This week we had a meeting of people who are interested in helping out with conference planning. We're "hiring" volunteers for three committees - PR, Vendors, and Technology. Twenty-six people showed up for the meeting and many of them have already applied to be on a committee. We're excited to see that so many people are willing to help. You are all appreciated!!
I have started playing with conference budget numbers because apparently I don't have enough stress in my life. Food is the #1 expense for a conference and we will only have a vague idea of how much it is until we submit final menus and attendance numbers 4-6 weeks before the conference. However, the rental costs of the space and the technology are a really close second. The convention center will cost us $23,000 and then $17,000 more for the technology and vendor hall setup. Our required food minimum is $12,000, but that would *just* cover two days of breakfasts (one continental and one small buffet) that will feed 300 people each. Our hope/goal/plan is to feed 300 people breakfast for Friday and Saturday as well as hors d'oeuvres on Thursday evening, and 500 people for dinner Friday night. As of right now with this plan, the food will cost around $55,000, around $110 per person. And that is IFF (if and only if) food costs don't go up again. So we’re looking at $95,000 before keynotes, authors, and registration gifts.
So how do we pay for it? We have had anywhere from 400-550 people attend conference. Around 70% of attendees take advantage of the early bird rates and 17% get presenter rates. There is never enough from registration costs alone to cover the conference and that is one of the reasons we absolutely love our vendor support. And we haven’t even talked about keynote or author fees. Or other miscellaneous conference expenses that come up. Or registration gifts. Or ….
This is our yearly dilemma. How do we provide the very best conference experience we can on a moving target of a budget? As we go through the year, we’ll talk more about this and how hard we’re working to be good stewards of your and NCSLMA’s money because we REALLY want to offer a great conference experience and who doesn't love being fed and gifted and able to listen to amazing keynote speakers and authors?
Have a great week!