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  #1  
Old 02-13-2014, 07:34 PM
OPhiAGinger OPhiAGinger is offline
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national convention: annual or biannual?

OPA has held an annual convention every year since the formation of our national organization in 1967. For the last ten years or so, we've toyed with the idea of moving to a biennial convention so that we could redirect some of the energy and money that goes into planning convention into other services to the members. But every time we get a little deeper into making that change, it just seems overwhelming. There are SOOO many things tied to that annual convention from the annual budget processes to the election cycles of national leaders to the delivery of leadership training. There are so many dependent parts of our programming that would be impacted, it just seems overwhelming to even consider.

Have any of you make this type of huge change? What advice can you share?

Last edited by OPhiAGinger; 02-17-2014 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Fixed an error.
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2014, 10:07 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Alpha Phi Omega has been on biannual convention since 7 years after founding (and the ones prior to that weren't regularly scheduled) except for not holding them in 1942/1944 and an extra one to completely alter the structure in 1967. We have meetings at the next level of organization in the other years, and then at the next level of organization we have every year, so a schedule for my area would go National Convention December 2012, DC&MD conference March 2013, Midatlantic(DC/MD/VA/NC) Regional Convention October 2013, DC&MD conference February 2014. and then National Convention December 2014.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:52 PM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Sinfonia held annual conventions until 1920, then biennial until 1964. Since then, our National Assemblies have been triennial. Afraid I couldn't tell you, though, what the challenges of moving from annual to biennial, and then biennial to triennial were, or how they were dealt with.
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2014, 08:28 AM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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KD has convention every two years, and has a leadership training event every two years. They alternate.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:14 AM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KDCat View Post
KD has convention every two years, and has a leadership training event every two years. They alternate.
This is what Phi Mu does, but the leadership training is regional, not national. I suspect a lot of groups use this model: there is a convention every other year, but *something* in the off-years.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:28 PM
OPhiAGinger OPhiAGinger is offline
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I'm already sold on the benefits of a biennial convention. My question is more about the change process itself to transition from one model (annual conventions) to the other. Unfortunately, I fear all of your groups made this change so long ago that the people involved are not around anymore.

Maybe a younger group, like Gamma Sigma Sigma or Theta Nu Xi? Have any of you made this type of transition within recent memory?

Last edited by OPhiAGinger; 02-17-2014 at 02:35 PM. Reason: .
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:08 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OPhiAGinger View Post
I'm already sold on the benefits of a biannual convention. My question is more about the change process itself to transition from one model (annual conventions) to the other. Unfortunately, I fear all of your groups made this change so long ago that the people involved are not around anymore.

Maybe a younger group, like Gamma Sigma Sigma or Theta Nu Xi? Have any of you made this type of transition within recent memory?
GSS has been Biannual (on odd years) pretty much since the beginning. Theta Nu Xi appears to still be annual (I've got a list from 2009 back and get google hits on the years since then.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:41 PM
Xidelt Xidelt is offline
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The first thing you will have to change if you decide to transition to biannual is having some of your major things, such as strategic goals/plans, budgets, and officer terms move to two year timelines. So officer terms would go from one year to two, annual philanthropy choices and organizational goals would move to a two year timeline. Other things, such as budgets and administrative tasks, may not need to be voted on by the entire membership. Your board of directors could decide these things. Also, look at how much time during convention you are spending on certain areas: what percentage of your time is spent on leadership training? what percentage of time is spent on official business such as budgets and officer elections? This can help you decide if you can transition to biannual conventions. If you are spending a majority of your time on leadership training for members, maybe you could more easily transition to biannual conferences and leadership training in off years.
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  #9  
Old 02-14-2014, 03:05 PM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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Conventions cost A LOT of money, and I would guess you get diluted participation because they're so frequent. Alpha Xi Delta uses a very similar structure as described by KD and Phi Mu. Described a little differently, every other year is for everyone and the alternate year is just for collegians.

I would say you probably need to devote your next convention to updating the bylaws and then move forward. But there's no way the change won't suck or cause blow-back. If you're ready with how many hours at what hourly rate it costs to plan a convention plus the other costs not recouped from attendance fees, and some will come around. The others can pony up or shut up
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2014, 03:35 PM
OPhiAGinger OPhiAGinger is offline
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Originally Posted by DubaiSis View Post
Conventions cost A LOT of money, and I would guess you get diluted participation because they're so frequent… If you're ready with how many hours at what hourly rate it costs to plan a convention plus the other costs not recouped from attendance fees, and some will come around.
So, build a business case to convince the delegates that this is the right way to go? As you have correctly surmised, this change will require the approval of our convention voting delegates, as it will require numerous amendments to our constitution and by-laws. I like this approach, and after describing the huge amounts of time spent planning convention we could go on to outline all the ways in which that time could be redirected to provide more chapter support outside of convention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xidelt
So officer terms would go from one year to two….
Our challenge is in the other direction. Currently our national exec board serves three year terms. They stagger so that only 1/3 of our NEB is elected each year. That has helped immensely with continuity among our leadership's shared vision. But moving to a two year election cycle makes it very difficult to maintain officer terms with staggered begin/end times. We either need to expand to 4 year terms (YUCK!! Who would run for that?) or face the possibility of our entire NEB turning over every two years. Does that make sense?
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2014, 04:17 PM
DeltaBetaBaby DeltaBetaBaby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OPhiAGinger View Post
So, build a business case to convince the delegates that this is the right way to go? As you have correctly surmised, this change will require the approval of our convention voting delegates, as it will require numerous amendments to our constitution and by-laws. I like this approach, and after describing the huge amounts of time spent planning convention we could go on to outline all the ways in which that time could be redirected to provide more chapter support outside of convention.

Our challenge is in the other direction. Currently our national exec board serves three year terms. They stagger so that only 1/3 of our NEB is elected each year. That has helped immensely with continuity among our leadership's shared vision. But moving to a two year election cycle makes it very difficult to maintain officer terms with staggered begin/end times. We either need to expand to 4 year terms (YUCK!! Who would run for that?) or face the possibility of our entire NEB turning over every two years. Does that make sense?
We use two-year terms, but most of the time, there are women who remain on the executive committee, though possibly in different roles. For example, the president almost always holds a different role before taking the top job.
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  #12  
Old 02-14-2014, 04:19 PM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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This is what Phi Mu does, but the leadership training is regional, not national. I suspect a lot of groups use this model: there is a convention every other year, but *something* in the off-years.
KD is moving away from grouping schools by region and trying to group them somewhat by similarity. The Washington University chapter is in a group with Brown and Boston, rather than a regional group with Mizzou and Missouri Science and Technology, which aren't anything like WUSTL and aren't much like each other, either.

They're doing it so that similar campuses can share ideas about what works more effectively.

I think it's more an art, than a science, but it's not a bad idea.
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  #13  
Old 02-14-2014, 05:01 PM
AnchorAlumna AnchorAlumna is offline
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FYI:
Biannual - twice per year
Biennial - every other year

Took me about 20 years to realize that.
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  #14  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:29 PM
Iduna Iduna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OPhiAGinger View Post
Maybe a younger group, like Gamma Sigma Sigma or Theta Nu Xi? Have any of you made this type of transition within recent memory?
Theta Nu Xi has had annual conventions since the first national convention in 1999.
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  #15  
Old 02-17-2014, 02:37 PM
OPhiAGinger OPhiAGinger is offline
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Thanks, AnchorAlumna. I always struggle with that distinction. I fixed the "biannual" references but unfortunately the thread title is unreachable by the editor.
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