Organize CSForum

Are you a professional, educator, or other licensed practitioner in a content services field? Do you have experience organizing events, even just a little? Are you keen to bring a reputable Content Strategy event to your region outside of the United States, raise your organization’s visibility, and boost your professional reputation? Do you want to meet and network with some of the best minds in the field? Well… Then you want to organize CSForum.

Past CSForum locations map
Where will you take it next?

First of all, thank you for your interest. It’s due to people like you who’ve made CSForum possible since we first gathered in Paris in 2010.

The organizing process, and your involvement with CSF, works as follows, end-to-end:

  1. Learning. Members of our community — good people like yourself — ask a lot of questions about organizing CSForum, and we do our best to answer them.
  2. Bidding. The informed community member then makes a bid for organizing a future year, thus becoming a candidate. Exciting already, yes?
  3. Selecting. We, CSF, then evaluate candidates and select the one we think will fit best as organizer for the upcoming year.
  4. Collaborating. The organizer and CSF engage in an active partnership until the conference is over and resources are squared away.
  5. Advising. The organizer is immortalized into our clique of Ambassadors Emeriti and will take their fair turn at co-advising the subsequent year’s CSForum event along with CSF’s founder.
  6. Leading. (Optional.) Following the year of co-advising, the tenured ambassador is invited to become an official CSF crew member.

Let’s consider each of these in more detail.

1) Learning about being a successful CSForum organizer

This is the expected ‘questions and answers’ step to help you decide if you’ll make a conference bid. After having done this a few times, we anticipate most of your big questions and answer them in advance. Read our organizer business case information, and the rest of this page, and if you still have questions, contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions.​​

2) Bidding to host a future conference year

When you’re ready to make a bid, use the CSForum Organizer Bid Form. Your bid submission makes your interest official and we treat it with equal seriousness.

Be mindful of the bidding deadlines in the following table. If no bids are received for a given year, there will be no CSForum for that year.

CSForum YearBid DeadlineDecision Date
201715 Dec 201631 Dec 2016
201831 Aug 201730 Sep 2017
201931 Aug 201830 Sep 2018

The form will ask for a few details:

  • your name and contact
  • what year(s) you’re interested in organizing
  • the city where you’ll hold the event (non-US locations only), and
  • your background and qualifications.

You may bid for multiple years, but you’ll only ever be an organizer once. If/when that happens, any subsequent years you might have bid for will be removed from our bidding records.

We will acknowledge your initial bid submission so you know we received it. But our focus is on the upcoming year, so depending how early you bid, and for what years, you may have lots of time to sit back and relax. No need to contact us with status requests. We’ll contact you when the relevant year(s) arrive and the selection process is underway.

You may retract your bid at any time by letting us know you’ve had a change of heart. We’ll promptly delete your bid information. (You probably shouldn’t bid to begin with if you think retracting is a possibility, but we understand.)

3) Selecting a new CSForum organizer

Candidates should have already read the organizer business case information mentioned earlier. That information answers questions about business requirements, investment, scope, and so forth.

But candidates must meet the bar in other ways too. You must be:

  • Recognized locally as a content service provider, which will benefit you when partnering with collaborators and getting attention on the initiative.
  • Willing to play the role of stage manager, not performer. Your role is to provide a platform for other voices to be heard, though you should certainly take credit for making that happen.
  • Respectful of CSF’s reputation, taking our principles concerning inclusivity/diversity, conduct, and professionalism to heart.

The evaluation of candidates and selection of organizer is done by the CSF steering crew and active Ambassadors Emeriti. Prior to your year of interest (though dates may vary), we’ll give standing candidates a short evaluation survey. We use survey results, along with details provided in bid submissions, and perhaps some follow-up questions, to select who we think is the best fit for the year in question.

The process of selecting an organizer is not a competition. There’s no “winner”. Aside from survey criteria we consider, it’s about practicality, balance with CSForum’s history and future aims, values, and what’s good for the field of Content Strategy. The selection process is not an exact science, but we make the best and most fair decisions we can.

We will notify all candidates of their status when the organizer has been selected. We do not make candidate identities public, nor will candidates be informed of who the other candidates are. Only the identity of the selected organizer is announced, which we will do through our newsletter, The CSF Circular, when the time comes.

If you made a bid for multiple years and did not get selected for the nearest one, you will be considered automatically for the subsequent year you bid on without bias to your prior-year status. The evaluation process starts anew based on the candidates available in a given year. Thus it’s important to understand that simply bidding in multiple years does not guarantee being selected as an organizer.

4) Collaborative CSForum planning

You and CSF will actively engage in a year-long partnership to create a world-class (albeit small) conference. Each of us brings something to the table and will take away something when all said and done.

CSF will provide:

  • A comprehensive package (Organizer Pack) of planning resources, instructions, and templates designed around the major milestones of event production.
  • A hosted conference website, with CMS installed and setup, a conference site architecture framework in place, default content added, and ongoing technical support.
  • Year-long advising, bringing our insights from multiple years of organizing experience.
  • A Slack team with milestone channels to centralize our discussions and brainstorming for easy reference.

As organizer, you will direct and orchestrate the production of CSForum at your location. You will:

  • Secure all necessary accommodations and provisions (venues, food/drink, video production, etc).
  • Contract any additional help you might need.
  • Recruit and manage volunteer staff (reception, coatcheck, ushering, snack setup, whatever).
  • Arrange any needed/desired partnerships with local collaborators.
  • Negotiate with sponsors and potential swag providers.
  • Produce your own creative resources, marketing materials, and content.
  • Communicate and coordinate with speakers and workshop leaders.
  • Serve as master of ceremonies (MC), or arrange for it to be done.

We may also talk about CSF involvement in the actual event in some representative way, even if for moral support at game time, but this is entirely negotiable and not mandatory.

At the end of the event, we’ll work together to curate and centralize all media materials to produce a media resources page like we’ve done for past events.

If any financial profit is made from CSForum, a gift of 10% back to CSF is appreciated to help cover technology costs and support other CSF initiatives. The costs and overhead that you would otherwise incur for such services would likely be greater, so the donation is reasonable. Regardless, both parties walk away with the distinguished honor of having contributed to the advancement of our field, locally and internationally.

An official Ambassadors Emeriti member

You also become an official member of the CSF Ambassadors Emeriti, a label we give our revered CSForum organizers, past and current. As an ambassador, you are valued for your ongoing involvement with CSF in a couple of ways:

  1. Serving on the team that evaluates the candidate bids for future CSForum organizers each year.
  2. Providing input to any questions that CSF crew may pose from time to time about CSForum direction, policy development, and so forth.

Altogether not more than about 2 days worth of focus in a given year. We are looking at other ways to work with this distinguished group too, but their help with the above is significant. And as an ambassador, your name will be forever blazoned in the CSF community as a champion for the cause.

5) Co-advising with CSF

Your last obligation as an organizer is to co-advise the CSForum after your own. This is a pay-it-forward tradition every organizer before you has done. You simply follow along with the planning and brainstorming discussions, providing your insights and perspectives when needed, just as it will be done for you. Take heart in knowing it’s not nearly the commitment that actual organizing is, and with Slack it’s even kind of fun.

6) Invitation to become a CSF crew member

If, after two years of dedication to CSForum, you still find yourself interested in remaining active with CSF, we will welcome you into the CSF team as an actual CSF crew member. You may decline the privilege, but if you accept, you’ll be expected to:

  • Fill or share an open role in CSF leadership and proactively deliver on the associated duties.
  • Help with the selection process of new CSForum organizers, as described in this page.
  • Give regular input and counsel in crew discussions that concern the direction and future of CSF.
  • Commit yourself to CSF in the above ways for at least one year, but we’d hate to see you go.

By this point you would have a good idea of how to balance your personal schedule with CSF commitments. We can honestly say it’s entirely manageable, interesting, and handled professionally. It even makes a great resume entry in relation to our LinkedIn ‘company’.