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Disclaimer

Any organization that takes on the hosting of a Samvera Connect meeting needs to understand from the outset that they bear the financial responsibility for the meeting.  In effect they will be laying on a conference and using the Samvera Connect "brand" to characterize it and they must be willing and able to cover any financial loss.  Clearly it is in no-one's interests that such an event should lose money and it is a key role of the organizing committee to make sure that does not happen.  Further, the organizers are responsible for ensuring that any necessary insurances are in place - including liability insurance.

 

Conference fee

One of the earliest tasks of the conference team will be to arrive at a figure for the conference fee - one which is realistic in terms of covering the hire of rooms, refreshments, equipment hire, conference give-aways, admin fees etc.  Organizers should distinguish clearly between fixed costs, which will be incurred no matter how many people attend, and variable costs, which are intimately linked to the actual number of attendees.  It is important to remember that suppliers will probably need to charge sales tax and this must be accounted for and that a booking organization will likely levy a service fee.  The costing should reflect the need to break even at a realistic bottom estimate of attendance.

Any surplus money from the conference, after all the host expenses have been dealt with, should be transferred to Samvera's central funds.  Samvera does not require complex paperwork to justify the figure, a fairly simple 'income and expenses' summary will be adequate.  When Samvera receives confirmation of the figure it will issue an invoice to initiate payment.  The conference fee has risen steadily over the years that Connect has taken place, due to the increasing 'sophistication' of the conference and its delegates.  The registration fee represents only a part of a delegate's total expenses and, to that extent, this rise has not been a concern.  The 2017 fee was close to $300 and since then we have tried to stay below that figure.  The 2018 Connect conference implemented a discounted early bird registration option, which was $25 less than the general registration fee. The majority of registrations for Connect 2018 were early bird. Under Samvera's new Governance structure (2017), the organization has a need of central funds in support of its activities and generating a healthy surplus should not be seen as an embarrassment.

The organizing committee will need to come to an early agreement with the institution about how money will be handled.  Will the hosts handle booking (either directly or through an organization such as EventBrite) or will a third party deal with it?  Booking is dealt with more fully on the page 'Organizing and dealing with booking'.  

 

Funding models

There are many ways in which the costs of a Samvera Connect meeting might be covered.

At one extreme the hosting institution would provide no more than the time of its contributing staff and all the costs of the meeting would be met from fees charged to delegates.

At the other extreme the hosting institution might choose to cover all the facilities costs itself balancing this against the fact that a number of local staff (managers and developers) might then reasonably expect to attend the conference free of charge and with no traveling costs.

Clearly there are many possible variations in the range between these two scenarios. 

In 2019, Samvera is experimenting with the idea of sponsorship for the Connect conference.  At the time of writing, we have no idea how successful that might be.  However, given Samvera's needs for central funds, referenced in the previous section, it will probably be wise for hosts to assume no income from sponsorship and 'balance the books' with just the registration fee.  Any sponsorship money that is raised will then be used to fund the sponsorship benefits offered and the surplus will be passed to Samvera as part of the conference surplus.  The sponsorship levels are set such that they are adequate to cover the benefits included: 'free' registrations, exhibition tables, 'enhanced' refreshment breaks, an 'enhanced' poster reception, conference 'give-aways' etc.  There should be no drain on local financial resources.  Ideally sponsors will pay sponsorship money direct to the hosting organization rather than to Samvera centrally.

 

Free places

The number of free conference places (from zero upwards!) offered to the host institution will depend on the level of subsidy offered to the meeting overall. This will be a matter for negotiation and should not be pre-judged.

 

Scholarships

Conference hotels often offer a number of complimentary rooms linked to the number of room-nights paid for by delegates.  In the past, these rooms have been offered as "scholarships" to the Community and came with a free registration.  The scholarship registration fees need to be accounted for in the overall local budget.  No more than three scholarships have been taken up in the past.

 

 

 

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