Pursuant to my post about conferences, I've been thinking about how making events affordable is an access issue.
Making your event affordable attracts people of different classes and backgrounds and locations. It also makes your event more welcoming to disabled folks / PWD. People with disabilities are more likely to be poor for structural, societal reasons. Being disabled can affect a person's earning potential due to discrimination and impairment-related reasons; it also is just plain expensive. For me, for example: There are co-pays on prescriptions and doctor appointments; health services that are not covered by insurance; supplements to buy; expensive shoes that don't hurt my feet; the list goes on and on. For people on special diets, food can be more expensive. A 2008 study found gluten-free products to be much more expensive
than their gluten-containing counterparts.
Worry about money is a near-constant source of stress for many people, and some studies link this stress to negative health effects.
If we are planning events, what can we do to help make them more affordable?
Here are some ideas:Registration and Programming
Sliding scale registrations; day memberships
Member Assistance Fund or Scholarships
ConSuite (hospitality suite)
Kid, Teen, Youth programming tracks at fan conventions so people can bring their kids
Rebates or refunds for volunteering or presentingLodging
List area hostels
Have a room share board on social mediaTransportation
Provide cab vouchers and/or mass transit fees so people can get back to their lodging late at night
Have a ride share board
Choose a venue that is on bus or mass transit linesFood
List local restaurants, grocery stores, and markets. Note if the markets accept food stamps. note if the grocery stores deliver.
Note if they hotel has fridges or microwaves in the rooms or lobby.Miscellaneous
Look for grants and sponsorships to help off set costs.
Ask for donated items for prizes and gifts.