WE IMPLEMENTED a new registration system. We wanted to be able to print name badges. We set up laptops and registrants ran off their own names. We wanted it to look more professional and make them feel more integral to the convention, rather than spur-of-the-moment.

We had 3,000 registrants, but the process went very quickly. We were afraid it would cause a bottleneck, but it didn't. Registrants came in Sunday night and Monday morning.

There really wasn't any additional expense, because we used 16 laptops that we had on hand, and an internal person wrote the program. We couldn't find an existing program that delivered what we were looking for.

This year we just had names, but we'll eventually go back and add more information into the system.
Patti Kriss
Meeting Manager
Baptist General Convention of Texas

IT'S EASY to go into a conference and plan to offer encouragement to people, but that gets old. I wanted something that had meaning for today. I decided that the breakouts in the afternoon needed more than a cursory look if it was indeed a problem.

So instead of one-hour sessions, we had two-hour sessions, with a break in between. They could still change sessions if they wished, but if they wanted to go back, it gave them the option if they needed more information, maybe not just for themselves but for a friend or family member.

For the other track, I offered something light.

What was amazing was people's response. We called it “Issues of the Heart,” and it was so well-received that I'm doing “Issues of the Heart II.”
Priscilla Taylor
Director of Women's Ministries
Northern California and Nevada District
Assemblies of God
Sacramento, Calif.

WE ARE ADDING TECHNOLOGY to cut costs and do (internal organizing) meetings virtually online. We're also encouraging our meeting teams as much as possible to communicate things we need to do ahead of time, so we're not wasting valuable face-to-face time.

We have planners from across the country. We're using instant messaging and some project-management software, with as many as eight participants at one time. We're also looking at using Webcams.

We've cut the number of meetings and the number of participants. Those who are in face-to-face meetings are asked to disseminate information to others in their region, or to use some of these tools.
Mark Kiessling
Youth Gathering Program Manager
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
St. Louis

DURING OUR GENERAL ASSEMBLY at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, we organized an interfaith public witness rally three miles off-site at Stranahan Park, across from Fort Lauderdale's City Hall. It was the first time that we selected a venue off-site for a public witness event, which meant a tremendous amount of additional logistical planning and coordinating. The event was a huge success. More than 500 Unitarian Universalists and members of the local community came out to participate.
Don Plante
Meeting Planner
Office of General Assembly and Conference Services
Unitarian Universalist Association Boston