Planning an Academic Conference

Event Checklist

1. DETERMINE BUDGET

a. Who on the Cabinet has approved the conference/seminar budget?
b. What is the budgeted amount? Who is the cost center approver?
c. Identify which cost centers pay for: Collateral, food, photography, gifts for keynote speakers (Bentley-oriented at Bookstore), panelist expenses, etc.

2. Identify DATE (s) of the conference, preferably six months in advance; identify open meeting space

3. Identify the AUDIENCES; pull together targeted and up-to-date mailing lists (preferably both business and e-mail addresses). The number on the master combined list informs the quantity of save the dates and invitations to be printed and mailed, and the postage required.

4. EVENT ARRANGEMENTS

To reserve meeting space and equipment, please use the Events Management System

• For Bentley video coverage requests, contact Steve Salina at ext. 2635
• If TV coverage is planned, request that Media Services provide audio multi-box set up, tape off area for cameras on morning of the event (coordinate with PR staff)

5. PROMOTION and PUBLICITY: Meet with Marketing Communication and Public Relations a minimum of EIGHT Weeks Prior to the Event

a. Identify outreach goals

• To drive attendance
• Determine faculty’s outreach resources for possible attendees
• Can you partner w/ speakers or other organizations to drive attendance
• Seek out topic-specific newsletters and contact for exposure
• Identify/purchase industry mailing lists, etc.
• Reach out to personal contacts

• Create pre-conference awareness
• Identify key audiences
• Press release distributed to targeted media for event listing, post on web site

• Event exposure only — reputation enhancement? 
• Identify key audiences
• Press release distributed to targeted media, posted on web site

b. Determine collateral materials needed
•  Work with Marketing Communication to create timeline for production and delivery of materials; fill out online Publication Request Form.

• Save the date cards
• Invitations
• Brochures
• One sheet flyers
• Electronic invitations or announcements
• CDs/DVDs
• Folders
• Name tags 
• Pens, pads
• Programs
• Hire photographer (complete online photo request here.)

c. Determine WEB SITE Needs

• Work within template and send content updates to:ga_webpublishing@bentley.edu
• Can create third party e-mail account to accept questions, etc. (i.e., interested attendees e-mail: xxxconference@bentley.edu rather than faculty directly) by filling out a HelpDesk e-mail ticket
• Create links to affiliated organizations
• Encourage speakers to distribute info via their networks, newsletters, etc.
• Create registration site in Formbuilder if no money is collected; identify and e-mail the fields for the form to kblake@bentley.edu

d. Determine Publicity Needs 
• To drive attendance: eight-week advance notice
• To foster pre-conference awareness: six-week advance notice
• For event exposure only: four-week advance notice

6. DAY OF EVENT

a. Registration/check in table
• Faculty ID work study and staff to assist
b. Greeters/signage near parking lots
• Faculty ID work study and staff to assist

Website Planning

Planning 

  • Schedule:  Begin planning at least 4 weeks before you want your event site “live”  - see the “Getting Started” steps below for action items. 
  • Web experience: If you are planning a new event, you should review existing event sites on Bentley.edu to understand how common event information is shared and organized and the format (ie, template) for event sites: http://www.bentley.edu/events/

Getting Started

  • Contact Kathy Blake (kblake@bentley.edu) 4-6 weeks before your target website launch date if you need a new event site created

Site experience: The following features are available out-of-the-box for Bentley event websites:

  • Event url:  All Bentley events live in the /event directory therefore, URLs are formatted as: www.bentley.edu/events/your-event-name-here. If you will be advertising an event, we can secure a vanity URL for your use (ex: www.bentley.edu/commencement)
  • Landing/Home page: This will serve as an overview of your event (ex: www.bentley.edu/events/duc)
  • Schedule or Program page: This lists all the sessions by date/time and can be organized by tracks (example: http://www.bentley.edu/events/duc/program-overview-and-speakers)
  • Speaker listings page: A page listing speakers (ex: http://www.bentley.edu/events/duc/speakers-presentation)
  • Speaker bio page:  A page featuring a bio for each speaker (ex: http://www.bentley.edu/events/duc/speakers/sue-burton)
  • Other pages can be easily be created in Drupal which users can access from a left navigation menu including:
    • Directions
    • Sponsorship
    • Contact Us
  • Registration: A few options are available depending on whether or not event admission is free:
  • Free admission – Attendance can be tracked through a Drupal form or 3rd party event registration options like Eventbrite and can be linked to from the event site; you will need to create their own admin accounts on these platforms and share the URLs with us
  • Paid admission – Payment can be processed through Cashnet; you will need to work with Financial Ops (Maria Meehan) to facilitate this but a page can be created on the website to capture payment 

Content creation & maintenance

Promotion

  • Institutional events will be featured on the Events page (http://www.bentley.edu/events/); after the event has occurred, it will no longer be featured on the Events page but will be moved to the listing on the Archive page (http://www.bentley.edu/events/archive)
  • If you would like to be featured on the Bentley home page, they will need to contact the Content, Communication and Creative Services team (Kathy Blake) for a feature story and the News & Communications team (Michele Walsh) for a bulletin.