Why we charge for paying for conference and dinner by cheque
By Joan Jella Garrity - EM Regional Conference Chair 2012
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats
Executive accepted a report from me on pricing for conference. We are encouraging payment via the website, having made it easy to book for all of your requirements, and you get an instant receipt (and if you have booked a car parking ticket that will be emailed back to you). We also get an instant balance sheet as we of course have to keep an eye on costs (the budget for providing two conferences and an AGM is limited).
The choice of using Eventbrite/Paypal was researched extensively and is secure. This method also makes administration an easier job. We can print out labels/badges for everyone who has registered and if you are a voting representative. We can tell in an instant just what has been booked, and by who, and at the end of the day produce a professional report to the Executive on feedback from the conference.
This conference is our most comprehensive and largest to date, the bookings (and car park tickets), buffet lunch, stalls in the exhibition area must meet the security requirements of the Agricultural Centre, the regional dinner in the evening and being able to pre-book choice of meal is something that just has not been staged in the region before.
At the Spring conference, our best attended conference to date, we had 110 pre booked for the event. The target for this Autumn's conference, AGM and the hustings for the Euro elections is 150 attendees. I am sure you can imagine that administration for the event if all paid by cheque would be a nightmare. We have had no reports of "bad experiences" from the last conference.
The conference team 2012 is very strong, with a great deal of professional expertise in the skills needed "back room" for such an event.
We do understand that some people still do not feel happy about paying via credit card. Perhaps, if you do not have a credit card you could give the cash to a member of your local party and let them book "online" for you? But I should tell you that when we had the previous conference a number of cheques "went missing" and so cost East Midlands Liberal Democrats money and seriously inconvenienced the members affected.
Paying by cheque and requiring a postal receipt involves considerable extra administration. For instance just sending a receipt will cost 60p for a stamp and then there are costs involved in staionery and banking alll carried out by unpaid volunteers.
EM Regional Conference Chair 2012