Conference Organizing Software
Many workshops and YAPCs have successfully used Act to host their conference website. Act provides a basic CMS, as well as features for managing user registration, talk submissions, and scheduling.
We certainly don't require that you use Act, but it's a good choice since it provides many features that conference organizers need, and can integrate with TPF's payment gateway for registration.
For more information about Act, check out the Act website at http://act.mongueurs.net. You can also ask the Act developers to provide a hosted Act installation, which they've done many conferences and workshops. To ask for a hosted installation, join the Act users list and then send a message to the list asking about hosting.
TPF can also provide a private wiki for your planning group to use if you need one.
Registration Fee Processing
TPF can provide credit card processing for registration fees. As mentioned previously, this can be integrated with Act, but does not come automatically with an Act installation. To get this enabled, contact the TPF conferences chair at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask about this.
Sponsorship and Expenses
If you are going to be seeking significant amounts of money from corporate sponsors, you will probably want to work with TPF to make that sponsorship tax-deductible. TPF is a 501c3 nonprofit registered in the US, which means that sponsorship donations from US corporations can be tax-deductible by those corporations. (Note that this can be limited if they received something of value for the sponsorhip.)
Additionally, because of TPF's 501c3 status, you may be exempt from sales tax on expenses you incur as part of your workshop when TPF writes the checks.
TPF can also assume some financial responsibility for your workshop. If you would like TPF to provide this service for you, we ask that you submit an overview of your workshop plan, and in particular include a rough budget. Our major concern is that you have a reasonable plan to cover your expenses, so that TPF is not left in debt at the end of your workshop.
A good plan should aim to cover the basic venue expenses with registration fees, and to use sponsorship for "extras" like food, drinks, etc. If your plan calls for huge amounts of sponsorship to cover fixed expenses like the venue, that may make us a bit nervous, especially if this is your first workshop.
Many venues require that insurance coverage be provided for events. TPF has such insurance and can extend it to your event, as long as you keep us in the loop on the activities you're planning. Basically, we need to know that you're not planning anything likely to result in a lawsuit, like camel races or drinking contests.
Summary of TPF Support Levels
We're not involved at all, but we'll announce your event if you ask.
We will provide a planning wiki and point you at the Act developers for Act hosting. You can use our event insurance, as long as we know what activities you have planned for your workshop. By accepting this insurance, you agree that your event is a "TPF event" and is being held under the auspices of TPF. This means you keep us in informed of planned activities and we have veto power over anything that might be an insurance risk.
Same as Level 1, plus at this level we handle income and expenses, but we don't cover cost overruns. We can take sponsorship checks, making sponsorship tax-deductible in the US. We will also pay expenses based on your current sponsorship level plus a "conservative" estimate of registration.
For TPF to provide this level of support, we'd like to see a basic plan for your workshop which includes a budget summary.
Same as Level 2, plus we agree to be responsible for cost overruns. For us to provide this level of support, we want to see a detailed budget, and you have to keep us notified of any significant budget changes as your planning progresses. We'll also expect proceeds, after expenses, to be donated to TPF. This what we do for a YAPC::NA.
This Sample Workshop Plan is an example of what we'd like to see, including a budget.