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Subject: Setting up a convention for charity rss

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Craig McRoberts
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I'm just now dipping my toes in the water, considering setting up a small convention for a local charity. Where do I start? Has anyone done this before? I have only a very small idea of what would be involved.

Thanks!
 
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Gary Tanner
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BryceCon Game Convention Jan 15-18 in Southern Utah www.brycecon.com
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Good timing, there's a segment on it in the latest Dice Tower podcast:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/0/b/a/0bac7753bea47939/TDT363-TheD...

Pick a charity, look at how much it'll cost you, how much you think it'll bring in, minimize costs, maximize income (for the charity), solicit donations, etc.
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Craig McRoberts
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MilesF wrote:
Good timing, there's a segment on it in the latest Dice Tower podcast:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/0/b/a/0bac7753bea47939/TDT363-TheD...

Pick a charity, look at how much it'll cost you, how much you think it'll bring in, minimize costs, maximize income (for the charity), solicit donations, etc.


I will definitely check that out! Thanks for the heads up.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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SoRCon 11 23-25 Feb 2018 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk
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imprimis5 wrote:
I'm just now dipping my toes in the water, considering setting up a small convention for a local charity. Where do I start? Has anyone done this before? I have only a very small idea of what would be involved.


The convention I help run isn't for charity. However we have immutable rules that say that the only things we are allowed to do with the money we raise after costs are run games events, keep money in the bank, give to charity. And if we ever wind up the remaining balance has to go to charity. We've raised a few hundred a year over our time, with a decent balance. Enough that it's useful to a small local charity. So that's a pattern that can work.

(The immutable bit is that we have to have a constitution to get a bank account. We made all the relevant clauses unchangeable. The only real uncertainty would be that the committee could possibly consider their rooms at the hotel we hold it in as a valid expense. But we choose not to.)

After that, it's like running any other convention of its size. (Three days, pushing a hundred attendees.)
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Craig McRoberts
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Dearlove wrote:
After that, it's like running any other convention of its size. (Three days, pushing a hundred attendees.)


Ah, there's the rub. The largest convention I've ever run is having a few friends over for dinner and games on the weekends.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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imprimis5 wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
After that, it's like running any other convention of its size. (Three days, pushing a hundred attendees.)


Ah, there's the rub. The largest convention I've ever run is having a few friends over for dinner and games on the weekends.


Before I got roped in to be on of the three people (plus supporters) who run SoRCon, same here. But I'd been to plenty and observed.

We also had advantages, such as a gap in the market, an existing convention folding (not due to lack of support, but the organiser moving). We aren't the same, but we knew there were people interested, and we had contacts from that and other conventions. We also have the advantage of population density - there are tens of millions of people who could get here in a few hours, so we just need a small fraction of them. If your likely catchment area is only, say, a couple of million, your job is ten times harder. And we know what gamers here want - almost entirely open gaming. You need to get that right.

But the key thing is finding a venue. We went for the hotel model. Different hotels have different models of their own (some are more suited to events with fixed meals for example - not for us). You need to find one that works for you. We chose not to be involved in room bookings (except getting a quoted rate) and not to make any promises there.

And finally you need to work out what the largest loss you could make is (allowing for the possibility of cancelling and only losing a deposit) and have backers prepared to swallow that. We jumped straight in with a profit on our first event - but never assume that.

Well, not finally. This year we changed hotels. Essentially the hotel was not as good as when we started, and we got feedback (yes, we do feedback forms) that could be summarised as "great convention, pity about hotel". Important to get that and do something about it before people stop coming.

And for those wanting to come, mouseover my details to the left.
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Craig McRoberts
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Dearlove wrote:
imprimis5 wrote:
Dearlove wrote:
After that, it's like running any other convention of its size. (Three days, pushing a hundred attendees.)


Ah, there's the rub. The largest convention I've ever run is having a few friends over for dinner and games on the weekends.


Before I got roped in to be on of the three people (plus supporters) who run SoRCon, same here. But I'd been to plenty and observed.

We also had advantages, such as a gap in the market, an existing convention folding (not due to lack of support, but the organiser moving). We aren't the same, but we knew there were people interested, and we had contacts from that and other conventions. We also have the advantage of population density - there are tens of millions of people who could get here in a few hours, so we just need a small fraction of them. If your likely catchment area is only, say, a couple of million, your job is ten times harder. And we know what gamers here want - almost entirely open gaming. You need to get that right.

But the key thing is finding a venue. We went for the hotel model. Different hotels have different models of their own (some are more suited to events with fixed meals for example - not for us). You need to find one that works for you. We chose not to be involved in room bookings (except getting a quoted rate) and not to make any promises there.

And finally you need to work out what the largest loss you could make is (allowing for the possibility of cancelling and only losing a deposit) and have backers prepared to swallow that. We jumped straight in with a profit on our first event - but never assume that.

Well, not finally. This year we changed hotels. Essentially the hotel was not as good as when we started, and we got feedback (yes, we do feedback forms) that could be summarised as "great convention, pity about hotel". Important to get that and do something about it before people stop coming.

And for those wanting to come, mouseover my details to the left.


That's very helpful. Thank you so much.

I think I'm going to gauge interest a bit first. Check with game stores and a couple people I know involved with other conventions. Without interest, it would be rather a failing proposition, eh? Lol
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