I recently had the pleasure of attending Anthro New England, a first year furry convention held in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
First, numbers! The convention had 757 attendees, an astonishingly high number for a first year convention. They also raised $10,000 for their charity, Vest-A-Dog. This led to the ANE organizers getting pied in the face, as shown at the end of this set of pictures.
There was a schedule, and it was stuck to remarkably well. All of the events that I attended started on time, or very close to it. This included Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies, and the "Meet the Charity" event. The IT Meet and Greet panel was also on-time, fun, and well attended.
One of the reasons Anthro New England succeeded was because it showed confidence without being pretentious. It did all of the things a first year con would normally do (Dealers Room, Artists Alley, Dances, Opening/Closing Ceremonies, having a charity, etc.), but it did these things without overdoing them. The function rooms holding each area were reasonably sized and didn't feel cavernous. The programming started late Friday morning and ended on early Sunday evening, letting many attendees commute to the con and leave on Sunday after Closing Ceremonies. Finally, having everything all on one floor made it easy to find all of the rooms and see other attendees.
Yes, the staff were a pleasure to work with.
I did not staff this con but instead volunteered. That gave me a chance to work in a few different departments. In no particular order, I got to do some data entry for Kotanu Cheetah in the Dealers Room. Then I worked a couple of shifts in the Board Game Room and Video Game Room for Lune. (My first time working in a game room!) After the con was over, I was asked to help Drahk and DJ Code break down the A/V gear in the Main Ballroom. (Working with that level of A/V gear was also a first for me) Somewhere in there was also a shift in Registration for Logn Roo.
All of the above volunteer opportunities were due to the efforts and meticulous planning done by Hunter Husky, who was the volunteer coordinator for the convention. His workflow of "ask for work, receive work assignment" worked rather well!
I don't have dates handy for the next Anthro New England, but I have already set the time aside from my 2016 vacation days and will be watching their website very closely in the near future. Hope I'll see you there!