Decide on a Workshop
- Choose an objective or set of goals
- Define the overall format for the workshop
- Determine a Workshop Point of Contact and submit to the NIRSA Headquarters Director of Special Projects, Mary Callender. The Point of Contact asserts that the event will maintain a proper learning environment appropriate to the CEUs being awarded.
- Define the specific duties of the coordinators.
- Contact and seek advice of experienced workshop coordinators (ask if there is a workshop notebook from previous years).
- Decide what administrative assistance is needed.
- Delegate duties to individuals you can trust! Choose one person each to oversee: exhibit hall/hotel, coordinating the program (final selection of program submissions should be done by at least two people), publications, entertainment, pre-conference workshop(s), and transportation. Registration and finances should go to the person “most responsible” for the conference.
- Contact your local Chamber of Commerce/Convention Bureau to see what help (personnel and materials) they may be able to offer.
Prepare a Workshop Notebook
- Include all preparation details for immediate and future use, as well as:
- Initial checklist
- Mailing list (requested from the NIRSA HQ)
- Sample publicity letters
- Copies of workshop correspondence
- Program agenda and presentations
- Expense/financial report
- Final evaluation
- Follow-up communications
- Future recommendations
Begin contacting potential exhibitors
Determine Site, Date & Time
- Avoid scheduling the event in competition with NIRSA Board of Directors’ meetings, NIRSA Annual Conference, institutes, or other regional or state/provincial events in your area. See the NIRSA Calendar. When scheduling, also take into consideration holiday seasons, inclement seasonal weather, and school terms.
- Communicate the dates and location of your Regional/State/Provincial workshop to your Regional Representative for approval. Once approved, they will forward to the NIRSA Headquarters for inclusion on the NIRSA Calendar.
- Determine starting and ending times – consider the transportation requirements of the majority of the participants.
- Choose a site that is centrally located and easily accessible. See the Site Planning Worksheet.
- Assure that transportation is available to accommodate program participants (if applicable).
- Consider facility rental fees.
- Negotiate contracts for hotel, exhibit area, meeting and meal function space. Try to negotiate comped rooms for the host committee and any possible VIP’s (NIRSA Executive Director, NIRSA President). (If you cannot get comped rooms, ensure that you get the best rooms available at the conference rate.) Stay in the hotel at the conference and try to move in the night before. Find out if hotel has storage room off of the conference area to securely store your conference materials for the duration of the event. Be sure to have a window where guaranteed conference rates are made available to attendees up to at least 30 days before the conference.
- Send negotiated contract(s) to NIRSA HQ for review and signature. Volunteer leaders are not able to sign contracts on NIRSA’s behalf.
- Open/publish/distribute Presentation Proposal Forms, via email, event website, or the NIRSA website’s Resources for event organizers page (sample proposal template).
- Determine expenses before setting registration fees.
- Keep accurate records.
- Consider the following expenditures:
- Rental fees, set-up fees, food service, tips, tax, audiovisual needs, etc.
- Mailings and extra postage, if applicable.
- AV – using a hotel projector and screen can be very expensive and sometimes exclusive (you have to)
- Miscellaneous expenditures: posters, paper, pens, markers, envelopes, coffee, social events, informational packets, badges/inserts, etc.
- Keynote speaker fees & material costs (printing/copying).
- Publicity costs
- Budget a comfortable allowance for unanticipated expense (5%-10% of total expenses)
- Research the possibility of sponsorship and exhibitor dollars. Secure funds before advertising registration fees.
- Encourage donations and volunteer help.
- Workshops/Conferences are expected to be self-supporting. NIRSA-endorsed events (All Regional Conference and State/Provincial workshops) must submit a balanced budget before registration materials are published or contracts signed.
- Submit your proposed budget to your Regional Representative for approval. Once approved, they will forward to the NIRSA Headquarters. An approved proposed budget must be received prior to the dates and location being advertised on the NIRSA website and/or calendar.
Regional contingency funds are a self-insurance fund for regions. Requests to access the regional contingency fund must be made through the contingency fund (self insurance) Regional Representative, and the workshop must have the appropriate documentation to be considered NIRSA sponsored or endorsed.
All income earned in excess of authorized expenses will be returned to NIRSA HQ with 100% of the remittance devoted to a self-insurance fund for the respective region. Hosts of NIRSA endorsed state/provincial events conducted within states/provinces with state/provincial associations, remit 25% of any excess income (profit) to their regional fund, with the remaining 75% being deposited into their state/provincial association fund. When a regional contingency fund reaches a total of $4,000, monies in excess of $4,000 (minimum base fund) may be allocated for purposes that include the professional, educational, and social programs or student scholarships at NIRSA national, regional, or state/provincial conferences or workshops. Criteria for student or professional scholarship programs must be approved by the Board of Directors before implementation. Any use of regional funds outside the region must be approved by a majority vote of the regional membership at their regional conference meeting, or at their regional meeting at the Annual Conference. The regional funds may also be available for financial assistance if a subsequent NIRSA endorsed state/provincial or regional workshop results in authorized expenditures exceeding actual revenues.
How to Access Money from a Regional Contingency Fund
NIRSA endorsed events are eligible to draw from regional contingency funds. In order to utilize money from a regional contingency fund to cover expenses during the planning of a NIRSA endorsed event (e.g., hotel deposit) a request must be submitted in writing to the appropriate Regional Representative explaining what the money will be used for. The Regional Representative will then forward a written request to the Director of Special Projects, Mary Callender at NIRSA HQ for processing. Allow 10 business days for processing.
Following an event, requests to access regional contingency funds to cover financial losses must be made in writing to the appropriate Regional Representative, who will forward the request to the Director of Special Projects, Mary Callender at NIRSA HQ. The Regional Representative will consider disbursement requests based on the event’s proposed budget, and available money in the contingency fund. If the contingency fund is at the base level, or if event expenses exceeded those given in the proposed budget due to the addition of line items not included in the proposed budget, the hosting institution may be required to cover the deficit.
Promotional and Registration
- Request a list of Members in your state/province/region from NIRSA HQ using the Materials Order Form.
- The first mailing or email announces the event date, time, site, and possible topics of discussion. Remember to include workshop coordinator contact information!
- Encourage recipients to post the workshop announcement and to pass the information on to others who may be interested.
- Mail registration material no later than five weeks prior to the event when using postal service. Information must include the registration form and fees, program agenda, directions to the event, and (if applicable) information about overnight accommodations.
- Consider developing an event website for general information and registration materials. Post event details in the NIRSA website’s calendar, webpages, discussion boards, and resource libraries