Despite the claim at the top of my blog that I will never lie to you (borrowed from Jimmy Carter, in his 1976 presidential campaign), I lied. I revamped the proposal one more time, eliminating all the alternatives I didn't really like, which left only 1, at a cost of $10,350 (which actually is a high-end estimate, based on top-end costs for many items, meaning we can probably bring it in under budget, if they give us that much).
This was a strategic move. Because most of the other options were less expensive, they might have been too attractive to an administrator who didn't really get what I had in mind. And the $12,000 estimate assumed we didn't charge a registration fee, but I decided it's best to make people to feel invested in the conference by paying a fee for it. Two good meals, a commemorative item, 9 high-quality speakers, and a hotel room, all for $40? That's more than a good enough deal. (
Of course once people pay the $40 it's a sunk cost, and they should ignore it rather than feeling committed, but since people aren't really that economically rational, I'll operate on a basis of how they actually do behave, rather than how they ought to behave.)
I talked to our College's Development Director yesterday, and he sounded positive about raising the money for it. Then I hinted to the Dean that I was going to ask for a lot more than we had talked about, and his response was, "Yeah, after we talked I started thinking that this thing could be really big, but I wasn't sure in what way." Sweet music to my ears! He's primed to think big, and is waiting for me to show him the way!
And I had a nice talk on the phone with Dave Gardner, who commented on my first post about this conference that he'd like to film the event for a documentary he's making. That, noted as a possibility, not a certainty, is now part of my proposal, as one of the selling points. Our President loves publicity for Adrian College.
As much as anything, I'm eager to find out if my strategic choices pay off. As a political scientist, I find it easy to look back at past political events and see what the good and bad strategic choices were, but when you're actually having to make them, it's much harder to see what the best strategy is.