Let’s Rebuild WisCon!

This update is written by me, Kit Stubbs (they/them), in my role as Treasurer for SF3, WisCon’s parent not-for-profit organization.

Thanks to everyone who donated, volunteered, and helped spread the word, last year we were able to #SaveWisCon! It’s now up to us to #RebuildWisCon by building up our financial reserves to run WisCon 46 in 2023 and years to come and growing our volunteer base so that we can have an awesome con in 2023.

WisCon 46 in 2023 is happening!
We are thrilled to announce that Gillian Sochor (she/her, G is soft like “giraffe”, Sochor like “super soaker”) is joining Lindsey and Sherry as our third co-chair. This means we are going ahead with an in-person con for 2023!

As soon as registration and hotel rooms are available, we’ll send out an update via our newsletter. As always, please subscribe if you aren’t already on our list — email is the most reliable way we have of communicating with you!

Thanks to everyone who donated and offered matching gifts last year, we were able to cover the cost of our 2022 hotel contract. We are now looking to raise $30,000 in this year’s annual fundraiser which will allow us to do all kinds of awesome things for WisCon 46 in 2023, including:

  • Offset the cost of hotel rooms for members who need to isolate due to COVID-19 and who otherwise might not be able to due to the financial burden
  • Purchase more high-quality air filters for con spaces and masks for members
  • Expand the meal voucher program, introduced last year, which enables members in need to eat for free at local restaurants
  • Continue to offer CART services for transcription, now that the state of Wisconsin is no longer providing funds to offset that cost
And part of that $30,000 will go towards rebuilding WisCon’s savings after last year.

If you weren’t aware, WisCon can’t pay for itself with registrations alone. We try to keep the cost of registration down to make our con as affordable as possible. But what that means is that we’re counting on the members of our community who can chip in extra to do so! Please donate today to help #RebuildWisCon!

Can you give $1k or more to help rebuild WisCon? Write me (Kit) at treasurer@sf3.org to help start a matching funds drive.

WisCon Member Assistance Fund
This year we’re also looking to raise $3,000 for our WisCon Member Assistance Fund! The WMAF is a specially designated fund that can only be used to provide travel grants to help members attend WisCon. Please consider making a donation via PayPal.

We are so grateful to everyone who helped out pre-con and at-con in 2022! We are now still desperately in need of pre-con volunteers so that we can provide all of the activities and infrastructure that we did last year. This year, if we don’t have department leads in time, we’ll have to start cutting back on what we offer. If there’s something you really love about WisCon and you want to make sure it happens, now is the time to step up by completing our volunteer survey!

We’ll continue to send out calls for volunteers over the coming weeks, but right now we need new people in the following committees & departments (departments/activities at risk of getting cut in bold):

  • Personnel:  We need people for Personnel who want to do back-end checks, posts, and permissions. This role is great for anyone who likes checklists, many small & well-defined tasks, and staying organized. You get quick, small victories that recur with each new opening and candidate. The big payoff is getting each new person on board! It takes an hour per week, on average, though like everything else that can get more intense closer to WisCon, depending on staffing turnover. No at-con work, remote volunteers OK!
  • AppDev: We need at least one more volunteer developer to help with our back-end scheduling & registration software (PHP/Apache/MySQL). Remote volunteers OK!
  • Art Show: We need an Art Show Room Setup/Teardown Coordinator – Leads at-con volunteers to build the Art Show panel structures (out of pipes and pegboards) on Thursday afternoon/evening and tear them down on Monday. We have tools and instructions for this, but are looking for a handy/engineering-minded person to take charge of the process.
  • Communications (Print Materials): We need help so we can offer print materials next con! We’re looking for a Print Coordinator to grab info from our departments and turn it into PDFs for printing so we can have some basic materials available. If you’ve got some basic word processing/layout skills and you like supporting our membership through communications, this might be a good fit for you! Remote volunteers OK.
  • Communications (Marketing): We need someone who’s excited to help us spread the word about what WisCon is! We know there are lots more people who might be interested in joining our feminist speculative fiction con but they just don’t know about us yet. If you’ve got ideas for what we can tell or show people to excite them about WisCon, the Comms team can help you get those ideas out on our blog and social media. Previous marketing experience helpful.
  • Communications (Twitter): Twitter’s still here, and we need someone to help out with WisCon’s Twitter account! At a minimum, this involves making tweets at the request of other departments and committees; but if you’re into it and enjoy being on Twitter, you’re welcome to put your own stamp on it by signal boosting our past Guests of Honor and others whose work might be of interest to the WisCon community. Previous experience using Twitter required.
  • Con Suite: We need one to two more co-leads or we won’t be able to offer Grab & Go food or meal vouchers. This is an at-con position involving buying and working with volunteers to set up and restock the free food available to members in our Con Suite. Previous experience in food service is a plus but not required.
  • COVID-19 Team: We’re looking for one online support volunteer and one in-person support volunteer to join our existing COVID Team members to help out during the con. Support volunteers are available to help set up air ventilation as needed and connect attendees who test positive for COVID with the resources that WisCon has available. We’re looking for folks who have a strong interest in keeping WisCon 2023 as safe as possible; a general understanding of public health policy making is helpful.
  • Dessert Salon: We need at least two co-leads (at least one at-con) so we can run our Dessert Salon fundraiser this year! This involves working with the hotel to set the menu of desserts; scheduling dessert salon volunteer shifts; and working at-con on Sunday to pass out dessert line number tickets & oversee the event.
  • Dealers Room: If you love checking out the vendors in our Dealers Room, we need an at-con co-lead to help liaise between dealers on site and the rest of the ConCom.
  • Gaming: Love games and helping people play them? We’re looking for an at-con co-lead to join our Gaming department! Should we continue to run scheduled games the way we have been doing? Should we look at a more Games On Demand style schedule (recruiting a small group of Game Masters who have a small catalog of games they can run with anyone who shows up)? If you have ideas about how you’d like to see gaming run at WisCon and want to help recruit people to run and play games, please join us!
  • Gathering: If we’re going to have a Gathering this year, we need at least one lead! Leads solicit for activity ideas and help with room setup. If you want to help people mingle — maybe you have ideas for activities to help our members meet each other? — this would be a great fit!
  • Green Room: Want to help support our program participants? We need co-leads to organize and schedule volunteer shifts for our Green Room.
  • Guest of Honor Liaisons: We need two people, one for Martha Wells and one for Rivers Solomon, who facilitate communication with them pre-con and help direct them to where they need to be at-con. Liaisons also introduce them at the Thursday night reading and Sunday Guest of Honor speeches. If you’re a people person who’s into scheduling and logistics and you’re OK with some public speaking, this could be a good fit for you!
  • Hotel: We need one person to be an at-con coordinator for A/V with our awesome hotel, one person to be a pre- and at-con liaison for our event spaces with the hotel, and one person to help manage the WisCon room block (remote OK). All these roles have been filled by one person for the past number of years and we need to bring in some new volunteers. The Concourse is awesome and the staff is very friendly and helpful, we’re looking for folks who are detail-oriented and excited about logistics.
  • Kids’ Programming: If we’re going to have a Kids Programming track this year, we need one to two co-leads attending in person to advertise for activities and/or help run activities for kids. If you like working with kids, we’ve got plenty of supplies and ideas from past cons to get you started!
  • Panels: Panels Programming needs more pre-con volunteers to help review panels submissions and help with scheduling; you can help out whether you’re attending remotely or in person.
  • Readings: We need at least one person to help solicit for readers and work on scheduling readings or we won’t be able to offer Readings this year.
  • Registration: We’re looking for two at-con leads to help coordinate the Registration desk during the con, and an at-con volunteer to help coordinate tech support for folks participating in online Zoom-based sessions. You don’t have to do everything yourself, you’ll be working with the Registration team to set up volunteer shifts and provide info & training to during-con volunteers.
  • Safety: We need at least two co-leads to help us take care of us! Safety co-leads help promote a safer environment at WisCon through consistent security staffing throughout active con hours, issuing warnings as necessary, and working together with our Anti-Abuse Team, Con Co-Chairs, and hotel security. A lot of what Safety co-leads do involves recruiting volunteers for Safety shifts, offering brief trainings, and empowering those volunteers to help members who have questions or who need assistance.
  • SignOut: If you love supporting our attending authors, we need a lead so we can have SignOut again this year! Leads help solicit authors to participate, plan for who sits where, and then attend & oversee the SignOut event.
  • Workshops: Passionate about our workshops? We need an in-person co-lead to help solicit and schedule workshops and liaise between our workshop runners and the rest of the con, and a co-lead to help coordinate online-based workshops (remote OK!).
If any of these sound like they might be a good fit for you, mention the role or department in the survey under the “What kind of volunteer work are you interested in?” question. Want to help out but not sure where? That’s totally fine, too! We’ll work with you to find a role you’ll enjoy.

Thanks for helping us #RebuildWisCon!
Whether you’re able to donate or volunteer, we also need help spreading the word! Thanks for re-sharing us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and please subscribe to the newsletter and tell your friends to subscribe, too!

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