Site Host Proposal Guidelines
Hosting the Conference on Community Writing™
Timeline for proposals and site announcements
We announce the location of the next conference two years ahead at the Conference on Community Writing.
A strong site-hosting proposal
The site selection team looks for proposals that depict a clear conference theme and an ability to connect that theme to the proposed location. In addition, exemplary proposals will do the following:
- articulate clear collaboration with community partners, including local artists and performers, local organizations doing work relevant to the conference theme, or nearby colleges in the area, wherever relevant;
- outline clear and sufficient administrative support (including carving out roles for various ranks of faculty and students to become involved);
- describe sources of anticipated, actual, and in-kind funding; Registration costs do not cover the cost of the conference, so hosting institutions are expected to find between $20,000-40,000 total in sponsorships and in-kind donations, or whatever is needed to cover your costs.
- offer outline of spaces where the conference will be held and how those spaces and activities follow the conference theme, especially for any off-campus spaces.
- describe mitigations for amenities not available—for example, if the proposed site is a smaller campus or not within immediate vicinity of a larger airport; and
- account for logistics built into planning.
Answers to the above questions should be no longer than 2 single-spaced pages per question.
Conference dates and sites
As a fall conference, CCW is held biannually sometime in the month of October. Precise dates are up to local conference planners. In selecting dates, bear in mind other conference dates (e.g., Imagining America and FemRhet), and select a date when there will be significant availability of hotel rooms and transportation in and out of your area (i.e., at many large schools, football and homecoming weekends probably aren’t ideal).
The conference typically begins on Thursday morning and runs through Saturday afternoon.
Ideal sites are those that offer ease of access to the conference, allowing conference participants to move around easily, are relatively affordable, are located in an area with reasonable proximity to inexpensive airports and hotels, and offer opportunities to engage and interact with both the campus and the local community. Ideal sites will include significant contributions of community members and reflect the local communities of the hosting site.
The hosting institution will be responsible for creating the registration site and handling registration. Registration sites go live in mid April in the year of the conference with Early Bird registration fees, which can shift to standard prices in July or August. The registration deadline should occur in the same fiscal year as the conference (i.e., October 1, 2021 for the 2021 conference).
Conference registration has averaged 390 people between 2015-2019. Conference attendance per day fluctuates, with Friday as the most heavily-attended day, and you should take that into consideration when you negotiate your room block with the hotels.
Space and room requirements
Perusing past programs may give you the best sense of how various conferences have split their time and organized their space. We typically need about 6-7 concurrent workshop rooms (if we run two blocks of workshops); 5 DeepThink Tank spaces; and 12 concurrent panel session rooms, as well as rooms for sponsor tables, book display, lactation, informal gathering, etc. We also need ballroom or theater spaces for keynote or plenary events in a large space during which nothing else is planned. We require evidence of space availability and will need to be kept up to date on all space holds and commitments.
We do require at least one meeting room/conference hall that can hold all of the conference participants during the keynotes, and in which the Coalition can confer its awards and make organizational announcements. Past conferences have made use of a combination of lecture-style and roundtable set up, depending on the nature of the sessions. We encourage you to offer space options that not only are reasonable and feasible for your campus, but also work well with the session themes themselves.
At minimum, all meeting rooms should include an LCD projector with screen and internet access. We will have some requests for sound projection, so speakers should be available on an as needed basis. We encourage you to ask at registration for any requests beyond the projector and screen. Keynotes and plenaries should have lapel and podium mics. Roundtables might request multiple mics.
Meals and refreshments
Shared meals are a significant part of community building and we ask that the conference provide at least one luncheon or dinner where the conference can come together as a whole. Beyond that, there is no rule, but please keep in mind the following:
- The number of meals you provide should reflect the ease with which people can get access to inexpensive and healthful food near the conference site. If participants must purchase a majority of their own meals, then they will need more varied and less expensive options than only the food offered at their hotels. They will also need time built into the schedule for them to eat their meals in a fairly relaxed manner without missing too many sessions.
- About 33% of conference participants are graduate students, and registration that includes multiple meals, snacks, and coffee breaks usually helps decrease their financial expenditures, though not always. There may be ways to negotiate food costs with your conference site, by offering a buffet or purchasing boxed meals on a certificate program (where you pay only for meals actually consumed).
- Many of our conference participants have dietary restrictions: vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, gluten-free, etc. It is helpful if people have options. We encourage you to ask participants if they will require a certain meal type during the registration process so you can evaluate the demand.
- The Conference Director will help you plan food, drink, and numbers.
The planning committee
Putting together a conference like this one is labor-intensive and requires a team. The Conference on Community Writing’s Director will participate on the planning committee. We recommend the conference planner secure a support letter from the department chair and dean specifying in-kind assistance to facilitate planning, in the form of course release(s), resources, financial sponsorship, collaborators, and/or student assistants.
Coalition for Community Writing’s requirements
As co-sponsors of CCW, we do have a few requirements, and we will work with you to ensure that they can be met within the parameters and flow of the conference that you envision:
- List the Coalition for Community Writing as a co-host. The Conference on Community Writing’s Director will serve as co-chair and help create programming and collaborate on planning. As such, the Conference Director will need access to registration lists and revenue numbers.
- Allow the Conference on Community Writing Director time at your first Welcome or Plenary Session and again later in the conference to make announcements and confer awards.
- Provide a dedicated time and space for the Coalition’s Board of Directors meeting, typically in the middle of the conference (1/2 day) and for a joint meeting with BoD and Advisory Board.
- Provide 2 pages in the conference program to include relevant Coalition information.
- If requested, reserve 1-2 dedicated sessions for Coalition-sponsored activities (i.e., manuscript mentoring). At your and the Conference Director’s discretion, these dedicated sessions may occur prior to the conference, or as concurrent panels during the conference. Some years, they may not be requested at all.
- Represent both the Coalition and the Conference in a positive manner.
- Host your conference pages on the Coalition for Community Writing website. How this will occur can be discussed with the Conference Director, but it will enable us to archive your CFP and program pages. The conference host will include payment of the web manager for conference-related work in the budget.
- Devise a registration process that accounts for different tiers of rates for current members, non-members, community partners, graduate students, and adjunct faculty.
- All proceeds from the Conference belong to the Coalition for Community Writing unless other arrangements have been approved by the Coalition for Community Writing Board of Directors. Report estimated profits to the Board of Directors within one month after the conference.
Budgetary items to consider
Here is a sample list of budgetary items from prior conferences:
- AV and internet services
- Room costs, including set up and tear down fees, and security for after-hours events, events open to the public, or events with alcohol
- Conference badges and programs
- Conference insurance
- Credit Card Fees (2.5% or 3% of all credit card transactions)
- Food: morning coffees and continental breakfasts; coffee breaks; meals (including 20% tax, 18% tip); waitstaff
- Honoraria for keynote speakers and DeepThink Tank leaders
- Travel and hotel for keynote speakers and Conference Director
- Keynote recordings
- Interpreter services (if not provided by your campus)
- Miscellaneous office supplies—paper, pens, electric cords, thank you cards, flip charts and markers for workshops and DeepThink Tanks, etc.
- Printing costs (program, signs, buttons, maps)
- Registration Costs (if handled by an outside provider or conference planner)
- Web manager
- Transportation to/from all off-site events
- Award plaques and mailing fees for book display
- Use of a conference planner for food, registration, and/or pre- or post-conference events
We can provide complete budgets from past conferences.
Membership Requirements: We require that all conference presenters are Coalition members and will ask that you work with us while setting up registration to create a way for registrants to become members.
Community Partners: The involvement of community partners—locally or cross-institutionally—takes time. It is wise to begin making queries at the proposal stage and to build community elements into the program at the outset, rather than including them later. The Conference has a tradition of offering comped registration to all community-partner presenters. We ask that you consider this in your budgeting or find alternate ways to ensure access and affordability.
Insurance: You should obtain or purchase insurance for the conference if your institution or conference center does not have an existing policy. We will gladly sign an MOU or conference agreement acknowledging the policies you have in place.
Accessibility/Interpreter Services: Our attendees range in age and rank, from student to retiree, so we ask you to think about issues related to age and accessibility when scheduling sessions and planning special events. You may want to query with the ADA office on your campus (if you have one) about their services and provisions for participants who are seeing- or hearing-impaired. We encourage you to ask participants if they will require an interpreter, special assistance, or accessibility aids during the registration process so that you can evaluate the demand and adjust accordingly. We also have a conference planning document we’ve generated to help make the conference as accessible as possible. We also ask that you provide a lactation room.
Restrooms: We ask that you provide a gender-neutral or unisex bathroom. This allows everyone access to a safe restroom space. One way to do this is to provide information on the locations of single-stall restrooms or unisex restrooms. Another way is to convert a bathroom (preferably the men’s restroom, as our conference tends to attract more female members) into a unisex bathroom.
If you are holding the conference on your campus: We encourage you to find out whether your institution has a conference planning office that can help you organize the conference, handle registration, and schedule rooms. Most planning offices will negotiate an all-inclusive per-attendee fee depending upon the services they provide.
If you are holding the conference at an off-campus location: You might consider consulting with a conference planner, especially when negotiating the room block and the meal plans. It is good to have someone on your side who knows how to negotiate services and talk to hotel managers, as it may not always be in the best interests of the hotel to help you get the best deal. A conference planner is also useful if you want to arrange a Wednesday night or Saturday afternoon/evening event.
Conference on Community Writing support
The Conference Director will:
- create national committees to review and select honorees for the CCW awards
- provide past budgets and help create a current budget
- help create the conference program
- help choose keynotes and DeepThink Tank leaders
- communicate with participants as needed