TWS Convention Committee Charter

  1. Committee Purpose

    The purpose of the TWS Convention Committee is to

    1. recommend sites for upcoming conventions to the TWS Board, based on bids received from interested local Chapters;
    2. fulfill the role of convention host in the event that
      • no Chapter volunteers for the job,
      • no viable bid is received, or
      • the Committee (with the Board's approval) chooses to hold a convention where there is no local chapter, or where the local chapter declines to host.
    3. provide guidance to the Host Chapter via their chosen Convention Coordinator;
    4. coordinate TWS's financial responsibility for the convention, including approving the overall budget.
  2. Committee Members
    1. The Convention Committee is composed of the TWS President, TWS Treasurer, current Convention Coordinator, and volunteer TWS members appointed by the Board. Preferably, volunteer members should have previously organized at least one TWS convention, though this is not a firm requirement.
    2. The Committee is chaired, on a rotating basis between conventions, by one of its members, who is chosen by the other members.
    3. The Convention Coordinator is appointed by the Host Chapter and shall act as liaison between the Chapter and the Committee. If there is no Host Chapter, then a Committee member shall serve as Coordinator, with the Board's approval.
    4. The TWS President is responsible for signing all convention-related contracts.
    5. The TWS Treasurer will manage the Society's Convention Fund and provide payment for expenses that fit within the approved convention budget. (See Section VI, Financial Oversight.)
  3. Committee Responsibilities
    1. The Convention Committee will recommend future convention sites to the Board according to the guidelines in this Charter.
    2. The Committee will entertain bids from Chapters interested in hosting a convention, as per Section IV, Convention Bid Requirements.
    3. The Committee will select a bid to recommend to the Board according to the criteria set out in Section V, Selection Criteria and Deadlines. If there are no viable bids, then the Committee will assume responsibility for convention planning, including site selection and conscription of volunteers to help. (See Section V.2.c.)
    4. The Committee will provide a convention-planning guide and checklist to the Host Chapter and to all chapters requesting it for the sake of preparing their bids. The Committee will update the Guide whenever necessary.
    5. The Convention Coordinator will report quarterly to the Convention Committee on convention plans and progress.
    6. The Convention Committee will have the following responsibilities:
      1. Discuss plans for the convention and to agree on a budget for it.
      2. Approve contracts with hotels or other bodies providing convention services; contracts can only be signed by the President of TWS.
      3. Monitor and advise on convention planning and expenses, but the Committee will not interfere in a Chapter's plans unless it involves an expense the Treasurer feels is unaffordable or if local planning falters — that is, if planners fall seriously behind schedule, neglect important areas, get struck by lightning, etc. (See also Section VI, Financial Oversight.)
      4. Create a registration form for the convention.
      5. The Chair will consult with the other Committee members, as appropriate, on actions to take if and when any difficulties arise.
    7. After the convention, the Convention Coordinator will supply to the Committee data regarding the convention's planning, organization, and administration. This should include such details as number of attendees, fees charged, expenses, “loot”, timetables, numbers of participants, final costs (divided by event), problems in planning, number of hotel rooms used, and so on. From this information, the Committee will maintain a convention database and supply the relevant figures to the organizers of subsequent conventions, along with suggested guidelines for planning that are maintained and updated by the Convention Committee (as per III.4, above).
    8. Individual members of the Committee will provide assistance and advice as needed with any aspect of convention planning that falls within their area of expertise.
    9. The Committee Chair is responsible for at least attempting to get all the Committee members to weigh in on what is being discussed and/or voted on.
  4. Convention Bid Requirements

    A Chapter submitting a bid to host a convention should include the following in its written proposal:

    1. Chapter information.
      • How long has the Chapter been in existence?
      • How many members does it have? How often do they meet?
      • What other projects (if any) has the Chapter successfully organized?
      • Are the majority of members in favor of the Chapter's hosting a convention?
    2. Convention coordinator.
      • Who will be the Chapter's Convention Coordinator?
      • What position (if any) does she or he hold within the Chapter?
      • Has he or she attended other TWS conventions?
      • Does she or he have any experience in organizing a major event? (Note: Such experience is not essential but obviously would be useful.)
      • Will there be a backup coordinator, and if so, who will it be?
    3. Venue information.
      1. City information:
        • Distance from a major airport
        • Types and quality of public transportation
        • Nearby restaurants
        • Tourist attractions
      2. Hotel information:
        • Room rates
        • Amenities
        • Alternate lodging options, both less-expensive hotels or B&Bs and higher-quality hotels
    4. Convention information. Proposed dates and activities (cricket match? bus tour to nearby site of interest? nude sword-fighting exhibition?).

    The Chapter should also review the selection criteria outlined in the next section as guidance for the best way to “sell” its bid.

  5. Selection Criteria and Deadlines
    1. The Committee will consider the following factors in selecting a convention bid to recommend to the Board for approval:
      1. Chapter enthusiasm and ability. It is best if the Chapter as a whole — not just one or two members — is willing and able to devote the necessary time and energy to making the convention work.
      2. The proposed location. The location must be viable as a venue in its own right, but also preferably not in the same region of the country as the most recent convention, in order to spread the travel burden around. Also, a place where we've never held a convention before would, all other things being equal, be given preference over a place we've already visited.
      3. Chapter experience. Chapters who have not hosted before, if they are capable of handling the job (and, again, all other things being equal), will be given preference over those who have already had a turn.
    2. Deadlines for bid submission and consideration:
      1. Chapters wanting to host a convention must submit their bids to the Committee Chair at least nine months before the next planned convention. For example, Chapters wanting to host the 2019 convention will need to submit their bids in January 2017 (because the 2017 convention is being held in October).
      2. The Committee Chair will notify bidding Chapters whether their bids have been successful at least six months before the next planned convention. For example, Chapters wanting to host the 2019 convention will be notified by April 2017.
      3. If the Committee receives no satisfactory bids by the nine-month deadline, they will use that nine months to either (1) persuade a likely Chapter into making a bid, or (2) make their own convention plans — that is, pick a suitable site, recruit volunteer helpers as appropriate, and carry out planning according to TWS standards.
    3. Upon selection of a winning bid, the Chair will submit the Committee's recommendation to the Board for approval before notifying the bidding Chapters.
  6. Financial Oversight
    1. The TWS bank account will be used for conventions. This frees the Host Chapter from the responsibility of opening their own convention bank account and from the anxiety of financial commitment.
    2. Convention planners will NOT have the authority to write checks on the TWS account. The Convention Coordinator will submit bills and receipts to the TWS Treasurer for payment or reimbursement.
    3. The Convention Coordinator will work with the Committee to create a convention budget. The Coordinator may request extra monies from the Convention Reserve Fund according to the guidelines in Section VII. The Treasurer will monitor convention expenses and outlays to ensure no unnecessary purchases or excessive expenditures are made.
    4. As previously noted, all convention-related contracts are to be signed by the TWS President as the official Society representative.
  7. Convention Reserve Fund (CRF)
    1. The Wodehouse Society Convention Reserve Fund (CRF) is primarily intended for the use of convention planners according to the following criteria:
      1. To meet up-front, start-up convention costs. These normal convention expenses will be offset (and the CRF thus replenished) by convention income in due course.
      2. To cover any expenses should a convention end up in deficit.
      3. To provide “extras” for the convention that will enable planners to keep fees down as much as possible or allow for a special event.
    2. The amount in the Fund available for convention extras will depend on how much surplus there is in the CRF. The Convention Coordinator may request and receive anything above the required retained balance, which is currently set at $5,000. The target amount in the CRF will be reviewed by the Board periodically so that it is of appropriate size to serve purposes VII.1.a. and b., above, and yet not conflict with TWS's not-for-profit status.
    3. The Convention Committee will determine what funds are necessary for startup costs and what funds are available for extras.
    4. Monies for the CRF will be raised via convention raffles, rummage sales, and silent auctions, as well as any other means the organizers might devise, within the confines of the law. All fund-raising is coordinated by the Host Chapter, with the assistance of the Committee as necessary.
Original Charter amended December 31, 2009; approved January 5, 2010
Amended Section VII.4, March 7, 2013
Charter revised January 2016; approved February 3, 2016