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Disclaimer

Any organisation that takes on the hosting of a Hydra Connect meeting needs to understand for the outset that Hydra itself has no significant funds.  In effect they will be laying on a conference and using the Hydra 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, the "formal" evening event (unless charged separately), equipment hire, conference give-aways and admin fees.  The fee should be kept as low as possible to encourage attendance.  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.

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 organisation such as EventBrite) or will a third party deal with it?  Booking is dealt with more fully Organising and dealing with booking.  There needs to be advance agreement on what should happen to any surplus.  The assumption should be that the surplus will be transferred to Hydra's community funds.

 

Funding models

There are many ways in which the costs of a Hydra 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 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 travelling costs.

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

For information: at the first Hydra Connect meeting the hosts covered all the cost of hiring rooms and equipment whilst delegates paid a $40 fee which covered the conference-organised meal, refreshments and the conference t-shirt.  In total, these costs amounted to some $10,000.  Effectively, the fixed costs were covered by the hosts and the variable costs were funded from conference fees; some might regard this as the ideal situation as it makes a financial loss highly unlikely.  Essentially the same model was used for Connect #2 but accounting for some fixed costs (essentially T-shirts and social dinner costs for the CWRU team).

It is possible that if, at some time in the future, Hydra sought some form of sponsorship for Connect meetings such income would offset the total cost of an event, however at the time of writing this is not seen as desirable.  A self-funded event aligns better with the "Hydra Way".

 

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 2016 these rooms were offered as "scholarships" to the community and came with a free conference ticket.

 

 

 

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