50+ Sample Conference Request For Proposal

What Is a Conference Request for Proposal?

A conference request for proposal is a formal document that announces or calls for partners to participate in a conference. Conference organizers can call for presenters, resource persons, and even vendors to partner with them. 

According to a recent report by Vimeo, virtual events- such as webinars and online conferences- have increased in popularity by 35% since 2020. The same article also reports that 27% of survey respondents expect to attend more virtual events in the future.  

Requirements of a Conference

A lot of planning and preparation can go into a conference. Whether it is a small and intimate workshop or a large-scale conference, there are several requirements that organizers need to tick off their checklist. The following are just some of those major conference requirements.  

Venue. A conference is an event and just like any traditional event, it requires a venue to hold it. Conferences fall under MICE types of events. Along with meetings and other similar events, conferences need an appropriate venue that’s conducive to learning and exchange. These may be hotel boardrooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, ballrooms, etc. Or for more big scale events, organizers even rent out entire stadiums or arenas. A venue is usually one of the first things on a conference organizer’s checklist. But since the COVID-19 pandemic hit and a string of government issued lockdowns, large gatherings were effectively banned. The MICE and events industry were dramatically affected. But thanks to advancements in technology, conference venues no longer need to be just physical spaces. A virtual space has proven to be just as effective as traditional venues. Online workshops, webinars and virtual conferences or a hybrid of both in-person and remote are clearly here to stay in a post-pandemic world. Participants. A conference cannot be considered a conference without participants or an audience. Whatever the format or objective of the conference session, it must always be directed to an audience. From plenary sessions to general assemblies to trade expos, participants make up the key ingredient to any conference-type event. Some of the most successful and impactful conferences are the ones that allow audiences to participate, interact and collaborate effectively. Whether it is through open forums, roundtable discussions or breakout sessions, participants could potentially deepen and enrich their conference experience if they were to actively take part in it. Program. A typical conference is structured and most follow a certain template or flow. The program or itinerary of a conference is one the most essential requirements that organizers have to plan for. A conference always has an aim, and its program should be the core of the entire event. Without program content, a conference would just be reduced to a mere gathering. However, it is also important to note that a program or itinerary ought to be tailored to fit the objectives of the conference. As stated earlier, there must be an aim. Whether it is to educate an audience, convey new information or train participants, a good conference program is well-planned and curated. Ideally, the program should not only deliver maximum insight but also consider the needs and schedule of both participants and presenters. Resource Persons. Another key ingredient that all conferences must have are resource persons. A conference cannot make do with just an audience. Without presenters or speakers, it cannot be considered a traditional conference. Resource persons play an important role in a conference program. They are usually tasked to share and convey their expertise or experience. Thought leaders, decision-makers, industry leaders and even an individual’s personal testimonies can all be considered resource material for a conference program. In addition to resource speakers, there must also be facilitators or moderators present. They help steer the direction of the conference and ensure that ground rules and guidelines are followed throughout the event.

Benefits Of Holding a Virtual Conference

When the global pandemic struck in 2020, many industries had to adapt and innovate in order to survive. The events industry was no exception. Since mass gatherings were put on hold, conference organizers had no choice but to migrate online. Today, the age of webinars and remote meetings have slowly become the norm. The following examples describe some of the major benefits of holding and attending virtual conferences.

Lesser cost. The most obvious benefit of having a virtual conference instead of a physical one is that it costs less. Both organizers and participants can save a lot on travel, time, and even accommodation. In the pre-pandemic era, it was not uncommon for participants and conference organizers to shell out money for lodging and accommodation so they could be nearer to the site of the event. But with virtual conferences, this is taken away completely. Transportation costs and travel time are cut. For event organizers, venue rentals and most logistical needs are non-existent. From any angle you look at it, virtual conferences and webinars are much more cost-effective than traditional conferences. Wider reach. With virtual conferences, limitations and restrictions are less pronounced when compared to traditional conferences. Since the event is held digitally and remotely, anyone with the tools and access can attend the conference. It is no longer limited by the number of seats in an auditorium or an arena. There are all sorts of options, including live streaming, that will enable conference organizers to reach more participants. And because of this, there is also greater potential for an inclusive and diverse audience as well. Traditional conferences had to put a cap on the number of participants due to limited venue capacity. But with online conferences, the audience capacity is far greater and virtually limitless. Greater flexibility. With work from home arrangements and online classes, many people find that there is greater flexibility since they are not required on site. Employees and students relatively have more freedom to accomplish what they need to do on their own terms and pace. The same can be said with online or virtual conferences. These days, a lot of conference organizers make it easier for audiences to participate with a greater degree of flexibility. For instance, workshops or lectures can be viewed on-demand. Audiences or participants can join in or contribute to the discussion at their own convenient time. Conference programs can easily be uploaded for participants to hit replay and to access anytime they want. And although webinars and online conferences can never really capture the energy of an in-person event, flexibility and accessibility are still practical advantages.

How to Create a Conference Request for Proposal

To create a conference request for proposal, you need to know what you are looking for. But if you want a quick and convenient way to draft one, using a sample template is your best bet. Browse and customize a template of your choice from the selection above and follow these guided steps.  

Step 1: Provide a General Background

Before diving into the objectives and requirements of the conference, you need to provide an adequate amount of information about your organization and about the conference. Those interested to partner with you would require some background of what your organization is and what it is that you do. This information would enable them to figure out for themselves if their goals, vision, and interests are aligned with the organization’s. This introductory section does need to be long, a brief paragraph or two should suffice. Just make sure to keep it engaging yet direct to the point.  

Step 2: Establish the Conference Objectives

Since a conference RFP is essentially a call for partners and presenters, you need to clearly establish what it is you are looking for in a partner. Interested presenters or potential resource persons would want to know as much as they can about the event before committing to it. Thus, a comprehensive list of objectives must be present in your request for proposal form. By narrowing the objectives down, you can be sure that those who respond to the call for proposals are aligned with you or your organizing committee. Simply put, it is important to write not only clear and descriptive objectives, but also specific conference outcomes.          

Step 3: Define the Scope of Work

Once you have provided sufficient background and laid out the specific conference objectives, you need to offer a helpful description of the work the event entails. Defining the scope of work is important for any potential presenter or facilitator because it will give them a clear picture or idea of what they are required to do. This not only clarifies roles and responsibilities, but also helps manage expectations. Scope of work should describe the requirements of being a conference partner or presenter. Lastly, this section can be presented in paragraph form or if you prefer to be more direct, using bullet points is fine too. 

Step 4: Provide Clear Guidelines  

After defining the scope of work, state the terms and conditions that will guide the interested party. Guidelines are important so potential partners and presenters know what to expect and how to shape their proposal accordingly. There must be fair ground rules for the submission of proposals so that all interested parties start on a level playing field. Providing guidelines is also a powerful indicator of comprehension whether or not they are able to follow instructions in their final proposal. As much as possible, be specific with the terms and conditions. Further, guidelines may be enumerated numerically or listed in simple bullet points.           


How do I write a conference proposal?

To write a conference proposal, you need to have a firm grasp of the objectives of the conference. If you are tasked to give a presentation, it helps to know your audience and to have done extensive research on the topic.

What is a proposal for a conference?

It is a formal written proposal that contains detailed information of a lecture or performance and is drafted for the purpose of presenting it at a conference.

How do you ask for a proposal?

A standard conference request for proposal or RFP is one way of soliciting proposals for a conference session, seminar, workshop or any similar event.

To ensure that your conference meets its goals and objectives, you need to craft the right program and select the appropriate resource persons for it. A standard request for proposal process can help you work towards that goal! Browse the extensive library of sample templates above to get started on your own form today!