Event Management

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Revision as of 23:02, 24 August 2006 by Ajolma (talk | contribs)
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This page covers everything to do with events: how VisCom manages events for OSGeo, what resources we can provide, what the "event owner" should do, etc.

(The current list of events can be found on the Current events page.)

VisCom's Role

The Visibility and Promotion Committee doesn't itself have the resources or bandwidth to manage the events that OSGeo might want to participate in: we will need to rely on volunteers to help out.

VisCom's role will be to provide the following, as required:

  • finding people to help out at the event
  • publicizing the event (via our mailing lists, etc)
  • providing support for collateral: brochures, handouts, etc
  • providing T-shirt support
  • helping to arrange for speakers, presenters, etc
  • helping with media (press) relations
  • direct support for select "major" events

VisCom will also take help with managing any financial issues, such as paying booth fees, helping to defray travel costs, etc. The amount of funding available for an event will vary on a case by case basis, and will in general be subject approval of the Board.

Each event must have a single point of contact within OSGeo, someone willing to work with VisCom and take responsibility for coordinating all the myriad details required for a successful event. In the ideal case, the event owner will have some experience in helping to coordinate a similar such event in the past, is local to the event venue, and/or is involved somehow with event's overall program committee or organizers. None of these criteria is actually required, however -- the real qualification is a desire to get the OSGeo message out and meet new people. (Helping to participate in an event like this is a great way to make new contacts, meet VIPs in our industry, etc.)

Ultimately, VisCom's interest in getting OSGeo to participate in events is for one or more of the following reasons:

  • spreading the Open Source message in general
  • publicizing our open source projects
  • getting new members
  • attracting new sponsorships
  • ...

Types of Events, Types of Participation

OSGeo may choose to participate in a number of different kinds of events:

  • GIS conferences or tradeshows
  • regional GIS events
  • open source conferences
  • academic conferences
  • ...

In some cases, event organizers will come to us, explicitly asking OSGeo to participate; in other cases, VisCom will call for someone to help out with an event we've heard of; in still other cases, OSGeo members may come to VisCom with a proposal to participate in an event. All three cases are welcome.

OSGeo will take significantly more "foundation-level" responsibility for a few of the major events of interest to us each year, such as OSCON and FOSS4G. For other events, VisCom will typically put out a call for someone to "own" the event, and then work with that person (or group) to help put things together.

OSGeo may have money to spend on some events, e.g. for "sponsonship" opportunities in exchange for better booth space, banner placement, keynote spots, etc. Which events will be formally sponsored will be worked out by VisCom and the Board.

OSGeo's participation at an event can cover several possible levels of involvement, such as:

  • supplying and staffing an OSGeo booth
  • hosting an open source BOF / interest group
  • running an "open source" track or session
  • providing keynote speakers or panelists
  • ...

Proposing an Event

The event owner should first make a proposal to VisCom, requesting OSGeo's involvement in the event. This step is required because the Foundation has an obligation to make sure that the OSGeo "name" and "brand" is always used in a professional manner and is associated with events that further our goals and principles.

This proposal should done on the Wiki (using a page name of the form "OSGeo_at_EVENTNAME"), containing information such as:

  • what the event is
  • where and when
  • how will our participation help OSGeo
  • who the OSGeo event owner is to be
  • what funding, if any, the event will require (booth fees, travel costs, etc)

When approval is given, planning can begin!

Before the Event: Planning

Prior to the event, these are the some of the things that the event owner should do/think about/etc:

  • find other volunteers to help out (what other members are local to the area, or are planning to attend?)
  • are any free passes available? (these are good to incentives for potential volunteers)
  • what opportunities for speakers are available? VisCom can help find people for:
    • panels
    • keynotes
    • lightning talks
  • do you need a booth? (if so, talk to VisCom to see what we can do)
  • do you need T-shirts? (generally, every volunteer should get a shirt; also, have some extras for VIPs at the event, such as a conference organizer, major keynoter, etc)
  • what collateral (brochures, etc) do you need? ask VisCom to see what is available
  • can you arrange to host a BOF/interest group session one evening? if the conference doesn't have a formal BOF process, can you arrange to get a dozen people together at the hotel bar for an hour?

Use your OSGeo_at_EVENTNAME wiki page to keep all the planning information together.

During the Event

Once the event gets going, things get very busy very fast. But, keep the following in mind:

  • do you have sufficient collateral, or will you need to run out and print more?
  • interview requests from the press (magazines, bloggers, podcasters, etc) are not uncommon
    • be prepared to be put on the spot, and/or have a designated press liason to handle this
    • report nontrivial press contacts, such as interviews, to VisCom (so we can track and follow up)
  • feel free to ping the rest of the OSGeo gang "back home", by email or IRC, if you get into a jam and need help with something; we will invariably cheering you on from the sidelines
  • keep track of important contacts you make, such as possible sponsorship opportunities, major players looking to use open source, etc

After the Event

  • write up a trip report ("after action report") of the event, post it to the wiki page; report might include:
    • what questions occurred frequently?
    • what collateral was useful? what was missing?
    • what press contacts did you have, if any?
    • should OSGeo participate in the event again next year?
    • etc
  • make sure you publically and privately thank all the volunteers
  • be sure and follow up with any "important" contacts you made (or ask some other more appropriate OSGeo member do so)