If this idea goes forward, I also think this should not be a blanket amount per department but should be based on volunteer numbers. It just doesn't make any sense to have departments with wildly different numbers of volunteers being given the same budget for volunteer swag. And since volunteer numbers can change over time, there should be a periodic review of the budget amounts anyways.
Additionally, not all departments buy swag the same way. Some departments don't buy swag every cycle, but may spend more than $200 on swag every couple years; sometimes this is because in the long run it's cheaper to buy in bulk. This proposal would throw a monkey wrench in that and potentially make departments do finance-gymnastics, OR would make them have to submit a proposal through the PC anyways (as we do now, so that isn't really helping except that then there would be a rule that they would be asking for exception against). I'm not really convinced this is going to save us much time or effort in the long run.
I think this proposal also has the potential to create more spending in the long run since departments would have a blanket okay for such spending and may decide to use it "because why not?" when in the past no real need/desire was seen for this spending in all departments, as evidenced by the lack of swag budget in most departments:
Numbers: Including Rangers (which is really more of a uniform for the job than swag, but one could argue it either way so let's just call it swag for now), we have 4 departments out of 23 that have traditionally budgeted for swag. Those departments are Gate/Greeters (with swag for their volunteers only), Parking (with swag for their volunteers only), Rangers (with the Ranger uniform), and Participation Station (with the buttons for all volunteers).
Blowing up from 4 departments that occasionally need extra time on PC calls to have their swag budgets put through review to a blanket expenditure over 23 departments for the purpose of... avoiding the occasional review of swag budgets? It just makes no sense. One of the purposes of the PC is to do this sort of review and to have oversight of budgets. Why do we feel there's a need to remove that?
I realize that over the past year there's been relatively more discussion about swag costs, swag waste, and steps that can be taken to minimize the waste, but I think we made a lot of progress there and ended up in a place where we're generally more on the same page with it all. I feel that the major concerns that were raised (mainly about swag costs that were in significant excess of the proposed amount here anyways, and waste coming from such swag not being fully used) have to a large degree been addressed. I'd like to see our recent efforts and understanding on that front given a chance to work before jumping to impose new rules with the intention of covering that very same ground that we've already covered, but that would also have huge sweeping effects in other unintended areas (e.g., blanket swag budgets for 19 departments that haven't requested such and have drastically different numbers of volunteers).
Planning Committee Coordinator