From Paying to be a Volunteer to Being Paid Staff

Jan 24, 2017 | Comic Cons

In an unexpected move today, Phoenix ComiCon reversed a decision regarding volunteers they had made last month that had sent ripples throughout the pop convention community. 

The proposal had been that all volunteers for the 2017 ComiCon, and beyond, would now have to become members of The Blue Ribbon Army in order to volunteer.  The Blue Ribbon Army is a 501(c)7 social club focused on giving like-minded geeks a place to meet new friends. 501(c)7s require all to be dues-paying members.  This led to the complaint that volunteers now had to pay to volunteer and caused a substantial amount of backlash against Phoenix ComiCon, with some even going so far as to threaten a boycott.

Today’s decision to now operate Phoenix ComiCon with all paid staff  seemed to be a decision that was off the table last month as being too costly and not providing the attendees with enough staff to accommodate them.  Matt Solberg appears to have worked out the logistics and is now moving forward with this new direction and it would seem that the uproar over the “pay-to-play scandal” would now subside.  Only time will tell, but your Hometown Geeks are still very much looking forward to this year’s ComiCon!

Full text of press release from Matthew Solberg is below…

Hometown Geek-I'm Going! to Phoenix ComiCon 2017

This morning, the staff and volunteers for Phoenix Comicon received the final staffing decision from Matt Solberg and Square Egg Entertainment. The letter, in its entirety, is below. We are available for comments and questions all day.

Thank you,
Kristin Rowan
Square Egg Entertainment

 

January 23, 2017 –

After much deliberation, we have decided to shift to an all paid staff in the operation of Phoenix Comicon and all events associated with Square Egg Entertainment, including Phoenix Fan Fest, Minnesota Fan Fest, and Keen Halloween.

There are many individuals who helped make Phoenix Comicon one of the best run conventions in the country.  To them we owe our sincerest thanks and gratitude.  We hope that many of those who assisted us will apply for the new paid positions as we announce them.  In appreciation for everything you have done for us, those who served as volunteers in 2016 who are not selected for positions will receive two complimentary full event passes for Phoenix Comicon 2017 and 2018 as our gift.  

We continue to support Blue Ribbon Army as a corporate member and through promotion of their group and activities.  We look forward to what they can accomplish and are excited to be a part of it.

While this was not the original decision as announced three weeks ago, nor was this the option selected by most of our volunteers, we do believe this is the best decision long term for our company and our conventions based on feedback and concerns raised.  It avoids further controversies as this industry changes, keeps us compliant with changing laws, and increases the professionalism and effectiveness of our team.    

As this discussion consumed social media and news outlets over the past three weeks, we have continued to work behind-the-scenes on making our events for 2017 stellar.  We look forward to sharing announcements on our upcoming guests and content at all our shows.  
Phoenix Comicon will continue to thrive and be a source of joy for thousands of attendees this year and in future years.

Thank you all for your discourse and feedback,

Matthew Solberg
CEO, Square Egg Entertainment
Convention Director, Phoenix Comicon

In an unexpected move today, Phoenix ComiCon reversed a decision regarding volunteers they had made last month that had sent ripples throughout the pop convention community. 

The proposal had been that all volunteers for the 2017 ComiCon, and beyond, would now have to become members of The Blue Ribbon Army in order to volunteer.  The Blue Ribbon Army is a 501(c)7 social club focused on giving like-minded geeks a place to meet new friends. 501(c)7s require all to be dues-paying members.  This led to the complaint that volunteers now had to pay to volunteer and caused a substantial amount of backlash against Phoenix ComiCon, with some even going so far as to threaten a boycott.

Today’s decision to now operate Phoenix ComiCon with all paid staff  seemed to be a decision that was off the table last month as being too costly and not providing the attendees with enough staff to accommodate them.  Matt Solberg appears to have worked out the logistics and is now moving forward with this new direction and it would seem that the uproar over the “pay-to-play scandal” would now subside.  Only time will tell, but your Hometown Geeks are still very much looking forward to this year’s ComiCon!

Full text of press release from Matthew Solberg is to the right –>

Hometown Geek-I'm Going! to Phoenix ComiCon 2017

This morning, the staff and volunteers for Phoenix Comicon received the final staffing decision from Matt Solberg and Square Egg Entertainment. The letter, in its entirety, is below. We are available for comments and questions all day.

Thank you,
Kristin Rowan
Square Egg Entertainment

 

January 23, 2017 –

After much deliberation, we have decided to shift to an all paid staff in the operation of Phoenix Comicon and all events associated with Square Egg Entertainment, including Phoenix Fan Fest, Minnesota Fan Fest, and Keen Halloween.

There are many individuals who helped make Phoenix Comicon one of the best run conventions in the country.  To them we owe our sincerest thanks and gratitude.  We hope that many of those who assisted us will apply for the new paid positions as we announce them.  In appreciation for everything you have done for us, those who served as volunteers in 2016 who are not selected for positions will receive two complimentary full event passes for Phoenix Comicon 2017 and 2018 as our gift.  

We continue to support Blue Ribbon Army as a corporate member and through promotion of their group and activities.  We look forward to what they can accomplish and are excited to be a part of it.

While this was not the original decision as announced three weeks ago, nor was this the option selected by most of our volunteers, we do believe this is the best decision long term for our company and our conventions based on feedback and concerns raised.  It avoids further controversies as this industry changes, keeps us compliant with changing laws, and increases the professionalism and effectiveness of our team.    

As this discussion consumed social media and news outlets over the past three weeks, we have continued to work behind-the-scenes on making our events for 2017 stellar.  We look forward to sharing announcements on our upcoming guests and content at all our shows.  

 

Phoenix Comicon will continue to thrive and be a source of joy for thousands of attendees this year and in future years.

Thank you all for your discourse and feedback,

Matthew Solberg
CEO, Square Egg Entertainment
Convention Director, Phoenix Comicon

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Hometown Geek
Dashing Young Geek About Town at Making A Scene Productions, LLC
By day, your Hometown Geek is one of the partners at Making A Scene Productions, LLC and works hard at video production, web design, social media, and all things tech, but by night it's a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way.

Well-versed in the details of the never-to-be-forgotten and sadly never-to-be-repeated Bronze and Copper Age of Comic Books, but was an innocent bystander during the Chrome Age and accepts no responsibility for it, your Hometown Geek loves all things comic-book related from any era.

Although biased toward Apple products, your Hometown Geek doesn't feel like a Hipster. Fascinated by all the tech at hand in the world today and anxious to try out all different forms of new and old media, the Geek still has an incredible fondness for the old movies of the 1930s and 1940s and loves to fall asleep to TCM - Turner Classic Movies.

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