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Conference organisation timeline

This assumes roughly 200 people conference, running over 2 days (weekend or during the week).

Take at least 9-12 months.

Note: The guidelines below are rough estimates and can vary depending on the location of the event and other factors. We're working on updated guidelines.

Immediately: Get setup

  • Email setup
  • Chat setup that works on mobile phones
  • Assemble a team (don't start work yet)
    • Budget
    • Meetings
    • Venue spotting
    • Catering
    • Accomodation spotting
    • Website
    • Social media
  • Decide on target group
    • local
    • non-local
  • Checking parameters
    • How much would non-local attendance cost (+flight, +hotels)
  • First sponsor
  • Get in touch with the community team, so that we can give support.
  • Legal framework (bank account, ticket vendor, who's allowed to sign contacts, liability)

7 months before: Get budget numbers

  • Sign the venue contract
  • Setup CFP infrastructure
  • Build an announcement website
  • Plan conference structure
    • number of talks/length
    • submission format
    • slots
    • workshops
  • Contact potential caterers for offers
  • Get offers from Hotels
  • Determine ticket price

6 months before: Get the word out

  • Start talking to potential sponsors
  • Start talking to keynote speakers
  • Release basic website
    • with date
    • accessibility info
    • info on amount of talk slots
    • sponsorship info
    • Code of Conduct
    • team, contact info
  • Open CFP
  • Start supporter ticket sales
    • ask about: dietary restrictions, accessibility restrictions

In between

  • Track submissions numbers
    • Topics
    • Diversity
  • Social media work
    • blog posts
    • newsletter
    • twitter/facebook
  • Outreach work
    • social media
    • mail outreach contacts
  • Announce keynote speakers and standard, students and diversity tickets
  • Get offers for additions:
    • Video
    • Photography
    • Live captioning
    • Live streaming
    • T-Shirts
    • Child care

4 months before

  • Close CFP or extend if necessary
  • Ideally, do the selection within 2 weeks
    • confirm speaker immediately
  • Second round of talking to sponsors
  • Secure speaker and team accomodations (hotel booking)

3 months before

  • Decide for caterer
  • Start conversation about food served, get menus
  • Website and social media: Decide on final lineup, start announcing gradually
  • Release remaining tickets in badges
  • Assign diversity tickets and sponsorships

2 months before

  • Social media work
  • Ticket sales
  • Every speaker is confirmed and travel is sorted out
  • Speaker with Visa issues take preference
  • Start thinking about swag
  • Final budgeting:
    • Determine travel costs (hotel, flights, etc.) for speakers and team
    • Get final catering offer

By the beginning of the month, you have a good idea about your budget, your core expensed and your projected income. This is the time to decide what additions you can include or have to cut.

1 month before

  • Meetings become non-optional for people with responsibilities
  • Start thinking about badges, on-site design
  • Stickers
  • T-Shirt printing is sorted out (timeline)

2 weeks before

  • Assure all speakers can attend
  • Workweek for delayed issues

5 days before

  • Communicate diatary restrictions to the caterer

4 days before

  • Badges go to printer
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