A successful conclave needs good administration to go along with the program that it sets. Administration details include scheduling, messaging and brand, COC communication, and finances. The following section is a library of different tools you can use to prepare for and execute your administrative tasks for a conclave. Some of these tools may need to be taken care of ahead of conclave, while others can be handled at the event. Additionally, some may need to be approved by your COC, such as the budget.
Creating a Section Planbook
A Conclave Planbook is the backbone of your section. It is where an Arrowman can find information on the section and Conclave. It contains resources including the section calendar, budget, and roster as well as the Conclave schedule, training, activities, and competitions information. The planbook should be something that your section can look back to when discussing conclave, and it should be revised year to year. How can your section create a planbook that is useful and effective? Here is a guide on how to organize your conclave planbook.
A planbook should begin with a cover page including conclave year, section name, and section totem followed by a table of contents so the reader can locate desired topics quickly. The beginning of the planbook should refer to the section as a whole. A message from the section chief and goals for the year sets standards and expectations for the year, a tool to measure success, and a curb to follow throughout the year. Next, a calendar for the conclave year should contain all important dates in regard to the section. This includes but is not limited to COC meeting dates and locations, the section retreat, and Conclave. Including the conclave budget in the planbook is also useful so the COC can look back upon it throughout the year. Likewise, a COC roster provides a central location where the section leaders’ contact information can be found.
Different sections have different CVC positions and committees with different roles to fit a specific section’s needs that could change yearly. Thus, these roles and committees should be clearly defined in duties and purpose and be included in the conclave planbook. In this way, the Arrowmen in these positions or on these committees know what is expected of them and will know their responsibilities ahead of time.
It is important for a section to create a schedule of events for conclave and a schedule of training so why not add it to the planbook as well, publishing it ahead of time? Throughout conclave weekend the section has several events ongoing ranging from a wide variety of activities and competitions including American Indian Affairs. A conclave planbook should also include rules for competitions and information on activities as well as criteria for conclave awards. In this way, the conclave planbook contains the necessary information for running and judging any event as well as determining winners of awards presented at conclave. Lodges will know the standards ahead of time and can plan accordingly.
Finally, a conclave should include a map of the conclave site and any other resources a section would like to include such as a link to the section website and social media. Optional items consist of a list of past chiefs and advisers, section history, any national event information, lodge information, and any other paperwork associated with conclave that is not already part of conclave.
The purpose of a conclave planbook is to have a centralized source of information regarding conclave and including the section. Much like how lodges have lodge planbooks, sections have conclave planbooks so that members of the section can use it to find a variety of information such as conclave events, who their section chief is, or when the next COC is. It is a resource that the section can reference when planning and preparing for conclave. It can be used to check the budget, see whose responsibility a new event falls under, or measure progress on goals. There are a few examples of a conclave planbook is attached in the support material.
A planner on action items and goals to complete a successful conclave.
Although the Order of the Arrow is a not for profit organization with volunteer members, it still needs money to fulfill its yearly functions. Sections are no exception. It is important to follow the Field Operations Guide on how to operate your section’s finance. Also, attached to this guide is a budget template for your use.
We realize that sections may have more, less, or different line items in their budget, which is completely fine. There are extra rows in the template for sections that have more in their budget than what is provided. Likewise, feel free to add or delete rows to fit your section’s needs. All values should be self-calculated in the template if a quantity and price per item or extended amount is provided.
In order to keep the registration cost for members low, sections need to either find a way keep costs down or find other sources of income. A few ways that sections can keep costs down is by keeping some line items relatively low. Awards and recognitions can rack up large bills depending on what sections use. Ribbons are a good way to keep this cost low since it supports the paper free initiative and is cheaper than plaques and framed certificates. Activities and recreation are generally similar from year to year, thus reusing some items (signs, cones, balls, etc.) from the previous conclave can be another way to reduce costs. A great alternate source of income is the trading post. Candy, soda, and other consumables will always bring in income and section merchandise could add to that. Shirts, jackets, hats, etc. are both a way for sections to make money but also for members to show their section pride and represent it throughout conclave. Of course, sections should not abuse the monopoly they have with the trading post and keep the prices fair.
Fillable template on how to organize section and conclave finances.
Trading Post and Conclave Auction
Funding on a section level has never been more challenging. Today, sections must focus on more then just bringing people to conclave to pay for expense, they also have to sell their brand. A trading post and conclave auction is used to help the section bring in extra funds over the year and to allow Arrowmen to take the section home with them.
Items to Sell:
- Candy, Soda, Snacks
- Unique items of the area
An online trading post takes time and dedication to reach its full limits. One way to do online sales is to have volunteers keep track, pack, and ship items bought. Other retailors might work with your section to directly ship to members for a fee. Depending on the item, one or both might be best for your section.
Auctions are a great revenue for sections. Some sections set up an eBay account for online/pre-conclave bidding. Most conclaves have an on-site silent and live auction. Members from around the section are willing to donate to their items to the auction if they understand where the funds are going, so make sure to state how the money will benefit the section, and youth in the section.
Most sections hold their conclaves on a rotation with the lodges in the section. When it comes time to find a location in the section, there are a few things to keep in mind:
In real estate, location means everything. When planning a conclave, the same can apply. When selecting a conclave location, think of the distance that will need to be traveled by all lodges in the section. Trying to find a central location in the host lodge’s area is going to be tough, and some lodges may have to travel more than others. When this is the case, think about providing some travel options such as carpooling or busing for lodges with a farther trek.
When considering a location, make sure to keep in mind how much space you will need. Too much space and the conclave can feel spread out, while not enough space and the conclave will feel cramped. Both of these are issues when it comes to bringing excitement to a conclave.
Today it’s extremely important to make sure you can provide accommodations for the members attending. This includes a shower, bathroom, lodging, and recreation space for youth, adults, males and females. While you might not be able to get every piece perfect, having the ability to provide will draw more people to your conclave.
Meals and Snacks
Food is one of, if not the most, important feature of a conclave. Normally there is 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 cracker barrels you will have at your conclave. Making your meals diverse and cost effective is a hard task.
One section had their conclave on a Native American reservation, the section leadership team talked with the local tribe and were able to schedule a bison feast for dinner on Saturday. Having something local to dine on at your conclave is something that can be cost effective, and unique, giving the participants something to remember.
When deciding on what to eat, make sure to plan a second menu for those with dietary restrictions. To find out who has restrictions, ask for comments during your registration. These restrictions can include a multitude of things, and you need to be able to cater to each person.