QWOC Week is approaching! You’ve seen the purple ads, the email blasts, the facebook invites, and status updates. You’ve even began spreading / sharing this exciting news to others yourself! Now what? Well, surely the final step to attending QWOC Week is showing up, right? Well… there’s a pretty important step before that, and it usually involves clicking on some “Register” or “Buy Now” button. (Hope we didn’t kill your buzz just now.)

I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that most of the events happening during QWOC WEEK are free — still, I thought it would be helpful to let you know how to get the most bang for the few bucks that you may still need to spend to fully participate; it’s important that our purple pride festival remains accessible to as many people as possible.

Below, we’ve outlined a few tips, tricks, and promotions we’ve put together, to make participating easier and cheaper. Whether or not you take advantage of our suggestions is entirely up to you… Don’t say we didn’t try:

1) Organizers — Did you know that if you’re on the planning committee for QWOC Week — you help plan an actual event, attend bi/weekly meetings etc, and are a designated lead for an event during the week — you earn a full QWOC Week pass? Yup. No strings attached. It ain’t easy putting on events for an entire community. We’d like to reward people who are already paying with their time. Plus, New Organizers bring something fresh to QWOC Week each year, and are the reason our festival’s been so successful!

2) Volunteering — Every volunteer that signs up (here) and completes at least one event shift during QWOC Week earns a discounted ticket towards events happening “after” their shift. As you’ve probably already figured out, it pays (literally) to volunteer earlier in the week, than later — especially if you’re planning to attend multiple events. Warning: Don’t volunteer at events you’d actually like to attend; you’ll be working. Double Warning: We’ll be offering you your comp tickets to the ‘next’ eligible event (so you’ll need to pay to attend events you’re volunteering at, and complete your shifts, before we award you comps)

3) Community Partners — Most, if not all the groups partnering with QWOC+ Boston during this purple festival have been provided discount codes to share with their members. That’s right. If you haven’t gotten an email yet from your group’s steering committee or organizers, we suggest you send them an inquiry (ahem!)

4) Combo Tickets (Purple Passes) — In addition to single tickets, we’ll be offering Purple Passes that grant attendee access to ALL of QWOC Week’s events (unless otherwise specified). These were a huge hit last year. They’re no hassle for us (we get to have a recurring list of VIPP — Very Important Purple People — at the door), and you get to stroll in like you own the place… ok, not really. But you get the picture.

5) Discounted Online Tickets — It’s quite baffling that many people often don’t take advantage of discounted online ticketing or at times, free-with-online-registration RSVPs. Perhaps even a recession isn’t powerful enough to shake human kind’s most popular bad habit — procrastination. PLAN and BUDGET ahead once you peep the calendar. Watch out for email and social media alerts about online ticketing… it most always means that the door prices will take a serious hike (upwards) come deadline. So do your homework, or risk staring open-mouthed at the bouncer as he says “next!”

6) Social Media Perks and Sweepstakes — There are benefits to staying connected online these days, or at least we think there should be. Why “Like” us if all we do is throw marketing campaigns at you. This year, we launched our first Facebook sweepstakes for pride, and asked you to join the conversation in order to win free tickets to either of our pride parties! For QWOC Week, we’ll be offering special deals and discounts EXCLUSIVELY to “Fans”, “Tweeps”, and  “Group Members” of QWOC+ Boston. In fact, each social media profile offers something different. Figure out which of our channels you’d like to tune into and then pay close attention. You just might be the winner of our next giveaway.

7) Sponsors — Now, we’re not asking for money — the revolution will not be funded… But! Say, your organization was feeling generous and wanted to officially sponsor QWOC Week (which would help cover fliers, outreach cards, our website hosting fees etc  –our official sponsorship request letter is covered here), depending on which level you choose (i.e. how much you contribute), we’d be glad to put you down as a Purple Pioneer for the year; up to four members of your staff could earn free passes to all of our paying events, and your organization would receive honorable mention on our website, per sponsorship level. Just sayin’. Email pride@qwocboston.org for more details.

8) Students — We don’t often publish undergrad student rates / door fees, but trust that they are available. If you are a student (or a student ambassador, or administrator who’d like to offer this to your students), it’s better to ask than assume we don’t care about how broke you are already paying for college (and laundry without help from your mom). You’ll need to email students@qwocboston.org to be placed on a student list, and show your student ID to pay cash at the door. Better than nothing right? We gotchu.

9) 3rd Party Raffle Prizes — From time to time, local organizations, promoters, event-planners, and other do-gooders will reach out to us to donate raffle prizes to their cause. Now, we can’t ever offer anything except tickets/passes to some of our events. This is particularly true during the spring and fall, during fundraising high season (at least it seems that way). Even if this particular tip isn’t the most direct or sure way to earn free tickets to QWOC+ Boston events (unless you’re that lucky  person who wins everything), the message is that we are VERY committed to supporting the work done by other people in our community, and moreover, rewarding QWOC+ Boston folk who do so!

10) Where’s Your Posse? (Group Tickets) — Every stumbled across a deal sooo good you didn’t want to share? We’re so grateful for those of you who show up time and time again to QWOC+ events, but the truth is this: we wouldn’t be here if you didn’t continually spread the word about us (and our mantra “Diversity Speaks”) to so many others, and bring them with you :). This is why we often offer discounted duo (2), posse (5), or entourage (10) tickets to QWOC+ folk who are generous enough to share us with their friends and network. These group tickets are our way of letting you know that the more people you bring, the bigger the break you’ll get.

So, how about it? Ask your co-worker to come with you to the next QWOC+ Boston event — or your always-busy significant other, your new crush, your brother, even your mom and dad are welcome. We’re only as strong as the ‘whole’ communities and networks we welcome into our space. And that means all of you.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Please share this list with others so that they too may save a few dollars while supporting QWOC+ Boston during pride season. We look forward to seeing you all in August!

Diversity Speaks.