Monday, July 23, 2007

7500 interested in volunteering

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Interested in volunteering for the 2008 Democratic National Convention? Get in line:

About 7,500 people have already expressed an interest in volunteering during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, the chief of the local host committee said today. "We've had 7,500 people who've sent their names to us," said Mike Dino. "The next step is to get (more) information and see who's serious."

An estimated 10,000 volunteers will be needed in the time preceding -- and during -- the convention.
Volunteer opportunities will range from staffing events and hospitality suites to doing office work and preparing materials for delegates and media. An estimated 35,000 people will be in town for the convention. Dino said that 50 volunteers would probably be needed by year-end to drive convention-related visitors around the city.

Volunteers, however, are unlikely to get access to the Pepsi Center during the convention. "Unfortunately, most of the people getting credentials will be from out of town," said Dino. "It's tough enough to get into the convention hall for folks who are staff for the VIPs."

The key to get a really good (i.e., meet interesting people, maybe get into the hall) volunteer job is not to be 1 of 10,000, but 1 of a very few. And a really good way to do that is to offer to volunteer for the whole summer. Especially for college students, offer to start in late May, and by the end of the summer you'll have a really rewarding experience no matter what you end up doing.

Or maybe you'll just get lucky. In 1976, the Saturday before the convention started, a high-school friend told me they needed volunteers downtown in New York. (No web registration!). I walked into a hotel ballroom with a few hundred people. Then, someone asked for 2 people who knew Manhattan really well. I raised my hand, and soon I was a messenger, constantly running paperwork to various hotels. (Even pre-fax!). After 4 days of running around the hot, humid, summer city, I was rewarded with passes into the convention on Wednesday and Thursday, getting to see Carter and Mondale give their acceptance speeches. Best memory was seeing them totally change overnight between Wednesday and Thursday the color scheme of the hall from the standard red, white and blue to Carter's green campaign color. Great stuff.

Click here to sign up to volunteer for the convention.