunteerism Decline Discussion

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Token
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Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Token » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:18 pm

Interesting dialog on reddit on the perceived decline in volunteerism.

The thing will try to embed itself here but it’s worth a hop over to get some first hand read on experiences.


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Ratty
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Ratty » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:42 pm

Well, it might have something to do with getting tickets. The short answer. Join a camp. Work in the camp. Get a DGS ticket the next year. Going forward, maybe people will drop out of those camps, (since the DGS system is under going a change), and they will go back to volunteering. It is possible to buy a ticket in some volunteer positions if you work hard enough. I don't think the amount of virgins, yes I'm still calling them that, hasn't increased that much.
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BBadger
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by BBadger » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:42 pm

Ah I hope the DGS ticket system gets fixed. The current system creates a legacy system that favors, and funnels people into, established camps because they can receive tickets via those camps, and some camps even recruit using those tickets (as sanctioned by the event). Allocating tickets for people who volunteer or for other measurable means of participating in the event will be a great shift.
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MrHedgehog
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by MrHedgehog » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:01 pm

BBadger wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:42 pm
Allocating tickets for people who volunteer or for other measurable means of participating in the event will be a great shift.
Well, AFAIK art projects can already get their own ticket allocations, and the ORG already has systems in place for volunteers.

Could you please expound on what you think is missing in the current system?

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BBadger
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by BBadger » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:37 pm

More of pulling back the number of tickets allocated as DGS tickets, and having them go into more volunteer or "general populace"-type allocations. I want the DGS tickets to fulfill their original purpose: provide enough tickets for the "core" burners in camps in order to maintain cohesion, but not be used to allow established camps to have a monopoly on who gets to attend.

I feel the DGS concentrates tickets into the hands of pre-established camps, which affects the diversity of camps at Burning Man and encourages nepotism. All this discourages new camps from forming or being able to form because of lack of critical mass relying on general sale tickets. While the latter is more an issue of general ticket scarcity, it is exacerbated by the fact that more than 50% of the tickets are allocated to established camps, encouraging people to attend by joining said camps.

Something that particularly turned me off to the DGS program was when Red Nose District was actively recruiting members with DGS tickets in direct contravention of the rules for using DGS tickets. Then after the outrage that ensued BMORG sanctioned the practice.

Deallocating tickets from DGS wouldn't necessarily mean putting them into main sale tickets, but into non-camp-affiliated programs (volunteering, projects, art, etc.). Perhaps the tickets could be allocated to performer-marked DGS tickets, etc. that don't necessarily require a camp affiliation, even if the performance role takes place there.
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Token
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Token » Sat Jul 13, 2019 8:02 am

The DGS impact on volunteers sure sounds like a plausible unintended consequence.

With 32K DGS, ~10K in staff as reported by BLM bean counters, that’s more than half of the folks who have committed to their camps and staff roles.

Add to that a big chunk of general sale folks under the belief they must join a camp to survive and do “shifts” in-camp ...

It’s a pickle for sure.

And all this is just environmental evolution of things.

There is still a big problem with the culture of lot of the volunteer teams, their cult-like internal hierarchies, generally toxic environments (not all, but allot, I’m sure there are sane ones as well)

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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:32 pm

And then there’s all us old burners who figured out working for nothing on your vacation... sucks.
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Token
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Token » Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:48 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:32 pm
And then there’s all us old burners who figured out working for nothing on your vacation... sucks.
There is a cure !!!


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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by FlyingMonkey » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:22 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:32 pm
And then there’s all us old burners who figured out working for nothing on your vacation... sucks.
If you don't get any personal fulfillment from volunteering then yes, it is for nothing.

I on the other hand have had some of my most memorable moments volunteering, meeting people, and being a cog that keeps the maching running.

YMMV

- I'm not busting your balls Capt, I just enjoy volunteering and have had good experiences doing it.

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MrHedgehog
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by MrHedgehog » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:07 pm

FlyingMonkey wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:22 am
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:32 pm
And then there’s all us old burners who figured out working for nothing on your vacation... sucks.
If you don't get any personal fulfillment from volunteering then yes, it is for nothing.

I on the other hand have had some of my most memorable moments volunteering, meeting people, and being a cog that keeps the machine running.

I agree, and I'm very glad that most of the camps that I have first-hand experience with are full of old burners who feel like you, and who choose to spend their vacation time holding down positions in the Rangers, ESD, DMV, Temple Guardians, Greeters, running Regionals, and/or working on art projects.

If I had come to Burning Man my first year, and found a city that was only full of folks who wanted to concentrate on their own holiday experience, then I probably wouldn't have bothered to make the effort to come back again.

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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by silvergirl70 » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:21 pm

Personal experience only, but this will be my 5th year at the burn. 1st year got a ticket through main sale, and couldn't imagine coming to an event all week while watching others work. Volunteered for ESD, and am now a station lead. Can't see doing the event WITHOUT volunteering, but everyone has personal reasons one way or the other.
Have recruited a good friend who is now big burn sophomore and ESD volunteer. I think volunteerism is one of the best ways to see into the guts of the organization, for better or worse.

Instead of pulling tickets from DGS, why not allocate more credentials for volunteers? Reduce the amount of tickets in the main sale. (PS...IMHO expanding the burn to 100K is a horrible idea, but I digress...)

Regionals such as Lakes of Fire have a great setup where 8 hrs (shorter event) of volunteer work the previous year gives one a guaranteed, albeit full price ticket for the following year. People are banging down the doors for volunteer positions partially for altruistic reasons and partially for the benefits. Never met a surly volunteer, tho. The next year's ticket is tied to one's name, so no-shows without good reason are not offered the ticket.
Not sure how that process would translate to the bigger burn, but certainly a step in the right direction to encourage volunteer activity.
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Ratty
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Ratty » Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:25 pm

That would eat up all the tickets. Some departments have a system in place. 8 hours is way too low a number. Does lakes of fire sell out?
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by MrHedgehog » Sat Jul 27, 2019 11:50 pm

Ratty wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:25 pm
Some departments have a system in place.
As Ratty says, and as you presumably already know ... Departments already have ways to make sure that the people who are volunteering for the right reasons, and who step up to make BRC work for everyone, can be thanked for their passion, and can come back in future years.

What *all* Departments (AFAIK) want to avoid, is people who are volunteering just for ticket access, and not for an actual interest in the city and in the work of the Department.

IMHO, what Departments are afraid of, is getting into some social-media bidding war for the least-hours-worked-per-volunteer in order to qualify to get some perceived reward.

That just commodifies everything and everyone, and turns it all into cheap "paid-work", and something that is done for a personal benefit, in just the way that Token was talking about in the other recent thread.

Now, "yes", the ORG does benefit (i.e. pays less wages) because citizens volunteer to work to help make BRC function.

It is not hard to see problems in that situation, especially when the ORG pays salaries to some staff, and especially when there are paid-jobs that people either don't value, or paid-jobs that people feel are actually making things worse.

( Sorry Trippi ... that last ORG video on Instagram was just embarrassing IMHO. And ... WTF ... Instagram??? )

Now, switching from that all of that, and back to the earlier posts ... with the increase in Theme Camp DGS, plus the amount of people who join Theme Camps, and then don't believe that they have any further responsibility to the city itself on their vacation ... then "yep", I can easily see how the rise in Theme Camp DGS could effect volunteering.

That seems to be an issue of individual Camp culture, which *could* be susceptible to change by peer-pressure from other Camps.

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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:48 am

To Ratty,
LOF does sell out. The culture of volunteerism is promoted much more with that regional and much more palpable in the air (to a lesser degree the Burn Burn, and I felt the Love Burn in Miami was closer to the party crowd of the Burn.)
Having the 'reward' for volunteering be a ticket offer the subsequent year rather than contemporaneous with the volunteer work removes the 'one and done' aspect.
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by wraith » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:00 pm

MrHedgehog wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:07 pm
FlyingMonkey wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:22 am
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 12:32 pm
And then there’s all us old burners who figured out working for nothing on your vacation... sucks.
If you don't get any personal fulfillment from volunteering then yes, it is for nothing.

I on the other hand have had some of my most memorable moments volunteering, meeting people, and being a cog that keeps the machine running.

I agree, and I'm very glad that most of the camps that I have first-hand experience with are full of old burners who feel like you, and who choose to spend their vacation time holding down positions in the Rangers, ESD, DMV, Temple Guardians, Greeters, running Regionals, and/or working on art projects.

If I had come to Burning Man my first year, and found a city that was only full of folks who wanted to concentrate on their own holiday experience, then I probably wouldn't have bothered to make the effort to come back again.
At the same time, I sure wouldn't go out of my way to volunteer these days as it would just be sacrificing my vacation to help the 1%s vacationing from silicon valley have less disruptions to their catered experience.

I get enough of that in my default job. :evil:

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Ratty
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Ratty » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:36 am

Wraith, I'm sorry to read your reply. If you enjoy anything at the event think about how it came to be. Streets being laid out, (and cleaned up afterwards), are made possible by volunteers. Art , music, and entertainment are not paid acts. Playa Info, Lost & Found, coffee at the cafe or even the entire Center Camp is fueled by volunteers. The man, the Temple and even the street lights are brought to you by the unselfish gift of volunteerism. The DMV is there to keep us safe. Thank you everyone that takes some time out of their vacation in the desert to make it happen.

Go out to black Rock Desert now. Quick, before it gets flooded. Have a nice camp out. Enjoy the natural beauty and barren desert. Think about all the unpaid work that goes into the event that we love so much.
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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by wraith » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:33 am

I do think about that unpaid work. A lot.

That's why plug and plays getting catered to in the era of sold out events makes me so furious.

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Re: Volunteerism Decline Discussion

Post by Captain Goddammit » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:58 pm

I came to the realization it made no sense to work for free - actually less than free, at a loss in fact, during my vacation, at a commercial event the Org profits from.

I gotta give them credit, it’s a fantastic business model, putting on a huge event with mostly unpaid labor that has been brainwashed into “volunteering” to stand by the road and direct traffic, or whatever, for nothing.
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