Your team has decided to host a code camp or a workshop on a certain technology. You’ve set the topic, identified the speakers and even reserved the venue. You also now have a page about your event ready for promotions. Hmm… what else could you be missing?
I’m Haifa Carina, Director of DevCon Philippines, a volunteer organization for developers by developers. We’ve been organizing code camps for more than 5 years and in this post we’ll share with you tips on running a successful code camp.
1. Set Attendee Requirements
And make them public. Participants need to know what is expected of them before they enter the venue. What are the skills or concepts a participant must study? Do they need prior experience on a specific language or tool? Do they bring their own laptops? What are your harware requirements and the software/s they need to install? Also, send participants requirements reminders preferably before you open registration or at least 2 days before the event.
2. Include Email Address in Your Registration
Your participant email address is the ony direct way to communicate with your attendees. The chances of them reading your email is far higher than posting on your social media channels. Any change in venue, speaker or requirements must be communicated to them always. At DevCon, we use Eventbrite to manage all our registration requirements including communications.
3. Consider 50% No Show Registrants for Free Camps
If you’re targetting 50 participants, open your registration up to 75 slots. No show registrants cannot be avoided especially when its free. Either they have an emergency or got lazy, they won’t mind not going to your event because they have nothing to lose. For paid events, the no show percentage is lower. If you have time, you can ask registrants to reconfirm their slots to reduce the no show percentage.
4. Get Mentors When Possible
Usually, we only have 1 speaker for a room full of participants. But having mentors who can assist particiants following through the workshop without interrupting the speaker far improves the participant learning experience in general.
5. Check venue set-up a day before the event
Remind your venue in charge of your requirements and ensure you get a response. One time, our venue partner forgot about our event. Luckily, we reminded them just in time to complete the necessary venue preparations. Also, double check internet connectivity.
6. Encourage participants to use your unique hashtag
While your team can publish updates on social media, encourage participants to post on their accounts as well. You’ll get live feedback from them at the same time increase social media presence for your event. Two birds in one stone! Bonus tip: Raffle off items for those who posts publicly using the hashtag. At DevCon, we use Tweetdraw for selecting Twitter winners.
Hope you’ll find these tips helpful! You have additional tips you want to add? Share them in the comments sections below.