Plone Conference 2009 Call for Proposals

We're starting the planning process for Plone Conference 2009 a lot earlier this year. Bids will be due October 24, 2008!

Note: The Plone Foundation is only interested in conference proposals that are led by organizations who are active in the Plone community, such as user groups, Plone consulting firms, institutional Plone users, etc.  Organizations may choose to  work in partnership with a professional conference organizer.  We are not interested in receiving bids directly from professional conference organizing firms or venue representatives who are unaffiliated with the Plone community. 


The Plone Community

We're starting the Plone Conference 2009 selection process much earlier than ever before!  Here's the schedule:

  • August 8, 2008: Call for proposals released
  • October 24, 2008: Proposals due!

  • October 24-November 14, 2008: Plone Foundation review of proposals & due diligence with bid teams
  • November 15-30, 2008: Plone community voting on qualified proposals
  • December 12, 2008: Plone Conference 2009 location announced!
  • Fall 2009: Plone Conference!



The Plone Foundation has decided to revise the Plone Conference selection process for 2009 and beyond in order to give prospective conference organizers more planning time.  As Plone Conference and the Plone community have grown over the years, we need to occupy larger venues, which require more lead time.

This document is the call for proposals to host Plone Conference 2009.  This document contains some more specific guidance on the elements of a conference proposal, conference requirements, locations, and the schedule for the Plone Conference 2009 selection process.

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

In the past, there's been a rough alternation of conferences between North America and Europe, which has benefited the majority of the Plone community, who live in either North America or Europe. Prospective 2009 conference organizers should be aware that many Plone community members may prefer an event held closer to Europe than to North America, given that the 2008 conference is being held in Washington, DC.

For a detailed report from a past Plone Conference organizer with lots of detail on logistics and organizing tips, see Jon Stahl's "lessons learned" document from Plone Conference 2006.


Conference Vision and Goals

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

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 new-to-Plone site builders and integrators.
  • How you can 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 can encourage presentations and plan events that are helpful 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, accomodations, etc in 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 how you will manage cashflow; you will almost certainly need to put down money before sponsorship & registration dollars come in.
  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 have helped organize.
    • Other past event organizing experience.
  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$300-450/person.

Plone conference requirements

  • Held between mid-September and mid-November

    • Avoid scheduling conference events during major religious or national holidays.  For example, Yom Kippur, the Jewish High Holy days, sometimes falls in October. (Dates vary each year; check a calendar of religious holidays.)
    •  Also see for community-contributed dates that may conflict with the conference
  • Venue must be able to accommodate 350-600 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)

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 3-4 classes of 15-75 people)

    • Rationale: Surveys of conference attendees has shown that inexpensive pre-conference training classes are a major selling point for the conference, especially among newer Plonistas. In past years,or the past few years, starting with the Seattle conference, Joel Burton has offered to organize pre-conference trainings, financially independent of the conference, but with some logistical & marketing support from conference organizers.  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.
  • 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 videotaping as many conference sessions as possible (see for many past 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 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 <>.   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, exact details TBA as the date draws closer.  We'll post the final proposals on for community review and feedback.


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.   This year, 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.  The Plone Foundation will make the final choice from among the top 3 community vote-getters.  If we receive less than 3 qualified bids, the Plone Foundation will solicit comments from the Plone community, but will make the final selection directly.



Foundation Contribution

Starting with the 2008 conference, 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.).



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