What the heck in Volunteering - a journey from Someone to Organizer


In this Era, where we are surrounded by business-minded people, majorly, nothing is Free.

Even, Volunteering is Not Free in this Era.

Referring to the definition of Wikipedia,

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain "to benefit another person, group or organization".

Wikipedia

An altruistic activity means Disinterested & Selfless concern for well-being of others.

Having came across with above meaning, I thought,

Can we even behave altruistically in this Era?

I can not. I accept it. I have a selfish purpose of Volunteering.

TL;DR: And, I am purposefully sharing my journey, of Volunteering with you.

Introduction

It was back in 2012 when I attended my first technical conference, RubyConf India, in March 24-25. And, who knows that, I would be the part of the same Organizing Team; some day.

RubyConf 2012

Image: RubyConf India 2012 Schedule

It all started by that one person who always motivates you among the crowd on the particular thing he gained experience with. In my case, it was Pradeepto(PB) who triggered the spark of FOSS and encouraged me to get involved in its Community Events.

Being the first-timer, you go along with many emotions,

Noob, Loneliness, Being Unknown, Nervousness, Feeling Inferiority Complexity, Confident enough to stand etc etc.

I was lucky. I went along with my colleagues.

The event was wonderful; obviously I didn’t had the comparison stats. I got the chance to met Charles Nutter, JRuby Creator. I would say, it was the first fan moment in the context of Tech Celebs. Also, I got the glimpse of Matz through Video Keynote. I am amazed by the volume of cheering happened and quickly sensed that he was definitely some key person and later found it was the creator of Ruby Language.

How coool is that!!!

First Known Volunteering

Till 2016, I had been involved in many community events like attending meetups or conferences and volunteered partially in RubyConf. But, honestly speaking, my sense of being Responsible Volunteer reached to pro-level post joining Red Hat on Feb, 2016. On the same year, I volunteered for two conferences, GopherCon India 2016 and RubyConfIndia 2016. Interestingly, both the conference tickets were sponsored by my company.

How coool the company was!!!

I mostly landed in doing Company’s Brand promotion and getting familiar with many amazing people from the tech community.

The best part of the volunteering was

1. Having early access to Speakers
2. Known face in the Event
3. Free ticket (sometimes)
4. Lot of Learning in both technical & non-technical
5. Access to Party
6. Get familiar with many like-minded people
7. etc ...

Apart from above, I had the chance to take selfies with few prominent speakers and Matz himself.

How selfish I was!!!

Selfies

Image: Selfie with speakers at GopherCon India 2016

Selfie with Matz

Image: Selfie with Matz at RubyConf India 2016

Default Volunteer

My frequency of volunteering had reached to a level where I was known as the Default Volunteer among few of the Organizers of the events organized under Emerging Technology Trust (ETT), India.

I would like to give special thanks to Satish Sir for always giving me chance of volunteering whenever I asked for. I am just speechless when I see his dedication over community events even at the age of 60+.

Out of the following tasks in volunteering,

1. Registration Desk
2. Following Up Speakers
3. Segregation & Distribution of Swags
4. Handling Audio/Video
5. Handling Mic during Q&A post each talk
6. etc ...

the Registration Desk was the best experience. During its peak hour, one can experience the real essence of it. It usually fall half an hour or an hour later then the mentioned time of registration here in India where people start rushing for registration in bulk.

Registration Desk

Image: Registration Desk at RubyConf India 2016

After many years of Successful Volunteering, it was time to promote to Organizer level. I got this sense when one of the organizer told me

How long will you do this? Level Up, Buddy!

First Organizer Experience

It was during DevOpsDay India 2018, when I had the taste of my first organizer’s experience.

The tasks associated with Organizer is completely different than the Volunteer. It mainly includes

1. Getting the Sponsors
2. Deal with Official Agreements
3. Marketing of the Event
4. Finalizing the Event Venue
5. Catering
6. Maintaining Event Website
7. Call for Speakers & Filter best ones
8. Call for Volunteers & Manage them
9. Handling Ticketing
10. etc ...

I started with handling the website and came up with ETT Website as I felt there should be a central place of all the events organized by it. ETT was organizing seven plus conferences & events and at least I was not aware of it.

During the event, this time, my emotions of responsibility was completely different than the emotions of responsibility I had as a volunteer.

Now, I was managing the pool of Volunteers.

How coool is that!!!

Post this, I helped organizing the GopherCon India 2019 and RubyConf India 2019.

One of the few special moments I had during this was to spent time with both Matz and Charles Nutter. Both were very friendly and understanding. We really had nice intense technical conversation around Ruby and its further growth.

Selfie with Matz

Image: Selfie with Matz at RubyConf India 2019

Selfie with Charles

Image: Selfie with Charles at RubyConf India 2019

What I learnt out of my Selfish Volunteering

Definitely there was some learning each time during my volunteering apart from having fun.

Following are few incidents which I felt happpend,

1. Communication Improved
2. Management Skills Improved
3. Self-Branding Increased
4. Scaled Up Technical Knowledge
5. Got More Friends
6. Had Fun
7. Overall Personality Improved
8. etc ...

Just thinking sometime,

What Else One Need!

What am I volunteering now?

Presently, I have involved myself in Nepal’s Biggest Hackathon apart from partially active in ETT events.

Now, I am really realizing the value of those four magical words to an Organizer.

How Can I Help?

Freelancer BRG

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