IEEE Conference Organizer Timeline

Learn the timeline and steps for planning your conference.

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The First Steps for Planning Your Conference

Although every conference is unique, there are a number of key ingredients and common factors to organizing a successful event. Most conferences start preparing a minimum of 12 to 18 months before the conference date. Larger conferences plan much farther out.

Some of the pre-planning is done before you officially apply to IEEE for sponsorship approval. Before completing the application, make sure to talk with your sponsors and understand if they will support your application.

You will also want to define your technical program and peer review process and have your committee on board. A high-level budget is required, but expenses should not be incurred prior to approval. To help the process go smoothly, CEE provides relationship managers who can help you long before you submit your application.

The IEEE Conference Organizer Timeline outlines the major activities and time frames for planning your next event.

Many IEEE organizational units (Section, Societies, Technical Councils, etc.) have their own processes for sponsorship approval. Check with each technical or geographic unit sponsor before submitting your application to IEEE.

IEEE Conference Organizer Timeline

   General Chair
Task Timeframe
Establish Conference Organizing Committee; contact previous year’s Committee for best practices Start
Contact CEE for conference mentor, education, guidance, policies, services, & tools Start
Reach out, apply, & obtain sponsorship information from all IEEE &/or non-IEEE OUs. Learn their requirements. Start
Create & finalize scope, topic, or theme. Check for date/scope conflicts with other IEEE conferences. Start
Engage with local IEEE Section leadership where your conference will be held. How can you partner? Start
Select conference date, location, venue. Tip: avoid holidays, other conferences, and peak season. Start
Create conference branding & basic website. Share URL with CEE. Host your web site for free with IEEE. Start
Ensure that all vendors and volunteers are fulfilling duties. Conduct periodic quality check in. Monthly
After agreeing with sponsors, submit Conference Application to apply for IEEE sponsorship support & inclusion in IEEE Conference Search. Approve MOU. 36-24 months out
Complete POBC/COI Form within 30 days of assuming Chair position 36-12 months out
Apply for grants for conference support 18-15 months out
Notify CEE of on-site event emergencies ( & event conduct concerns ( On-site
Hold post‐conference wrap-up meeting. Include next year’s committee if possible. On-site
Report statistics & lessons learned to OU with copy to CEE 1 month post
   Finance Chair/Treasurer
Task Timeframe
Seek input and approval on registration fees and other key aspects of the conference budget Start
Draft conference budget Start
Complete POBC/COI Form within 30 days of assuming Treasurer position Start
Submit budget to IEEE CEE for review & approval 36-12 months out
After budget approval, learn audit requirements for documentation throughout the life of the conference. Conferences that do not require an audit by Policy are open to random testing by IEEE Internal Audit. 36-12 months out
After budget approval, establish means for filing indirect taxes if applicable, prior to collecting any revenue or making payments 36-12 months out
After budget approval, establish Bank Account and submit required documentation to assigned analyst 36-12 months out
Request loan to your conference account after establishing (if applicable) 36-12 months out
Issue travel grants if applicable 6-1 months out
Submit pre-conference forecast (including updates to projected attendance based on paper submission numbers, confirmed financial contributions, expenses, etc.). Multiple forecasts are helpful. Monthly
Monitor additional revenue & expenses on-site, request daily bills from vendors to review for accuracy, review on-site transactions with forecast numbers daily. Make registrar aware of any additional on-site revenue. On-site
Collect tax forms from individuals receiving awards or any non-reimbursable payments On-site
Issue reimbursements for conference travel expenses On-site-1 month post
Review 1099 1042 & make sure it is submitted to your Business Analyst by year end 1 month post-year end
Ensure that support transfers from IEEE sponsors are submitted to your Business Analyst by year end 1 month post-year end
Submit post-conference forecast 1 month post
Follow-up for any outstanding bills/final invoices 1 month post
Close bank account, distribute surplus & loan if applicable to financial sponsors (no later than 6 months) 1-6 months post
Submit final financial report with Certificate of Accuracy (no later than 12 months after conference) 1-12 months post
Prepare & submit all audit material to IEEE auditor or independent auditor (as necessary) 1-12 months post
   Technical Program Chair
Task Timeframe
Develop technical program (include underrepresented groups: local, young professionals, women, students) 18-15 months out
Establish paper submission process/deadlines. Include Crosscheck or plagiarism detection tool. 18-15 months out
Set up online paper management system 18-15 months out
Draft a Call for Papers (CFP) 18-15 months out
Establish review committee. Complete paper review process. Notify authors 6-4 months out
Finalize technical program. Sign off on final copy or delegate to ensure quality control. 6-4 months out
Create & publish advanced program 6-4 months out
   Publications Chair
Task Timeframe
Submit IEEE Conference Publication Form to request approval to submit papers to IEEE Xplore 18-12 months out
Register for PDF eXpress (optional) 15-12 months out
Establish Production Services for conference content 15-12 months out
Register for eCF for accepted papers 90 days prior to Notification of Acceptance 4 months out-launch
Submit Conference Proceedings/Content per LoA 30 days post conference start date 2 weeks-1 month post
   Publicity/Public Relations Chair
Task Timeframe
Develop communications/audience development plan. Incorporate milestones - call for papers promotion, early bird deadlines, and speaker/program announcements. 16 months out
Begin outreach to educational institutions, corporations, government, & industry for support & patronage. Ask companies to do press releases for keynotes as they accept. 15 months out
Promote Call for Papers (CFP) & Exhibit Prospectus at current year’s conference, if applicable 15-12 months out
Update website (Call for Papers, Exhibit Prospectus, venue/hotel, key dates, author instructions, & program) 12 months out-launch
Promote conference through your sponsoring OU and local IEEE sections 12 months out-launch
Share Event Conduct & Safety Statement with attendees On-site
Promote next year's conference with collateral, including Save the Date, Call For Papers, & Exhibit Prospectus On-site
Send post-event thank you email & attendee survey 1 day - 1 week post
Post photos, video content, multimedia & notices of appreciation on the website 1 day-1 month post
Post next year’s date and location on the website 1 day-1 month post
   Local Arrangements Chair
Task Timeframe
Confirm venue & vendor contracts. Send contracts valuing over US $1,000 to contracts team for review. 36-24 months out
Review & reconfirm hotel meeting space & room block. Monitor attrition cut off dates. 12-9 months out
Plan social activities and tour program, if applicable. and add to registration site 9-6 months out
Work w/vendors/venue to finalize room layout, AV, food & beverage, & signage. Finalize volunteer assignments. 4 months out-launch
Create Event Emergency Plan & share with conference committee, volunteers, & vendors on-site 4 months out-launch
Order on-site items: registration materials, final program, proceedings, signage, giveaways, and items to promote next year’s conference. Ship to site. 4 months out-launch
Arrive at conference location at least one day prior to conference start. Confirm on-site logistics with venue. On-site
Monitor on-site activities & hold meetings with key organizers, vendors, and venue as needed On-site
   Registration Chair
Task Timeframe
Determine registration process/vendor. Include IEEE Event Terms and Conditions & IEEE Privacy Policy. 12-9 months out
Work with Finance Chair to develop registration scenarios (early bird, etc.) 12-9 months out
Create GDPR-compliant registration form (& visa process if applicable). Ensure registration service is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. 9-6 months out
Work with vendor on badging. Contact CEE to learn about discounts. 4 months out-launch
Manage on-site registration On-site
Finalize attendee list - attendee name, item purchased, amount paid, payment method, date paid & no shows. Send to IEEE CEE with closing materials. 1 month post
   Sponsorship/Exhibits Chair
Task Timeframe
Work with Finance Chair to establish sponsorship targets & development of tiers 18-15 months out
Prepare Exhibit Prospectus. Send request for proposal (RFP) to exhibit decorators. 18-15 months out
Establish a means of exhibitor & sponsor invoicing & payment tracking 18-15 months out
Create sponsor & exhibit report w/entity name, item purchased, amount paid, method of payment, & date paid 12-1 months out
Finalize exhibitors, space assignments & exhibitor bios 4 months out-launch
Collect & record payments and provide on-site information Monthly
Set up for event: registration area, exhibit space, information booth, office area, signage, etc. On-site
Establish location, schedule, & staffing sign-up for next year’s conference. Renew exhibitors on-site. On-site

We Are Here to Help

If you have questions about the IEEE Conference Organizer Timeline, please contact the CEE team.