In-person conferences

What is the role of a local organizer?

Below is a non-exhaustive list of a few of the tasks and responsibilities of a local organizer (full details will be provided in a further step). Organizers report to conferences staff at any of the stages and the latter will provide support to organizers whenever they need.

Before the conference:

- Budgeting and financial planning
- Finding a suitable venue
- Creating and maintaining the conference website
- Developing the program
- Communicating with attendees and speakers (answering e-mails, composing mailings, etc.)
- Providing photos for conference website
- Translating materials into the local language (conference page, mailings, visa invitation, etc.)
- Preparing conference materials (printing, cutting and insert into name badges, folders, etc.)
- Contact local companies for sponsorship opportunities at the conference
- Promoting the event (local universities, professional organizations, organize local powwows, using online networks where Conferences are present, like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
- Providing information on travel and accommodations (maintain appropriate pages and forums)
- Organizing social activities (pre-conference powwow, other social activities)
- Miscellaneous (e.g. investigate options for day care facilities)

During the conference: (whether a staff member is attending or not – the following are the responsibilities of the organizer)

- Preparation – putting up registration desk/ stand, hanging banners...
- Coordinating with speakers, sponsors and guests (airport pick-up, etc.)
- Helping with registration on day 1 to ensure an accurate final list of attendees (recruit volunteer helpers beforehand)
- Operate or staff the stand
- Liaising with non-English-speaking staff and attendees
- Respecting the schedule – making sure sessions start and end on time, letting speakers know when their time is running out, making sure the transition between sessions goes smoothly, ensuring attendees leave/enter a room
- Coordinating coffee breaks and meals with the hotel/catering company and coordinating with hotel’s technical staff, wait staff, etc.
- Communicating and informing attendees of any ‘last-minute’ changes, in a visible spot (for example a whiteboard/paperboard at the coffee breaks spot, or at the stand, etc.)
- Handling conference petty cash and keeping track of any expense/income made by cash or check to the organizer (examples of expenses: taxi fare for a speaker, or any unexpected small cash expense for the event – examples of income: attendees paying the conference fee with cash directly at the registration desk upon arrival, T-shirt sales, etc.)
- Helping attendees with anything they need (tourist information, travel issues...)
- Coordinating and organizing social activities (powwow, networking dinner, group picture, sightseeing...)

After the conference:

- Providing staff with full final accountancy and all receipts/invoices for expenses
- Providing staff with the final list of attendees
- Sending thank you e-mails to partners, sponsors, speakers and attendees
- Post-conference analysis and feedback on improvements to conference materials for future organizers

If you have any questions about the tasks please contact the Conference Coordinator.