8 Tips for Writing a Regional Conference Bid

Interested in hosting a PRSSA Regional Conference next spring? Hosting a Regional Conference is a great way for your Chapter to gain valuable event planning experience while networking with other PRSSA Chapters and professionals from your region. Whether this is your first year bidding or you’ve been through this process many times, here are eight tips to make your bid as successful as possible.

1. Research, Research, Research

Georgia Southern University weighed many options for their 2011 Conference.

Before you begin your bid writing, take time to see what’s out there. First, check out past Regional Conference themes. This will give you a better idea of what’s been done before, and you may even discover some common patterns in theme choices. Second, explore the PRSA website. Looking for trends in the profession will aide you in selecting topics and speakers. Also, make sure to research hotels, caterers, speakers, topics, transportation and anything else that comes to mind. Research is the basis of the entire bid process.

2. Map it Out

Make a schedule for the Regional Conference. This will serve as the “game plan” for the event, so make it as detailed as possible. Make sure to map out all details including theme, date, location, lodging, transportation and meals. Avoid major events at your target schools — spring break can severely reduce attendance.

3. Be Creative

You have probably attended public relations conferences, meetings or classes in the past. You know the topics traditionally covered. So, how can you use those topics without sounding like a copycat? Easy. Take a creative approach and think outside the box.

4. Don’t Go it Alone

A PRSSA Chapter is an amazing thing. When eager and enthusiastic students come together, great things can be accomplished. But don’t try to do it all on your own. Use the experience and knowledge surrounding you from Advisers and students.

5. Make It Personal

Some schools are located in big cities, others in small towns. Some schools are near public relations firms and agencies, others near non-profit groups. Whatever your school is near, whatever makes your Chapter unique, use it. This is your Regional Conference. Make it personal.

6. Be Diverse

Incorporating diversity into Regional Conferences can be fun and simple and is also required. Chapters must describe three ways they will incorporate diversity into their Conference, and at least one idea must be executed. For help with incorporating diversity, review the PRSSA Diversity Toolkit or contact Vice President of Advocacy JR Rochester.

7. Budget for Everything

An accurate budget is an essential part of planning a Regional Conference. Decide how much your Chapter will invest and plan how to acquire the remaining funds through registration fees, student-run firm profits, grants, sponsorships and fundraisers. For fundraising ideas, see the FUNdraising Playbook or contact Vice President of Chapter Development Kendall Schmidt.

8. Show What You’ve Got

You have the option, along with the bid and letter of recommendation, to submit additional materials (logo, promotional materials, etc.) that would assist in the selection process. If you have time, take advantage of this opportunity to show what your Chapter can do.

Please remember that Regional Conference bids are due by September 9, 2011. Review the Regional Conference Handbook for more advice and tips. Also, please email me if you have any questions.

What advice do you have for planning conferences and events? What kind of topics would you like to learn about at this year’s Regional Conferences?

This is a guest post by the Vice President of Regional Conferences Haley Higgs.

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