My Current Obsession

I have this tendency to get incredibly focused on my latest project to the detriment of everything else. Lately my obsession has been the conference that I want to put on. I have been researching fundraising strategies, which I’m not very good at, and how to plan a conference. I have even been planning how to write a narrative for the conferences “story.” Most of it is easy enough: it will be held at my university, it will be mostly teleconference, there will be food and drinks available, we will sell t-shirts, and it will focus on activism in freethought. We even have a name for it already. But there are some fundamental things that we don’t have. We need a reason for people to care about our conference. That is why we need a story. We need to get peoples attention. We also don’t have any money. We need to get some before the conference. That’s why we need to fund-raise. Finally, we don’t have any speakers. We need to attract people’s attention and make them want to speak at our conference. We aren’t intending to have the conference until January/February, so we have time. But we want to have it planned, as much as possible before going back to school. 

I should really be writing, but it’s hard to care when I have such a massive project in the works. Has anybody else undertaken such an event? How did you accomplish everything? Does anybody else get so obsessed over one thing that they ignore everything else?

5 responses to “My Current Obsession

  • ubi dubium

    At the Women in Secularism 3 last weekend, this same question was raised, by somebody who wanted to hold a conference specifically on secularism and LGBTQ issues.

    There were several good answers, but the one that I thought was really creative was “find an event that is already happening, that already has your target audience at it, and see if you can piggyback off of it.”

    Their example was SkepchickCon, which is held as one track of CONvergence up in MN. The SF convention crowd already has a lot of people interested in science and skepticism, and the convention already provides the date and venue and hotel arrangements. So all the organizers need to do is arrange for the speakers and line up the funding to cover them. A much simpler way to get started than to figure out everything at once.

    My other question to you is – are you involved with the Secular Student Alliance? If you aren’t, you should be, because they have information resources for campus groups and advice for running campus events. CFI also has a campus outreach division, that also might have good advice for you. One of the fastest-growing conferences, Skepticon, is run by a campus group, so this kind of thing is definitely possible.


    • hessianwithteeth

      We can’t be involved in Secular Student Alliance because our group is Canadian. We talked to some members of SSA at TAM last year. We have taken some ideas from them though. We are associated with CFI, but our local CFI is going through changes in leadership right now, so they may not be as helpful as we’d like.
      We have been offered the opportunity to piggy back off of a local conference called LogiCON, but we want to do something that is more focused around freethought than skepticism.


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