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ithaca

Help us create more U.K. asexuality conferences!

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ithaca

Hi everyone!

 

It was lovely to see some of you at the London Conference, and I'm glad to see from the feedback that many of you enjoyed it.

 

We would like to host conferences in the U.K. (not only in London) every year if possible, but so far they've mostly been funded privately and this isn't sustainable for the future. This fundraiser is planning to help with that: https://www.gofundme.com/AceConfUK

Between offering free lunch and tea (don't we love cake?), hiring venues, buying leaflets, badges and other costs, on average the conferences have cost about £6000 each.

Raising awareness and education on the asexual spectrum is one of the most important and most exciting things our community does to help people of all ages not only learn about asexuality and, possibly, find out more about their own identity. Events like conferences can help us reach out to other communities (LGBT of course, but also academics, researchers, etc.).

In the future, if the funds make it possible, we would love to also invite more academics and make the conferences attractive to professionals from sectors where we know the community would like to improve relationships (such as healthcare).  Some of these academics might need to be paid, and/or we might reimburse travel and accommodation for them.

This fundraiser will help cover the costs of the conference we've just held in London, and for future conferences across the U.K., and/or other events to raise awareness.


Please help with anything you can, and we hope to see you at the next conference! https://www.gofundme.com/AceConfUK

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Heart

For the record, as someone who has been to many conferences and helped organise one or two, these things really are just expensive. Way more than you'd expect. Even non-profits who run conferences routinely have to charge $300 for a registration fee, even after getting grants and donations from corporate sponsors and the government.

 

Making this conference free to attend is an important accessibility concern, since many of our members are financially less stable. If those who are more stable are able to contribute, this can make for a lasting legacy. I, for one, really support this initiative, and I'll donate now within my means, in the hopes that we can keep these events accessible to everyone.

 

Thank you to everyone who made this conference a reality. It was a true pleasure to be involved with :wub::cake:

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banana monkey

I know you have already explained a bit above but why not ticket these. Everyone expects to pay something to attend a confrence (of any sort) and if you have issues with accessibility you can provide consessions for certain groups so that at least some people are paying so that you know you have some steady income and can budget accordingly. So if you are concerned that under 18's students unemployed etc may not be able to attend reduce the price for them to a reasonable amount (the committee could decide that reasonable amount is free if they wish) This would be fairer than voluntary donations and would provide a more reliable funding method. 

 

I for one would be happy to pay cash for a ticket but I do not donate to things online due to personal values. 

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nameinagame
On 7/26/2018 at 10:07 PM, banana monkey said:

I know you have already explained a bit above but why not ticket these. Everyone expects to pay something to attend a confrence (of any sort) and if you have issues with accessibility you can provide consessions for certain groups so that at least some people are paying so that you know you have some steady income and can budget accordingly. So if you are concerned that under 18's students unemployed etc may not be able to attend reduce the price for them to a reasonable amount (the committee could decide that reasonable amount is free if they wish) This would be fairer than voluntary donations and would provide a more reliable funding method. 

 

I for one would be happy to pay cash for a ticket but I do not donate to things online due to personal values. 

Ticketing is risky path to take. On the one hand, it probably will improve the financing of the conferences, but on the other hand, any sort of up front payment will put at least some people off. Accessibility is a key aim of these conferences - we don't want anyone put off from attending, especially not over something as simple as ticketing. Concession groups help but do not solve this issue.

 

Realistically, non-concession groups would need to be ticketed somewhere around £40 each to fund the conference, if we are sole-funding from attendees. This isn't exactly a trivial amount, but, as @Heart mentioned, it is less than most other conferences ask for, even when you account for conference length.

 

What might be a better option is to add a short paragraph to the registration form, explaining how much these conferences cost, and to strongly encourage all those who can afford it to make a recommended donation of, say, £40. The above donation link will be given. This could go on the submission confirmation page. We should also consider setting up a "donate per month" alternative too, such that people can sign up to donate £5/month, for example, towards the conference as an on-going payment.

 

A few other suggestions to improve funding have also been raised. One idea is to get sponsorship from companies, under the idea that it will make them look more LGBT+ friendly. Another idea is to rent out conference stall space for commercial use. I would like to see more in the way of ace merchandise and the like available at the next conference. There could be potential here for asking anyone selling content to pay a small fee to the conference to do so, although this idea needs to be looked into more carefully.

 

Other ideas include asking for a small payment to have lunch at the conference. If people put in £2 per person to have the lunch - still a cheap lunch - then that would help cover some of the catering costs. Encouraging more donations at the conference itself would also be good. We did have a collections box at this year's conference, and it did raise a substantial amount (thank you so much to all who donated!), but I feel people were unaware of how much the conference actually cost and I'm not sure we did enough to encourage donations. A final idea is to do sponsored events in the run up to the conference. I'm not sure what, but think along the lines of typical charity events, where people do something to raise money for a charity. It would be great if we could tie in some ace awareness events into these sponsored events. Two birds, one stone.

 

Finally, we could try to reduce conference costs, but I am aware that we are already working at bare-bone levels. I don't think we'll be able to get the costs down by much, but it is worth a look.

 

If anyone has any comments on the above or any further suggestions of how we could fund the conference, we are eager to hear them :)

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Rupa

Hello all

 

@banana monkey Yep I can confirm firstly as a student (obviously no loan installments over the summer lol) but not being under 18 (though concession or not I’d probaby be the same), and secondly as someone who is still relatively new to knowing asexuality exists and identifying with it, I can somewhat sheepishly confirm if there had been priced tickets I probably wouldn’t have attended. It was something I was very apprehensive and unsure about going to anyway, worried about what my family would be thinking, etc, and that’s a lot of people for your first time going to anything like it heh.

I’m glad I went of course, very valuable, and I also understand the need to raise funds, but I do support it being done via other methods such as sponsorship and fundraising more than tickets.

Unless we could charge camera crews and interviewers 🤔

 

I get your point about online donations though, we’re all different. There was a box on the day though 😛

 

@ithaca A very minor point but when you said badges were you including the plastic nametags? In which case do you know what happened to the unused ones? Because I know there was a box of them that was seemingly given to someone to take home and I am wondering if that small amount could have been saved by keeping those.

Presumably there is no cheaper venue also

 

@nameinagame

Would be happy to pay that £2 lunch haha

 

I overheard, oh I do apoligise I’ve forgotten everyones names, but the host fellow who spoke to us all most throughout the day? Well I overheard him saying too much food had been ordered again. Not sure how much out of the total the catering comes to, but I guess that means it can be cut back slightly? 

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Blaiddmelyn

I agree re: ticketing. That puts people off especially if it'd be £40. I would hesitate to buy a ticket at that price, and i earn well beyond the national average wage and live in London - so people who live outside London and earn even a normal wage may also think twice.

 

Re: food, unfortunately, it's a balancing act. You have to try and guess how many people actually show up, how many will eat the free lunch, and what of it they'll eat. Inevitably, you'll order too much or too little. In context, we had over 200 people sign up and from manning the reg desk all morning, I'd guess we had under 200 turn up, with some people leavin before lunch and a few leaving after. You pretty much have to over order because if you under order, people complain because there isn't enough.

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Cicero

A free conference is great but it inevitably means some people just won't turn up. Even a fairly nominal fee of say £10 provides more of a guarantee that a delegate will make the effort to attend. That would help to confirm numbers for catering too. Alternatively if you have a charge for lunch then you know, in theory. exactly how many will be eating. A coloured sticker on the delegate badges would identify who had paid for lunch. But obviously all that needs to be weighed up against your desire to make it as accessible as possible.

 

Were the media crews charged for attendance? Given the amount of recruitment for interviews they seemed to get on the day I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for a fee, though whether that would cause issues for the venue I don't know. But for a full day's filming I reckon you could get away with at least £200 per crew. I guess it also depends who approached who. If it'll help I can dig out our charges for film crews at work.

 

Also our staff conference at work always asks for name badges back at the end of the day, so simple things like that could help conserve resources. You won't get them all back but every little helps!

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nameinagame

So I've got some numbers from Mic for costs.

 

The venue hire was about £2k, while the food worked out at about £20 per person. These two items make up the bulk of the cost.

 

The food cost seems way too high to me. I think a lot of that was for the professional catering. I reckon we can at least halve the cost to us by just ordering sandwiches and snacks ourselves and doing any preparation/layout ourselves. Sure, there's a loss in quality here and more work to do, but if it saves £1k+....

 

As for the quantity of food, we were careful to not order toooooooo much. Once we sorted out the order amounts for this one, we went through it and made generous cuts to everything. But as @Blaiddmelyn mentioned, we need to order more than is needed no matter what. If there wasn't enough food for everyone, then that would cause a huge number of complaints :( You also have no idea how hungry people will be on the day or how large the order of food will actually be until you see it in person on the day. We're estimating on estimates!

 

We kept all unused miscellaneous items. I have a box of the contact cards at my place. Things just went back with whoever from the organisers had space for them. I think returning name badges won't make a huge difference, but would be worth something for sure. A lot of the cost comes out in "consumables", like the leaflets, which can only be used for one conference.

 

@Cicero: I don't believe the media crews were charged. We'll look into it for next year :)

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Opel the Old

Have we investigated any realistic chance to append the conference with other lgbt conferences? (eg lgbt stem) 

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banana monkey

Thanks for all the comments. I see the point of view on ticketing. its good to know there were boxes on the day. It may be better to see if we can raise funds via methods other than online even if its not through ticketing. 

 

One more point on the back of some others mentioned - It seems a lot of the cost could be reduced by not providing lunch at all. What is the rationale for providing lunch? I personally am used to lunch not being provided. My work never provides them for conferences and any other conference I've been to for personal stuff has not either. This has particularly been the case when in a large city, like london as there will be many eateries to use. You just have to make sure you give a long enough break to get lunch from outside, which is usually appreciated by delegates (having a long break I mean) and a small sacrifice for such a cost saving. 

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Tunhope

Not sure about reducing costs by  not providing lunch and, instead, visiting local eateries. Thete could be people left out. I attended on my own and found the sit down lunch really helpful and pleasurable.I chatted to people who sat near me and queued near me etc. I didn't feel isolated. I'd gladly have paid. 

Regarding DIY catering, would at least one person need a Basic Food Hygiene certificate? 

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nameinagame
22 minutes ago, banana monkey said:

One more point on the back of some others mentioned - It seems a lot of the cost could be reduced by not providing lunch at all. What is the rationale for providing lunch? I personally am used to lunch not being provided. My work never provides them for conferences and any other conference I've been to for personal stuff has not either. This has particularly been the case when in a large city, like london as there will be many eateries to use. You just have to make sure you give a long enough break to get lunch from outside, which is usually appreciated by delegates (having a long break I mean) and a small sacrifice for such a cost saving. 

Because lunch is when the magic happens :P That and logistics...

 

One of the most valuable moments during a conference is when you get to mingle with other guests. That's when the real ideas spark and bonds form. For many people, this was their first ever time meeting other asexuals. To have everyone in the same area over lunch and free to chat to each other is a truly valuable experience.

 

If everyone went elsewhere for lunch, then everyone would end up scattered (you won't find easily a place that can hold 200 people at once). Scattered into probably quite small groups. Those who don't know anyone might end up isolated. Plus then there's the trouble of getting everyone back again. People disappear, go for a long lunch, lose track of time, and then all of a sudden only half the people turn up to the after-lunch session...

 

I know lunch comes with a huge financial cost, but it does allow everyone to make the most of the conference.

 

1 hour ago, Opel the Old said:

Have we investigated any realistic chance to append the conference with other lgbt conferences? (eg lgbt stem

Do you mean to have this on day following another LGBT conference? We did similar this year by holding the conference the day after London Pride. I'm sure that increased numbers and made it more worthwhile for those travelling a long way. Arrangements like this will be examined again for next year. If you mean more in terms of finance... as in we become an extension of an LGBT conference with some of their setup and funds supporting the ace day at the end? I'm not sure how open these groups would be to using their funds to help support us.

 

9 minutes ago, Tunhope said:

Regarding DIY catering, would at least one person need a Basic Food Hygiene certificate? 

We would need to look into this more. Thanks for raising :) Also glad to hear you enjoyed the lunch!

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Blaiddmelyn
1 hour ago, Opel the Old said:

Have we investigated any realistic chance to append the conference with other lgbt conferences? (eg lgbt stem) 

 

13 minutes ago, nameinagame said:

Do you mean to have this on day following another LGBT conference? We did similar this year by holding the conference the day after London Pride. I'm sure that increased numbers and made it more worthwhile for those travelling a long way. Arrangements like this will be examined again for next year. If you mean more in terms of finance... as in we become an extension of an LGBT conference with some of their setup and funds supporting the ace day at the end? I'm not sure how open these groups would be to using their funds to help support us.

 

Just to add, some of the feedback I received offline was that one thing people valued about the conference was being surrounded mainly by people who, to use their words, "got it" in respect of asexuality, and to have a day that was entirely about that. If the conference were to join with an LGBT one, we would lose that part of it because the conference would naturally have to have less of a focus on asexuality and, of course, the attendee population would be diluted (not in itself a bad thing - we wanted people of all sexualities to attend  - but when combined with the lack of focus, may put some people off) - from the people I've spoken to, I think some attendees would be less inclined to attend if we did append. It'd certainly be easier financially but we'd have to consider carefully whether attendees would be happy with that approach.

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Opel the Old
2 hours ago, nameinagame said:

Because lunch is when the magic happens :P That and logistics...

 

One of the most valuable moments during a conference is when you get to mingle with other guests. That's when the real ideas spark and bonds form. For many people, this was their first ever time meeting other asexuals. To have everyone in the same area over lunch and free to chat to each other is a truly valuable experience.

 

If everyone went elsewhere for lunch, then everyone would end up scattered (you won't find easily a place that can hold 200 people at once). Scattered into probably quite small groups. Those who don't know anyone might end up isolated. Plus then there's the trouble of getting everyone back again. People disappear, go for a long lunch, lose track of time, and then all of a sudden only half the people turn up to the after-lunch session...

 

I know lunch comes with a huge financial cost, but it does allow everyone to make the most of the conference.

 

Do you mean to have this on day following another LGBT conference? We did similar this year by holding the conference the day after London Pride. I'm sure that increased numbers and made it more worthwhile for those travelling a long way. Arrangements like this will be examined again for next year. If you mean more in terms of finance... as in we become an extension of an LGBT conference with some of their setup and funds supporting the ace day at the end? I'm not sure how open these groups would be to using their funds to help support us.

 

We would need to look into this more. Thanks for raising :) Also glad to hear you enjoyed the lunch!

Actually if the event is 'free' and registration fee (discounted) is for lunch+refreshment, then people would feel they need to come as they 'paid' for lunch.  Just like @Cicero said.

 

There's no harm in investigating options to append.  If the feedback and funding indicates it can be a standalone event, there won't be the need to append. 

 

@Knitaholicjust reminded me about how Coventry Pride was cladded with Asexuality flags and Univ of Warwick's LGBT soc was one of the first univ to add the A.  The conference potentially can be held there cheaply.

 

LGBT STEM has only been going for 2 years or so, next year they are in London.  They have strong connection to academia and they have cheap access to venues.  From my experience they are quite open with regards to LGBT and gender issues.  There in no harm in asking if they are willing to book an another venue and go parallel to their events. 

 

There is also a Festival of Arts and Humanities in Sheffield.  That could be another options to bolt onto that.  Gather the postgraduates studying asexuality (or just get all the students doing asexuality research to sign up to the festival, we maybe able to hijack that).

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Opel the Old
1 hour ago, Blaiddmelyn said:

 

Just to add, some of the feedback I received offline was that one thing people valued about the conference was being surrounded mainly by people who, to use their words, "got it" in respect of asexuality, and to have a day that was entirely about that. If the conference were to join with an LGBT one, we would lose that part of it because the conference would naturally have to have less of a focus on asexuality and, of course, the attendee population would be diluted (not in itself a bad thing - we wanted people of all sexualities to attend  - but when combined with the lack of focus, may put some people off) - from the people I've spoken to, I think some attendees would be less inclined to attend if we did append. It'd certainly be easier financially but we'd have to consider carefully whether attendees would be happy with that approach.

that's the thing, there are people who prefers not to append, but there are people who are indifferent.  and due to the randomness nature of the attendees, this preference may not be a key to the planning.  

 

what is the objective of the conference?  discuss and learn academically about asexuality?  a social event? an educational event?  that will determine who are likely to be speakers in the events and the suitability to append.

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banana monkey
On 7/29/2018 at 8:00 PM, nameinagame said:

Because lunch is when the magic happens :P That and logistics...

 

One of the most valuable moments during a conference is when you get to mingle with other guests. That's when the real ideas spark and bonds form. For many people, this was their first ever time meeting other asexuals. To have everyone in the same area over lunch and free to chat to each other is a truly valuable experience.

 

If everyone went elsewhere for lunch, then everyone would end up scattered (you won't find easily a place that can hold 200 people at once). Scattered into probably quite small groups. Those who don't know anyone might end up isolated. Plus then there's the trouble of getting everyone back again. People disappear, go for a long lunch, lose track of time, and then all of a sudden only half the people turn up to the after-lunch session...

 

I know lunch comes with a huge financial cost, but it does allow everyone to make the most of the conference.

 

 

Fair point - I personally dont see the problem in being scattered. In fact that is what I meant, as I feel it is easier to mingle this way. I once went to a conference with about 1,000 people. That is where everyone went out for meals. Most people ended up going together  in several large groups (of about 10 - 20) and it meant you were not as intimidated by one very large group. Everyone came back at the right time. (but it was a paid conference) I personally feel that I would like the option of having lunch out, as that would give me time to get away from the venue (i tend to need a change of scene at lunchtime) and all the people that are there. (the main reason) Maybe you could charge for lunch and then people could opt in or out. Then those who preferred to go to local shop and get a sandwich or whatever could opt out. 

 

I do see your point about the social issue of lunch and it is kinda valid, I just didnt think of it that way as I personally dont view the conference as an opportunity to socialise. That is not generally what conferences are for. Meetups serve that purpose. Conferences are more for educational in the 1st instance and I would have thought that anyone attending would expect that too. Maybe I'm wrong. 

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Skycaptain

One point to consider. Maybe shortening the length of it. Saying register 0900, first session 1000, finish around 1700 may be more palatable. I couldn't make this one, but Worldpride conference last year I felt just went on too long. Granted, I have a degree of ADHD, but I'd just shut down by the last session. 

There would be plenty of time for four 90 minute sessions, or six hour sessions in this time. 

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ithaca

I don't want to be Debbie Downer, but neither the box nor the online conference have raised a significant amount so far. I don't think we have reached £500 even in total adding up the two.

 

A free conference is ideal in terms of accessibility, but so far they've only been possible due to generosity of mainly one person sponsoring it. As mentioned, this will not be possible if we want this to be a more regular event. In the future, we might get to the point where conferences are either ticketed, or where enough money is raised in advance, or where a conference just doesn't happen, which is the worst scenario in my opinion. Alas these things don't just happen by magic. I understand a lot of people are students or unemployed or otherwise going through difficulty, but we didn't even raise £2 per person with the box at the conference, it honestly was a bit disappointing to me (and I'm not the one who paid!), though of course I thank those who donated and appreciate not everyone could.

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nameinagame
On 7/29/2018 at 9:47 PM, Opel the Old said:

Actually if the event is 'free' and registration fee (discounted) is for lunch+refreshment, then people would feel they need to come as they 'paid' for lunch.  Just like @Cicero said.

 

There's no harm in investigating options to append.  If the feedback and funding indicates it can be a standalone event, there won't be the need to append. 

 

@Knitaholicjust reminded me about how Coventry Pride was cladded with Asexuality flags and Univ of Warwick's LGBT soc was one of the first univ to add the A.  The conference potentially can be held there cheaply.

 

LGBT STEM has only been going for 2 years or so, next year they are in London.  They have strong connection to academia and they have cheap access to venues.  From my experience they are quite open with regards to LGBT and gender issues.  There in no harm in asking if they are willing to book an another venue and go parallel to their events. 

 

There is also a Festival of Arts and Humanities in Sheffield.  That could be another options to bolt onto that.  Gather the postgraduates studying asexuality (or just get all the students doing asexuality research to sign up to the festival, we maybe able to hijack that).

Apologies for the slow response.

 

I've thought about this a bit more and the problem with paying up front is if you can't make it on the day because of, for example, illness (physical or mental), travel disruption, or you just genuinely forget, then getting back your money will be difficult as it would have already been spent.

 

All these suggestions are ones I'll look into further. Many thanks for them :) The University of Edinburgh have an asexual society that is about three or four years old now, so I'm currently exploring potential there as well. I'm not too sure a festival or arts and humanities would really suit this, but I'll check it out nonetheless. I'm also not sure there are many asexuality-studying postgraduates/postdocs/researchers/etc. I've had a look before at some nearby universities and not really found many at all! (although they doooo exist.)

 

On 7/29/2018 at 9:54 PM, Opel the Old said:

what is the objective of the conference?  discuss and learn academically about asexuality?  a social event? an educational event?  that will determine who are likely to be speakers in the events and the suitability to append.

An objective is hard to define concretely because I feel everyone attends for their own unique reason. As this is the only UK ace conference, I guess it is trying to do a bit of everything.

 

Education and the social side are the two big factors in my opinion. People come to learn and discuss about asexuality and related topics, from the very basics all the way up to the complicated and the controversial. By the social side I mean meeting other people who, as @Blaiddmelyn said, "got it". Meeting other aces, chatting about their own experiences, perhaps even meeting other locals.

 

In the registration form we asked people what they wanted to see at the conference. I've collected all the responses ready to go into the planining of next year's conference (unfortunately a lot of the responses came in too late to factor into this year's...) and the variety of topics and activities is immense and really broad! Everyone has their own things they want the conference to do or be :)

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Opel the Old

 

I've thought about this a bit more and the problem with paying up front is if you can't make it on the day because of, for example, illness (physical or mental), travel disruption, or you just genuinely forget, then getting back your money will be difficult as it would have already been spent.

 

 

In additional to making people mark their calendar, If there is a nominal fee, you have a better grasp of number of attendees (say +-10%)   otherwise you are probably looking at +-30%, which would make catering budget a shot in the dark.

 

All these suggestions are ones I'll look into further. Many thanks for them :) The University of Edinburgh have an asexual society that is about three or four years old now, so I'm currently exploring potential there as well. I'm not too sure a festival or arts and humanities would really suit this, but I'll check it out nonetheless. I'm also not sure there are many asexuality-studying postgraduates/postdocs/researchers/etc. I've had a look before at some nearby universities and not really found many at all! (although they doooo exist.)

 

 

University of Coventry / Univ of Warwick seemed to a lot of space around Coventry pride.

 

Are we aiming 100+ conference, then there are all these logistic and catering issue.  but if we are aiming to start with 50+ conference, then it feels more achievable (consider a large meetup with a structured presentation/ discussion /asexuality 101 maybe 1 or 2 guest speakers or academic research on asexuality etc)

 

 

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nameinagame
10 minutes ago, Opel the Old said:

 

In additional to making people mark their calendar, If there is a nominal fee, you have a better grasp of number of attendees (say +-10%)   otherwise you are probably looking at +-30%, which would make catering budget a shot in the dark.

With experience from the previous conferences, we can estimate pretty well how many will show :) But your point is totally valid still and we will look into this as we plan the next conference out.

 

19 minutes ago, Opel the Old said:

University of Coventry / Univ of Warwick seemed to a lot of space around Coventry pride.

 

Are we aiming 100+ conference, then there are all these logistic and catering issue.  but if we are aiming to start with 50+ conference, then it feels more achievable (consider a large meetup with a structured presentation/ discussion /asexuality 101 maybe 1 or 2 guest speakers or academic research on asexuality etc)

With the high semi-fixed costs (venue hire..) and the huge admin overhead in setting up a single conference, I feel it is the best use of resources (money, time) to have a single large conference per year rather than aiming for multiple smaller ones. I also feel it is more attractive for presenters if they know they will have a large audience and only need to travel to a single conference per year; and more attractive for attendees who know there will be a large number of other aces present at a single event. We have already shown that conferences of ~200 people are possible.

 

I appreciate that for the cost of a single large conference, we coud hold two or three small conferences, but I don't believe this will be as beneficial to the ace community on the whole compared to one large conference. Ideally, in the far future, it would be great if we could hold multiple large conferences per year, in different locations, with different themes to suit everyone's wants. We're just not there yet.

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nameinagame
On 7/30/2018 at 8:36 PM, banana monkey said:

Fair point - I personally dont see the problem in being scattered. In fact that is what I meant, as I feel it is easier to mingle this way. I once went to a conference with about 1,000 people. That is where everyone went out for meals. Most people ended up going together  in several large groups (of about 10 - 20) and it meant you were not as intimidated by one very large group. Everyone came back at the right time. (but it was a paid conference) I personally feel that I would like the option of having lunch out, as that would give me time to get away from the venue (i tend to need a change of scene at lunchtime) and all the people that are there. (the main reason) Maybe you could charge for lunch and then people could opt in or out. Then those who preferred to go to local shop and get a sandwich or whatever could opt out. 

 

I do see your point about the social issue of lunch and it is kinda valid, I just didnt think of it that way as I personally dont view the conference as an opportunity to socialise. That is not generally what conferences are for. Meetups serve that purpose. Conferences are more for educational in the 1st instance and I would have thought that anyone attending would expect that too. Maybe I'm wrong. 

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you. I've been to many conferences and summer schools across a broad quality spectrum and I've had my mix of ones with lunch served and ones without. I think I've seen the best and worst of each. There was one case where lunch was served and we were sat on a long table, people sitting either side of a row of tables, and it was just really awkward silence across 90% of the table, while the other 10% just chatted to the people they already knew. Worst hour ever and made things awkward for the rest of the day. It's hard to really define, but when you're face to face with a completely stranger, within a short touching distance, and you're watching them eat lunch, it is kind of awkward..?

 

But lunch served right, much like at this year's conference, is a very powerful thing. We sat in smallish square tables this year and that worked really well. I do agree that scattering for lunch can work really well too, but once again I have seen it done where people just stick to people they sort of know and some people get left out entirely because they don't know anyone. In an unknown city where very few know the nearby lunch places, time is lost in deciding where to go and getting there. Having a full lunch in 1.5 hours like this year would be challenging. I feel that having a good "non-served lunch" lunch is more difficult to achieve than with a served one.

 

It might be worth considering a hybrid approach though :huh: Some people stay for lunch and others go off for lunch. This works out cheaper and I imagine when people have a choice they will choose what is sensible for them and they would know what they are doing. Both options keep their benefits. I'll think about this more :)

 

I know you say meetups are for the social side of ace meetings, and I don't disagree there, but some people don't have any nearby meets and find it impractical to travel to one for what meets are worth. Other people only have access to very small meet scenes that feature the same people most meets. Some people choose not attend their local meetups for various reasons. These people especially, but everyone to a certain extent, can benefit from the diverse range of aces at the conference.

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Sandra B
On 7/29/2018 at 8:34 PM, Blaiddmelyn said:

 

Just to add, some of the feedback I received offline was that one thing people valued about the conference was being surrounded mainly by people who, to use their words, "got it" in respect of asexuality, and to have a day that was entirely about that. If the conference were to join with an LGBT one, we would lose that part of it because the conference would naturally have to have less of a focus on asexuality and, of course, the attendee population would be diluted (not in itself a bad thing - we wanted people of all sexualities to attend  - but when combined with the lack of focus, may put some people off) - from the people I've spoken to, I think some attendees would be less inclined to attend if we did append. It'd certainly be easier financially but we'd have to consider carefully whether attendees would be happy with that approach.

As a speaker of the conference, and ambassador (I don't personally use the word activist for me) for asexuality, I am glad it was a conference for just asexuals and not directly connected to LGBT+, as a heteroromantic asexual who lacks sexual attraction - I do not fit into that community - I love having gay and lesbian friends - but I am not gay or lesbian myself or bi or trans. I believe we need to stand firmly on our own in getting asexuality recognised as a sexual orientation throughout globe and that we should have more events specifically focused on asexuality in order to do this (obviously finances is an issue for this and I think charging say at least a £10 contribution for a ticket is reasonable - students pay this out on takeaway pizza, with less value in it). I understand we are both minorities, so think it is great to support each other, but whilst maintaining or our own credibility and community and events, for those who don't experiences sexual attraction, as opposed to LGBT+ who do!

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JHC (pet in waiting)
On 8/2/2018 at 10:39 PM, nameinagame said:

It might be worth considering a hybrid approach though :huh: Some people stay for lunch and others go off for lunch. This works out cheaper and I imagine when people have a choice they will choose what is sensible for them and they would know what they are doing. Both options keep their benefits. I'll think about this more :)

How about getting people to choose either to bring a picnic or go to restaurant A or restaurant B? Tables could then be reserved in advance by the organisers so people know they have the chance to sit with new people. You could organise tables for the "picnicers". Yes it would be work but less than worrying about dietary requirements I should think. If people want to eat with their friends it won't be difficult to arrange to choose the same option. Presumably you have shorter refreshment sessions so people can catch up with friends they didn't know were coming.

 

I have no money and couldn't travel far to go to a conference so that it's great that you plan to move around and tickets are free but I'd be happy to bring lunch with me.

 

Also sell lots of merchandise. Have some for that conference and either charge businesses to sell generic asexual / aromantic stuff or sell it yourself (if it's generic it can be sold at full price next time). If you want a someone to stand behind a stall I'm happy to volunteer, I don't know why but I love doing that sort of thing 😁

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nameinagame
13 hours ago, JHC (efm) said:

How about getting people to choose either to bring a picnic or go to restaurant A or restaurant B? Tables could then be reserved in advance by the organisers so people know they have the chance to sit with new people. You could organise tables for the "picnicers". Yes it would be work but less than worrying about dietary requirements I should think. If people want to eat with their friends it won't be difficult to arrange to choose the same option. Presumably you have shorter refreshment sessions so people can catch up with friends they didn't know were coming.

 

I have no money and couldn't travel far to go to a conference so that it's great that you plan to move around and tickets are free but I'd be happy to bring lunch with me.

 

Also sell lots of merchandise. Have some for that conference and either charge businesses to sell generic asexual / aromantic stuff or sell it yourself (if it's generic it can be sold at full price next time). If you want a someone to stand behind a stall I'm happy to volunteer, I don't know why but I love doing that sort of thing 😁

This restaurant idea is definitely a good one :) I think we'll need more than two or three places for 200 people though. If too many go to one place, then food will also take ages to be prepared. Hmm..

 

Another option would be to go the other way and order food to the conference. Give people many choices to order from and while everyone is in a talk, a few volunteers work on placing orders and getting everything in. Ask for meal choices just before the conference. Many places in large cities, such as Edinburgh, sell the same thing, so we simply break the order up between multiple delivery places to ensure a fast (and fresh!) order.

 

Neither option will be easy to do logistically, but I think they are worth looking into further as a means of keeping the conference cost down. So many great ideas in this thread :)

 

Merchandise is something I have thought about more. Will sellers really want to spend money travelling somewhere with their wares to sell at a profit margin eroded by conference charges? I'm starting to think the other option is best. We simply order a lot of generic stuff (as you said) and hope we sell the vast majority of it! (or we just keep it for the next conference otherwise).

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Skycaptain

Unfortunately, the price of generic stuff is so minimal that there'd be no margin for us. 

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JHC (pet in waiting)
14 hours ago, Skycaptain said:

Unfortunately, the price of generic stuff is so minimal that there'd be no margin for us. 

T-shirts and hoodies would be more. There's no end of stuff you can brand.

 

15 hours ago, nameinagame said:

Merchandise is something I have thought about more. Will sellers really want to spend money travelling somewhere with their wares to sell at a profit margin eroded by conference charges?

How about putting the word out to local small businesses who generally sell their stuff at fairs and festivals. It needn't have an asexual link, some people just love shopping 😁 This would be another opportunity to raise awareness (you could have the WI selling cakes!!!).

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nameinagame
On 8/20/2018 at 8:34 PM, Skycaptain said:

Unfortunately, the price of generic stuff is so minimal that there'd be no margin for us. 

 

On 8/21/2018 at 11:01 AM, JHC (pet in waiting) said:

T-shirts and hoodies would be more. There's no end of stuff you can brand.

 

How about putting the word out to local small businesses who generally sell their stuff at fairs and festivals. It needn't have an asexual link, some people just love shopping 😁 This would be another opportunity to raise awareness (you could have the WI selling cakes!!!).

Sadly space comes at a premium at a conference, so we will be wanting to stick to selling ace-related merchandise. But you do raise a good point. Why not sell cakes? :P

 

In fact, I'm wondering if we would raise more by having volunteers design, make, and sell items where possible? As in people offer their time for free, much in the same way that the conference organisers offer their time for free. If enough people put in a bit of time each, then there could be a lot of potential for generating a significant revenue for the conference. Examples could include designing some original ace T-Shirts to sell, or indeed someone baking and selling goods (cakes? ^^).

 

We could even sell some items ahead of the conference to bring in money straight away.

 

What are your thoughts here?

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Blaiddmelyn
3 hours ago, nameinagame said:

 

Sadly space comes at a premium at a conference, so we will be wanting to stick to selling ace-related merchandise. But you do raise a good point. Why not sell cakes? :P

 

In fact, I'm wondering if we would raise more by having volunteers design, make, and sell items where possible? As in people offer their time for free, much in the same way that the conference organisers offer their time for free. If enough people put in a bit of time each, then there could be a lot of potential for generating a significant revenue for the conference. Examples could include designing some original ace T-Shirts to sell, or indeed someone baking and selling goods (cakes? ^^).

 

We could even sell some items ahead of the conference to bring in money straight away.

 

What are your thoughts here?

Boring lawyer here but you'd need to ensure IP was dealt with in a manner suitable to both parties.

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Sandra B
On 8/22/2018 at 10:30 PM, Blaiddmelyn said:

Boring lawyer here but you'd need to ensure IP was dealt with in a manner suitable to both parties.

I agree. I actually design and sell T-Shirts and merchandise for asexuals online and do not infringe on other's IP but the platforms I sell them on very tight on IP and you can lose your account over it as you can be sued. Profit margins are not great as it is, and I don't make much money from it all, especially when you total up the amount of hours I put into creating a design and not all designs sell - if someone has to pay to sell their stuff/rent space with all of the other costs involved and low margin, I doubt many would want to do it. If you have stock left over - then you have to store it somewhere. Trying to create a design that many people specifically want is hard too, I have to diversify across the spectrum. 

 

Also going back to the serving food yourself - if you are handling food yourself then you should have a hygiene certificate ideally - if some people take poorly and they think it was the food and the way it was handled then I think you may be in legal trouble? 

 

I ate out with 2 other asexuals at a Nandos nearby and we made it back in time for the next session.

 

I do understand the social aspect though. But better to keep costs down than not have a conference at all. I think people could bring their own packed lunch and others could eat out if they wanted.

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