Pre-Planning Questions | Timeline | Choosing a Conference Venue | Creating a Conference Budget | Initial Planning: Problems
The first phase of organizing a successful Model UN conference is initial planning. During this phase, you will decide whether to invite middle school-, high school- or university-level participants to your conference. You should also envision what type of conference you would like to create.
To start, it is important to understand the existing Model UN conference community in your area. Is there enough interest to hold a successful conference?
The next step is to find a venue for your Model UN conference. Holding the conference at a school, whether it is a high school or a university, is a good way to keep your costs down. Keep in mind, however, that you need enough space for all of the committee sessions and opening and closing ceremonies as well as areas for delegates to type resolutions and eat their meals.
At this stage, you should also decide what time of year to hold your conference and how long the conference will last. Be sure to avoid scheduling your conference during final exams, standardized testing, or during other Model UN Conferences in the area.
If this is your first conference, consider holding a one-day event. You should also try to gain support from existing conferences and organizations in your area. Experienced Model UN conference planners can help you establish credibility for your conference and can offer wisdom they have gained through their own experiences. They may also know area schools that participate in Model UN.
What are your goals for the Model United Nations conference? Setting goals for your conference is the first step you should take as a conference planner. Be sure to come up with both personal and group goals to guide you through the planning process. Setting goals at the beginning will help your conference live up to expectations and will keep you on track throughout the process.
Pre-Planning Questions to Think About
- Will the conference have middle school and/or high school students?
- Do we want to host a collegiate conference?
Selecting a Conference Date
- Will there be an organizational leader or partner?
- Consider the weather; nobody wants to be at a conference during monsoon season!
- Are other conferences happening around the time of our conference?
- Is there a major exam period during which our conference shouldn't take place?
- Small conferences are often more successful and easier.
- Should we invite people from outside of our region?
- What additional organizations do we want to partner with?
- How will we divide the duties?
- Will the conference be at our school, a hotel or an outside organization?
Now that you've thought about the pre-planning questions, it's time to put together a timeline. A timeline will help you stay on track and will make deadlines absolutely clear to everyone involved in the conference planning process.
Set date for Model UN conference
Reach out to schools
Write background papers and delegate/advisor guides
Do country assignments
Communicate with teachers
Order promotional items, supplies, banners, etc
Create conference program and send to printers
Create committee assignment sheets, placards and name tags
Meet photographers, press, etc.
Choosing a Conference Venue
When deciding on a conference venue you have several options. Below are some of the pros and cons to the most common options.
Option A: School or Local Organization
Questions to Consider
- Support from faculty advisors and administration.
- Potentially free or inexpensive access to resources including office equipment, meeting rooms and cafeteria.
- "Home-field advantage." You are already familiar with the area.
Option B: Hotel or Conference Center
- Can the campus provide housing? If not, is there a hotel nearby?
- Are there any fees imposed by the administration?
- Are there security fees or additional costs for keeping buildings open?
- Are the meeting rooms close together?
- Will time constraints be placed on the delegates?
- Does school faculty need to be present?
- Who assumes liability?
- Are the premises safe?
- Is the campus easy to navigate?
- Where will the delegates eat if a cafeteria is not open?
- Will someone from the university or organization be available to assist if a problem occurs?
Questions to Consider
- A common meeting place, as opposed to multiple buildings.
- Professional atmosphere.
- Housing for all delegates.
- Potential availability of experienced conference planners to assist staff.
- What are the costs?
- If you obtain a certain amount of sleeping rooms, is the meeting space free?
- Do you need to use the hotel's catering?
- Can you provide your own audio/visual?
- Are there rules for handling boxes?
- What type of insurance is required?
- Does the hotel have adequate space?
- Can you set up rooms any way you wish?
- Do you need security?
Creating a Conference Budget
A budget is an essential part of any conference. It should be created immediately upon embarking on the planning process. Budgets vary greatly from conference to conference, and are also very dependent on where you decide to hold your conference and how much the venue will cost.
|Costs to Consider
- Conference Staff
- School fees
- Delegate fees
- Advisor fees
Initial Planning: Problems
- You want to put on a conference, but donâ€™t have 12 months to plan it.
- You canâ€™t find a venue within your budget.
- Your conference is entirely self-funded, you donâ€™t know how much you will make, and you have limited start-up funds. How do you put together a budget?
- You are not sure how many participants will register.