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NAHSL: NAHSL Conference Planning

North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc., A regional chapter of the Medical Library Association

What you'll find here

This page exists on the NAHSL website to enable transfer of knowledge among successive conference planning committees. As conditions change and new ideas surface, CPC's have adapted their practices. Subsequent CPC's will benefit by learning what has gone before. We urge all CPC members--conference chairs, committee chairs and committee members alike--to:

  • read all relevant sections--not only your own committee tab, but also those of other committees to gain the larger picture of how conference planning operates and an understanding of how committees interact.

  • update content whenever appropriate (while still fresh in memory)

  • record further lessons learned at the close of the conference, for the benefit of your successors.  Notes from Handoff Luncheons, when held, will be especially rich in content for this purpose.

While the conference planning binder served this purpose in years past, it is now outdated. Portions of it were incorporated into the material found here. This website, which can be updated as needed, will enable us to better manage information and knowledge.

Thank you for all your hard work in creating meaningful and enjoyable conferences for our members.

Committee charges & lessons learned

Among the members of NAHSL there are many years of experience in all aspects of conference planning. Anyone who agrees to take part in conference planning can call upon those members for help--you are not alone.

Tabs in this box outline the expectations of each committee of the Conference Planning Committee. Please note that division of labor among committees, as it appears here, is not set in stone. In past years, some committees have merged or split apart. Work was assigned to different committees. Individuals from other committees who are best able have taken on a task. Use the information here as a guide, and adapt as needed.

Charge:

  • Works with NAHSL Executive Board to recruit a Deputy Chair, able to step in to lead CPC if Chair must step down before conference due to unforeseen circumstances. The Deputy Chairs, like the Chairs themselves, are appointed by the NAHSL Executive Board. 
  • Recruits interested and able colleagues to the CPC
  • Includes as a member of the CPC the NAHSL Chair-elect/Chair in office during the term of conference planning
  • Represents the CPC to the NAHSL Executive Board, attends all Board meetings and submits reports on progress
  • Works with NAHSL's professional conference planner
  • Signs hotel contract on behalf of NAHSL, but does not incur any personal financial liability
  • Coordinates all activities of CPC and resolves problems
  • Arranges and chairs meetings of CPC, which should include both in-person and telephone meetings
  • Develops a budget for the conference, presents to Executive Board
  • Works with NAHSL Treasurer and conducts all conference activities in a budget-conscious manner
  • Ensures a smoothly operating conference.

In 2018, the NAHSL Executive Board drafted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the CPC Chair and the Executive Board, outlining what we can expect of each other. As soon as it is approved, we will add it to this website.

  • Donna Wikstrand of Conference Hotels Unlimited is available for help and advice. She is paid by the hotel, not by NAHSL, so use her services whenever needed. Call her on Day 1 and introduce yourself. She can advise on choice of location for conference, among many other things. Ask previous conference chair for her contact information.
  • Hotel contract is generally negotiated by conference chair and Donna Wikstrand, about two years out for a full-length conference. Conference chair signs it on behalf of NAHSL, does not incur any personal financial liability
  • Conference should emphasize practical content that members can apply in their own libraries. This helps members justify attendance.
  • Check with CE Chair before determining room nights in hotel contract. The number and timing of classes will affect hotel numbers on Saturday night.
  • Some hotel chains will discount for repeat business at different locations. The Omni is one, as all hotels are owned by the corporation. Those hotels owned on a franchise basis are less likely to discount for different locations, although they are likely to do so for same location.
  • When planning full conference, hold planning meetings every other month for first year, as you make the big decisions about location, theme, plenary speakers. Then, every month thereafter, when the focus turns to details and coordination among committees. You may be able to have some meetings by conference call.
  • Handoff Luncheon is important. Outgoing CPC discusses their work, focusing on lessons learned. Next CPC takes copious notes. Invite the newly-appointed chair of following conference and a representative from Education Committee.
  • NAHSL EB surveyed members about preferences for conference in 2014-2015. Members are not in favor of virtual meetings.
  • Having a joint conference with neighboring chapters is less likely than in the past. The NY/NJ chapter, with whom we have partnered, is considering merging with the Philadelphia chapter. Members of UNYOC who live in western NY are not in favor of the long trip they would have to come to New England. Of course, having a joint meeting on the other chapter's turf is a possibility, but we would lose attendance from NAHSL. 
  • We have been invited to join large multi-chapter meetings in the past. The feeling of NAHSL members was summed up by one who said if you have to get on a plane, it's no longer a chapter meeting.
  • Members have asked for more face-to-face time, as opposed to "shoulder-to-shoulder." When workable, consider having round tables (half-round set-up) for most of the conference.

In recent years, conferences alternate between 2.5-day meetings (sometimes called three-day) and single-day meetings. At or around the time of the 2019 conference, NAHSL will decide whether to continue that practice. The one-day meetings should be held in a location sufficiently central to allow the easiest travel for the majority of members. The three-day meetings continue to be held in the various states, but are not rigidly held to the rotation schedule of years past. CPC members can come from anywhere in New England.

Purpose of AV at the conference:  The best conference program will be a disappointment if AV needs are not considered. While some AV problems are bound to occur, careful planning will prepare you with necessary knowledge, and backup equipment.

AV people:  The AV Chair on the conference planning committee should have a basic understanding of AV equipment, but by no means needs to be an expert. The AV Chair’s tasks include:

  • Building a committee. At the conference, even with a good AV company on hand, you will be needed many places at once. Be sure to recruit one or two people to assist you.
  • Working with the program chair to gather the presenters’ AV needs.  Anticipate their needs--even if the speaker does not ask for something, consider the information you have about their presentation (a Q&A session – do we need a wireless handheld mic?)
  • Finding and pricing the AV company to handle the conference. In many cases, the hotel will provide this service at a cost, but an outside company may also be used. 

The best choice, when available, is an outside AV company that the hotel prefers to work with.

  • They may be based there in the hotel so it was easy to find staff when questions arose.
  • They know the venue and the best way to set things up in that space.
  • They may have all the equipment needed right there, not “back at the office”.

If you work with a provider that is not connected with the hotel, make sure that they will provide all the support and equipment necessary. Similarly, if you are working with a hotel that handles its own AV, be careful. They may not have enough (or the necessary) equipment, staff, etc.

RENT ALL EQUIPMENT FROM AV COMPANY. It is tempting to use the projectors available from NAHSL members' institutions, and hotels will generally accommodate that. However, most are not powerful enough for the large venues in which we have our sessions. If we use our own projectors, even a broken bulb can bring down the good intentions. Several CPC's have felt strongly that the savings are not worth the risk.

That being said, presenters' laptops may be used. Make arrangements to have a laptop in each room where someone will be presenting. In some cases, presenters will bring their own laptops, but in others, they will expect a laptop to be provided. 

Get the name and phone number of the AV staff member assigned to the conference each day so that you can contact them if needed.

Check the wireless connections to make sure that (a) you can connect and (b) that the signal is strong enough for attendees.

Have a splash page or some kind of filler presentation running on the screen before and after the presenter is finished. In other words, have something on the screen between events.

In an ideal world, the files from all of the presents would be preloaded in order to avoid the situation where the AV person and the presenter fumble around trying to transfer files from their flash drive to the laptop.

There were a couple of vendors in New Haven who wanted to run their presentations live from the Internet instead of running a PowerPoint. This worked out OK in 2016, but I would discourage it in the future just in case the Internet connection isn’t reliable. One vendor, for instance, couldn’t get her presentation because her Google Docs account was blocked. Vendors should run PowerPoint or perhaps video presentations.

Mac users know that they need to have an adaptor with them that enables them to connect to a projector. This is because there is no VGA port on Mac laptops. Many new PCs now don’t have that port either. It was sacrificed in order to make them thin. Many new PC owners, however, are not aware of this or the fact that they now need an adaptor as well. Encore provided this cable in New Haven, but presenters should be reminded to bring whatever cables they need to connect to a projector. It probably would not hurt to have a PC adaptor standing by just in case.

AV needs do not change that much from year to year. Give prior year's AV list to hotel's AV company, and ask for quote based on that. There will be plenty of time for edits. If you do this early on, you will have an estimate of how much to budget.

Providing different AV and Internet capabilities to different speakers/instructors/presenters can get very expensive. Instead of asking them what they want, tell them what is available, and instruct them to discuss any varying needs. Do your best to help them get their presentations to work with the standard set-up. At a recent conference, NAHSL paid for extra capabilities for one session, at the request of presenter, and it was not even used in the end.

The Education Committee is separate from the Conference Planning Committee. It selects and arranges for all CE at the conference, as well as CE offered throughout the year. Funds for CE are separate from conference funds.  One-day conferences may or may not have CE at all.  

  • A representative of the Education Committee should nevertheless be on the Conference Planning Committee. That person is not required to attend every meeting. They should be in continuing contact with the CPC, especially during the second year of planning, so that each group knows what the other is doing. Proposed CE can become regular session, or vice-versa. Duplication of topics may be unwanted, or may nicely complement each other.
  • CE Chair should talk to CPC chair before hotel contract signed, so that the Saturday night room commitment will be in line with realistic number of CE attendees. As a general rule, those who stay at the hotel on Saturday night are the CPC members, CE participants, and NAHSL members traveling from a distance.
  • Solicit NAHSL members for proposals for CE classes. This provides opportunities for members, and reduces cost.
  • If considering a class taught by an NN/LM employee, realize that different NN/LM regions have different rules. In most cases, NN/LM employees cannot accept payment for teaching classes, but neither can participants be charged for taking those classes.
  • Do not offer too many classes at the conference. Three or four is enough, just one or two that are longer than two hours. Beyond that, members are unhappy about making choices, and the number of people able to take classes is spread too thinly.
  • Read evaluations from previous conferences for suggestions from members. If something is requested by multiple people, and CE Committee chooses to act on it, committee can create the outline of a class and then look for an appropriate instructor.
  • If conference is in a location with surrounding restaurants, no need to provide lunch for CE participants.

Previous years' evaluations are on NAHSL's Survey Monkey account. Copy old one with a new name, and adapt as needed. Members of Executive Board have the password. This can easily be handled by one person.

Committee charge:

  • Works with marketing to actively promote conference to potential exhibitors
  • Ensures that our conference gets onto their calendar before others, as many chapter meetings are held in October
  • Talks to exhibitors at previous year's conference, preferably giving them business card or handout with conference info
  • Writes and sends letters to potential exhibitors between previous year's conference and end of calendar year
  • Follows up on any non-responders
  • Gathers and communicates all needed information from each exhibitor
  • Exhibitors value face time with customers. Advocate for their needs to the CPC
  • Coordinates and emcee's any vendor lightning rounds
  • Invites NN/LM and MLA to exhibit
  • Works with Website and Registration to ensure that exhibitor registration mechanism runs smoothly
  • Tracks exhibitor income, working with Finance chair
  • Determines AV needs of exhibitors, works with AV chair to ensure these needs are met

 

Lessons learned:

  • Exhibitor page should be the first one ready on the conference website.
  • Get information about conference to potential exhibitors as soon as possible--preferably January. We need to get on their calendars before overlapping conferences.
  • Ensure that exhibitors are given information about hotel's shipping policies and given a contact at the hotel for any questions. All charges for oversize packages, items left too long should be strictly between the hotel and the exhibitor.
  • Instruct exhibitors to use the Wild Apricot registration forms. You may want to ask both the name & contact info of the person completing the form, and same for the exhibitor who will be at the conference. This can avoid confusion and facilitate follow-up.
  • If you fill all the exhibitor spaces you have planned on, ask NAHSL's Wild Apricot guru to set it up to send subsequent exhibitor registrants a waitlist memo. Then talk to hotel about different arrangements that would accommodate more vendors.
  • Previous years' exhibitor evaluations are on NAHSL's Survey Monkey account. Copy old one with a new name, and adapt as needed. Members of Executive Board have the password.

Committee charge:

Finance committee will:

  • Forward all check requests and invoices to NAHSL Treasurer for payment; work with NAHSL Treasurer as appropriate
  • Assist chair with formulation of a budget for the conference
  • Track all expenses and income for the conference, and report on same at each CPC meeting
  • Work with registration chair to track income from registrations
  • Ensure that any needed tax information is communicated appropriately
  • Prepare final report, itemizing expenses by category

Everything costs more than you expect.

To budget, use actual quotes, reviews of past expenses, consideration of whether the location is in a more or less expensive geographical area. Give it your best estimate, then continually revise budget as needed. Track expenses by line item.

First, estimate the number of attendees to expect. Use past history and good judgment. From that, book block of rooms for hotel. Consider the timing of CE classes. Consider the number of association members who live in close enough proximity that they will not likely book a hotel room. Then, base meal costs on the number of expected attendees. For Monday, include exhibitors. They will not be there on Tuesday, and we seldom have a Tuesday-only attendee.

Many questions arose about sponsorship funds. There are two considerations here--how it is allocated, and what events are said to be sponsored by a given company or organization. In terms of allocation, the funds all go into a single line item. Along with exhibitor funds and registration fees, these offset the expenses. Sponsor money is not allocated to specific committees' expenses, not moved to individual line items. Choices about which sponsor's name to attach to specific events is a separate matter, handled by the sponsorship committee.

Committee charge:

  • Plans Welcome Reception for Sunday evening, including venue, meals, drinks, other needs.
  • Plans and arranges for New Member gathering, if one is held.
  • Arranges for transportation to reception site if needed.
  • Works with Hotel Committee to plan meals for banquet and entertainment to follow.
  • Sets up hospitality table near registration, with brochures on local attractions, lists of local restaurants, etc. Finds people to staff it--those who are familiar with area, and may not have been involved in other conference planning are ideal.
  • In recent years, CPC's have considered dine-arounds to be problematic, and they have not been held. If they are held, the task of arranging them falls to the Hospitality Committee.

Lessons learned:

  • There are often venues for the Welcome Reception that are available at a low cost. A library that has something special to offer is one possibility.
  • Work with conference chair to estimate the number of people likely to attend each meal, for budgeting purposes.
  • Dine-arounds have been popular in past, but take a great deal of energy to manage. RI and CT conferences simply gave members list of local restaurants, and they dined on their own.
  • When negotiating with a caterer for the Welcome Reception, work with them to keep expenses low. Having food that does not need to be heated at the venue reduces costs, for example. Having a single bartender can be possible depending on what is being served. 
  • Give attendees just one drink ticket at reception. They can pay for a second drink, if they choose to have one.
  • Gigmasters.com is one source for finding local entertainment.
  • See food-related items on hotel tab.
  • The hospitality table can often also accommodate materials related to the next conference.
  • Let attendees select their own hospitality items, such as maps. No need to stuff them in packets.

The Hotel Committee Chair is the primary contact between the conference planning committee and conference hotel.  Although the majority of work will take place during the three months before the conference, there are multiple steps and responsibilities that must take place in order to ensure a successful event.

Filling the hotel room block is a critical issue for all conference planners. Conference Hotels Unlimited (Donna Wikstrand), who have represented NAHSL for many years, have information on number of rooms reserved (room block) for past conferences. Some hotels will grant us complimentary rooms or suites depending on the size of the block requested. NAHSL's Hotel chair works with CHU in hotel negotiations.

The following should be taken into consideration when visiting prospective conference hotels:

Location

Accessibility to air, auto, train.  Links to location transportation should be placed on conference page and on the registration/accommodations site

General Features

Number of guest rooms
Layout of facility
Age & cleanliness of facility

Facilities and services

Food and beverage services
Parking
Recreation facilities

Meeting rooms

General accessibility (includes handicapped accessibility) 
Size of room
Number of conference rooms offered with block
General appearance, including lighting, acoustics, heating/AC/ ventilation
Proximity to elevators, restrooms, guestrooms

Sleeping accommodations

Number of rooms available

Room size
Cleanliness
Attractiveness of furnishing
Noise Insulation
Room rates
Check-in/checkout time
Room rate & discounts
Complimentary room policy
Days advance guarantee

Policies to review

Hotel reservation
Advance shipment of conference materials
Billing
Restrictions
Cancelation of rooms
Refunds of deposits (should be clearly posted on site and all requests should be sent directly to hotel conference management)
Ability to increase/decrease block size

 

Lessons learned:

  • Hotel contract is generally negotiated by conference chair and Donna Wikstrand. Conference chair signs it on behalf of NAHSL. The signer incurs no personal financial liability.
  • Check with CE Chair before determining room nights in hotel contract. The offering of CE classes in the morning (or not) and their timing will affect room numbers on Saturday night. CE will not know at time of contract what will be offered, but they can give a general indication of their intentions.
  • Hotel reps are very likely to change over the two years of conference planning. Keep all e-mails, so that promises will be honored by subsequent hotel contacts.
  • Be careful not to contract for too many rooms. Look at room-night numbers ("hotel pick up") for previous years, and discuss with Donna Wikstrand. One year out, there is a possibility to adjust room numbers slightly--not so much as to lose any hotel concessions.
  • Keep in mind that NAHSL members who live in or near the city where the conference is held are NOT likely to book a hotel room. This was a factor in New Haven, for example.
  • Returning to the same hotel usually gives us a discount for repeat business. Some hotel chains will discount (often substantially) for repeat business at different locations. The Omni is one, as all hotels are owned by the corporation. Omni has locations in Providence, New Haven, Boston and New Hampshire (Mt Washington Resort). Those hotels owned on a franchise basis are less likely to discount for different locations.
  • Work with conference chair to estimate the number of people likely to attend each meal, for budgeting purposes. Vendors are there on Monday only.
  • We feed attendees several times throughout the conference, especially on Monday. Look not only at food for the individual meals and breaks, but at the amount of food in total. It is often much more than needed. Breaks with food can become just coffee breaks. Fewer hors d'ouevres can be served, especially if a full meal will soon follow. The hotel may recommend a certain amount of food, but it is their job to increase sales.
  • 5% is an expected increase in food prices from one year to the next. If prices increase more than 10%, discuss with Donna Wikstrand. She has been able to negotiate this down in the past.
  • There is a Handoff Luncheon at the close of three-day conferences, at which the outgoing CPC discusses their experience with those next in line. As many people as possible from the two CPC's should attend, as well as the incoming Education chair and the newly-appointed chair of the conference to be held two years hence. Multiple participants should take good notes, with the lessons learned being added to this website in appropriate places.

In the contract for three-day conferences, there is usually a clause stating that the group will be given a hotel room free of charge for every x number of room-nights booked. If so, one room will be for the Conference Chair, without charge. Others will be used for any outside presenters needing accommodations.

Committee charge:

  • The responsibilities of the Marketing Committee involve pre-conference outreach, public relations, arranging for logo, and sign management during the conference. Other duties may be assigned as needed. Marketing chair will work with Hospitality and Website/Social Media committees to arrange for marketing of conference at the prior year’s meeting.
  • Publicity should reach the NAHSL membership and many other interested parties.  These should include but are not limited to the Medical Library Association, local, state and regional health sciences library professionals, interested regional hospital and academic library staff members, and state library associations.  Also include appropriate non-library groups.
  • Sends out e-mail save-the-date announcements
  • Sends notices to MLA and the ALA for their published event calendars.
  • Produces and manages signs for the conference. Some hotels have electronic signs, in which case Marketing chair will ensure all needed information is accurately communicated, working with Hotel chair.
  • Visits venue to establish the appropriate number and nature of signs required.
  • Arranges for photographs to be taken by NAHSL members or others. Discuss social media outlets and hashtags with Website/Social Media committee.

 

Lessons learned:

  • Publicity is crucially important.
  • Publicize outside NAHSL, to other library groups
  • Publicize CE classes, when appropriate, to health and library professionals within reasonable distance from conference location. This can be done by NAHSL members within their own institutions or contacting state associations.
  • You may want to find an artist or art student to create a logo. Check with Sally Gore, whose spouse teaches graphic art and may be able to suggest someone.
  • When designing the logo, make sure to get from the artist: postcard size logo, banner size logo, color codes used, fonts used, and (if applicable) vector images of components of logo.

 

Committee charge:

  • Recommends potential speakers to CPC
  • Communicates with potential speakers and reports back to CPC about availability and expenses
  • Negotiates with speakers chosen, prepares and executes agreements to be signed.
  • Registers speakers for conference on Wild Apricot
  • Coordinates speaker needs during the conference
  • Arranges for honorarium checks to be available at time of conference; collects expense reports and arranges for payment
  • Arranges for member-created content, such as presentations, posters, Lightning Rounds.

Lessons learned:

  • Pre-conference webinar format for MLA, NLM & NN/LM update is popular and eases time constraints at conference.
  • Have an extra speaker in mind who could be asked at a late date, in case a speaker must cancel.
  • Using crowdsourcing for roundtable topics has been used, but only with limited success.
  • Attendees have asked for a bit more downtime for networking, and "more face-to-face time instead of shoulder-to-shoulder time." In 2016, we accommodated this by having the seating for the entire conference at round tables. Don't overschedule sessions, to allow for networking time.
  • The choice of whether to have breakout sessions is completely up to the committee, and depends on what content you have to fill them. It may be useful to leave this time unscheduled at first, to accommodate topics that arise during the year. Then a single presenter or breakouts can fill in, as appropriate. Try to balance the interests of hospital and academic librarians at breakouts.
  • The Business Meeting takes place on Tuesday morning, and is the responsibility of the NAHSL Chair and Chair-elect.
    • CPC invites the MLA President shortly after the beginning of the calendar year. A different Board member may be designated to come.
    • Board member usually gives MLA update at the Business Meeting--even though that may have also been covered in a pre-conference webinar.
    • Designate a CPC member to be their "buddy" at the conference.
    • Register the Board member as a speaker--no cost. MLA has a budget to cover their travel & lodging.
  • In 2015, at breakfast before Business Meeting, attendees enjoyed photos of members' accomplishments. 2016 displayed photo booth pictures from previous evening.

There is often debate about who should produce the printed program. A case can be made for the Program Planning Committee, Marketing, or others. Sometimes there will be one person with more expertise who is willing to take it on. It doesn't matter who does this, as long as a decision is made early enough that the person accepting a position on the CPC doesn't have this expectation sprung on them.

Committee charge:

  • Works with other CPC members to determine items needed on registration form
  • Creates online forms through Wild Apricot--for attendees, exhibitors, those needing to be registered without fees
  • Works with Marketing and Website chairs to remind potential attendees of early registration dates
  • Monitors registration as it proceeds, reports to CPC at meetings. In last month before conference, reports weekly to CPC.
  • Accounts for registration income and fees assessed by Wild Apricot, PayPal, etc.
  • Works with people having difficulties with registration
  • Leads effort to prepare registration packets, which is done with help of others on CPC

Lessons learned:

  • As much as possible, copy previous year's Wild Apricot form, and edit as needed.
  • Encourage all registrants (attendees, exhibitors, sponsors) to use Wild Apricot form, or make it the only choice.
  • Everyone should register, even those who we don't charge, such as speakers. That way, their preferences for meals will be accounted for. Have a separate no-charge registration page, and send that link only to those who should use it. Exhibitors have their own page as well.
  • Some past CPC's set member rates after early registration period to match those for non-members. This keeps things simpler.
  • Extending early registration is counter-productive. It encourages late registration, therefore leaving CPC without needed information for planning. As long as date is on or after October 1 (beginning of fiscal year in many hospitals) and firmness of date is made known to all, it works.
  • Use self-service as appropriate. For example, put badges out on registration table so that attendees can select their own, and let people pick up their own hospitality items, such as maps.

Committee charge:

  • Ensures that sufficient and appropriate space is allocated for scholarship table(s).
  • Puts out call to NAHSL members for appropriate items
  • Organizes and tracks promised items
  • Communicates with hotel, others to ask for item donations for scholarship. 
  • Works with CPC to develop new ideas for scholarship funding, follows through on them
  • Procures materials to conduct actual raffle or other mechanism for fundraising
  • Executes fundraising event with help of volunteers
  • Forwards proceeds to NAHSL Treasurer--these funds are not counted as part of conference budget.

Lessons learned:

  • Multiple CPC's have found that asking local vendors for scholarship donations is not fruitful, that energy is better expended elsewhere.
  • Such a simple and useful idea--bring the Scholarship table INTO the back of the ballroom. Those staffing it no longer have to miss sessions, and we don't have to worry as much about security.

Committee charge:

  • Develops list of potential sponsors and opportunities for sponsorship of events, aiming to maximize income for NAHSL
  • Develops and sends letter(s) to potential sponsors
  • Remains in contact with potential sponsors, following up with non-responders
  • Works with Website chair to ensure that sponsorship donation mechanism runs smoothly
  • Tracks sponsorship income, working with Finance chair
  • Reports on income to CPC
  • Determines giving levels, and which sessions are sponsored by which vendors
  • Works with Marketing to ensure that signage indicating sponsors of events is correct and properly displayed

Lessons learned:

  • Ideally, should be chaired by a person associated with a large institution. Potential sponsors will want to stay on their good side.
  • Ask early, and write a very persuasive letter.
  • Find theme-related names for sponsorship levels, and decide what events can be sponsored at each.
  • Sponsorship and exhibit chairs should coordinate.
  • Give a cutoff date for having sponsorship acknowledged in the printed program. We need to get on with the printing of the program, but will accept money at any time up to the conference. Later sponsors, if any, will be acknowledged in other ways.

Committee charge:

The Website/Social Media committee develops and maintains the "public" conference website as a site within NAHSL's LibGuides. 

It is important to get the site up early, even if many of the pages are not populated. People like to see information about the conference hotel, the local area and keynote speakers, if available. Exhibitors will need information and a registration mechanism. As conference planning gets underway, changes and additions occur more frequently as new exhibitors, programs, speakers, and sponsors are added. The Website chair needs to work closely with other planning committee members in order to keep the site as current as possible. In particular, it is important that the program on the website matches the printed program, so any changes (and there will be many) must be communicated to both the website person and whoever is responsible for the printed program. As the conference nears, the website will have frequent changes and additions and it can become challenging to keep it up-to-date and accurate. The Website chair may be called upon to make minimal changes to the site after conference begins, and will be responsible for ensuring that website is linked (after conference) to "Past meeting websites" on Archives tab of NAHSL's main website.


This chair/committee will also work with Marketing to take advantage of social media opportunities for publicity, and for coordinating social media activity at conference.

 

Lessons learned:

  • We are not required to use LibGuides for the "public" conference website. 2016 CPC used weebly. Find a platform that looks good, works well, and is reasonably priced.
  • Chairs of other committees should be reminded of the dates when their information is needed for the website. Exhibitor and sponsor pages come first, early in the calendar year. Registration should open around June. Other pages can follow.
  • Website chair will keep a copy of the backup of the CPC website and the public website. Backups will be done periodically as planning proceeds, and a final backup will be made after the conference. Conference chair will also keep backups.

(content coming soon)

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Staying organized

Past conference websites

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