Statewide Conference Information Sheet Available

Statewide Conference Information Sheet Available


CFMA Headquarters has developed the following “checklist” of responsibilities for chapters interested in structuring a statewide conference.

These guidelines include “First Things First,” the eight most important factors in planning the event—Set a Realistic Budget; Pick a Suitable Date; Location; Choosing the Site; Program Costs; Determine Your Target Audience; Identify Your Players; Develop Your Program. Each heading has corresponding bullet points to provide more detail and clarification.

Also included are the three key areas of responsibility—Conference Planning; Education/Program Content; and Marketing/Promotion—and suggested tips from Headquarters.


Set a Realistic Budget

  • Estimate the number of attendees
  • Are the conference expenses covered by the registration fees only?
  • Do we have sponsorship revenue?
  • Can chapters obtain sponsors to offset costs?

--Continental breakfast



Pick a Suitable Date

  • Avoid competing with other conferences
  • Avoid scheduling around holidays and vacations
  • Avoid scheduling on the weekend of major sporting events

--World Series

--Super Bowl

--Local popular teams/games (rivalries)

  • Provide enough time to structure program

--Choose a date and work backwards from the date of the conference; or

--Estimate time needed for details and choose a date moving forward

  • Allow a minimum of six months to successfully plan for a 1-2 day event


  • Choose a central location that is easily accessible by all attendees

--Airport location

--Near interstate

  • Give program specifications (specs) to hotels

--Number of hotel sleeping rooms

--Audio/visual needs

--Meeting space

--Food and beverage

  • Obtain a minimum of three possible venues

Choosing the Site

  • Cost for hotel sleeping rooms

--Is a room block needed?

--Is there a fee for not meeting room block total?

  • Meeting space

--Is there a room rental?

--Can venue accommodate your needs?

--Are there enough meeting rooms?

  • Audio/visual aids and expenses

--Is there one overall fee?

--Based on number of speakers?

  • Food and beverage

--Are the menus negotiable?

--Is liquor by consumption or per drink?

--Will venue use top brand names?

--Will it be open bar/cash bar?

  • When does the hotel need the final room block?
  • Look at all logistics before deciding on venue

--Lowest price per person isn’t always the best deal

--Will your group have its own dedicated hotel contact?

--Are there any “hidden” costs?

--Parking fees

--Other room charges (health club, telephone, etc.)?

Program Costs

  • Stay within budget!!
  • Look to break even

--Don’t over-price registration fee

--Use estimated attendance figures from each chapter

--Secure sponsors for events (breakfast, lunch, dinner, social event, etc.)

  • Speakers


--Travel expenses

--Presentation needs (microphones, a/v equipment, etc.)

  • Social event(s)

--Are they included in registration fee or separate fee?

--Will they be structured or “play by ear?”

  • Brochure printing and mailing

--How many?



--Two color

--Four color


--Mailed first class, third class, or bulk rate?

Determine Your Target Audience

  • Only CFMA members?
  • Other organizations
  • Travel distance for potential attendees

--Other chapters

--Two-hour travel time good benchmark for 1-2 day event

  • Determine estimated attendance from each chapter

--Needed for budgeting purposes

Identify Your Players

  • Specifically outline direct responsibilities for each chapter
  • Segment responsibilities between chapters
  • Consider chapter size/resources when determining responsibilities
  • Determine one lead chapter to spearhead planning activities
  • Determine one contact per chapter
  • Form a Subcommittee consisting of at least one person from each chapter to:

--Approve entire program content

--Approve all marketing/promotional materials

--Monitor budget

  • Identify one person from this Subcommittee to be the contact person with the hotel
  • Schedule people to work the registration desk

Develop Your Program

  • Block out program schedule in a grid

--Continental Breakfast

--Concurrent Sessions

--General Sessions

--Lunch with Keynote Speaker


  • Determine topics

--Chapter suggestions


--“Beyond the Basics”

--Great Chapter!Day

--Other CFMA educational programs

--Current industry or economic events

  • Brainstorm for potential speakers
  • Consider social events before, during, and after the program, such as:

--Group dinner



Conference Planning

  • Main specifications (specs) to focus on are:

--Room Block & Rate

--Meeting Space & Rental Fee (if any)

--Food & Beverage Costs

--Audio/Visual Costs

  • Ensure the hotel provides at least two six-foot tables for registration
  • Submit specs to three hotels

-- CFMA Director, Conference Services could assist with negotiations

  • Subcommittee to make final site selection based on collected information

--CFMA Director, Conference Services could provide advice

  • Confirm with hotel when final room block (sleeping rooms) is needed

Education/Program Content

  • Determine Type of Education

--Personal Development



  • Secure Speakers

--Include biographies and brief topic outlines for brochure

  • Keynote Speaker

--Biography and topic outline for brochure

  • Social Event (Possible optional event)
  • “Leadership Without Limits” Workshop (Possible event prior to conference)
  • CPE Forms*
  • Name Badges*
  • Evaluation Forms*
  • Subcommittee to review and approve entire program

* These can be obtained from CFMA Headquarters for a nominal fee

Assistance from CFMA Headquarters includes:

--Providing workbooks and speakers for “Basics” and “Beyond the Basics”

--List of speakers and topics from past CFMA Annual Conferences

--Providing successful program topics used by other chapters


  • Brochure Development (Content determined and approved by Subcommittee)


--Education Information and session outlines

--Speaker Biographies

--Registration Form

--Attendees are responsible for making their own travel/hotel arrangements

--Map/Directions (optional)

  • Coordination of registration forms

--It is recommended to have one “point person” for registration forms

--This “point person” remains in weekly contact with hotel regarding registrations and sleeping rooms

--Provide hotel with final figures

  • Announce conference at local chapter meetings and in local newspapers
  • Include brief article in local chapter newsletters
  • Follow-up e-mail reminders and post on local chapter Web sites

Assistance from CFMA Headquarters includes:

--Creating brochure design (chapters to be billed)

--Printing brochures (chapters to be billed)

--Promoting conference in “Chap Chats” and on CFMA Web site

--Providing mailing lists to chapter or vendor (Subcommittee to decide)


  • Subcommittee chooses dates
  • A minimum of three teleconferences is recommended

Assistance from CFMA Headquarters includes:

--Providing contact names/information of participants of other statewide conferences

--Scheduling teleconferences through its service

  • Subcommittee members should meet with hotel staff to ensure that all boxes/deliveries have arrived and are accounted for
  • Subcommittee members should meet with hotel staff for a “walkthrough” of the conference agenda and meeting rooms based on hotel contract and Conference Event Order (CEO) sheets
  • Review final numbers (sleeping rooms) with hotel staff
  • If possible, set up meeting rooms the night before with any necessary materials/handouts to save time in the morning
  • Contact person should have the hotel contract and Conference Event Order (CEO) sheets readily available
  • Contact person should meet with the hotel contact prior to the start of the conference regarding any last-minute revisions
  • Ensure that the registration desk is set up and fully manned

--Place name badges in alphabetical order

--Give attendees a CPE form and an evaluation form as they register

--Provide boxes for CPE forms and evaluation forms to be dropped off

  • Monitor registrations regularly and compare them to projected numbers given to hotel

--Should food/beverage totals be adjusted?



  • Check on meeting rooms at least an hour before the sessions to ensure:

--Proper set up (classroom, school room, etc.)

--Audio/visual equipment is available and working

--Temperature is at a comfortable setting

--All necessary materials are distributed

  • Collect CPE forms and evaluation forms at the conclusion of the conference
  • Schedule a “post conference” teleconference with the Subcommittee approximately one week after the conference

--Send copies of all evaluations forms to all members of the Subcommittee prior to the teleconference

--Ask Subcommittee members to make any notes regarding the conference

  • Review all conference evaluation forms
  • Provide an opportunity for each Subcommittee member to give their thoughts
  • Was there enough sponsorship revenue?
  • Review the Subcommittee’s notes and use them as a guideline for next year’s conference

--“What went right?”

--“What went wrong?”

--“What could we have done better?”

  • Subcommittee needs to compile evaluations and send them to all attendees
  • Contact person should send a hand-written thank you letter to every member of the Subcommittee

DISCLAIMER: The above information is to be used as guidelines only. (CFMA Headquarters assumes no responsibility for inaccurate/erroneous information). Please contact Mike Molaro, Director, Chapter Services, if you have any questions or concerns.