Step 1: Decide on a theme
Every great conference needs a theme. What’s the unifying message that your speakers will deliver and what’s the key takeaway for conference attendees?
The best themes are catchy, relatable, and trigger an emotional response. You want the conference to inspire and stimulate conversation. Your theme has to enable that.
For instance, “Stronger as a team” is probably a better theme than “Achieving improved efficiencies through increased cross-functional collaboration.”
The theme is more than just a rallying cry for all participants; it will also guide your branding and promotion, from designing a logo to coming up with social media hashtags to printing your posters, brochures, and other collateral.
Step 2: Assemble your A-team
Chances are, you won’t be organising a whole conference all by yourself. (In fact, we’d be shocked if that were the case.)
You’ll need a dedicated team of people to assume responsibility for different aspects of the planning, negotiations, and promotion. Your core team will likely include:
Planning team: Conference venue, accommodation, activities, catering.
Administration team: Budgeting, attendee registration, ticket sales. This team/person will also be the main point of contact for questions related to the conference.
Marketing team: Contacting the media, creating promotional material, managing your website, blog, and social media activities.
Sponsorships team: In charge of securing sponsors, applying for grants, and fundraising. (Only relevant for conferences that rely on external sources of finance. Obviously)
Volunteers: Helping with all on-site activities on the day of the conference: door management, ticket scanning, keeping track of the guest list, manning the wardrobe, guiding people, etc.
Your main job will be to coordinate the team, set priorities, and delegate tasks.
Step 3: Prepare a budget & business plan
Whether your conference is funded by sponsors or not, you’ll have to put together a budget. You need to know where your money is being earned and spent.
Having a budget will also help you set the price for participating in the conference. Here are the most common items you’ll want to budget for:
Preparing a budget with realistic estimates will also come in handy when searching for venues and negotiating contracts.
Step 4: Find sponsors & grants [optional]
If you’re financing the conference on your own and are not looking for external sources of revenue, you can safely skip this step.
If not, you’ll want to go out looking for sponsors or arrange fundraisers. The key thing to keep in mind is that the sponsors and their values should align with the theme of your conference. (Would you want McDonald’s to sponsor your “Let’s Get Fit” conference?)
Start by finding sponsors that fund similar events or are generally associated with your conference’s main themes.
Decide how much say the sponsors should have in how the conference is run. Will you allow their branding and logo on every piece of equipment? Will they be able to bring in their own speakers?
Remember: It’s a fine balance between getting funded and sacrificing the integrity of your conference. You’re the judge of where to draw that line.
Step 5: Settle on a date
Now it’s time to decide when your conference will take place. As discussed, that date should be anywhere from six months to a year ahead.
You also need to find out how long the conference will last. Industry consensus suggests that a conference with around 300 participants calls for two full days. Larger, more in-depth conferences may stretch for even longer.
Here are some great rules of thumb to keep in mind:
Pick a date that doesn’t conflict with other major events like festivals. City-wide events make booking flights more expensive and generally hinder transportation to and from the conference. Besides, you don’t want your conference to compete for attention with big events.
Avoid summer and winter holiday periods when people tend to go on vacation. It’s best to aim for a date between the middle of March and end of June or from early September to late November.
Never plan a conference during the weekend. For most participants, attending a conference is a part of their job, so schedule it during the workweek.
Try to aim for the end of the week, so that traveling attendees get the chance to stay behind and sightsee during their time off. The best!
Blogger: Ugwuoko Angela
Source :Billetto UK