Duties of the Local Chair


These guidelines are meant for a local chair whom is planning an entire meeting, rather than one who is working with a meeting that is planned already (i.e. ENAR, JSM). An example of a local chair who would utilize these guidelines is one planning a mini-meeting, probability workshop or IMS solo Annual Meeting.

The IMS allows Local Chairs a lot of autonomy in planning meetings to provide you the opportunity to fashion the meeting as you wish. These are guidelines to assist you. The IMS Executive Director (Elyse Gustafson, erg@imstat.org) is always happy to help with anything. Just ask.


The Local Chair with input from the Program Chair should set a budget for the meeting. A sample budget might look like this:

The budget should be set to be break-even. Registration fees should then be set based on this budget. In this case, we expected 200 attendees to the meeting, so registration was set at: $140 for members (100 expected), $50 students (20 expected) and $160 for non-members (80 expected). Although there is no set amount that each group should pay, students should receive a significant discount and non-members should pay slightly more than members.

The meeting location should be selected at least two years prior to the meeting. Your meeting can be held at a hotel, university or conference center depending on the needs.

In some cases, accommodations for the meeting should be selected by the local chair and a block of rooms should be booked. The local chair should be able to arrange for a group rate. This needs to be done at least 1 year prior to the meeting at the same time the location is selected. Accommodations can he held in hotels or dorms.

Registration forms should be available 6-9 months prior to the meeting. The sooner the better. For more information on advertising IMS meetings see Meetings Announcements.

Registrations for stand-alone IMS Annual Meeting and the World Congress should include the option of joining IMS (for stand-alone) or IMS/BS (for World Congress) at a reduced rate. Reach out to the IMS Executive Director to coordinate this in advance of setting up the registration form.

The local chair should coordinate the collection of registrations either with his/her institution or the IMS. Registration forms should allow for several methods of payment, most importantly credit cards because they allow members for all parts of the world to pay easily.

Set up catering for breaks and meals as approved in meeting budget. This will depend on how much is budgeting for food at the meeting. Some meetings budget meals while others just budget for breaks. Within this budget, the local chair can select what he/she sees fit for each meal/break.

If there is a special event, such as a banquet, the local chair should select the menu within budget.

Request audio-visual needs from speakers. Typically, a meeting will have a standard a/v set up that includes:

microphone (lav or wireless)
1 LCD projector
1 screen

It is easiest to notify the speakers of this setup and then have them request special items outside this list.  The local chair should ensure the budget for audio-visual covers all basic AV expenses and should include extra to accommodate special requests. The IMS works to try and provide speakers with all the items they need for their presentation. Some organizations charge the speakers for items outside the “standard” list, this is something the IMS would like to avoid.

The Local Chair with input from the Program Chair should decide what type of printed or online program they would like for a meeting. Small meetings typically allow for formatted and photocopied abstracts while larger meetings typically use a professional service to set these up. The program should include the meeting schedule and abstracts. Advertising can be sold to help offset the cost.

The badges can be easily printed out by the person who handles the registrations. The type and extent of meeting badges and bags is at the discretion of the local chair and should be budgeted for.

Often to save money on staff, you can ask students to handle check-in and registration for free attendance. This can vary depending on the size of the meeting and location.

This should be setup for all attendees.

Sometimes there are items that need to be distributed in a photocopy format. Budget for this.

Exhibitors tend to want to attend the larger meetings, but even meetings of 150-300 may have an opportunity for exhibitors. If a local chair wishes to defray costs he can ask publishers if they wish to display items or advertise at the meeting. This is at the discretion of the local chair.