Rebecca Merwin
Conference Coordinator Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Los Angeles

About the only thing that we out-source is child care. We do a conference in the fall for our clergy and their families, and we wanted licensed, bonded professionals, people trained to do all the things we wanted, to take care of the children.

We've been doing that as a policy for 15-20 years. It's a much more reliable way, and the parents seem to enjoy it. There are usually eight to 15 children. At one point we charged a nominal fee, but our bishop prefers to provide it as a gift to our clergy.

Melinda Mitchell
Meeting Manager Christian Medical & Dental Associations Bristol, Tenn.

I've done different things at different times. The most recent thing I have outsourced that helped me the greatest was hiring a company that helped me find sites and negotiate contracts so I could plan three years out. We were doing 16-18 months. I worked with them a year ago this spring, and they really helped me to nail down two years of meetings. So this spring I had to do only one site visit.

They got proposals for the areas of the country I was interested in. After I looked at the proposals, they took over and helped me to set up site visits and flights, and someone from the company was with me on both site visits. They even helped me set up the contracts. Now I'm just planning one meeting, but I'm working on the 2007 meeting, so that makes life easier. Also, a lot of times I will use in-house AV companies in hotels, but sometimes I can find a company in the area that's less expensive.

Dwight Loken, CMP
The Meeting Connection Worthington, Ohio

I outsource audiovisual and other production management services, decorating, and printing. We don't have that capability. It's more cost-effective to use professionals who do that all the time and have the equipment. You can get these services in pretty much any city. And often you develop a relationship with them and the vendor will travel with you to another city. Sometimes they may even subcontract instead of shipping stuff.

Chris Robinson
Executive Director International Network of Children's Ministry Castle Rock, Colo.

We outsource the advance planning, site selection. We give the firm the specs for our meetings, and they come back and tell us what fits. They handle all incoming calls from CVB groups. Their Colorado rep prompts us with things like, ‘We really are getting into the time we need to talk about 2007.’ It always seems so far away. She keeps her finger on the pulse of what's happening. She comes back with a grid that's pretty complete, and from that we decide what site to visit.

It's much faster, less time-consuming. She's in the business. She's got years of experience, while most of us on staff are green on the planning side; we're concerned about the program part. She speaks the language of the industry. She's a CMP, and none of our staff is. She's constantly reminding us to look ahead, which is positive. I don't think there are any drawbacks.

Jean Bush
Director of Leadership and Program Development Northern Ill. Conference The United Methodist Church Elgin, Ill.

Because of what I and the staff have learned at RCMA, we've been able to do without outsourcing. Between RCMA and my husband, who has 35 years in the hotel business, we can do it ourselves. We discussed outsourcing registration at one time, but decided, let's send our people to learn how to do it, and we've saved money by doing it ourselves. Our registration goes out to 1,800 people, and 1,000 come. We pay the hotel we use for four days, more than $100,000. Our budget is $117,000, which includes 15 different banquets, so we try to keep the work within our own staff so we don't have to use those resources elsewhere.