Posted at: 6/23/2014 10:28:00 PM .
Every year conventions and conferences take place all over the country and even the world. This past weekend, I attended the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con. The event was wonderful and you can read my recaps by searching the label "Wizard World."
While attending the conference, I saw lots of people in bright yellow shirts that said "volunteer" on the back. These volunteers were all fans of the convention that helped to keep lines organized, crowds moving, and celebrities happy. Volunteers trade a few hours of helping for free admission to the convention. Wizard World hosts Comic Cons all over the country so even if you're not in Philadelphia I recommend checking out their other cities.
The best part about volunteering at Comic Con? I asked a few of the volunteers and the resounding answer was that they were able to make new friends within their fandoms. A few questioned my motives for asking before admitting that the opportunity to work near a favorite celebrity was a huge benefit. Depending on the celebrity, volunteers can often (but not always) get quick photos or autographs without paying the fee once the lines slow down.
At Wizard World Comic Con, there are different types of volunteers. The volunteers wearing yellow shirts were the most noticeable. These volunteers answered the questions and directed fans to specific areas. They also assist with the celebrities and line control. The other type of volunteer was the digital team. Digital team members wore green shirts instead of the bright yellow.
The digital team was responsible for getting lots of pictures which were uploaded to Flickr, Instagram, and other social medias. I wasn't able to speak to any members of the digital team but I did see them at every panel standing towards the stage. They were also walking around the convention center taking pictures of the fans that participated in cosplay.
While this post is specifically about Wizard World, other conventions and conferences also trade volunteer hours for free admission. I know that the year I attended BlogHer, most of the people at registration were volunteers. They traded a few hours of handing out name badges for free admission to the conference. Professional organizations also offer admission in exchange for volunteer hours. If there is an event you truly want to attend, check their website and inquire about volunteer opportunities. You'll save money, make new friends, and still enjoy the conference. Please note that not all conferences offer free admission in exchange for volunteering. Some offer a discount based on the number of hours you volunteer.