Plone Conference 2018: Call for Proposals

The process and schedule for selecting the venue for Plone Conference 2018 will be similar to our successful 2016 and 2017 process.

Announcement

The Plone Foundation is soliciting proposals for hosting the 2018 Plone Conference. The annual Plone Conference attracts developers, integrators and users from around the world.

Schedule

The schedule for this year's selection process is:

  • August 17th, 2017: Selection process announced
  • September 1st, 2017: Plone Foundation begins accepting proposals
  • September 28th, 2017: Proposals due!
  • September 29th, 2017 - October 8th, 2017: Plone Foundation Board review of proposals & due diligence with bid teams
  • October 9th, 2017 - October 13th, 2017: Plone Foundation members vote on qualified proposals.
  • October 19th, 2017: Plone Conference 2018 location announced!
  • Sometime in September-October, 2018: Plone Conference!

Introduction

This document is the call for proposals to host Plone Conference 2018.  This document contains some more specific guidance on the elements of a conference proposal, conference requirements, locations, and the schedule for the Plone Conference 2018 selection process.

Past Plone conferences have been held in Europe, North America and South America, but we welcome and encourage bids from anywhere in the world.

Changes for 2018

There are new financial requirements for 2018; see Financial Requirements below. 

Past Conferences

For a detailed report from past Plone Conference organizers with lots of detail on logistics and organizing tips see:

We will also gladly put you in contact with organizers of previous conferences.

Also it is recommended to read previous winning proposals:

Conference Vision and Goals

Plone conferences are the largest annual gathering of the worldwide Plone community.  They are an opportunity for the vast and diverse Plone community to forge new relationships, catch up with old friends, learn from each other, and recharge the wellsprings of creativity and innovation that power the Plone community process.

Plone conferences are also an expression of that community spirit: they are organized by a company, user group or other entity with ties to and a history with the Plone community, and are in essence not for profit events.

A great Plone conference will offer useful and engaging presentations for a wide variety of attendees. As you develop your conference proposal, please pay special attention to:

  • How you will attract site builders and integrators who are new to Plone.
  • How you will reach out to both our "traditional" user segments (nonprofits/NGOs, educational, government, intranets), as well as to emerging customers (e.g., enterprise, corporate, publishing sites).
  • How you will encourage presentations and plan events that are helpful and interesting for both programmers and non-programmers.
  • How you can strive to keep the conference costs low enough for students and self-employed consultants/designers to attend.

Required elements of a Plone Conference hosting proposal

  1. Information about your proposed venue: capacity, rooms, multimedia facilities/support, etc.
  2. Plan for providing reliable wireless internet access for conference attendees.
  3. Information about logistics, accommodations, transportation, etc. in and around your proposed location.
  4. How you plan to structure the conference and design the agenda, and how you will engage the Plone community in the process of creating the conference.
  5. Conference marketing plan.
  6. A complete conference budget, including all costs and revenue.
    • Be sure to consider and explain how you will manage cashflow; you will almost certainly need to put down money before sponsorship & registration dollars come in.
    • Take a look at the numbers provided by previous organizers: 2010 and 2011
  7. About your team
    • Key people who will lead your effort and staff the conference. Do you have enough people to do the grunt-work before and during the conference?
    • Your team's history with and connection to the Plone community, including past Plone events you attended and have helped organize.
    • Other past event organizing experience.
    • Of course, we expect adherence to the Code of Conduct. Other ideas and opportunities for providing a welcoming, diversity-enhancing conference/training/sprint for attendees, speakers, trainers, trainees, partners and everyone else are especially welcome.
  8. Estimated cost per person for the conference - keep in mind that affordability is a key issue for many Plone community members.  A good target is US$250-450/person.

Plone conference requirements

  • Held between mid-September and mid-November
    • Avoid scheduling conference events during major religious or national holidays.  For example, major feasts for various religions can move in the year and sometimes fall in October. (Dates vary each year; check a calendar of religious holidays.)
  • Venue must be able to accommodate 200-500 people.
  • Venue must have plenary room capable of accommodating all attendees, plus breakout rooms for 2-3 tracks and informal gathering space.
  • Reliable wireless access capable of accommodating all conference attendees simultaneously.
  • Appropriate audio-visual support (e.g. sound, projectors, etc.)
  • Venue located one hour or less from an international airport.
  • Easy and affordable transportation between airport, conference venue and accommodations / food / nightlife.  Conference attendees should not have to rent cars to get around.
  • Snacks, coffee and lunch.  (Breakfast is not a bad idea)

Financial Requirements (new for 2018)

Most past Plone conferences and symposia were organized by individuals, organizations, and companies completely independent of the Plone Foundation. The organizers made use of their own financial resources (bank accounts, credit, accounting systems and services) and, crucially, assumed the financial risk of hosting the event. Financial losses due to unmet attendance goals or unexpectedly high costs would be handled by the organizers only. Conversely, the organizers were free to retain or disburse as they wished any financial surplus, once all costs were accounted for.

In recent years, the Plone Foundation has agreed to be the financial agent for conferences and symposia:

  • In 2011, the Plone Foundation agreed on a trial basis to be the financial agent for the San Francisco conference.
  • In 2014, the Foundation agreed to be the financial agent for the Plone Symposium Midwest in Oshkosh.
  • In 2015 and 2016 the Foundation was the financial agent for the Bucharest and Boston conferences, respectively. 

Beginning in 2018, the Foundation is willing to be the financial agent for Plone events under the following conditions:

  • The Foundation will assume the financial risk of hosting the event, agreeing to cover financial losses.
  • The Foundation will grant the organizers use of Foundation banking and PayPal accounts, its accounting systems, and access to its Treasurer (the added work hours will NOT be covered by the Foundation).

In exchange for assuming the financial risk:

  • The Foundation Board will receive regular updates from the organizers.
  • One or more members of the Board will be involved in the planning of the event to ensure minimally that the Foundation's risks are mitigated, and to assist in making the event a success. The Board will have final authority on all financial decisions related to the planning and running of the event.
  • The Foundation will receive the event's financial surplus, once all costs are accounted for.

The proposal must state explicitly whether or not the organizers are asking the Foundation to be the financial agent for the event. 

Suggested conference design

The Plone Foundation strongly encourages prospective conference organizers to include the following elements in their conference design:

  • 3 days of conference time
  • 1-2 days before the conference for training classes (past conferences have had at least 3-4 classes of 15-75 people)
    • Rationale: Surveys of conference attendees have shown that inexpensive or included-in-ticket pre-conference training classes are a major selling point for the conference, especially among newer Plonistas. The Plone Foundation strongly encourages prospective conference organizers to continue offering pre-conference training classes that are designed to appeal to a broad range of prospective conference attendees. You may wish to recruit an experienced Plone community member as a training leader/organizer.
  • 2-3 days of sprint time after the conference; a separate, inexpensive, nearby venue is fine.  Past post-conference sprints have had 50-150 people.  Plan to recruit an experienced Plone community member as a sprint leader/organizer.
  • A plan for recording (and, optionally, streaming) to the internet as many conference sessions as possible (see https://vimeo.com/channels/ploneconf2014/ for 2014 conference presentations).  Fast turnaround of the videos is preferable to longer, higher-quality post production.  Live streaming would win many fans!
  • Conferences consume a great deal of energy and generate a lot of waste; we encourage you to consider and explain how you can "green" your conference by: providing recycling; avoiding disposables; using recycled materials; minimizing or eliminating paper handouts; avoiding low-quality mass-produced "swag"; serving locally-produced, organic food, etc.

How to submit a proposal

If you are considering submitting a proposal, please email the Plone Foundation board of directors at board@plone.org.   We'd like to hear from you early in the process so that we can offer advice and answer any questions you may have.  We'll ask you to submit your final proposal via email in PDF or ODF format, to board@plone.org

Decision Process

The Plone Foundation Board of Directors bears ultimate responsibility for awarding the conference to a bid team.  In the past, we have weighed Plone community input very heavily in making that decision, and we plan to continue that tradition via an online vote of the membership. The board will pre-qualify proposals to make sure they are complete and of high quality, and will present all qualified proposals to the community for voting.

Foundation Contribution

The Plone Foundation will collect 15% of registration costs from the conference to fund ongoing Foundation and community work. This will be collected after the conference. Please make sure to incorporate this into your budget.

Please note that this is the per-person registration costs only, we do not collect any percentage of other income areas (such as  sponsorship, etc.).

Questions?

Please feel free to email the Plone Foundation board of directors with any questions.  board@plone.org!