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It should be unaffiliated with any religious or political groups.
Try hard to find a free one; expensive venues mean lots of fundraising work.
Find the venue, have it approved by WPCSWPCSThe collection of PHP_CodeSniffer rules (sniffs) used to format and validate PHP code developed for WordPress according to the WordPress Coding Standards.
Never pay a venue deposit on your own. WPCS will always do that for you!
Once you’re approved as an organizer and have gotten a team together, all of you should start looking for a venue. You will not be added to the WordCamp CentralWordCamp CentralWebsite for all WordCamp activities globally. https://central.wordcamp.org includes a list of upcoming and past camp with links to each. calendar without a confirmed venue, so don’t pick dates first.
However, do identify dates of major sporting events, other tech conferences, and anything else that might compete with your WordCampWordCampWordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. and make planning more difficult.
Ultimately, finding the right venue (at the right price) beats just about everything. Explore a number of options before you decide.
Getting a donated venue (vs. renting space) can mean the difference between not worrying about money and suddenly having to come up $50,000. A budget with a venue cost that high is unlikely to be approved and will mean your team will have to continue looking.
There are a number of potential venues that can often be had for free:
Public colleges and universities
Public event halls
It can help to have someone from that venue who is excited about WordCamp and invite them onto your organizing team, if they’d make a good organizer.
Calling a college and asking them to donate an auditorium and a handful of rooms will almost always get you transferred to their conference or facilities manager, who will want to charge you. A faculty member, department head, or staff member who says, “I want to host this event as part of my program,” is a different story.
Cold-calling and retail rates are not your friends.
If you can’t get a free venue, look for something as inexpensive as possible, so you can focus on your event’s content rather than fundraising. Always ask for discounts and try to negotiate. The worst that can happen is they say no.
And we do mean all costs, because they will nickel-and-dime you for everything from outlets to tablecloths and will lock you in to their expensive catering contractors. Unless you have a connection from one of these venues that wants to come on as a venue sponsor, these types of facilities should be avoided:
Professional event spaces
Basically, if the space is their business, they won’t want to give it away unless there’s someone there that is in love with WordPress. Long shot, but it’s been done: offering to redo their website on WordPress might get you a trade.
You should also avoid venues with religious or political affiliations. Since one of our jobs as community organizers is to create a 100% welcoming space for everyone, we avoid holding events in venues where someone might feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
Going for something with a little more character — like a community performance space, a museum, or a restaurant — can make your WordCamp unique, that’s for sure.
If you can do it on a small budget, great. But don’t pick an unusual venue for its own sake. People come to WordCamp to learn, meet people, and make connections, not to say “I got to go to this cool venue.”
Unusual venues also tend to require more organizer time to get things like A/V set up, so make sure you are able to get those things covered before you commit.
There are a number of things aside from cost that you should take into consideration when choosing your venue. It may seem like a long list, but evaluating these things ahead of time will save your team problems later.
Also, always plan to do a walkthrough, even if it’s a venue you’ve used before. Nothing compares to seeing a venue in person and it can be the best way to learn of any construction or closures, as well as other events in the area, that could impact your camp.
When you do the venue walkthrough and as you decide on your space, think about:
Where would you set up registration?
Will people be easily able to move from one session to another?
Is there room for extras like a job board or help desk/happiness bar?
Will the venue hold the number of people you think will want to come?
Is it too small? Too big?
It’s better to sell out than to pay for unused space.
Does the venue come pre-wired for presentations with projectors tied to presenter podiums, microphones, etc?
Are there additional charges for using this equipment?
Can you supplement with your own (like to tap into the projector with a video cable to record the presentation screen)?
Do they provide support staff?
Are you required to use their staff?
Check to see if previous users of the venue have reviewed it on yelp.com or the like.
Ask the venue coordinator if they would be willing to put you in touch with a former customer or two so you could ask about their experience at the venue.
Do they have ethernet? Wifi?
How much bandwidth?
How many access points?
You will need to make sure you have internet access for your presenters at a minimum. It’s desirable to have wifi for attendees, but if everything else is ideal, you can get by without it. Just tell your attendees to focus on the people and the event happening around them instead of on the Twitter feed for a change.
Cell phone reception
You’ll want to be able to get calls and send messages as needed to speakers, volunteers, etc on the day of the event.
If your venue is a dead zone, that will be a problem. Phone coverage is more important than wifi, because a large share of attendees have either EVDO/MiFi and/or a smartphone, and can access the internet over a cell signal.
If your event is going to have over 400 people, it’s worth calling AT&T and/or Verizon and having them do a site check to see if they might want to boost coverage there. They don’t like it when lots of bloggers start twittering about the poor iPhone reception. 🙂
When will they let you in to set up?
How long will you have to get people out of the venue and clear out?
Does the venue provide event insurance?
Will WPCS’s insurance match the venue’s requirements?
US only: does the venue require Worker’s Comp?
If not, all WordCamps are covered by the WPCS umbrella policy, so no extra event insurance is necessary.
If you didn’t get a free venue, ask when their non-peak rates are. You can often save significantly by holding your event during a slow booking time.
Are you allowed to bring in food/beverage, or will they require you to use their caterers?
What about if you get food/beverage donations from sponsors?
Are there refrigeration/food preparation facilities you can use?
How many are there, and how far are they from your rooms?
How often are they cleaned/serviced?
Air conditioning? Heat?
Ask what temperature they try to keep the space.
Ask about traffic noise, noise from adjacent buildings/floors, upcoming construction.
Speaking of traffic, is there parking available? Is it free or paid?
Is there a mass transit line nearby, so you can encourage people not to drive?
AccessibilityAccessibilityAccessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)
Once you’ve decided on the best space, it’s time to choose a date.
Pick an initial date your team likes from the venues available dates. Remember to identify dates of major sporting events, other tech conferences, and anything else that might compete with your event or make planning more difficult.
Check for potential conflicts with other WordCamps in your region. Remember to look at both:
the “Planned WordCamps” sidebarSidebarA sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme. for camps that don’t have a confirmed date yet
If there’s a conflict:
For known conflicts, you’ll likely want to choose a new date so local attendees (as well as speakers and sponsors) will not have to choose between multiple camps
For WordCamps in your area that are still in planning and do not have a listed dated, we suggest reaching out to those organizers to learn which dates they’re aiming for.
Why It’s Best to Avoid Conflicting Dates
It may seem like extra work to check on other camps and their dates, but it can really help with the success of your event.
It’s also a good way to build relationships with other area organizers and demonstrate that you’re willing to work together. Avoid conflicting or overlapping date for your events can benefit them as much as you, and is best for the overall community.
How to Contact Other Organizers in your Area
Most organizers should be reachable using CITYNAME@wordcamp.org email address. You can also try to find someone from the organizing team in the #community-events channel in Slack.