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July 24 - July 26, 2015
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Home  //  Volunteer  //  Volunteering: Gofer FAQ
Volunteering: Gofer FAQ

Gofer FAQ

If you have a question that is not addressed here please contact us via the Otakon contact form and we will reply via e-mail as soon as possible.

General Questions:

Why Gofer?

Because we "go-fer this, and go-fer that". Also Gofers and Otakon Staff are both volunteer positions. This helps us to differentiate between the two types of volunteers.

If I come to the Friday morning Gofer Orientation am I guaranteed a Gofer spot?

Only if your Gofer Pre-Registration has been approved will you be guaranteed a spot. We will be limiting the number of Gofer openings available to 250. If we do not reach that number during pre-registration, we will process at-con registrations on a first come, first served basis. Pre-registering is the only way to ensure we save you a spot.

How early should I get in line for the Friday morning Gofer Orientation?

You should arrive at least 1 hour before the meeting's scheduled time. Keep in mind the limited number of Gofer openings and plan accordingly.

When is Gofer Orientation? What is Gofer Orientation? Gofer Orientation takes place at two times on Thursday for pre-registered gofers only and Friday morning for all others as well as pre-registered. We will have a Friday evening orientation if our volunteer needs have not been met with previous orientations.

More information on Gofer Orientation will be posted closer to Otakon

During Gofer Orientation you will be introduced to the "Dos" and "Don'ts" of gofering, as well as other information. Gofer Orientation covers everything you need to know about volunteering at Otakon and it is MANDATORY. Food and drink will be available at orientation.

I hear there is a Bulletin Board on the Internet that Gofers use to for information and to get to know each other. Is this true? How do I get on it?

Yes, on the Otakon Web Boards. If you are not a member for 2014, sign up and then send a private message to Cousinsue requesting access to the restricted Gofer Forum. We also have a Facebook group, which can be found by searching for Otakon Gofers on Facebook. Both are closed groups, open only to current and past Otakon Gofers.

Can I work in a costume?

Yes, as long as the costume does not interfere with your Gofer duties. Also your Gofer identification and Otakon membership badge must be clearly visible at all times. It is up to the department head you are working with to determine if your costume interferes with your duties.

Can I be made staff at Otakon?

No, but positive recommendations from the staff you work with will be passed on to the Otakon Chief of Staff at the end of con. You can not directly apply to Staff, it requires the recommendation from 2 different staff members, present and in good standing, to be considered for staff next year. Volunteering is the best way to get recommendations (and find out what it's like to work with us!)

How many hours do I need to work?

Minimum of four hours to a maximum of twenty hours or more depending upon availability of work and needs of the con. We have different levels of incentives (see below) for the more hours you work. All work over 20 hours earns only the undying gratitude of the Otakon staff.

What if I sign up and then change my mind / are no longer able to Volunteer?

No problem, just log back in to access your Gofer Registration record (click on the "I want to Volunteer" link at the bottom of the Gofer Pre-Registration page) and update your status. We're sorry you won't be able to join us, but thank you for letting us know. Since we have a limited number of spots open, updating your status makes room for someone else.

Why would I want to be a Gofer at Otakon?

  • To be part of this wonderful thing we call Otakon.
  • You brought your kids to the con and want something to do other than follow them around.
  • You brought your parents to the con and want them to be engaged, and not bored. It's also a fun thing to share with them.
  • Being a Gofer is a pathway to becoming staff!
  • Incentives!
  • Because working at Otakon is fun!

Why would I not want to be a Gofer at Otakon?

  • We need TOP-NOTCH people for Otakon Gofers. That means you present yourself well, put Otakon's needs before your own when on duty, and carry a friendly, helpful attitude with everyone you deal with, members, staff and fellow Gofers alike. We will ask you for the hours you are available to work and do our best to only schedule you during those times. If you're not sure you will be able to commit to working at least the 4 hours minimum we require, please consider joining us another year. First and foremost, we want you to enjoy the convention. Volunteer work should come after that (though many of our gofers find they enjoy volunteering just as much as the con!)

Incentive Questions

Beyond your undying gratitude what do I get for volunteering at Otakon?

  • For every full four (4) hours you work you get a food voucher. We are currently working on aspects of the voucher part of our program. These vouchers will not be good for Starbucks items.
  • After eight (8) total hours you get a Gofer T-Shirt, if you have provided us with your shirt size prior to con (you will be asked on the registration form).
  • After twelve (12) total hours you get an Otakon T-shirt.
  • After sixteen (16) total hours you have earned full membership reimbursement. A check will be sent to you after con.
  • For the most dedicated volunteers who put in twenty hours (20) or more, you will get a choice of either $40 per room night hotel reimbursement or a valuable prize grab bag. Once again as for the membership reimbursement above the hotel reimbursement will be a check mailed to you after the con.

About the hotel room reimbursement: how does that work exactly?

Here's a checklist.

  • Book and pay for your room. Be SURE to get your name on the receipt!
  • Work 20 or more hours at Otakon.
  • On Sunday, sign out as a Gofer and get your worksheet approved by staff in Gofer Ops.
  • Provide Gofer Ops with your hotel room receipt WITH YOUR NAME listed on it and fill out the short form we give you.
  • (Optional) You can share the room with other gofers so more of the total room costs can be reimbursed. Keep in mind that only four gofers will be reimbursed per room per night.
  • Otakon will send you a check in the mail (usually takes a couple weeks after the con).

Must my name be on the hotel room receipt?

YES!!! We will only reimburse gofers that are named specifically on the hotel receipt. If you are not the person paying for the room, you can still get your name listed on the receipt. Hotels prefer having the names of all room occupants listed on the receipt. Just make sure at the time of booking if the hotel will list your name. Even at check-out you can ask the hotel employee to have your name listed on the receipt.

Can I get the reimbursement check from Otakon made out to someone else?

Yes, there is a short form for hotel reimbursements so you can provide us with all the information we need including who to make the check out to and where to send it.

Can you help me get roommates?

The Otakon Web Boards has a section for those who are looking for roommates as well as who needs them.

Why do you require I fill out an IRS W-9 form? Will I need to fill out something for my taxes?

We require a W-9 form because there is the potential we may have to issue you a reimbursement check if you work the requisite number of hours. This form does not get sent to the IRS and there is nothing you need to do on your taxes. It is only for us to verify that we are allowed to write you the check.

Anything Else?

How can I get more information on Gofering?

If you have any specific questions visit the Otakon Web Boards. There is a special section on the board specifically for questions about gofers and gofering. Otherwise you can contact Gofer Ops through the Otakon Contact Form.

To continue on to Gofer Pre-Registration follow this link.
Gofer Pre-Registration

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