What’s Trending in Government Events?

1ID-100190506In a recent post, we aimed to break down some of the buzz around big data and take a look at what it really means for government entities. In digging around to find how many events were discussing the topic, we decided to look at what other topics seemed to be trending on GovEvents.com.

From an agency/department perspective, Defense has the largest number of events dedicated to it. While there is a lot of talk in the media about the Defense industry cutting back on meeting and training spending, that sector still accounts for the largest percentage of events listed on our site. These events run the gamut from technology, to personnel and training topics, to specific tactical discussions. From these numbers we can conclude that the Defense community still wants and needs training. Combine that need with the reality of tight budgets (in terms of time and money) and it is important to make events geared toward the Defense audience unique in content as well as accessible (online and in-person options) to stand out in a crowded field.

Digging down into specific technologies security and cybersecurity come out on top with the most upcoming events. Again, not a huge surprise given the amount of media attention given to security breeches. The training around cybersecurity is especially critical given the reported shortfall in qualified professionals in this area. Those planning cyber events should keep in mind that attendees may be more than cyber professionals. They may be IT generalists that are tasked with cyber work, for lack of anyone else to do it, and are looking to quickly get up to speed on trends, tactics, and technologies. The audience may also include attendees with little to no security experience looking to break into the seemingly lucrative field. Content, programming, and activities should assume that all three types of attendees will be present. Events could also be tailored to meet the needs of just one of these audiences.

While not earth shattering, this data does give us insight into the real demand for buzzed about topics. It shows that the demand is in fact where we expect it to be (security) and that the market for events in the Defense community is still high. If you are looking to organize an event, think about how to combine some of these high demand topics with ones that are not currently saturating the market.  Perhaps a discussion about softer topics like management aimed at the Defense audience. Or a security event that looks at training staff to meet the new cyber risks. Being able to tie your message or product to a trend but with a different twist will make you stand out in the crowded and competitive battle for people’s time and attention.

What topical trends are you seeing in the market? Let us know in the comments!

 

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

Navy Turns to Strategic Sourcing to Cut Conference Spending

From time to time GovEvents will come across information we feel our members and audience would benefit from. Here’s something we wanted to share:

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The Office of Management and Budget has a long list of governmentwide priorities — among them are more federal spending with small businesses, more use of strategic sourcing in the procurement process and less spending on government conferences.

With regard to those three priorities, the Department of the Navy thinks its brand new contract vehicle for conference planning services is a trifecta.

The Navy made blanket purchase agreement awards to 17 firms — all of them small businesses — on May 31 in an attempt to take a strategic sourcing approach to the way the Navy and Marine Corps plan and pay for their conferences.

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“Weather” to Cancel or Not

1wWith the gorgeous weather the east coast has been enjoying this summer, it’s hard to think about inclement weather beyond a sharknado. But if extended forecasts (predictions) are right, much of the country is in for a cold and snowy winter. With event planners working on winter events now, we thought we’d pass along some helpful tips and resources for making weather contingency plans.

  • Insurance – many insurance providers offer a policy for inclement weather. If you are planning an event in an area that may be impacted by weather at the time of your event, looking into such a policy may be a solid investment. Premium costs for a one-day event can be as low as $100-200.
  • Contracts – take a close look at the cancellation/reschedule clauses with all vendors. If any of them don’t feel right, work to negotiate them or chose another vendor.
  • Travel – encourage speakers (especially those coming from snowy climates) to think about booking their travel a day before their presentation. This will give them a chance to work around cancelled flights or bad weather. In your attendee guidance you may also want to encourage people to think about “padding” their travel time to your event.
  • Plan – work with all key event stakeholders (planners, sponsors, venue) to determine a go/no go strategy. Set some parameters early (forecast for 12 or more inches of snow means cancel, 80% or higher chance of rain means move events indoors) so when the time comes you already have a decision made and you’re not battling with the emotions of being in the moment. Develop a number of contingency plans – cutting the event short by one day, moving to a different day, etc….
  • Attendee Communication – set plans and expectations early with attendees as to how you will communicate any changes. Social media updates, emails, notice on event website? Decide on your method(s) and make that clear when attendees register.
  • Rescheduling vs. Canceling – Determine if rescheduling is possible and work out some alternate dates with your venue. If attendees have purchased tickets and/or vendors have paid for booth space refunds will need to be given in the event of a cancellation or perhaps even with a reschedule, depending on timing. Make sure you have the mechanisms in place to do this easily.

What are your tips for weather contingency planning? What’s worked in the past, where have you made mistakes? Let us know in the comments.

 

Image: woodtv.com 

Make Your Case – 5 Reasons to Implement a Virtual Conference

1 logo_GMGVBy Lance A. Simon, CGMP, CVEP

So — you want to implement your first virtual conference! Any good conference starts with a good proposal. Let’s take a closer look at the key elements that can help sell your virtual conference project. Think it’s just about cost savings? Think again. Here are 5 top benefits you want to highlight.

1) Implement significant cost savings.

A virtual conference eliminates many physical conference costs – travel (of course!) but also conference rooms, advanced materials, on-site support, meeting materials & printing costs, and on-site A/V services. I recently worked with a CDC meeting planner to compare the costs of a basic 3-day physical conference with a comparable virtual conference. We compared 2 sizes – 350 and 1,000 attendees. Costs excepting travel were approximately the same for a 350 person meeting. But the virtual conference scales up with much less cost per incremental attendee –virtual conference costs were 20% lower than a physical meeting, or a whopping 75% lower if travel is included!

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5 Dos and Don’ts of Priority or Outcome-based Budgeting

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by Kara Batt, Strategic Communications Manager, Neubrain

Performance-based budgeting or budgeting for outcomes (BFO) has taken center stage and not in the best light. Earlier this summer, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) introduced the world to BFO — the idea of linking spending to performance — and showed how unrealistic goals, inadequately managed performance measurement systems and improperly used, inaccurate data can have unforeseen, irreparable consequences.

What the public didn’t see, however, is how a properly run budgeting for outcomes system, such as the award winning one currently running in Park City, Utah, can greatly improve how an organization’s budget is prepared, managed and executed, saving time, money and increasing overall efficiency.

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