QBARS - v21n1 So You Want to Host a Convention

"So You Want to Host a Convention!"
by Roy and Honoré Hacanson

Having just come through the exciting experience of hosting the 1966 National Convention, the Tacoma Chapter feels that there is some merit in listing some guide-lines for future planners of National Conventions. To those of you who consider this old hat, we apologize for taking the space. To those of you who are facing this ordeal for the first time with no previous experience, we offer you our chapter's good wishes and the following suggestions:

I. Organize an Advisory Board - Along with your Board of Directors (Elected Officers) consisting of people capable of assisting you in this capacity.
A. Determine dates, budget, program, coordinator, Gold Medal Award nominees, and
B. Committees:
1. Treasurer (budget) 6. Registration
2. Program 7. Publicity
3. Tour 8. Transportation
4. Housing and meals 9. Decorations and favors
5. Brochure
II. Appoint Committee Chairmen and Coordinator
A. Members for various committees can be chosen by:
1. Chairman of individual committee or       3. Coordinator
2. Advisory Board or
B. Call individual committee meetings to plan and determine details.
C. Committee chairmen meet regularly with Advisory Board to report progress
and receive suggestions.
III. Committee's Duties
A. Program
1. Organize in detail the schedule. 4. Send write-up's for Gold Medal Award nominees.
2. Write to speakers giving details of time and place, a. Dr. Phetteplace is chairman of this committee.
and requesting their presence. Suggest subjects. b. Write-up's should come from nominee's chapter.
3. Choose matter of ceremonies. 5. Make arrangements for projectors, screens, tape-recorder, photographers, etc.
B. Tour
1. Visit homes, estates, nurseries. 3. Determine how many stops you have time for.
2. Determine amount of time you can spend: 4. Determine mode of transportation.
a. on entire tour 5. Plan schedule. (Our chairman had schedules for each
b. in individual gardens bus driver, each tour guide, and each home, listing time
c. in travel of departure and time of arrival. It went like clockwork!)
d. for lunch 6. Present write-up for Bulletin and brochure.
C. Registration
1. Name tags 6. Registration Book
2. Chamber of Commerce material a. Keep tally of each registration as it comes in.
3. Tickets b. Number each registered per son,
4. Registration Form keep all his material filed under this same number.
5. Envelopes for each registration c. Our Registration Chairman is a Graduate Bookkeeper.
We feel he performed one of the most important
jobs of the entire convention!
D. Housing and Meals.
1. Visit available Inns and Hotels 5. Choose menu for each meal
2. Banquet hall which can seat 250-300 or more 6. Inform Inn of your choice as early as possible to
necessary confirm reservations
3. Housing accommodations for at least 40-50 rooms 7. Keep in contact with Hostess before Convention to
4. List of Menus and prices. (When listing prices on give estimates of number to attend each meal, as well
Registration Form, be sure to add enough for local as choice of menu
taxes and gratuities) 8. Be sure to collect tickets at the meals!
E. Budget
1. Average attendance is 150 x $5.00 registration fee 7. You'll need money before the convention for:
per person = $750.00 you can pretty well count on. a. Letters to speakers, other chapters,
2. No financial aid from National Association National President, and Bulletin Editor.
3. Ask for Patrons and donations b. Postage
4. Have plant sales in local chapter c. Advertising
5. There are definite standards for amount offered to d. Favors and Decorations
overseas speakers. Check with Dr. Clarke. e. Tickets
6. We gave all speakers, including local ones, f. Registration Form
complimentary tickets to the entire Convention. g. Envelopes
You could extend this to their wives also. h. Name Tags
F. Publicity
1. All information available for January Issue of 3. We sent material to Sunset Magazine, but were too
Bulletin must be in before Dec. 15th to the Editor. late for large article and pictures. If you know well in
This includes some statement concerning: advance that you will be host another year, take
a. Dates, time, place pictures of your show the year before and send in
b. Speakers together with write-up at least six months in advance.
c. Cost 4. We sent Registration Form in envelope with
2. Contact local newspapers, periodicals, our Brochure, but it can be mailed
TV and Radio stations, Chamber of with the April Bulletin.
Commerce, Local Nurseryman's Association.
Especially concerning your Show for the public.
G. Brochure
1. Can be as small or elaborate as you choose. c. Determine how to send
a. Our committee decided on something rather 1. With bulletin
grand, completely paid for by ads. 2. Separately
b. We decided to mail to every member in the U.S., a. cost of envelopes
so we wrote to every Nursery Member b. cost of postage
offering them a chance to advertise. c. committee to stuff and stamp envelopes

2. Determine what you wish to include.

4. Having assembled the above figures, you
We had ads, Program outline. Write-up can then divide the cost by page, and
about speakers, write-up about the show, write come to some conclusion as to the price of the ads.
up about the Tour, and a map of our local area (Remember, the ads have to pay for the pages of
showing the place of the show, the convention, information about the Convention. If you have half
and local nurseries advertising in the brochure. the brochure in information, and half in ads, the all
3. Determine approximate size you want pages must cover the cost of two pages, etc.)
(pages and lineal measurements) a. Our back page was the most expensive
a. Determine how many to print b. Whole pages of advertising were the closest to cost
(Allow extra for advertising media, new members) c. Half-page ad was slightly higher
b. Get printers estimates on cost d. One-fourth page all was higher yet.
e. The additional charge for smaller ads
covered the cost of mailing and envelopes.
H. Transportation
1. Appoint members to meet speakers and / or guests at Air Port, Train Depot, Bus Station
for those who request this service
2. Have cars of members available at the Convention with drivers to take out-of-town guests
where needed.
3. In our case, the bus tour quota was filled, so our chairman arranged a private-car-tour to
our Test Garden at Pt. Defiance Park for those who missed the "Big One."
I. Decorations
1. Decide how elaborate you want to be
2. Allow some money in budget (amount determined by decision #1)
3. Have committee make or purchase favors if you want them (we didn't)
IV It seems to fall to the Coordinator to call Advisory Board meetings, to keep things running smoothly, to handle the small details overlooked, and to make many of the final decisions. In our case, he even wrote all the letters to the speakers, because it was felt it carried more weight coming from the President of the Society, on Chapter stationery.
V We have not included anything about the Show. This took a great deal of time and effort on the part of our Show Chairmen who were also Vice President and Secretary of the chapter. Their problems, duties, and results were all discussed in detail with the Advisory Board. This might not be necessary when you are producing an individual show, but one the size we staged was a tremendous new experience for all, and we're terribly proud of our Co-Chairmen and the job they accomplished!
All in all, hosting a Convention can be the most rewarding thing your chapter could possibly do. Having just won the Membership Drive in the previous year, we had many new members. The Convention served as an inspiration for them, as well as a thrill for all our old members. We suggest you consider the possibility in the near future!