Executing a SQLSaturday

Executing a SQLSaturday

How do I manage volunteers?

Volunteers are an essential part of every PASS SQLSaturday event. Individuals opt-in to volunteer when they register. You can track the number of individuals who have opted-in to volunteer on the main page of your event portal. Go to admin.sqlsaturday.com -> Select your event. You will see the number of available volunteers under “Registration Details”.

It is important to think about all the volunteer roles in advance, and how many volunteers you will need to fill these roles. This number will be dependant on the size of your event. Use this to build a Volunteer Plan, where you consider volunteer shifts, breaks, arrival and departure times, and necessary materials.

Once you have come up with your Volunteer Plan you can send a message your volunteers via the Message Center to let them know the details of the available roles and ask them to sign up for the role and shift that works best for them. To access the Message Center, go to admin.sqlsaturday.com -> Select your event -> Message Center -> Send a Message. Use the dropdown menu to send a message directly to volunteers.   

For more information about volunteers, see “Volunteer Instructions” under Event Organizer Resources -> SQLSaturday Documents.

How do I manage registration at my event?

You will need to set up several tables at the entrance of your event with volunteers. When an attendee or speaker arrives, the volunteer will:

  • Collect their Admission Ticket (part of SpeedPASS) and scan and/or save it
  • Give them an attendee bag and a name badge holder. Provide the attendee with details of the first sessions.
  • If they did not print out their SpeedPASS, direct them to the Not Registered table, where they should be able to print their SpeedPASS.
  • For speakers, direct them to the Speaker Room.

Consider how long you think it will take to check-in your registered attendees. This will be dependent on the number of registrants and the number of volunteers available. Factor this time into your schedule and make sure you have long enough to get through the whole check-in process without overrunning into the first session of the day.

I have opted to provide lunch. How should I manage this on the day of the event?

The SpeedPASS will include a lunch ticket for all attendees who have paid for lunch. If you are not charging for lunch and don't wish to use tickets, you can set this ticket to not print prior to generating the SpeedPASS. This is located under Event Settings -> Site Settings in the admin site.

How you serve lunch will be dependent on the type of food you are providing, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to set up tables in the serving area. Think about this area in advance. Is there enough space for your attendees to line up? Is it in an easily accessed area of your venue?
  • Have your food delivered at a time that will not disrupt the flow of your event. Ideally, it will be delivered while your attendees are in a session.
  • If you think you might have leftover lunches, research in advance any nearby organizations that you might be able to donate lunches to once lunch is over. Arrange for a volunteer to deliver it.

Consider how long you think it will take to serve lunch to all your attendees. This will be dependent on the number of registrants and the number of volunteers available. Factor this time into your schedule and make sure you have long enough to serve everyone, as well as making sure that everyone has enough time to eat and relax before starting the afternoon sessions.

Do I need to provide refreshments for attendees, speakers and volunteers?

It is recommended that you provide refreshments for your speakers and volunteers. To make sure that refreshments reserved for speakers and volunteers, you can keep the refreshments in the Speaker Room and be clear about who can access that space.

Depending on your budget, you may want to offer breakfast, or just drinks. If possible, have coffee and tea available all day. Some things to remember to have on site:

  • Coffee / Tea
  • Coffee cups
  • Napkins & paper towels
  • Milk or creamer
  • Real sugar and artificial sugar

If you have the budget for it, you may want to consider:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Doughnuts
  • Cookies
  • Sandwiches

How should I prepare my venue for my event?

Every venue is set up differently and will provide different amenities, however you will need to ensure that the following are set up before your attendees arrive:

Signage. Make sure you have plenty of signage, both outside and inside the venue. Try to approach the venue as an attendee who has never been there before, and make sure that they can easily find the entrance, registration, session rooms, sponsors, lunch and restrooms. You will also want to have signs on the doors of the session rooms listing what sessions are happening in those specific rooms.

Speaker Room. Speakers need a quiet area to prepare for their sessions. If possible, have bottles of water available in this room, and if your budget allows it, provide other drinks and snacks.

What supplies should I have on-site?

Some useful things you should have available during your event:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pens
  • Notepads
  • A printer with extra paper and ink (some events have a printing station for attendees who forgot to print their SpeedPASS)
  • Large trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Paper towels / napkins
  • Gloves for handling food
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Coolers with ice for drinks

How do I run the raffles at my event?

Having a significant prize to win in a raffle at the end of the day can keep you attendees around right until the end of your event. Make sure you let your attendees know that they must be present to receive the prize.

End of Day Raffle. This will likely be for the most significant prize you have on offer. Here are few things you should consider:

  • Be sure to schedule a block of networking time between the end of the final session and the raffle. This block should be no more 20 minutes as you may lose some attendees. If a session runs long, this break provides buffer to ensure that all attendees can make it to the raffle.
  • Use Event Evaluations as raffle tickets – this will mean you get more evaluations returned.
  • For software prizes, make sure you have a placeholder - build a "prize certificate" that includes the software key or the contact information for the vendor
  • Have someone available to record who wins the prizes, that information should go back to the sponsor and it's also great to announce as a close out note for the event.

In-Session Raffles. These can be conducted throughout the day for smaller prizes. They work best when you have volunteers as room monitors who can ensure the speaker ends early enough to do the raffle. You can use Session Evaluations as raffle tickets so that you can get feedback for your speakers.

The biggest issue with In-Session Raffles is to keep the speakers moving and have time for the raffle and still allow the next speaker time to setup.

What is a Speaker Dinner and do I need to plan one?

A Speaker Dinner is a get-together for all the speakers the day before the event. Many PASS SQLSaturdays provide a Speaker Dinner, but not everyone has the budget to do so. That is completely fine! Just make sure to let the Speakers know what to expect before the event.

If you are planning a Speaker Dinner, have the Speaker name badges and SpeedPASSes ready for them so they don't have to spend time at registration during the event. If you are providing Speaker shirts, have those ready at the speaker dinner as well.

What do I need to do after my event is complete?

Post-event Activities. Some events organize after parties. This can be something as simple as reserving a group of tables and ask everyone to cover their own expenses, to providing some drinks or appetizers. The important thing is to let everyone know that they can meet and continue their networking after the event is over.

Post Event Form. After your event, the PASS HQ Team will send you information about the Post Event Form. This is where you will submit attendee numbers, volunteer numbers, sponsorship amounts and any feedback you have for other organizers.

Post Event E-mails. Make sure to thank all your sponsors, speakers and volunteers for their support and hard work! There are templates available in the Message Center for this.

Event Evaluations. You can provide attendees with paper forms to fill in at the event (see Event Resources to download a form you can use). Online evaluations open are open for one week after the event:

http://www.sqlsaturday.com/###/EventEval.aspx
http://www.sqlsaturday.com/###/Sessions/SessionEvaluation.aspx

Note: Replace ### with the number of your SQLSaturday

Sponsor Follow-Ups. Stay in touch with your sponsors. If you plan to host another PASS SQLSaturday next year, let them know early so that they can budget for sponsoring your event.

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