Today, I wanted to talk about some changes to Conference Support for 2021! These will be put into place for all conferences starting in January. At that time, the information on the Conference page under MTG Resources will be updated to reflect the changes. Most of the conference support policies are the same as the ones currently in place, but I have posted them below and have expanded upon them:
Summary of Changes to Conference Policies
1. All Judge Academy supported conferences must be digitally run. This means judges organizing conferences or seminars will need to use a digital method to organize and execute their event, such as WebEx, Zoom, Discord, GoogleMeet, TeamViewer, or Skype. In areas where local laws, regulations, or guidelines have permitted, Judges attending an online conference may gather together in smaller hubs as long as they are following their local guidelines around social distancing. However, in addition to being safe and smart around social distancing, those who are able to safely gather are still expected to fully participate digitally, so consider technical limitations and requirements. If you are unsure if it’s safe to gather, don’t. It is important to us that, even in areas where local laws have allowed small gatherings, those attending online are going to be receiving the same level of experience and that no one feels obligated or pressured to attend anything in-person.
2. Description of Conference Roles:
- Basic Attendee – A certified JA Judge or L3 Emeritus attending a conference who does not hold any additional role at the conference
- Primary Organizer – The single point of contact for Judge Academy. This is the person responsible for distributing promos to participants after the event. There should only be 1 Primary Organizer for each conference.
- Additional Event Staff – This includes any additional organizers, moderators for multi-track events, event assistants, etc. In general, there should only be at most 1 additional event staff per presentation track. However, if you believe your conference requires additional staff, please contact us as soon as possible in order to get approval.
- Presenter – Presenters are expected to be prepared to deliver a quality presentation or workshop to attendees. Each organizer might have different deadlines for how early a presenter needs to have their materials prepared. In order to best manage a conference, it is recommended that organizers and staff members do not also take on the role of a presenter. If they choose to do so, they will only receive the promos support for one of these roles.
- Back-up Presenter – In addition to staff and presenters, an event can have one Back-Up Presenter. This is an experienced person who is ready to jump in to help present if technical issues arise or a presenter loses connection. This person should be separate from the organizer or additional event staff. They should either have a relevant presentation of their own prepared or have access to the other presenters’ presentations prior to the conference. Regardless of whether or not this person ends up presenting, they will be counted as a Presenter when determining support.
3. There are two types of Conference Support packages:
- One package includes conference promos for JUST the organizers/presenters and is intended for those without the ability to distribute promos easily or monitor participation/attendance in a way that they are comfortable with. For this, the primary organizer will receive a single package with 3 conference promo packets for them, and enough promos for each additional presenter to receive 2 packs, and each L3 at the conference to receive 1 additional promo packet.
- The other option includes promotional support for all JA Judges that attend the conference, in addition to the organizers and presenters. For this, each presenter/organizer still receives a total of 2 promo packs, each basic attendee will receive 1 promo pack, and each L3 at the conference to receive 1 additional promo packet. However, the added promo support for the Primary Organizer will scale based on a few factors
- If a conference is under 50 people the primary organizer receives an additional 2 promo packs, for a total of 4 packs.
- Since many of the logistical hurdles of running a conference begin to scale based on size, for each additional 50 people in attendance, the primary organizer will receive an additional promo pack.
- Large International or Inter-regional conferences may qualify for additional support, if you intend to target your conference at a large international audience, please let us know in your application.
4. As a reminder, at the start of September we extended support for conferences to all JA Certified Judges in attendance. However, an organizer is encouraged to prioritize in-region judges in situations where there is limited space. Additionally, organizers are never required to accept every application. This means that if you apply to a small local mini-conference across the globe, you should not be surprised if the organizer does not accept your application. At the moment, we are not setting a hard cap on the number of conferences you are allowed to attend, but we will be monitoring numbers in case we DO need to begin setting a limit.
Additional Organizer Policies:
- In all of the options for support above, the primary organizer is responsible for the distribution of conference promos after the event.
- Conferences that do not offer support for all attendees should make sure that information is clear on the Event page when applications open.
- Conference Organizers may choose to require a feedback form or other deliverable, or a requirement to attend x number of seminars. These requirements should be clear on the Event page when applications open.
- Organizers are expected to send final numbers to Judge Academy within 1 week of the conference’s end date, and mail promo support to all eligible participants within 2 weeks of receipt of the promos from Judge Academy. *Please note that while basic shipping for attendee/presenters to receive their promos should always be free, some organizers may choose to offer Tracking or other Methods of shipping to attendees, and some of these options may come at an additional charge*
- So that all attendance numbers, roles, and levels can be verified, all judges will need to apply to the event or be added by the organizer via the Judge Academy Events Portal in order to receive promo support.
So what are the promos pack contents for 2021 Conferences? We’re still getting our ducks in a row to announce the rotation plan for conference packs and post pictures to announce the first wave of new promos, so keep an eye out!