Upper Midwest Regional Association Annual Conference Planning Guide

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Introduction General Conference Format General Conference Chairman Basic Schedule for Planning Prior to the Conference Financial Program Planning Registration Sub-Committees Sample Financial & Budget Worksheets


The objective of this guide is to assist chapters in planning for a Regional Educational Conference. Bidding for a Conference is normally done two years ahead of the year the chapter wishes to host the Conference. This guide will try to provide the Chapter Conference Committee with an idea of the following items:

  1. An outline of the general schedule of events at a Conference.
  2. A suggested schedule for financial planning.
  3. Committee and sub-committee suggestions and responsibilities.
  4. A copy of the rules and regulations which are in effect by the International Society governing such Conferences. These rules will primarily concern exhibits.

The contents of this guide are considered to be flexible at the discretion of the host chapter Conference Committee. At the conclusion of a Conference, committees are asked to submit any additions or suggestions which they feel will make the work of future Conference Committees easier.

While it is the purpose of this guide to broadly define the structure and duties of various Conference Committees, it should be understood that all chapters may not have the full availability of people to fulfill all of these suggestions. The guide is only a framework of the Committees and their areas of responsibility and activities.

The Conference Committee should enlist the help of other industry associations, suppliers and individuals in the area to assure good attendance, good educational programs and good exhibits, if exhibits are to be a part of the program.

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THURSDAY - This day is the gathering day for the persons who are attending the Conference. This day may also be used for such activities as:

  1. Chapter Office Education workshops.
  2. Seminars, specific and Educational.
  3. Tours to local places of interest.
  4. Exhibits could be scheduled for this day.
  5. Certificate and Specialist Examinations.
  6. Registration Desk should be open during the afternoon and evening hours.

FRIDAY - Beginning of Conference

  1. Opening Ceremony.
  2. Assembly of all persons.
  3. Flag Presentation, National Anthems of both the United States and Canada.
  4. Keynote Speaker (If desired).
  5. Educational Programs (Most of day).
  6. Evening - Social event - Theme Party


  1. Educational Programs, morning & afternoon.
  2. Awards Luncheon, (Noon, planned meal & Program).
  3. Evening -
    1. Cocktail Hour
    2. Banquet, Program Schedule (Planned by Conference Committee).

Wish everyone a safe trip home and an invitation to next year's Conference.

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Planning is the essence of a successful Conference. There can be the most money, the best them and the greatest ideas, but without proper planning, the Conference will have little chance of success. Planned properly the Conference cab be a satisfying experience for everyone.

When the General Conference Chairman has been selected, he/she should solicit the help of chapter members who are dependable and actively concerned about the successful execution of chapter activities. After they have been selected, a preliminary meeting should be held to determine the assignments of the necessary duties and responsibilities.

Each sub-committee or group should be furnished with information concerning these assignments. Duties of committees should be reviewed with Committee Chairmen and their committees in order to familiarize them thoroughly with their responsibility area. All committee members must be advised that changes will be made in personnel if necessary, to insure proper carrying out the plans of the General Committee.

It is the General Chairman's duty to correlate activities of all committees, to receive periodic progress reports of committee activities, to call committee meetings as may be necessary, to approve all budgets, to act as the spokesperson of the committee to the Upper Midwest Regional Association, the General Chairman shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.

Financial planning is of the utmost importance. The budget and costs of the conference activities must be done by the entire committee.

No financial commitments shall be made without the authorization of the General Chairman.

All negotiated agreements should be obtained in writing showing financial arrangements.

The number of committee meetings should be determined by the General Chairman as the plans progress, he must act much like an athletic coach, following a plan which will keep his team raring to go and full of enthusiasm.

The General Chairman should delegate as much of the responsibility as possible, not try to carry the whole load himself. However, he must keep himself fully informed as to the progress of all committees at all times.

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Initial planning session.

  1. Committee appointments including committee workers where needed.
  2. Set up accounting and bookkeeping system. If at possible keep conference finances separate from chapter treasury. Checks should be signed by Treasurer and by Conference Chairman
  3. Choose possible sites for Conference. Delegate committee person to obtain information and dates of availability from each facility.
  4. Make rough general plans for the schedule of the Conference including possible educational subjects.


  1. Make decision as to Conference site selection
  2. Contact speakers and exhibitors for presentation of educational programs. It is often necessary to allow plenty of lead time for them to make their plans. This also allows your committee time to contact others if needed.
  3. If any form of entertainment or live music will be needed, these should be solicited far enough ahead of time. Obtain agreements in writing showing the dates and cost of services.


  1. Review progress of Committee assignments.
  2. Start finalizing plans.
  3. Make any changes in Committee structure, if necessary.
  4. Make any necessary changes in program planning and conference schedules
  5. Instruct sub-committees to prepare an estimate of costs within their individual assigned areas of planning.


  1. All Conference costs should be roughly available by this time and a budget can be established.
  2. Establish your income requirements.
  3. Make preparations for advance advertising and promotion.


  1. Review progress of all arrangements.
  2. Finalize all plans and arrangements
  3. Make up format for mailing information to all members of the Regional Association Chapters.
  4. Mailing lists on labels should be ordered from International Headquarters
  5. Submit forms to printer for preparation
  6. Send Conference information to editor of RSES Journal for publication.
  7. Send Conference information to UMRA Web Officer for posting on web site.


  1. Send mailing to all members.
  2. Send mailing to all vocational schools. Remember, these students are potential members and should be made aware of RSES and what it is.
  3. Verify scheduling with entertainment, musical groups and speakers.


  1. Schedule meetings as frequently as necessary to monitor progress and final plans.
  2. Start preparing progress sheets of registrations for each individual event. These will be needed to furnish planning count to the hotel and any tour and transportation events.
  3. Make plans for preparing registration packets fro pre-registered attendees.
  4. Make plans for handling on site registrations.
  5. Search for any other problem areas which need planning attention.


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Proper advance financial planning assures that the Conference will stand on its own and apy its own way. This advance planning must be coordinated by the General Conference Chairman with the sub-committees.


When total estimated costs are known, then an income budget can be established. Selling prices for tickets to various events can be assembled into a registration package. It may be advisable to not include tours or pre-conference activities in the package. This could simply record keeping and give better control.

CAUTION Be conservative in attendance estimates. Consider any possibility of weather causing problems with attendance. If a break even point is determined on the basis of a conservative attendance figure, financial deficits will be avoided.

There are many ways that unanticipated expenses can occur. The General Chairman, by constant surveillance can control these.

For example: Be sure to advise the hotel that you will not be responsible for any telephone calls or incidental expenses incurred in meeting rooms or at the registration desk.

Make it clear that only bills will be honored which are signed by certain designated persons.

Insist that luncheon and banquet meals will be paid for on the basis of tickets collected by waiters.

Obtain an understanding with the hotel in advance, the tolerance each way from your advance count for meal functions.


As a courtesy to speakers and others who participate in programs of the Conference, it may be desirable to furnish a complimentary registration including a ticket to one organized meal function.

Any complimentary courtesy extended to the regional director or other International dignitary should be considered.


Cost of such items as pre-conference registration forms, promotional brochures, tickets for organized events, audio visual equipment rental and props for stage and registration areas are charged to the Conference Fund.


It is the policy of the Upper Midwest Regional Association to advance a loan to the host chapter. This amount is determined by the Board of Directors as needed. The primary purpose of this loan is to provide working capital for pre-conference planning and expenses such as postage, printing and purchase of items for the Conference. At the close of the Conference, a complete financial summary of the Conference costs must be filed with the Secretary of UMRA. The advance loan should be returned to the UMRA treasury along with 1/2 of any money left on hand after all bills are paid. On the other hand, if the Conference should operate at a deficit, the loan, or any part of it will be used to subsidize the costs. This will be determined and approved by the Board of Directors.

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The Conference Committee is responsible for social events, tours, housing, hospitality and the actual staging of the Conference.

Educational programs, workshops, forums, etc., are the responsibility of the Conference program Chairman and the Educational Committee.

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Advance registration will be handled by the Conference Committee.

Packages will be prepared for those who register in advance which will include all programs and tickets for the events which were included on their advance registration application and monies were submitted.

On site registration will be handled by the Conference Committee to assist any late arrivals.

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The following sub-committees are suggested. Additional committees may be desirable depending on planning for local activities.

  • Treasurer
  • Publicity
  • Sergeant-at-Arms
  • Banquet
  • Entertainment

The following sections describe the duties of these committees and spaces have been provided for the General Chairman's convenience to write in the appointees name and information needed to communicate with them. Click Here for a printer friendly version of the committee duties. The link will open a new window, and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

General Conference Chairman

General Conference Chairman:            
City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      

The General Conference Chairman appoints all Committee Chairmen.

It is the General Chairman's duties to correlate activities of all committees, to receive periodic progress reports of committee activities, to call committee meetings as may be necessary and to approve all budget items.

The General Conference Chairman shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.

Conference Co-Chairman

Conference Co-Chairman:            
City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      

A Co-Chairman is sometimes appointed in case the General Chairman cannot always be available (due to travel or living in another city), in this case the General Chairman and the Co-Chairman must have a thorough understanding of all of the plans for the Conference at all times and maintain good communications.

It shall be his duty to assist the General Chairman as requested. Sometimes there is someone who the chapter wishes to place in this position as an honor or specific recognition.

Ladies Program Coordinator

City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      

This committee will be responsible for coordinating the spouse and Ladies Auxiliary programs.

To keep the Officers of the Auxiliary informed as to the scheduling of events during the Conference in order to help in avoiding conflicts.

They should obtain the schedule of Ladies programs in time to have them included in the advance mailings.

Banquet and Entertainment Coordinator

City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      

This committee will have charge of the Awards Luncheon and banquet meal planning, ascertain cost of meals, including all charges such as taxes and gratuities.

The committee should work closely with the General Chairman so that the established price of the tickets will cover all costs of the meal and entertainment.

It is recommended that a close account be kept by registration on ticket sales so that a close count can be given to the hotel one day before the banquet.

Avoid any guarantee of count and try to have an agreement for a few either way allowance on this count.

This committee will obtain estimates on entertainment for the banquet and other social events. This information should be submitted to the General Conference Chairman, and with the approval of the Conference Committee, enter into such contracts as are necessary.

The committee will see that seating arrangements at the banquet provide for a head table for all Officers of the Association, the General Conference Chairman, the Regional Director and any International Dignitaries, and their wives.

Head table seating order will be arrange in cooperation with the General Conference Chairman.

This committee shall also coordinate with the property committee to assure that such tings as the Canadian and American flags are properly displayed, and podium is in the proper position and the audio-visual equipment is in good working order.

Schedule and Protocol for Banquet

  1. Invocation
  2. Between salad and main meal.
    1. (If Conference is in USA)
    1. Toast to the President of the United States.
    2. Toast to the Queen and the Prime Minister of Canada.
    1. (If Conference is in Canada)
    1. Toast to the Queen and the Prime Minister of Canada.
    2. Toast to the President of the United States.
  3. Main Meal is served.
  4. Introductions. (Either the Conference Chairman or an appointed Master of Ceremonies)
    1. Persons at Head Table.
    2. Any International Officers and Past International Officers.
    3. Any other dignitaries.
  5. Entertainment, if planned.
  6. Installation of new Officers. (By guest International Officer or Regional Director).
  7. Speakers:
    1. Guest Speaker.
    2. International Representative.
    3. Regional Director.
  8. Recognition of Committee Members. (General Conference Chairman).
  9. Recognition of Member Chapter.
  10. Next years Conference Site. (Representative from Host Chapter).
  11. Announcements.
  12. Conclusion.

Conference Sgt-at-Arms Committee

Sgt-at-Arms Chairman:            
City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      

A Conference Sgt-At-Arms and his Committee should be appointed to assist during the hours of all meetings and educational sessions.

It is suggested that one or more of these committee persons be stationed at the entrance to all rooms where meetings and sessions are held.

They shall monitor those entering to assure that all are wearing Conference Badges showing registration.

It will be the duty of this Committee to maintain order during all sessions and not allow any rudeness or disturbance to the speakers and persons making a presentation.

The duty of this Committee will be to see that all necessary equipment is in place and working properly prior to each session.

Committee members should consult program presenters before the Conference to be aware of their needs for their presentation.

A cue sheet should be prepared showing all of this information in the order it will come on the Conference schedule.

The Committee members shall arrange for persons to turn lights on and off when needed, open curtains and change stage settings if required.

There should be persons assigned to operate audio-visual equipment.

The Committee shall arrange for various signs that may be needed during the Conference and see that they are placed in position at the proper time.

The Committee should check these items prior to each session.

  1. American and Canadian flags are properly in place.
  2. Audio-Visual equipment.
  3. Podium lighted and properly placed.
  4. Glasses and ice water at podium.
  5. White marker board with markers and appropriate eraser, when needed.
  6. Inquire if there will be hand-outs to be distributed.
  7. Check to be sure signs are in place where necessary.

Publicity Committee

City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      
Name:       Phone:      

The work of the Publicity Committee is of utmost importance to a successful Conference.

The Committee shall co-operate with the General Chairman and the full Conference Committee when laying out the publicity material.

The forms and material to be mailed should be compressed as much as possible and the number of pieces to be kept to a minimum. This will avoid excessive postage costs. Be aware that postage to Canada is approximately one-third higher.

Search out any and all possibilities of publicizing the Conference.

Solicit assistance, both moral, physical, and financial from other industry association, wholesalers and manufacturers.

Contact all chapters in the regional association and ask that they promote the Conference in their area. Ask them to contact their local vocational schools. These are our future members. Place announcements in trade papers and magazines. It will be hard to get them to publish large articles and Conference Schedules, however, the will place your Conference announcement in their calendar of events.

Place ads and announcements in newspapers and on local radio and television events programs.

Mailing labels and computer print out listings of all chapters within the regional association cab be obtained from International Headquarters. There is a nominal charge for the labels.

Visitors from all section of the country and Canada are expected to attend our Conference. The work of a good Hospitality Committee will be remembered long after the Conference is concluded. The Hospitality Committee should make themselves known to all guests and be available to make suggestions as to:

  • Good places to eat
  • Points of interest in the area
  • Shopping facilities close by
  • Churches which are conveniently close
  • Available means of transportation
  • Parking and servicing facilities for autos and R/V vehicles
  • This committee should also offer assistance in obtaining other hotel facilities if needed

Treasurer of the Conference Committee

City, State, Zip:                
Home Phone:       Work Phone:      
Cell Phone:       Other Phone:      

A Committee Treasurer should be appointed (it may be desirable to have this person bonded) and selection of a depository for Conference funds.

He/she will receive, deposit, and disburse all funds upon the approval and co-signature of the General Conference Chairman.

The Treasurer will maintain an accurate record of receipts and disbursements and be ready to furnish an accounting of finances at any time it is needed by the General Chairman and the Committee.

Sample Financial & Budget Worksheet

I.D. BADGES      
TYPIST (REG.)      

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