Finances and Forensics
Updated June 20, 2005
Prepared by Jim Hanson
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS--LOWER THE COST OF TROPHIES
o Get bids for low cost trophies. Send out an RFP (Request for Proposals) itemizing the desired trophies and asking local vendors for binding bids. Choose the lowest bid.
o Use local art for trophies. Consider encouraging students in your school's art department to do projects to make trophies.
o Use ribbons, certificates, flowers, old trophies, typewriters for awards
o Use less expensive trophies like less wood and marble, more glassware, toy animals, pottery, and t-shirts
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS-HELP NEW, POORLY FUNDED PROGRAMS
o Waive or reduce fees for new programs and programs with small budgets
o Include a statement in your invitation that explicitly requests poorly funded programs to contact you about fee waivers.
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS-LOWER THE COST OF JUDGING
o Try to get volunteer judges; encourage local business leaders to judge and write letters for their efforts
o Require teaching assistants, including those not in the speech-debate program, to judge rounds for the program. Make it part of their job; it helps you and gives them something to put on their Vita.
o Encourage alumni judging as a "donation" to the program
o Make a requirement in an undergraduate class (basic public speaking; argumentation and debate class) to judge at your tournament (especially your high school tournament). You can also give extra credit for judging or establish an assignment in an undergraduate class to write critiques of public presentations and let the students do judging at the tournament to fulfill the requirements of the assignment.
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS-GET SPONSORS FOR YOUR TOURNAMENT
o Look for sponsorships for the tournament; have them pay for trophies, ballots, etc.
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS-LOWER TRAVEL COSTS FOR PARTICIPANTS
o Offer discounts for long-distance travelers
o Offer free lodging in residence hall rooms, student rooms, gyms, etc.
o Provide transportation from the tournament hotel to the tournament site and from the airport to and from the hotel. This reduces the need for expensive rental vans and cars. You can save programs hundreds of dollars by doing this.
o Design your schedule so that other people need to spend the least number of nights at a hotel. This can save programs hundreds of dollars in hotel and food costs and it means students and coaches spend more time at home. As you do this, maintain concern for safety for when people travel to and from the tournament. For example, start your tournament Friday evening and end mid-day Sunday.
o Arrange group rates with airlines that fly into your city or area.
o Arrange discount rates at hotels for your tournament, especially if you have a tournament hotel
o Work with other schools to offer swings to provide most the rounds for the buck. Consider hosting two tournaments at your school during one weekend. For example, maybe a short IE tournament on Friday before you begin your regular tournament on Friday evening.
TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS-IDEAS AT THE END OF YOUR TOURNAMENT
o Send portions of profits to groups supporting debate like the IMPACT coalition, the Soros foundation, the Urban Debate League, and Daniel Webster foundation.
o Send letters to the administrations of programs who participated at your tournament and laud the achievements of the students and coaches at the program. This builds up support for the program.
COACHES--ALTERNATIVES TO LEXIS
COACHES-LOWER PHOTOCOPY COSTS
o Encourage students to do more research on-line. Even consider a scanner with an OCR program to turn scans into text documents. You'll save money by printing instead of photocopying and have easier access to the files than in huge cabinet files.
o Soon you will be able to promote electronic evidence read off of student portable computers.
o Encourage students to put more evidence on each page to reduce photocopying costs
COACHES-FIND LESS EXPENSIVE HOUSING/HOTELS
o Share hotel rooms. Be sure to check your school's regulations concerning this
o Get roll-aways for hotel rooms so you can fit 5 in a room
o Request discounts from hotel chains that you frequently visit.
o Request discount rates, AAA discounts, corporate rates, special rates, government rates, etc.
o Stay at cheaper tournament motels and hotels like Motel 6's etc.
o Drive an RV on long trips. Watch movies on the way to nationals, eat without stopping, and sleep in a bed.
o Stay at homes of alumni, students, parents, etc.
o Stay in residence hall rooms, a gym, etc., at the tournament you attend.
COACHES-REDUCE THE COSTS OF FOOD
o Buy an ice chest and fill it with sandwiches and cold drinks.
o Pack lunches for the drive instead of fast food; it is healthier and cheaper.
o Buy groceries instead of eating out all the time
o Go to cheap food, fast food. Remember, as a coach, you may have more disposable income than students
o Students with food plans on their home campus can get meals packed to take along, at least for the first day.
o Request free food at tournament schools with meal plans from the same food service company.
COACHES-REDUCE TRAVEL COSTS
o Drive your own cars and have students drive their own cars to tournaments.
o Share vans or rent a bus to tournaments. Have one coach in the area work out the logistics and then other schools should cooperate.
o Note: Be careful about driving personal cars and sharing vans among schools due to liability concerns Some schools have insurance regulations that prohibit such transportation from happening.
COACHES-GENERAL TOURNAMENT COST REDUCTIONS
o Choose less expensive tournaments and tournaments with lower fees
o Go to tournaments that are closer.
COACHES-LOWER AIRFARE COSTS
o Order tickets during air wars.
o Make links in your web browser to cheap airlines.
o http://www.southwest.com/ Southwest Airlines
o Buy a national paper like USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and keep up with the lowest ticket prices.
o Work with travel agents to reduce fees
o If you live in a smaller town, consider driving to a nearby major city to fly as fares are often much lower.
Questions or Comments? Send mail to Jim Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.