OSFCI Sponsorship Guidelines
OREGON SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTIONS, INC. (OSFCI) is the nonprofit,
tax-exempt corporation formed by fans when it became apparent that
Portland Fandom would continue to present science fiction events for the
public. These "events" have primarily been conventions. OSFCI is open
to proposals for conventions and other events that promote and educate
the public about science fiction. For an overview of the benefits and
requirements of OSFCI affiliation, see Appendices A and B.
The questions we address here are how you can best prepare the
groundwork for an event or convention bid and present it to OSFCI. We
offer a series of guidelines about what information and level of detail
the OSFCI Directors require for sponsorship of an event or bid.
The key element we look for is forethought. Fine detail is less
important than evidence that you considered the many aspects of your
event and have some idea how to handle them. These considerations
Representatives of the OSFCI Board or other "old hand" convention
workers can help you with questions you may have about how to gather all
this information. The purpose of this document is to make it easier to
organize science fiction related events. We want to share as much
information as possible.
- The first piece of information OSFCI needs to know is:
What are you asking for? Do you simply desire a corporate
umbrella, or do you wish additional services? if you're asking for
financial support, have in mind how much and what for. Do you want to
use OSFCI's P.O. Box or establish your own? Do you want to use our
mailing list and/or bulk mailing permit? What is your background and
why are you doing this? What assets do you have to offer this event?
Give us a general overview.
- How will requested money be spent? This differs
for actual events as opposed to bids. For events like conventions it is
pretty straightforward--money is spent on printing, lining up guests and
front money for the facility. For a major convention bid we suggest
that monetary requests be specifically for PR purposes or for
fundraising activities. How much will go to fliers, for program book
ads, for bid party expenses, etc.? Do you intend button sales,
pre-supporting membership sales or other fundraising activities?
- Hotel or other facility.
Try to have a letter of agreement from the hotel or other facility that
indicates your event being "pencilled in" or having "first refusal" for
the proposed dates. This letter should outline the space allocated, how
long you have it, charges for meeting space and room rates.
If it is a space not previously used for OSFCI events, a brief comment
on why it was selected would be helpful. Facility maps, capacity
charts, and other printed information or photographs are welcome.
- Committee. A person wishing to chair a
convention should be an OSFCI member, i.e., have worked on two
convention committees, or have equivalent experience. A list of people
willing to work on the event/bid should be made available, with some
information on committee members' areas of interest and/or
How many people are willing to work on the event? Is this enough? If
you need more, where will they come from and when?
The general rule of thumb is: the larger the proposed event, the more
important it is that members of the committee have previous experience.
A usual minimum for any event would be a chairperson and a treasurer
with convention experience. For larger conventions most department
heads should have convention experience. Areas in which experienced
workers are particularly important include the Art Show, Registration,
Programming, and Hotel Liaison.
Committee structure does not need to be finely detailed at this point,
but basic committee structure, whether or not there is an executive
committee, etc., useful information.
Previous convention budgets are available through OSFCI. A detailed
budget is not necessary at the proposal stage, but some key information
is necessary for OSFCI. This includes:
Please note that the budget will prompt the most questions from the
Board. Be able to explain how you arrived at your figures. Any budget
presented should balance and include breakeven numbers.
- Hotel or facility expenses.
- Guest-of-honor expenses. (In most cases this can only be an
estimate--you probably do not have a confirmed GoH. Look at where your
farthest possible guests- live and estimate travel, hotel, and per them
expenses for each one and a companion. Do the same for Toastmaster
and/or other special guests for whom you will pay expenses.)
- Overhead expenses. These include advertising, office supplies,
registration materials, staging and technical expenses, security,
- An overall estimate of total expenses.
- Estimated attendance, including minimum (breakeven) and maximum
(facility or planned limit) and number for which the event is targeted
- Membership rates.
- Include times when pre-registration discounts expire.
- Will there be children's, senior citizen's, handicapped rates?
- Who gets free memberships and why?
- Membership income. Relate to cutoff points for pre-registration
discounts, and to the accrual of expected expenses.
- Other income. This might include Dealers, Art Show, sales of
advertising space in event publications, etc.
- An estimate of total income.
- Using the above figures, what is the break-even point?
- PR / Advertising.
Who will want to attend your event? Where do you plan to advertise and
sell memberships? What other kinds of PR are planned? Is the event
tapping the usual convention crowd, a subsection of the SF community,
e.g., Dr. Who fandom or Marvel Comics fans, or is it designed more for
the general public?
- If you seek support for a bid, the following
information also must be provided:
- Bidding procedures.
- How much lead time do you have for campaigning for the bid?
- An estimate of the competition.
- What events need to be attended by representatives of the bid
committee to solicit support for the bid, and are members available to
- Historical data from groups who have staged this kind of event.
- Other legal-entities involved, i.e., is there a constitution or set
of bylaws covering this event, are there service mark or trademark
owners involved, etc.?
- Security. What security problems does your event
face? Will you use outside "hired" security, a committee
troubleshooting team, or another method?
- Contingency Plans. Do you have "assessment times"
built into your plans to review progress and replan or retrench if
necessary? What mechanisms are there for reducing expenses or
After gathering the information, type it up, covering the above items as
succinctly as possible. Attach your hotel/facility information and a
copy of the hotel's letter of intent.
Contact the OSFCI Secretary, and ask to address the Board. Submit your
complete information packet to the Secretary, who will make copies and
distribute it to all Board members. Be sure to allow sufficient time
for the Board to consider your request prior to any deadline
involved in your event. It may take a month to six weeks to schedule a
meeting for you to make your presentation. The Board may not be able to
decide on your proposal at that meeting; for example, the Board may
require you to provide additional information. If that is the case,
your timeline will be affected. You must allow sufficient time for
Board review and consideration.
You can bring along one or two other committee members if they can help
answer questions about your proposal.
The basis for our decision will be based primarily on how well you've
thought out the event and how clear you are on the specific support for
which you are asking. Other major factors include the following:
If the event is approved, a contract will be drawn between OSFCI and the
management of the event. Previous contracts are available for
inspection (see also Appendix C: Sample Contract). As mentioned
earlier, an OSFCI representative will sit on the event committee; at the
same time, a committee person will become an ex-officio member of the
05FCI Board. Ex-officio members may participate in discussions at Board
meetings but cannot vote. This is done to provide communication between
the two groups and to facilitate smooth running of the event.
- Is there enough manpower willing to help work on the event?
- Is the facility space adequate for the size of the event?
- Does the proposal answer the appropriate questions?
That's the procedure. We encourage people to think about events and to
try them. This non-profit organization was founded to help put on
SF-related events and try new ideas. We want that to continue.
By direction of the Board:
OSFCI provides a corporate "umbrella" to cover individuals and groups
who wish to present public events, which may include large contracts,
business licenses, and other risks and liabilities. OSFCI also provides
the resources of a large, ongoing corporation.
OSFCI support may take many forms, including but not limited to the
- Corporate status for purposes of legal documents, conduct
of business, etc. (there may be certain restrictions imposed per
- Use of OSFCI mailing list and bulk-mailing permit.
- Event management and OSFCI may open accountst post office
boxes, etc., under the name "Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.
(OSFCI) dba Name of Event," and use for this purpose the Tax I.D.
numbers under which OSFCI does business. This will be an account
dedicated to the event.
- Use of OSFCI address (post office box), unless stipulated
otherwise; however, the management of the event must keep the name and
current home address of a responsible party on file with OSFCI.
- May mention in its publicity or elsewhere that it is
affiliated with or sponsored by OSFCI.
- OSFCI pays taxes, levies, license fees, fines, and other
legal obligations; however, it has the power to assess the management or
accounts of each event for reimbursement of a fair proportion of such
- OSFCI keeps final corporate records of account and files
the necessary legal documents.
- OSFCI offers advisors with experience in large and smal-1
events, facility and community relations, publicity, publications,
- OSFCI is known to local businesses such as major hotels,
chamber of commerce, printshops, etc.; thus your affiliation gives you
- OSFCI maintains continuity over personnel changes as an
ongoing (e.g., annual) event gains and loses committee members.
- Event has one ex officio (non-voting) seat on the OSFCI
Board of Directors.
Because OSFCI is a legal corporation and because we have qualified as a
tax-exempt corporation under U.5. IRS Code 501(c)(3), there are certain
requirements put upon those who wish our support. What we have done so
far is to "sponsor" a given event, and take on the governing body of the
event as "managers" assigned by us to that event. (See Sample Contract,
OSFCI has the right to use the name of the event in its own publicity or
public releases. OSFCI also retains ownership of material and assets
associated with the event and not otherwise assigned by contract.
OSFCI Bylaws require a contract containing at least these provisions:
Contracts with Affiliated Events:
- OSFCI shall establish a service agreement with the
management of affiliated events in the form of a contract, expressly
setting forth the nature of the affiliation and the responsibilities
and grievance procedures of all parties to the contract.
- All contracts with the management of affiliated events
must include the following provisions unless specifically waived in
a given contract by the Board of Directors:
- Event must conform to OSFCI corporate purposes set
forth in Article II of the Articles of Incorporation.
- Event must be a permissible activity under Internal
Revenue Service Code of 1954, section 501(c)(3) or equivalent
tax-exemption rules, and Oregon nonprofit corporation law.
- There must be one or more responsible parties,
involved in the management of the event, who act as agents
representing the event to OSFCI. OSFCI requires the legal names and
current home addresses of these responsible agents.
- Proper books of account must be kept by the management
of the event, and opened at any time upon order of the OSFCI
President, Treasurer, Board of Directors, or corporate
- The event has one ex officio seat on the OSFCI Board
of Directors; likewise, OSFCI has one ex officio seat in the
management of the event. The term of these seats is related to the
duration of the event, including its planning and its settling
processes. The OSFCI seat in the management of an affiliated event
is filled or assigned by the president of OSFCI. The management of
the event assigns the resident of its seat on the OSFCI Board of
- All aspects of an event that reflect on the corporate
liability and the corporate image of OSFCI shall be subject to
approval and review by the Board of Directors.
- All extensions of credit and other financial
activities of the affiliated event are subject to the approval and
review of the Treasurer, President, and Board of Directors of
- The corporation reserves the right to assess fees upon
the management of an affiliated event, as specified in the
- OSFCI and the management of an event both have the
right to own and use any mailing lists acquired by the event.
- Any party to the contract may terminate the contract
upon reasonable notice and conditions to be specified in each
contract. No reason or reasons for termination need be given.
Return to the OSFCI Home Page