Convention How-to Instructions


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Note:  This is a Work In Progress
Compiled by Jan Hettick






General Instructions for All Committee Chairs


1.     Keep track of all procedures, notes, and observations, with the intent of improving the job description for each position for the next convention.

2.     Once you agree to this job we will be depending upon you to get it done, in whatever manner you see fit.  If something happens that you can’t complete the job (work overload, family emergency, etc), let the Convention Chair (CC) know ASAP so we can get you more help or find someone to take over for you.

3.     Keep the CC appraised of all activities.

4.     Please do not make any agreements or contracts involving money without CC authorization.

5.     Communicate regularly with other Committee Chairs whenever necessary.  If question arises about responsibilities, contact CC.

6.     Advise CC if you are having problems or something needs to be changed.

7.     Keep CC advised of time and place of any meetings of your committee. 

8.     Feel free to recruit whatever committee members you want on your own, but if you need additional help, contact the Volunteer Coordinator.  We’d like to involve all members of BSOP in this convention. 

9.     Remember, hosting this convention is supposed to be FUN.  If it isn’t, lets make changes so that it can be!



Advisory committee


This is a group of 4 to 6 people who act as advisors and help CC make critical decisions.  The purpose is to establish a framework for the convention, a “direction”, and get the process started in an organized manner.  While it is important that the convention is a CLUB function, the Advisory Committee is responsible for keeping its eye on the big picture.


Timing:  Committee members must be committed to reviewing issues as presented and providing thoughtful, timely response from inceptionof the planning process through the time of the convention. Committee participation begins BEFORE application is submitted to PNBCA for approval to host the convention, up to 4 years prior to convention date.  Members will meet several times during the first year to 18 months of the planning process, meeting less frequently as decisions are made and individual committee chairs begin to take over.


1.     This committee should be appointed by (or have the authorization of) the Board of Directors of the host club. 

2.     Committee is responsible for:

a.      Selection of Convention Chair (CC) as soon as possible after formation. CC then heads the Advisory Committee.  Note: If co-chair situation is considered, people involved should have a shared management philosophy, a clear understanding of the division of responsibility, and a proven history of working together.

b.     Assist in filling key Committee Chair positions, such as Program, Materials, Hotel Negotiator, Exhibit, Workshop and Demo Coordinators

c.      Determine conceptual structure of the convention (as guidance for Program Chair)

                                                    i.     Preferred dates, duration

                                                  ii.     Local or international focus

                                                iii.     Is there a specific species, style or aspect of bonsai to be featured

                                                iv.     Ideas for activities

                                                  v.     Selection of convention theme

                                                vi.     Selection of logo

d.     Review recommendations of Hotel Negotiator and authorize venue

e.      Approval of preliminary budget and any major expenditures (such as artist fees, workshop materials)

f.      Final approval of slate of major and minor headliners

g.     Final approval of program and general type of materials

3.     Committee members should be quickly responsive both to CC and various committee chairs, acting as mediator if problems arise.




This position arranges for agricultural inspection for trees that need to be taken out of the country, as well as helping people ship trees.  Purpose is to enhance the ability of people to buy new merchandise from vendors and take workshops.


Timing:  Contract inspector a few months before convention – say by April, year of convention.


Preliminary budget: Should be neutral.  In 2007 we spent about $344 (inspection from Washington only), in 2012 we spent $452 (required inspection from both Oregon and Washington).  Charges included travel time & fees.  We let participants (all were Canadians) work out who owed how much and got one check back for payment in full.


Agricultural Inspection:

1.     Contact necessary inspectors, verify current regulations. (Oregon if workshop materials grown in Oregon, Washington if convention held in Vancouver.)

2.     Find out which trees can be transported, see about advance inspection.

3.     Communicate with Canadians regarding necessary permits, potential fees.

4.     Arrange for inspector to come Sunday AM, early.

5.     Find out if he will bill based on time spent or number of trees.  Is there a way to track time spent or trees inspected for each individual?

6.     Verify room in hotel for inspection; takes quite a bit of space. Make sure room has capability for internet connection.  (work with Program/Schedule Chair). 

7.     Arrange sign to announce date, time and place for inspection (make sure Canadians know)

8.     Make sure trees to be inspected have arrived in time for the inspector to get to work.

9.     Pay inspector (work with Treasurer) and collect from people using the service if necessary (if he won’t keep track individually).



1.     Identify method of shipping trees and make arrangements when necessary




This position establishes and leads a committee that identifies potential artists, makes selection with assistance of Advisory Committee, determines availability, negotiates contract.  Once signed contract is received from artist, turn over to Artist Support Committee.


Timing:  Ideally, preliminary contact and artist selection should be determined before demo and workshop materials are purchased.  Final negotiations must be complete before website is set up and work can start on publicity – before April of the year of the prior convention.


Preliminary budget: $75 for postage and phone charges


1.     Recruit committee members (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

2.     Determine needs for artists (work with Programs Chair)

a.      Major headliner(s) – work whole convention, incl. demos, workshops, visibility at meals, etc.

b.     Minor headliner (cameo artists) – work one or two events.

c.      Locals – work one or two events

3.     Determine if there will be financial assistance from co-host (in 2012 PNBCA paid $2,000 for “new” artist)

4.     Create list of potential artists, taking into consideration convention theme as established by AC

5.     Make initial contact to determine interest, availability, fee, tree preferences

6.     Establish budget that keeps cost down but acknowledges that the artists are professionals and need to earn a living (work with AC, CC)

7.     Present viable suggestions to Advisory Committee for approval

8.     Negotiate final fees, scheduled duties, benefits (i.e. room, meals, etc.)

Note:  In 2007, artist fees were negotiated separate from travel costs, which were separate reimbursement.  In 2012, fees were $8,766, inclusive of travel costs (artist carried the risk of rate increases or benefit of decreases).

9.     Determine method by which artist would like to be paid – check, cash, wire?

10.  Work up detailed contract so everybody knows exactly what to expect from artist during convention and get artist’s signature. (work with Program Chair, CC)

11.  Upon signing of final contract, get artist’s bio, current photos and other material necessary for use on convention website and in brochure.

12.  Upon completion of contract and obtaining publicity information, provide artist contact information to Artist Support Committee.

13.  Maintain contact with Artist Support Committee and Program Chair in case additional work is necessary for unplanned situation.






Bonsai Society of Portland

May 19, 2011




Name and address


Dear _______:


This letter is to confirm our email exchanges in which you agreed to participate as Headliner in the 2012 Pacific Northwest Bonsai Clubs Association Convention.  The convention is being hosted by the Bonsai Society of Portland, and we are excited about your return to our city.  Convention activities will begin with early registration Thursday evening September 13, 2012 and culminate after lunch on Sunday, September 16, 2012. 


In addition to yourself, we have booked _____________, _______________, and ______________....  In addition, we hope to have some cameo appearances by local artists, including …., although some work remains to be done on the schedule before this is confirmed.


Our goal is to have a first-rate, memorable convention, and you have a key role in that endeavor.  Program and schedule details are still being refined, but we expect your primary responsibilities will be as follows:


  • Perform one all-day demo and two half-day workshops.  For the demos, we plan to have two each day.  The artists will alternate between time on the stage talking about your tree and time off the stage actually doing the work.  For workshops, morning sessions will begin about 8:00 AM until about 11:30 AM; afternoon workshops will run from about 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM.  In most cases there will be no more than eight participants in each workshop. 


We will provide trees, wire, etc. for the demos and workshops, but request that you bring your own tools.  We will provide photographs and whatever information you wish about the tree material well in advance of the convention so you may plan your programs.  Please let us know what you will require in the form of power tools, special equipment or assistance on stage or in the workshop room.


  • Perform at least one exhibit critique, scheduled for the same day as the demo.  The artist who starts the first demo would do his critique in the late afternoon after his demo is concluded, while the artist who starts the second demo would do his critique in the morning, before his demo starts.


  • On Sunday morning we are planning a “super-critique” which we are calling “Visions of Excellence”.  A number of trees will be brought from the exhibit to the main stage, and the artists will provide detailed information on what is especially good about the tree and what might be done to improve it, along with any culture tips or comments you care to make.  We will ask that the artists alternate, so you will be needed on-stage for the entire program.  You will be able to participate in selecting which trees are used for this event. 


  • You are asked also to be a visible presence during the rest of the convention, especially at the Friday and Saturday evening functions.  The Friday night program has not yet been determined, but it may include a design contest, in which case you will be asked to act as one of the judges and pass out prizes.  There will also be a small raffle and auction of the Friday demo trees.  Saturday night will consist of the traditional raffle as well as auction of the Saturday demo trees.


Total compensation being offered for your time for the entire weekend is $_______ in US funds, with the expectation that you will arrange and fund your own transportation to and from the Portland International Airport.  We will meet you at the airport and provide for your transportation needs during the convention.


The Convention will also provide lodging Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at the Vancouver Hilton, full convention registration, and all meals beginning with dinner Thursday evening through lunch on Sunday.  The rooms are double occupancy, so there would be no charge for one additional guest per room.  If you wish additional meals for a guest, the convention meal package can be purchased at our cost, which is expected to be about $209.  The convention meal package includes all meals for the weekend except dinner on Thursday evening.


We are honored that you have agreed to be a guest artist at our convention.  If you have any questions or wish to change any of the terms cited above, please contact me by email at___________________ or by phone at _____________.  If you agree with the above, please sign and date the page below and return a signed copy to me, either by email or postal mail.  Please also include a recent photo, a one-paragraph bio and another paragraph on your philosophy and background, such as who you have studied with and your specialty.  It would be appreciated if we could get this information within the next 30 days so we can get our brochure prepared before the 2011 convention.  We look forward to seeing you in September 2012!


Sincerely,                                                                    Reviewed and Accepted:



__________________________                                __________________________

Convention chair name                                              artist name

PNBCA 2012 Convention Chair

address                                                                        __________________________









This position is responsible for getting the artist to Portland, to the hotel, and to make sure their stay is pleasant.  Includes being artists’ go-to person during the convention in case of problems.  Works closely with CC.


Timing:  Starts as soon as artist contract is signed, intense from day before to end of convention.


Preliminary budget: <$25 for postage and/or phone charges; should be basically neutral beyond cost of transportation and meals for artists.  It is noted that in 2012 the artists wanted to go out to dinner together on Thursday night.  Cost was buried in Artist Fees, which actually overstated their actual fees by several hundred dollars.


1.     Initiate communication with artist.  Introduce yourself and offer assistance.

2.     Arrange transportation for Guest Artists (air, rail, auto) at least 1 month prior to arrival

    1. If special arrangements (arrive early, leave late) start 1 ½ month early
    2. Offer only coach class (they can upgrade to first class at their own expense)
    3. If artists are making their own travel arrangements, verify and keep track of planned arrivals.

3.     Stay in touch with Artist between purchase of ticket and arrival; any last minute changes?

4.     Arrange transportation from and back to airport; arrange for travelling artists to be met and greeted personally.

5.     Are spouses of Guest Artists coming?  They make and pay for their own arrangements – we are not responsible.

6.     Arrange rooms at hotel (well before event to assure availability).  Find out special hotel needs (rooms are double occupancy).

7.     Make sure Registrar has meal choices.  Arrange for meals not provided by convention.  Any extra or special meals requirements?

8.     Be responsible for solving Artist’s problems during convention (work with CC)

9.     See to Artist’s needs while working at convention, such as water, coffee, etc. during workshops

10.  Confirm that artists have what they need (wire, turntable, wedge, etc.) (work with Workshop Chair)





This position is responsible for arranging all audio/visual needs during the convention and making sure they are working properly.  This is a critical position; problems must be solved before equipment is needed.


Timing:  Make arrangements several months before convention, test a few days before, monitor systems during convention.


Preliminary budget: $800.  $156 in 2007, $766 in 2012.  Depends on use of video.


1.     Determine what areas need AV services (check with all event chairs)

    1. Critiques?
    2. Demos
    3. Workshops?
    4. Meals (Friday night, Sat. lunch & banquet, Sunday brunch)
    5. Special Events

2.     Create a schedule of when AV services are needed; what, where and when for each event.

3.     Determine volunteer help needed (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

    1. Assign someone to monitor during events
    2. Assign someone to run video, if necessary

4.     Make diagram of AV needs for hotel (work with event chairs)

5.     Negotiate fees with AV server and report options to CC (don’t commit to $$ without approval)

6.     Coordinate needs with AV server for set up and timelines.





This position is responsible for designing, printing and distribution of brochures advertising the convention. 


Timing:  Brochures must be started in time to be distributed at prior year’s convention, at least by April of the year BEFORE the convention.


Preliminary budget:  $450 for printing – based on 2007 cost of $283, 2012 at $439.


1.     Create registration brochures (work with other chairs and CC)

2.     Include

a.      Tentative schedule of events (Program Chair)

b.     Registration form (Registrar)

c.      Hotel registration information (Facilities)

d.     Bios of artists and photographs (Artist Selection

e.      Description of workshops and photos of materials (Program and Materials)

f.      Introduction and explanation of theme (Advisory)

g.     Description of other events (Program)


3.     Get brochures or DVD to member clubs for distribution (work with Web Chair, Registration Chair)

4.     Create schedule of events for publicity (work with Publicity Chair, Program Chair)





1.     Establish Advisory Committee (AC) – group of 4-8 people to act as advisors and help make critical decisions

2.     Establish various committee responsibilities

3.     Arrange meetings of AC and general committee chairs as needed

4.     Recruit committee chairs and make sure they know their responsibilities

5.     Supervise committee chairs

6.     Establish working budget

7.     Start 3 years ahead:

    1. Get authorization from PNBCA to host convention
    2. Establish workable program (Program Chair)
    3. Find suitable venue and start negotiations (Facilities Negotiation Chair)
    4. Start looking for workshop/demo material (Materials Chair)
    5. Set up bank account (Treasurer)

8.     2 years ahead:

    1. Select artists (Artist Selection Chair)
    2. Get publicity started (Publicity Chair)
    3. Get website functional (Website Chair)
    4. Provide text for brochure (work with Brochure and Website Chairs)

                                                    i.     Establish registration fee(s)

                                                  ii.     Prepare promotional material for prior year’s convention

                                                iii.     Create and maintain Schedule of Events for publicity and distribution at prior convention.

    1. Make sure registration procedure is set up and ready to go (database, forms)

9.     1 year ahead

    1. Be ready to accept registrations by prior convention

                                                    i.     Registration forms

                                                  ii.     Brochures

10.  Six months ahead

    1. Assure room layouts are available (Set Up Committee)

11.  Special shirts or aprons for Chairs?  Docent tags?  Raffle sale aprons?

12.  Provide a final schedule of events to the Registrar at the last minute, prepare pocket schedule for registration packet.





This position schedules, organizes, manages and monitors the critiques.


Timing:  Establish schedule before brochure is printed – at least by April year BEFORE convention; intense responsibility during convention events.


Preliminary budget: $25 for miscellaneous set up costs.  Artist cost offset by critique registrations.


1.     Determine number and type of critique events

a.      Walk through (work with Exhibit Chair to schedule closing of exhibit)?

b.     Sit-down in adjacent room (work with Program chair to make sure room is available and accessible)?

c.      “Super Critique” Sunday AM? (very popular in 2012) (room available?)


2.     Organize schedule for critique program (work with Programs, Brochure chairs)

3.     Determine volunteer help needed (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

4.     Arrange for attendance to be monitored.  Get list of names from Registrar.

a.      Door monitors? (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

b.     List of registrants (work with Registrar)

5.     Introduce artist at start of each critique.




This person is responsible for researching and presenting to the Advisory Committee a few events that are tied more to related arts than bonsai trees, to be held during convention.  This is a somewhat new concept for Portland bonsai conventions and may not be necessary.


Timing:  Start research at least two years before convention.  Present rough plan for Advisory Committee approval before brochure is printed – at least by April year BEFORE convention; finalize details 6 months before event, intense responsibility just before and during the actual event.


Preliminary budget:  <$25 for postage, suppliesEvent registration fees should cover any cost associated with events.


1.     Set up committee to help with ideas and implementation

2.     Plan events that add interest and variety to convention (work with CC, Program Chair)

    1. Sumi-e painting
    2. Tea ceremony
    3. Drawing bonsai
    4. Scroll making
    5. Taiko drums

3.     Arrange rooms and schedule for events (work with Programs Chair)

4.     Arrange publicity for events (work with Brochure and Publicity Chairs)

5.     Design room layout for events and make sure rooms are property set up

6.     Make sure each event has necessary supplies

7.     Monitor attendance at each event (work with Volunteer Coordinator, Registrar)





This position schedules, organizes, manages and monitors the demos.


Timing:  Establish schedule before brochure is printed – at least by April year BEFORE convention; intense responsibility during convention events.


Preliminary budget: $25 for miscellaneous set up costs.  Artist cost offset by convention registration fees.


1.     Determine volunteer help needed; organize schedule of assistants and room monitors (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

2.     Provide assistants with written instructions a few days before convention starts

3.     Verify that demo trees are in the storage room by start of convention (work with Materials Chair)

4.     Verify that demo trees get from storage to demo room before events (work with Materials Chair)

5.     Verify working order of AV, including mic, screen, video camera AND videographer (work with AV Chair)

6.     Determine supplies needed by each artist and make sure they are available before event starts (work with Artist Support Chair, Workshops Coordinator )

a.      Tools, wire

b.     Turntable, riser box

c.      Wedges, brushes (large, small)

d.     White board with fresh pens

e.      Drinking water

f.      Towels (cloth and paper)

g.     First aid kit

7.     Make sure all equipment is in place well before event starts

a.      Tables, chairs, garbage can

b.     Drinking water


8.     During demo, post date and time each demo tree will be raffled or auctioned.  If raffle, have bucket available for deposit of raffle tickets. (work with Raffle Chair, Workshop Coordinator)




This position is responsible for bonsai exhibit.


Timing:  Begin tree recruitment and selection process 2 years before convention; confirm condition and availability of display items several months before convention, set up day before, care of trees during, and break down of show Sunday afternoon.


Preliminary budget: $1,400, based on 2012 cost of $1,858 less income of $463.  Includes rental of truck to transport trees.  2007 cost was $405 which included felt, PVC and sheeting.


1.     Determine volunteer needs (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

a.      Previewing trees (in person or by photo)

b.     Transportation

c.      Set up tables, backdrops, etc.

d.     Display

e.      Tree Sitters

f.      Ticket Takers

g.     Take Down

2.     Determine hours (work with Security Chair, Critique Coordinator, Schedule Chair)

3.     Create plan for exhibit

a.      Utilize convention theme?

b.     Include suiseki as separate section?

c.      Feature individual clubs?

d.     Consider mood enhancement (music, chairs, etc?)

4.     Design table layout (work with Set Up Chair)

5.     Create and send letter inviting participation

a.      PNBCA member clubs

b.     BSOP members

c.      Suiseki?

d.     Include instructions (clean, show-ready, front marked, well watered, etc.)


6.     Preview trees and select which ones go into exhibit

7.     Arrange for stands, accent plants, scrolls

8.     Make schedule for tree sitters, ticket takers (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

9.     Schedule tree arrival and departure times and procedures

10.  Create name tags for each tree (printed directory?)

11.  Arrange displays

12.  Arrange for non-convention admissions

a.      Tickets

b.     Price

c.      Advertising (work with Publicity chairs)

d.     Sandwich board at north entrance of hotel (work with Signs Chair)


13.  Arrange method of handling money (work with Treasurer)

a.      Cash box

b.     Starting change


14.  Arrange for various awards

a.      Friends of PNBCA

b.     People’s Choice?

c.      Best of….?

15.  Determine if formal photographs will be taken and arrange for photographer (work with Volunteer Coordinator)




This person is responsible for negotiating food quantity, quality and cost. 


Timing:  Assist with hotel negotiation early on to determine which meals will be provided and obtain selection options for Saturday Banquet. Provide information by April of the year BEFORE the convention for brochure and registration form.  Contact hotel food services a few months before convention to finalize details, provide meal counts and food allergies during convention


Preliminary budget: This cost should be covered by convention registration fees.


1.     Negotiate meals with hotel, price and content

2.     Verify which meals are included in registration (see note below)

    1. Breakfasts?
    2. Lunch Friday?
    3. Lunch Saturday
    4. Dinner Friday night

                                                    i.     Buffet?

                                                  ii.     Appetizers?

                                                iii.     Sit down?

    1. Saturday banquet
    2. Thursday evening event?

3.     Advise hotel of registrants’ special dietary needs (work with Registrar)

4.     Monitor quality and quantity at each meal period.

5.     Keep track of current meal counts and notify hotel of changes (work with Registrar)

6.     Notify CC if registrations will not meet hotel minimum food & beverage sales.

7.     Meal tickets needed?  (work with Registrar)

8.     Verify table set up and count

9.     Water in work lab and vendor areas

10.  Schedule for coffee in work lab (not unlimited)


It is noted that in 2012 we provided “all meals” in the registration price.  This put undue pressure on the registration fee and made it so registrants did not feel they could go elsewhere to eat.  This may be an unnecessary expense.





This position is responsible for planning, organizing and hosting the Friday Night Event.


Timing:  Start looking for donations as soon as date and venue are determined.  Establish rough plan before brochure is printed – at least by April year BEFORE convention; finalize details 6 months before event, intense responsibility just before and during event.


Preliminary budget:  $800.  Spent about $1,725 in 2007, primarily for tools and contest prizes. $2012 spent $175 for cash prize; materials for contest were donated.  Cost must be covered by registration fee (work with Registrar)


1.     Establish committee to help with planning and hosting event.

2.     Research donations, grants.  In 2012, we received $1,000 from Vancouver Tourism

3.     Plan program

a.      What kind of food (work with Food Chair)

                                                    i.     Buffet, appetizers, sit-down meal

                                                  ii.     No-host bar?

                                                iii.     Tickets?

b.     What kind of entertainment

                                                    i.     Contest

1.     Timing (no trees on table with food)

2.     Who are contestants?  (by table, each person, selected people)

3.     Who are judges? (work with Artist Chair)

4.     Obtain and provide material, tools, wire, garbage cans, etc. (work with Materials Chair)

5.     Obtain prizes, determine categories for prizes.  Donation of $$?

                                                  ii.     Vendor reception (work with Marketplace Chair)

                                                iii.     Music or dance team

                                                iv.     Door prizes?  Donation of $$?

c.      Prepare room layout plan (work with Set Up Chair)

d.     What kind of fund raiser (auction, card trick, raffle?) (work with appropriate chairs)

4.     Arrange advance publicity for event and hype to local club members(work with Publicity and Brochure Chairs)

5.     Arrange entertainment, if any (make sure to stay within budget or adjust budget if necessary)

6.     Arrange MC for evening (Lee Cheatle, Chris Kirk, Dan Rohlf)

7.     Plan and verify sound system needs (work with AV Chair)

8.     Work with Volunteer Chair for other manpower needs during event

9.     Verify set up before event, arrange for help with break down and clean up after event

10.  Arrange signs (work with Sign Chair)


fund raising, non-raffle (auctionS)


This position handles fund raising efforts outside of the benefit raffle.


Timing:  Plan schedule and prepare forms several weeks before convention, and arrange and advertise fund raising events at various times throughout the convention.


Preliminary budget: $25 for set up materials – most cost will be covered by funds raised


1.     Determine what fund raising needs might arise (work with Demos, Workshops and Raffle Chairs)

a.      Auction of demo trees

b.     Auction of high-end raffle donations (silent or oral) (work with Raffle Chair)

c.      Raffle of demo trees

                                                    i.     Ticket sales

                                                  ii.     Sale proceeds to Treasurer

d.     Card Trick (tear cards in half, sell for $20, draw one)

                                                iii.     When – Friday night?

                                                iv.     Acquire and cut cards

                                                  v.     Determine prize

                                                vi.     Sell cards

                                               vii.     Devise method of determining winner

                                             viii.     Sale proceeds go directly to Treasurer

e.      Other ideas?

2.     Determine personnel needs

a.      Auctioneer (should not be event MC)

b.     Spotters (to help spot bidders)

c.      Runners (to move auction items to and from auctioneer)

3.     Determine and publish schedule for all events and individual demo trees

4.     Keep records of all auction and raffle sales (work with Raffle database manager)

5.     Determine what goes into oral vs. silent auctions (work with Raffle Manager

6.     Establish procedure for auction management and payment (work with Raffle database manager, Treasurer)

a.      Auction tags and silent auction bid sheets





This position is responsible for the benefit drawing, cataloging donations, staging and managing raffles and sending tax receipts.  Separate from demo tree auction/raffle and auction of high value items.


Timing:  Provide donation request paragraph and raffle schedule for Brochure by April of year BEFORE convention, and send reminders a month before convention.  Prepare ticket tubs, forms and database several weeks before convention.


Preliminary budget: $150 – includes $100 in change for cash box.


1.     Verify State Raffle Regulations

2.     Determine schedule (work with Program & Brochure Chairs)

a.      How many raffles

b.     When

c.      Noon raffles should be short and sweet

3.     Provide information for inclusion brochure and on registration form.

4.     Send email reminder about raffle donations 2 weeks before event.

5.     Determine volunteer personnel needs (work with Volunteer Chair)

a.      Prepare tickets and tubs

b.     Set up at hotel

c.      Receipt and display of items (need extra help late Friday AM, early PM)

d.     Raffle itself

                                                    i.     Announcer (must be committed at least days in advance)

                                                  ii.     Ticket puller(s)

                                                iii.     Item Selection (combine to make it worth while and shorten time)

                                                iv.     8 - 12 or more runners (identify well before meal starts)

e.      Database

                                                    i.     Raffle item ID tags

                                                  ii.     Data entry

                                                iii.     Reports

                                                iv.     Thank you tax receipts

f.      Ticket Sales

                                                    i.     Be ready to sell early Friday.

                                                  ii.     Pre-tear tickets in $20 strips.

                                                iii.     Have at least 2 people at Raffle desk at all times.

                                                iv.     1-2 people roaming in banquet room between meal time and start of drawing.

                                                  v.      Provide tickets for sale at Registration desk.

6.     Determine table set up needs, plus 3 tables 3-4 chairs for sales area (work with Set Up Chair)

7.     Identify signs necessary

a.      Must be present to win?

b.     $1 tickets for regular raffle (6/$5?)

c.      $5 tickets for demo trees

d.     Identify time of raffle by table

8.     Arrange cash box with change

9.     Request donations from vendors (gift certificates?) (work with Marketplace Chair)

10.  Identify high value items for silent or oral auction BEFORE they go on raffle table

Policy question:  In 2007, people wanted to sort through donated magazines and purchase certain ones before raffle started.  Is this allowed?  Price should be set high.

11.  Prepare cans (wrap, labels on lids).  Used more than 115 cans in 2002

12.  Raffle runners sit at special table to be served first, so raffle can start quickly?





This position is responsible for obtaining goodie bags, getting them printed if necessary, soliciting sponsorships, finding donations for gifts, and stuffing with information from vendors.


Timing:  Begin planning a year before convention, collecting information and gifts.  Have bags purchased and printed at least 6 weeks prior to convention, and stuff a couple of weeks before.


Preliminary budget: $800 – In 2007 we spent $836, which was offset by sale of sponsorships of $715 and sale of extra bags at $60.  In 2012 cost was $251, no sponsorships.


1.     Recruit committee to help finding sponsors and donations

2.     Determine options for type of bag, where to order, price; present to AC

3.     Determine how many bags are needed – ordered 150 in 2007 (work with Registrar)

4.     Place order for bags upon authorization of CC

5.     Solicit sponsorships

a.      Vendors (work with Marketplace Chair)

b.     Local nurseries (work with Publicity Chair)

6.     Printing on bag?  Make sure it is permanently affixed (stamped, screened?)

a.      Convention logo?

b.     Sponsor ad(s)?

7.     Solicit items to go into bags

a.      coupon, ads/pamphlets from marketplace vendors

b.     coffee mug or water bottle with convention logo

c.      small bottle of water

d.     pen and small tablet/pad

e.      candy

f.      large garbage bag, rolled, with note “Please use this bag to protect your hotel room.  Place your trees and plants on the bag!”

g.     magazine

h.     small pot, brush, sample bag of soil,

i.       map of local area



8.     Fill bags, place in boxes to be delivered to Registrar before registration opens





This person is responsible for creating graphics to be used by various committee chairs in promoting the convention.


Timing:  Graphics will be needed for the website as soon as possible and for the brochure by April of the year BEFORE the convention.  Additional graphics will be needed for advertising and signs up to the date of the convention.


Preliminary budget: – should be no cost associated with this position.


1.     Design graphics suitable for convention theme (work with Programs and Pins Chairs)

2.     Contest?

    1. Establish rules
    2. Prize?
    3. Judging process

3.     Work with other chairs to make graphics available in necessary format

    1. Website
    2. Brochure
    3. Registration
    4. Publicity
    5. Signs
    6. Correspondence




This position is responsible for being visible and available at convention to answer questions and generally make attendees’ experience as positive as possible.  Generally positioned at Registration Desk.


Timing:  Be visible throughout convention, and available to Registration desk by sight or cell phone.


Preliminary budget:  Should be no expense associated with this issue.


1.     Recruit necessary volunteer assistance (work with Volunteer Chair)

2.     Be present near registration table, especially during initial registration process

3.     Be conspicuous during convention so people can see you

4.     Make sure your cell phone is charged, available and ON.

5.     Work with hotel staff to be sure you know where all necessary facilities are

a.      Rest rooms

b.     Hotel Safe

c.      Coffee shop

d.     Restaurant

e.      Parking


6.     Work with Tourist Bureau to know where nearby restaurants are

7.     Make sure BSOP membership information is available at registration table and in exhibit





This position is responsible for identifying and negotiating a venue for the convention that will provide sufficient space, adequate guest rooms and reasonably priced, good quality food.


Timing:  Begin researching facilities as soon as authorization is granted to host convention.  Many other parts of the convention depend on this issue, so work must be done as soon as possible.  A final contract must be signed in time for hotel registration information to be included in brochures – by April of year BEFORE convention.


Preliminary budget:  Should be no cost for this position


1.     Determine facility needs (work with CC, Advisory Committee and Program Chair)

2.     Determine what has priority in selection of venue

a.      Physical layout of rooms

b.     Cost

c.      Preferred date, alternate dates

3.     Make initial contact with hotels; preview, collect information for AC

4.     Once Advisory Committee determines best facility, begin negotiations

5.     Negotiations should address

a.      Guest room rate, room block being reserved, % needing guarantee

b.     Minimum food commitment required

c.      Rates of room tax, tax on services, gratuity, other charges

d.     Cancellation penalties

e.      Event rooms available

f.      Other concessions available

                                                    i.     Tables, chairs, waste baskets in workshop rooms

                                                  ii.     Easels for signs

                                                iii.     Parking

g.     General Liability insurance requirements naming hotel as additional insured. 

Note:  In 2012, original contract indicated limit of $1,000,000.  They tried to raise it to $2,000,000 a year before convention.

6.     Review contract (work with General Chair)

7.     Obtain schedule of events (work with Program Chair)

8.     Create schedule of equipment needs (tables, chairs, etc.) (work with event coordinators)

9.     Continue to act as liaison with hotel prior to event.




This position is responsible for organizing the vendor marketplace and solving vendor problems during convention.


Timing:  Begin soliciting vendors 2 years before convention.  Send invitations at least 18 months before convention, send confirmations a few weeks before convention, be generally available throughout convention.


Preliminary budget:  $50 for postage and supplies, to be covered by table rental income.  Income in 2012 was $2,751.  In 2007, $3,058.


1.     Determine marketplace hours (work with Program Chair, Publicity Chair, Advisory Committee)

2.     Determine table rental fee ($12.50 per foot in 2007 and 2012.  6’ table = $75.

Note:  In 2012 we had too few vendors for size of room, so offered an additional table at half price in the last month.

3.     Determine vendor registration package – meals only? Other events? (work with Registrar)

4.     Identify potential vendors

    1. Talk to past convention Marketplace Chairs
    2. Local businesses?
    3. Ask BSOP members
    4. Prior conventions – meet vendors and collect business cards
    5. Check internet

5.     Send letters inviting vendors to participate

6.     Notify selected vendors

    1. Vendor Agreement, get it signed (responsibility clause – see hotel contract)
    2. Confirm receipt of funds and agreement
    3. Location of hotel
    4. Set up and take down schedule
    5. Unloading facilities
    6. Parking options
    7. Table assignments (provide drawing)
    8. Waiver of liability
    9. Cut-off date

7.     Keep list of vendors signed up, fees paid, number of tables rented, number of tables still vacant

8.     Maintain contact with vendors between time of commitment and time of convention – problems?

9.     Request donations for raffle, gift certificates? (work with Raffle Chair)

10.  Provide opportunity to link to convention website (work with Website Chair)

11.  Provide opportunity to place material in Goodie Bags (work with Goodie Bag Chair)

12.  Design room layout (work with CC)

    1. Fire regulations?
    2. Adequate ingress/egress (doors 6’ wide? must be clear)
    3. Adequate “milling about” room (aisles 6’ wide? keep people moving)
    4. Adequate room behind tables (minimum 3’?
    5. Adequate electrical outlets (locations?)
    6. Determine needs for tables, chairs, garbage cans, water (work with CC)

13.  Estimate manpower needs (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

    1. Monitory area during operating hours?
    2. Unloading assistance during set-up?

14.  Work with hotel to make sure carts are available and hotel back aisles clear

15.  Work with vendors on special requests

16.  Verify that room is locked and unlocked on schedule (work with Security)

17.  Be available to work out problems during convention

18.  Make sure tables are set up properly before vendors begin to arrive

    1. Skirts?
    2. Covers? (cloth, plastic)

19.  Make sure room is reasonably clean after break down (work with Set Up Chair)

20.  Arrange signs pointing public to vendor area (work with Signs Chair)




This position is the “face” of the convention.  Will run all programs at meals, make necessary announcements.  This person should not be the auctioneer (needs to be approachable throughout evening).


Timing:  Minor planning before convention, attendance at all meals and events needing introductions as necessary during convention.


Preliminary budget:  Shouldn’t be any cost associated with this job.


1.     Create agendas for announcements at events

    1. Friday night
    2. Saturday lunch
    3. Saturday banquet

                                                iv.     Method to give away table center pieces

    1. Sunday brunch

2.     Short PNBCA business meeting needed?  When?

3.     Work with various committee chairs to see what announcements must be made.

4.     Introduce artists at demos?  (work with Programs Chair to have bios)

5.     Work with Volunteer Coordinator if help is needed.





This person is responsible for forming and leading a committee to obtain, store, repot and maintain top quality tree material for all convention events.


Timing:  Begin searching for material as soon as authorization is received to host convention – at least 3 years BEFORE convention.  Repotting and pruning as needed, transportation to hotel before convention.


Preliminary budget:  $10,000, based on 2007 cost of $9,573, 2012 was of $10,995 plus $3,551 maintenance costs. 


1.     Work up list of materials needed (work with Programs Chair)

2.     Work up list of vendors from which to acquire material

3.     Determine volunteer help needed (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

4.     Purchase appropriate tree materials upon approval of AC.

a.      If not in bonsai pot, needs 3 growing seasons

b.     If in final bonsai pot, 2 growing seasons are enough

5.     Purchase necessary soil, pots, wire, mesh, etc.

6.     Arrange storage of trees between purchase and convention, monitor their condition

7.     Arrange care of trees, including pruning, fertilizing, watering, pest and disease control, and repotting during holding period

8.     Arrange transportation of trees from storage to convention facility (work with Exhibit Chair, Workshop Coordinator)

a.      Truck rental (keep track of use for workshops, exhibit)

b.     Packing

c.      Work up schedule of transport


9.     Report financial commitments regularly to CC and Treasurer

10.  Report condition of materials regularly, advise CC of any problems right away.




This position will make a casual digital record of all convention activities, with some photos posted to website during convention.  (This person is not considered responsible for formal exhibit photographs)


Timing:  During convention.


Preliminary budget: – should be no cost associated with this, unless someone orders copies a CD with the photos.


1.     Develop a plan to cover all events

2.     Cover all activities (except individual trees in exhibit)

3.     Determine supplies needed

4.     Determine volunteer help needed (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

5.     Attempt to put photos on the website during convention

a.      Work out procedure for loading photos (work with Web Chair)

b.     Can person attending get access to print photo?




This position is responsible for design and ordering convention pins.


Timing:  Design should be determined prior to completion of the Brochure – by April the year BEFORE the convention.  Pins should be ordered and delivered at least two months prior to convention so they can be reordered if necessary.


Preliminary budget: $450 In 2007 cost was $423, in 2012 cost was $464.


2.     Research good place to order pins (price vs. quality)

Note:  In 2012 we used National Custom Insignia, Inc. 800-781-8806,

3.     Determine style (cloisonné, die struck, enamel, etc)

4.     Determine design

a.      Correspond to convention logo? (work with Graphics Chair)

b.     Contest? (judging, selection, prize)

Note: Contest winner in 2007 got free registration, cost to convention of about $145 for meals.  Advisory Committee selected pins design for 2012.

c.      Refine design to suit pin size and style

d.     Provide design for website and brochure (work with Graphics, Brochure Chairs)

5.     Place order no later than six months before convention

6.     Determine number of pins to order – in 2007 and 2012 we ordered 200 pins

7.     Deliver pins to Registrar at least one month before convention

8.     Prepare for sale of extras

a.      Sale Signs

b.     Establish price ($5 each?)

c.      Registration table? Marketplace? Raffle table?

9.     Sale of 2007, 2002, 1999 pins?







This critical position heads a committee that is responsible for creating and publishing an effective program and schedule for the convention.  This including determining the number, type and timing of demos, workshops, critiques and other events so they fit well together.


Timing:  Since most other aspects of the convention depend on the Schedule of Events, work must begin on this topic as soon as authorization is obtained for BSOP to host convention.  A preliminary schedule of events must be provided for the website ASAP and for the registration form and brochures by April of year BEFORE convention.  Subsequent updates and revisions must be kept at a minimum.


Preliminary budget: – should be no significant cost for this position


1.     Recruit 2-3 people to serve on committee (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

2.     Design program (work with Advisory Committee and Artist Selection Committee)

    1. Provide time and location on Friday for PNBCA Board Meeting
    2. Provide time and location on Sunday for Ag Inspection

3.     Provide preliminary schedule of events for hotel negotiation (work with Hotel Negotiator)

4.     Work out room assignments for various events (work with CC and Hotel Negotiator)

5.     Prepare finalized Schedule of Events for registration form and brochure.


Comments from Dennis Vojtilla, who did this job for 2012:


Big Questions:  Early discussion around questions such as “What will make this convention special / successful / effective?” will help to build consensus around the orientation of the convention.  If the answer is “Everyone having fun in a learning environment”, that will be a different convention from one whose goal is “Make as much money as we can to fund our club”.  Another discussion point is “How different does the convention need to be from the previous Portland convention, or other recent PNBCA conventions?”  A convention that uses the same headliners as a recent convention may not draw as many attendees (unless the headliners were really good).  If the previous convention was successful, keeping the same program format is reasonable. A “theme” to the convention doesn’t usually have much effect on the arrangement and scheduling of the program.  The most important questions for the program and scheduling are:  How many headliners, and will they be demonstrating simultaneously or sequentially?  More about this in the “Tradeoffs” section below.

Convention Objectives:  Most conventions have similar objectives:  have fun; make the home club some money; teach/entertain through demos, workshops, critiques and the exhibition; provide access to quality trees and instructors through workshops; provide access to trees and supplies through a vendor area; and provide opportunities for social interaction.   Usually, the convention will have an additional goal to influence the future – trying to attract those newer to bonsai, or those who have never or seldom attended a convention. 

Constraints:  The program committee doesn’t worry too much about the budget directly (since most program elements are priced to pay for themselves), but must recognize that pricing is a concern that can affect the number/stature of artists desired.  The largest constraint is that the convention must make its room night quota and food/drink hotel budget.  [FYI … the hotel “gives” the convention the use of its meeting space in exchange for the commitment to fill X room nights and spend $Y on food/beverages during the convention events.]  How does this affect the program?  People attend conventions for a variety of reasons.  Those who come for social reasons will come anyway.  The decision to attend for others is often based on the quality of workshops and the reputation of the headliners/instructors, and how much everything costs. 

Nudges.  There are also some practical scheduling considerations that help the convention achieve its commitments:  The main dinner event is the last night of the convention and it runs long (in part) to help encourage attendees to stay Saturday night.  A dynamic event needs to occur on Sunday morning to also encourage attendees to stay Saturday night.  An onstage critique of selected exhibit trees (in 2012 we called it Visions of Excellence – for trees that were examples of excellence or trees that that with a few changes might be examples of excellence) proved to have a large attendance on Sunday morning. A Friday morning demo or workshop by the main headliner(s) may encourage attendees to arrive early.  A Friday morning PNBCA Board Meeting will encourage Board members to arrive Thursday night; a Friday lunch board meeting will remove some deep pockets from the raffle/auction.  Auctions are probably best to schedule for the evening meals.  A convention makes much of its money on the benefit drawings and auctions.  The more of these, the more money the convention makes – but the more expensive it is for attendees to pay for these meals. 

Schedule Blocks.  Think of the schedule as being composed of five main 4-hour blocks: Friday morning (8:00-12:00) and afternoon (1:00-5:00), Saturday morning and afternoon, and Sunday morning.  Workshops usually occur Friday, or Friday and Saturday.  Demos can be Saturday, or Friday and Saturday.  By Sunday morning, attendees are often packed, so there are fewer hands-on events and raffle prizes are often smaller.  Most events will fit within a four-hour block.  An all-day workshop or demo might take up two blocks (but that makes the event pricier).  Mini-demos or mini-workshops can take half a block, and can be stacked.  Remember that the event usually should not fill the full 4 hours.  There is transition time needed for setup and cleanup, and for last minute questions and guidance.  A demo room that will be used for a lunch needs time to be “turned” and tidied for the meal.  Also, if all the time is scheduled, no one will be visiting the Exhibition or Marketplace.  For that reason it may be useful to extend the times of the Marketplace and Exhibit by half an hour to provide some Marketplace only time (e.g. before workshops start), and to provide some extra critique time.

Tradeoffs.  Every convention faces a similar set of tradeoffs.  The choices made give the convention its particular flavor.  There are no right answers – these are the tradeoffs that must be addressed:

a.      Big names (and big budget) vs. small names.  Big names can be a significant attraction (if people have actually heard of the big names), but big names cost more.  Will the big names attract enough additional attendees to offset the higher cost?

b.     One main headliner (and several lesser ones) vs. several co-equals. 

c.      Less free time (and longer demonstrations and workshops) vs. more free time (and shorter demonstrations and workshops).  Workshop participants generally love more attention from the workshop leader and more time to complete their trees.  Vendors like more time for attendee shopping.  It’s the difference between demos/workshops of three hours vs. three and a half hours.

d.     Small workshops (and higher prices) or larger workshops (with lower prices but less attention by the workshop leader).  High-quality assistants can often help bridge the gap and prepare participants for the next step, or clarify comments made by the instructor.  This doesn’t really affect the schedule, unless it requires extra demo rooms.

e.      Separate workshop days and demo days (i.e., feature the demonstrations) or combo days (demo and workshops run concurrently).  If combo days, and a lot of workshops competing for attendance, the main demonstrations may be sparsely attended.  This was true in 2012.  Combo days have the advantage of requiring fewer workshop rooms, since the workshops may be spread across two days.

f.      Overlapping events or sequential events.  Overlapping demos (a variation of simultaneous demos) have the advantage that there is less time when nothing but wiring happens.  In sequential events, the demonstrator needs to be able to wire and talk at the same time (which is a skill that not all have), or be able to field questions at the same time the wiring occurs.  Overlapping/simultaneous demos cost more, since the second demonstrator could be earning money for the convention by leading a workshop, critique, or some other activity.

g.     More raffles and auctions (and, therefore, meals included in the base package) vs. lower base price.

h.     Public areas (e.g., Exhibit and Marketplace) open or closed during meals.  Many vendors like to be present for meals and raffles/auctions.  Others like the opportunity to sell as much as possible.  The public would like to see the Exhibit and Marketplace open during lunch.

i.       The more events that occur simultaneously, the more volunteers will be needed to support them.

Schedule Events.  So, what does a schedule need to be concerned with?  Nearly everything that has a start and stop time, or that requires space.  These are the main events:

a.      Headliner demonstrations (probably just a single large room)

b.     Workshops (usually 3-4 simultaneous if combo days; 5-7, if separate workshop day)

c.      Critiques (usually 3-4; not simultaneous)

d.     Meals (location and timing)

e.      Exhibition (time open; time closed for critiques and judging)

f.      Marketplace (open and close times)

g.     Registration (time; usually at entrance to Convention area)

h.     Benefit Drawing and Ticket Sales (convenient to have this next to and open to the Meals room to give greater visibility prior to meals)

i.       PNBCA Board Meeting (time and location, preferably early Friday)

j.       Agricultural Inspection (time and location,  preferably Sunday morning)

Extra Events.  These are some other events, which might be included, depending upon Steering Committee preferences:

a.      Mini-workshops and/or kids workshops (1-2 workshop rooms)

b.     Round-robin workshops (need a large room with 1-2 tables for each demo)

c.      Suiseki display

d.     Thursday evening pre-convention event? 

e.      Tree Advice

f.      Packaging and Shipping (time and location, preferably, Sunday morning)

Deliverables.  What exactly needs to be done?  The deliverables are these:

a.      Create the program (work with Advisory Committee and Artist Selection Committee).  This spells out the headliners, and answers some of the tradeoff questions explicitly.

b.     Prepare the preliminary program and schedule.  This is a working document to capture the effect of decisions made.  It’s designed to capture the number of rooms needed to handle the events.  It can also be used to help with hotel negotiation.  It should be visual (we used a color-coded spreadsheet) to highlight what is occurring at the same time.

c.      Do a virtual walk-thru (preferably at the convention site) to make sure that the transitions and flow of people work and that all activities have a time and place. (include other committee chairs)

d.     Set room assignments for various events (work with CC and Hotel Negotiator).  This is a near-final schedule.  On the visual layout, this shows a column for each simultaneously occurring event – e.g., if four workshops occur at the same time, they show in four separate columns.

e.      Arrange for creation and ongoing update of Schedule of Events:

                                                    i.     For brochure

                                                  ii.     For website

                                                iii.     Pocket schedule for registration packet

                                                iv.     Bulletin Board or similar hotel information displays



Note:  In 2012, late in the process we added suiseki lectures and workshops.  We did not receive more than two or three registrations and had to cancel. These same events were successful at the 2013 convention in Spokane. Lesson learned was that late changes to the schedule are not effective; changes need to be made before the program is announced – one year prior to the convention.  This may be less of an issue now that there are not annual conventions (where a lot of registrations would occur), but new events added after the convention program is announced will be harder to fill.





This person leads a committee responsible for advertising the convention through local and international media, as well as assisting distribution of registration information to other bonsai clubs.


Timing:  Contact bonsai magazines about two years prior to convention so advertising can begin immediately after previous year’s convention.  Local advertising should be submitted in time to be in print or on the air the month before the convention.


Preliminary budget: $50 Based on $30 for 2007, $56 for 2012


1.     Recruit committee members (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

2.     Contact Visitors Bureau for current lists of media contacts and other help

3.     Hotel may be able to provide some help, too

4.     18 months before convention:

a.      Work with Web Manager to get information on website

b.     Create information to send to PNBCA member clubs

                                                    i.     Work with Web Manager to create DVD and/or

                                                  ii.     Work with Brochure Chair to create brochure

c.      Arrange notice in bonsai magazines (3-4 months prior to publication)

                                                    i.     Articles about feature artists (work with Brochure Chair for bios)

                                                  ii.     Various Calendars of Events

5.     Be ready with presentation at PNBCA prior year’s convention

a.      Take example trees?

b.     Find someone to make presentation at Saturday banquet

c.      Present brochure and registration form

6.     Immediately after prior year’s convention (one year before convention) provide info to regional bonsai clubs

a.      Send DVD or pamphlet with registration material to PNBCA club reps

b.     Follow up in a few weeks to make sure the club reps actually get registration information delivered to their club members

c.      Get list of last convention attendees and send personal invitations (email)

d.     Send regular email updates to last convention attendees

e.      Visit nearby clubs and hype convention

f.      Send info to California clubs

g.     Send info to non-PNBCA clubs

7.     Make sure to have information at BSOP spring show at Japanese Garden, usually in May

8.     Three months prior to convention, create press release and provide to local media

a.      TV

b.     Radio

c.      Newspapers (try to get Event of the Week for HG Northwest)

9.     Send notice to local public gardens (Japanese, Chinese, others), Portland Art Museum, Portland Garden Club, Japanese Immersion School (?)

10.  Two months prior to convention, arrange posters for local nurseries (including Vancouver, Garland)

a.      Arrange for poster to be created and printed

b.     Organize delivery to local nurseries by July 1st.

c.      Email poster to BSOP membership to be spread throughout city






This critical position is responsible for creating registration forms and accepting payments, maintaining all records for attendance, meals selections and event participation, and providing registration counts to other chairs.


Timing:  Database or record system must be designed and ready to accept registrations at the prior year’s convention.  Intense work the month prior to and during convention, and monitor up to 90 days after convention.


Preliminary budget: $800 – Based on 2007 expenditure of $794 (2012 expenses were donated)


1.     Prepare database to track registrations and workshop status, provide to CC, Workshop Chair. 

Note:  In 2012, Margie used Excel instead of Access.  She said it made it difficult to react quickly to changes and requests for information.

2.     Several months before prior year’s convention, begin design of registration form (work with CC, Programs, Publicity and Brochure Chairs)

a.      Must be ready to go in time for insertion into brochure for distribution at prior year’s convention.

b.     Include workshop waivers on registration form (waiver for artist photos?)

c.      Include requests for raffle donations with registration form

d.     Include line for dietary restrictions

e.      Online registration?  (work with Website Chair)

Note:  In 2012, website was not ready when registration opened.  Margie reported several people ask for online registration before it was available.

3.     Several months before convention, send out reminder notices of approaching early registration cut-off date

4.     Assist in sending information to PNBCA member clubs and sending updates to registered persons. (work with CC, Publicity Chair) Work with PNBCA Rep to get current contact info.

5.     Establish procedure for receipt of registrations

a.      Procedure for deposit of checks (work with Treasurer)

Note:  If Registrar makes deposits, must provide Treasurer with income source details (segregate registration fee, workshop fee, etc.)

b.     Acknowledge all new registrations promptly, either by mail or electronically.

c.      Prepare for numerous changes in registrations!  Keep paper trail of all registration changes.

6.     Track oversold workshops, maintain waiting lists, arrange draw if necessary.  Send refunds after draw via check or credit card as appropriate.

7.     Report registration and workshop status to CC at regular intervals

8.     Keep track of all correspondence with registrants attached to registration form.

9.     Notify other chairs of special registrant needs, such as food or mobility restrictions.  Special meal tickets for registrants with allergies.

10.  Assemble registration packets to hand out at convention

a.      Name badge

b.     Confirmation of registration

c.      Tickets for meals and events

d.     Pin

e.      Last minute notices

f.      Pocket schedule

g.     Refund checks or notice of additional amount due

h.     Code of conduct

i.       Parking options – send information on parking with registration packet, along with location of registration desk.

j.       Canada export procedures and schedule

k.     Raffle tickets for early registration, if appropriate

11.  During Convention

a.      Set up registration table Thursday afternoon before convention.

                                                 i.        Computer (verify WIFI connection in advance)

                                               ii.        Printer (should be a fast one)

                                             iii.        Calculator

                                              iv.        Cash box with change (work with Treasurer) (See 12C below)

                                                v.        Scissors, paper, card stock for name tags, tape, staples, Sharpie, etc, etc.

b.     Arrange sign showing hours registration desk will be open (all day every day, including meals)

c.      Open registration desk for a couple hours Thursday evening (to ease pressure Friday AM)

d.     Design schedule to have at least 2 people at registration desk at all times, Registrar and Cashier. Will need extra help Friday AM (work with Volunteer Chair) 

                                                    i.     Registrar will be handling database issues, walk-in registrations, updating lists, printing forms, ID tags, etc.

                                                  ii.     Cashier should be able to handle money or credit cards for workshop adds, exhibit admission (if necessary), pin sales, T-shirts (if appropriate), etc.

                                                iii.     Funds from all sales should be tracked separately by sale type.

e.      Display trees for under-sold workshops

f.      Maintain list of chair cell phones

g.     Keep track of spare key for storage room

h.     Provide room on table to advertise next year’s convention

i.       Set up Lost & Found box

j.       Provide information on area such as location of ATMs, parking, coffee shops, side trips, tourist information. (work with Host/Hostess)

12.  Print various reports

a.      Master list of registrants showing contact info, what they’re registered for

b.     Last minute lists of people registered for individual workshops, critiques, special events for monitoring event attendance (work with Workshop and Critiques Chair)

c.      Lists of numbers registered for meals (work with Food/Beverage Chair).

d.     Keep track of special diet requirements (special ticket); introduce registrant to Food/Beverage chair or hotel liason to assure requirements are met.

13.  Provide final reports to CC for permanent records, including number of registrants, contact information (for next year) who took what workshop, etc.

14.  Shred all financial information (VISA numbers) within 90 days.




This position plans and organizes the Saturday banquet.


Timing:  Initial planning a few months before convention, intense activity during set up and during event.


Preliminary budget: – should be no cost associated with planning this event.


1.     Determine who needs to speak (work with all chairs to see who needs to make announcements)

    1. Welcome by CC
    2. Welcome by BSOP President
    3. Welcome of PNBCA officers
    4. Thank you to convention workers
    5. Thank you to hotel staff
    6. Announcements
    7. Raffle(help Raffle Chair organize runners)

2.     Create agenda (work with CC and Master of Ceremonies)

3.     Make sure AV system is operating correctly in advance (work with AV Chair)

4.     Make sure all BSOP members who have worked are recognized and thanked

    1. Individually?
    2. By committee?
    3. As a group?





This position heads a committee that is responsible for providing security for convention assets by ensuring there is continuing timely lock up of workshop, storage and other rooms containing assets upon completion of events, and making sure the rooms are unlocked when necessary for the next event.  Also provide security for workshops and other convention events.


Timing:  Must be available from Thursday AM until end of convention Sunday afternoon.


Preliminary budget: Should be no cost associated with this position, unless security clothing or designations are needed.


1.     There should be a visible presence of security personnel throughout the convention, especially at each and every workshop and major event which requires controlled entry. 

2.     Security must provide control of storage locations which contain convention assets during entire convention.

3.     Determine which areas and events require security and how much security is needed.

a.      Exhibit

b.     Marketplace

c.      Storage

d.     Registration

e.      Raffle location and items

4.     Develop schedule for security personnel (work with various chairs)

a.      Make sure workshop rooms are open and manned both prior to and after events

b.     Make sure workshop rooms are locked as soon as everyone leaves

c.      Make sure storage rooms are unlocked and locked as required

5.     Recruit necessary assistance (work with Volunteer Chair)

6.     Arrange identification for security personnel

7.     Arrange communication device

8.     Ensure all staff have list of cell phone numbers for convention chairs and hotel emergency staff

9.     Arrange extra keys to storage room, pass out and collect at end of event for return to hotel.

a.      Security Chair

b.     Set-up/Take-down Chair

c.      Workshop Chair

d.     Convention Chair

e.      Registrar




This position is responsible for creating all signs needed for the convention that cannot be printed on a standard printer.  This includes working with the hotel for appropriate electronic signs for each room.


Timing:  Begin working with committee chairs several months before convention.


Preliminary budget: $250, based on $250 spent in 2012.


1.     Couple of months before convention contact committee chairs to determine their sign needs.

a.      Registration

b.     Raffle, Auctions

c.      Workshops

d.     Work Lab/Coffee Shop

e.      Exhibit (admission? Sign for ballots?)

f.      Marketplace

2.     Week before convention, follow up with committee chairs for last minute changes.

3.     Sign on sidewalk advertising exhibit to park (Had 2 in 2012, one in front of hotel and one in park that required special permission from park event)

4.     Get or make actual signs (2012 used Studio Sign Company)

5.     Provide hotel with list of information for electronic signs at doors (work with Graphics Chair)

6.     Set up signs in proper location (arrange for easels, should be available at hotel)

7.     Badges for Committee Chairs and Volunteers, Docents?


Example 2012 signs below:


Example Signage for 2012

 Download PDF




This position is responsible for researching possible events outside of the convention that may be of interest to spouses and guests of convention attendees.


Timing:  Present possibilities to Advisory Committee well before brochure is printed – by April of year BEFORE convention.  Participate in actual tour during convention.


Preliminary budget: Should be no cost associated with planning these events.  Registration fees should cover any cost of actual events.


1.     Locate interesting field trips

a.      Tours to local public gardens

b.     Art museum

c.      Others?

2.     Present to Advisory Committee for review and selection

3.     Arrange approved tour, meals and transportation

4.     Determine event timing (work with Program/Schedule Chair)

a.      Tours for spouses/partners during convention

b.     Tours available before and after convention

5.     Provide information for website, registration form and brochure.

6.     Visitor’s Bureaus (Vancouver and Portland) good sources

7.     Get information on tour and available field trips into Goodie Bags

8.     Arrange to have tickets printed (work with Registrar)

9.     Manage actual tour

a.      Attend yourself or find someone to go along as tour guide

b.     Take tickets, answer questions, etc.

c.      Meal?






This position creates centerpieces for tables on meal tables.


Timing:  Must be ready to set up hour prior to meals at convention.


Preliminary budget: $400  Based on 2007 cost of $385.  2012 cost $50 for pots, plants were donated.


1.     Determine decorations needed (work with Program Chair and Registrar)

a.      Which events

                                                    i.     Friday Night

                                                  ii.     Saturday Lunch

                                                iii.     Saturday Banquet

                                                iv.     Sunday Brunch

b.     How many tables for each (work with Registrar)

c.      Keep low enough so people can see other side of table

2.     Try to work within theme (work with Programs Chair)

3.     Determine what assistance will be needed and when for creation of centerpieces AND set up (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

4.     Determine of give out centerpieces at end of evening (work with Master of Ceremonies)





This person is responsible for keeping track of convention income and expenses.


Timing:  Starts as soon as PNBCA authorizes convention, 2-3 years prior to event. Intense during convention for taking last minute income and paying artists, as well as for a couple of months after convention while final bills are paid and books are closed.


Preliminary budget: $1,800 for basic supplies, bank fees and loan interest; In 2012 we spent about $1,500 for VISA fees, $80 for bank charges, $165 for start-up loan interest.


1.     Establish non-profit checking account in name of convention

2.     If using Quick Books, order QB compatible checks and deposit slips.

3.     Obtain start-up loans

a.       From BSOP

b.     From PNBCA?

c.      Get notes signed by BSOP President and keep track of interest due.

4.     Set up Square account for receipt of registration funds.

5.     Set up preliminary budget and track progress (work with CC)

6.     Report status of finances on regular basis – receipts, expenditures, comparison to budget.  P&L detail (and P&L by Class if used)

7.     Set up registration policy (work with Registrar and CC)

a.      Time payments accepted?

b.     Refunds?

c.      Who makes deposits

Note:  If Registrar makes deposits, must provide Treasurer with breakdown of incomes (registration, workshops, apparel, etc.).

8.     Track monies received and paid (work with Registrar and Materials Chair, others as needed)

9.     Set up system for tracking monies received at convention

10.  Be available at Registration table during check in periods

11.  Periodically collect monies during convention (Envelopes? Double counting?)

a.      Exhibit

b.     Raffle

c.      Registration

d.     Pin Sales

e.      Tee-shirt sales?

f.      Auctions

12.  Make certain cash boxes with change are available whre needed (registration, exhibit, raffle sales)

13.  90 days before convention, verify General Liability insurance covering the event of not less than hotel requirement and provide hotel with certificate naming hotel as additional insured (see hotel contract). 

Note:  In 2012, original contract indicated limit of $1,000,000.  They tried to raise it to $2,000,000 a year before convention.

14.  Repay start-up loans with interest within 60 days of convention.

15.  If PNBCA or other company has committed to a grant, follow up to make sure it is received.

16.  Pay artists at close of convention – check, cash or wire?

17.  After convention, close books and prepare final reports to CC and co-host organization.

18.  Report income and expenditures separately, but with net so we can tell bottom line for each item.


Comments from 2012 Treasurer, Robert Wofford:

If using QuickBooks suggest setting up classes to be able to do a bottom line number for specific divisions needed to determine net of each.

There are many moving parts to being able to track all the variables. In 2012 the registrar used a spreadsheet that tracked where the monies were coming in from like clothing, workshops, full reg, part reg. It can become very hard to keep track with changes that happen when someone drops something or adds something and it has already been booked to a class. The monies going in need to accounted across many different ways classes. 2012 for all registrations we booked all deposits as one income item for them and then made journal entry adjustments to get the info to the proper classes to see financially how each class did.

I would suggest using Square register which would allow for treasurer and registrar to always be working in and on the same reports system. It reduces questions like did I get this already and should reduce the detail needing to be manually tracked like date of transaction etc.. Setup items that will be income and then you should only need to adjust any subtractions or adjustments. You can run cash, check, or credit through square and create receipts for everything going to the bank with details then book the receipts.




This position is the most critical of the convention, because without coordination of volunteers, there could be no convention.  Responsible for providing the opportunity for BSOP members to participate, and helping committee chairs find the assistance they need.


Timing:  Collection of volunteer names begins as soon as the club votes to host a convention. Can get intense the month before the convention.


Preliminary budget:  Should be no cost associated with this position.


1.     Solicit volunteers from BSOP membership

a.      Email notices

b.     Newsletter notices

c.      Sign up sheets passed at meetings

2.     Work with all committee chairs to determine manpower needs

3.     Help fill planning committees

4.     Create schedule for short-term volunteers during convention

a.      Tree sitters for exhibit

b.     Exhibit ticket takers

c.      Door monitors for events

d.     Raffle ticket sales

e.      Others as needed

5.     Arrange for volunteer badges

6.     Notify volunteers of

a.      Convention attendance policies

b.     Parking facilities

7.     Week or two before convention, remind volunteers of their shifts

8.     Keep record of who is doing what - provide schedule to CC; master list should be kept at Registrar desk, lists to various committee chairs

9.     Monitor participation and fill no-shows




This position designs and produces an internet website, with appropriate links to other as deemed necessary and appropriate.


Timing:  This work should be accomplished as soon as information is available, 2 to 3 years before convention.  Maintain site with updates until convention, then close site after convention.


Preliminary budget:  $500 based $477 spent in 2012.


1.     Design functional web presence using convention theme (work with Programs, Publicity, Pins, Brochure and Graphics Chairs for continuity)

2.     Preparefor on-line registration, must be ready to accept registrations year before convention. (work with Registrar)

3.     Link to BSOP, PNBCA, GSBF, PNBCA member clubs, vendors, others?

4.     Help design information to send to clubs with convention info and registration info (work with Publicity, Registrar and Brochure Chairs)

5.     Set up photo gallery for downloading photos during convention.  Available to registrants?




This position manages the work lab/coffee bar to provide a place for anyone to bring a tree to work on. 

Note:  This was originally designed to be a place where people can come to finish working on their workshop trees or start working on new tree purchased from marketplace.  In 2007, we had Masa Furukawa in residence to help people with questions.  In 2012 it was primarily a place where people went to sit, visit, have a cup of coffee. Didn’t get much use, although Paula gave massages. In 2007 we did not monitor coffee usage and it got very expensive.  In 2012 we only had coffee two or three times a day.


Timing:  Need to plan and organize several months in advance of convention and monitor closely during convention.


Preliminary budget:  $1,000 based on estimated cost of coffee at $42 per gallon, about 10 gallons a day. Actual cost was not isolated from hotel cost.


1.     Known as “All Hours Workshop” in 2007

2.     Determine hours it will be open

3.     Promote in brochure, website from the start

4.     Design schedule for staffing (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

5.     Arrange for signs announcing hours (work with Sign Chair)

6.     Monitor coffee, tee, water bar (limit coffee expense, order only at specific intervals)

7.     Announce and explain workroom availability Friday night, Saturday noon.

a.      Tables available to work on any tree

b.     Come in if you don’t finish your workshop tree

c.      Come in if you purchase a tree at the vendor area

d.     Artist will be on hand to answer questions??

8.     Determine layout of tables, chairs, garbage can, coffee/water bar (work with Set Up Chair)





This position heads a committee that schedules, organizes, manages and supervise the workshops.  An important part of this job is monitoring the number of registrations before the convention and dealing with draw if determined necessary.  This job is critical, as good organization of the workshops can make or break a convention.  Work closely with the Workshop Set-up/Take Down Chair.


Timing:  Establish basic schedule before brochure is printed – at least by April year BEFORE convention; keep track of workshop registrations over the year prior to the convention; perform draw for oversubscribed workshops if necessary several months before convention; intense responsibility during convention events.


Preliminary budget:  All costs to be covered by event registration fees


1.     Review Schedule of Events and determine needed workshop materials, times and locations (work with Program Chair)

2.     Monitor registrations to know status of workshops (work with Registrar)

3.     Post sold out workshops on website (work with Web Chair)

4.     Determine procedure for over-subscribed workshops, perform draw if determined necessary.

a.      Some slots reserved for registrations at prior convention?

b.     Reserve slots for Portland members before sell-out?  Limited time period

c.      All draw?

5.     Provide diagram of room layouts for hotel set up (work with Set-up Chair)

6.     Determine volunteer help needed (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

7.     Makes sure supplies needed by artist are available before event starts

a.      Tools, wire

b.     Turntable, riser box

c.      Wedges, brushes (large, small)

d.     Raffia

e.      Spray bottles with water

f.      Towels

g.     Drinking water

h.     Any need for AV services (work with AV Chair)

8.     Organize door monitors

a.      Verify attendance using list from registrar (work with Registrar)

b.     Keep “silent observers” silent so paid registrants get full value (work with Security)

9.     Organize workshop assistants (work with Volunteer Coordinator)

a.       Help registrants with their trees upon instructions of artists

b.     Provide assistants with written instructions several days before convention starts

c.      Make sure waivers have been signed for all participants (on registration form?)

10.  Devise method of tree assignment

a.      By date of registration?

b.     By draw?

11.  Verify that all materials have arrived safely and are in the storage room (work with Materials and Workshop Set-up/Take Down Chairs)

12.  Verify that all materials get from storage to appropriate work room (work with Workshop Set-up/Take Down Chair)

13.  Make sure materials are watered as necessary during storage at hotel

14.  Establish policy for sale or auction of excess trees (work with Fund Raiser Chair)




This position is essentially a sub-committee working closely with the Workshop Coordinator.  The committee is responsible for making sure each room has the appropriate number of tables and chairs, and that workshop and demo materials are transferred from storage to event room in a timely manner.


Timing:  Must be available from the start of set up Thursday AM until convention is finished Sunday afternoon.


Preliminary budget:  Should be no cost associated with this position


1.     Determine volunteer manpower needs (work with Volunteer Chair)

2.     Review set up needs for each room (work with various chairs)

a.      Room layout

b.     Tables with or without skirts

c.      Table covers (plastic?)

d.     Chairs for participants

e.      Chairs for observers

f.      Waste baskets or garbage cans

g.     Easel, white boards or pads, pens and eraser (white boards are in BSOP storage)

h.     Other

3.     Make a plan for each event and overall schedule (copy to CC and appropriate chairs)

4.     Prior to convention, work with hotel to see it is all included in hotel instructions (work with Hotel Negotiation Chair)

5.     During convention, with hotel people to see it all gets provided in timely manner

6.     At start of convention, get trees into storage(work with Materials Chair)

7.     During convention, get trees from storage into appropriate rooms (work with Workshops and Demo Chairs)

8.     After each workshop, get excess trees from finished workshop to raffle/auction areas for disposal according to policy set by Workshop Coordinator (work with Fund Raiser Chair)