Events Management for London International Model United Nations
LIMUN is the largest annual university-based Model United Nations conference in Europe welcoming over 1500 delegates from across the world each year to London to debate some of the most pressing issues within the global agenda.
Challenges for Evergreen:
To upgrade the existing marketing website and content management system to reduce time spent on administration processes. To move Limun's administration and registration processes to an online platform, capable of managing in excess of 1500 worldwide delegates.
The Evergreen Solution:
Evergreen developed a database system to improve both the delegate's booking experience and facilitate the adminstration process.
Key benefits of the database system:
- A booking system with integrated PayPal payment gateway to allow delegates to make secure online payments for the first time in the event's history.
- The ability for the administrator to create events, set the year and registration period and any deadlines which are associated with the event.
- A search/query function based on multiple criteria for the administrator to easily access information from the delegate list.
- The ability to export delegate information to an excel spreadsheet in order to produce ID cards externally from the system.
- At each stage of the process for registration, an automated email is generated to the delegates to inform them of whether they have been approved or rejected and what the next steps are (if any).
Since the website and online registration system have been launched, LIMUN's Secretary General, Kacper Pancewicz has confirmed that the administration process is now more efficient, saving several man hours per day and has enabled the organisers to focus on the more important tasks of achieving deadlines.
Full Case Study
The London International Model United Nations (LIMUN) is a registered independent student-run charity which aims to extend cultural empathy, understanding of international affairs, and knowledge of the United Nations amongst young people through the organisation of an annual Model United Nations (MUN) conference. Taking on the role of an Ambassador to the UN, each delegate represents the viewpoint of a single Member State of the United Nations or non-governmental Organisation (NGO), researching that country's or NGO's policy and advocating these views to other delegates.
Evergreen rises to a strict project deadline challenge
In August 2013, LIMUN Secretary General, Kacper Pancewicz realised as the popularity of the events they organised was increasing that it was no longer feasible to process everything manually and so looked for an online solution. Searching online not just for a web designer but an IT professional company that could handle their database needs and create an online database system for the organisation, Kacper Pancewicz found bespoke application software specialists Evergreen. The brief given them was to create a web application to help the organisation manage conference registrations and provide a new modern design to refresh their current website complete with a content management system (CMS) so that LIMUN could update web content themselves. Timing was of the essence as registrations for the annual conference in February 2014 were due to open in October 2013 and so the project had to be completed to a very tight deadline. Evergreen rose to the challenge. Says Kacper Pancewicz,''We sent out a 2-3 page document which outlined our requirements to several companies and explained that we had a very tight schedule for the project. Evergreen were the first to reply and the most comprehensive to respond. They were also very quick to respond to any follow-up questions that we had.''
The LIMUN website has two major functions. Firstly it is a marketing tool to promote the conference to students worldwide. In fact 90% of all the delegates attending the conferences are from overseas. Its secondary and perhaps more important function is to act as an outlet where delegates can register for the conferences. Both these functions had become very restrictive as the website had been designed and built by a team of students whom the LIMUN conference administrators had to contact any time any content change needed to be made. Also, the only means by which a delegate could register was via a simple online form which was not integrated into any back office system. The administration process and conference payments were all handled manually which was very time consuming and open to discrepancies. Kacper explains that they were mainly looking for a web application system but also needed Evergreen to integrate this with their website to speed up and increase the efficiency of the conference registration and administration processes.
The bespoke web application that Evergreen created has the ability for users to register for an event along with the number of delegates that are included in the user's group. A secure log-in is provided for each individual user and administrator. Each user has his/her own personal area which includes information provided by the university or organisation he/she represents plus a brief questionnaire. The administrator can manage delegate information and payments as well as create and edit events and set registration periods and deadlines.
An incredible relief to have a system that saves so much time
The administrator can assign each confirmed delegation to a position in one of 25 committees and one of around 200 countries/organisations. The confirmed list can be exported to a spreadsheet which includes the delegate information so that identity cards can be externally produced from the system. A PayPal payment gateway was also included which meant that LIMUN can now automatically accept online payments for the very first time in the history of running the event. Kacper Pancewicz points out that having an automated online payment system has made delegates think carefully about their commitment to the conference, wheedling out those who may have in the past wasted administrator's time through procrastination and late payments, as the system also aids in the enforcement of deadlines. He continues by saying that ''the online system helps us focus on achieving deadlines. It has certainly made our administration more efficient. Having the CMS has also been a major improvement for us. Evergreen really did an excellent job.''
Apart from the automatic payment system and the ability to allocate delegates to countries in a more efficient way, they can now filter all the data any way they choose. E.g. If they want to find out which delegates have not paid or not filled in a certain section of the registration form they can run a search and find all the emails of those delegates that have not paid. Before, they had to manually find these emails and copy and paste them one by one. LIMUN is a charitable organisation with 8 or 9 full time university students who act as administrators for the conference, out of which 2 or 3 people are in charge of applications. Kacper estimates that since the online database system has been introduced, in terms of time spent on administration tasks, it has saved each person 1 or 2 hours each day and this saving is likely to increase as the conference looms closer. Says Kacper, ''It's an incredible relief to have a system that saves us so much time. Feedback from the administrators who use the system has been very positive and delegates have had a seamless transition to their new way of registering and paying for the conference.'
When asked if there were any problems LIMUN faced with the implementation of the system considering the very quick turnaround of the project, LIMUN's Secretary General states that any problems have been very minor and rates the support that he has had from Evergreen as 'quick, responsive and efficient'. Not all of the features were in place at the time that registration started but the essentials were all there and other less important features were postponed so the essential parts of the system could go live on schedule. He admitted that the only real teething problems they had encountered were those due to circumstances that had not been envisaged when creating the initial brief.
Great confidence that requirements will always be met
Whilst similar events organised in the USA already have online database systems in place, those held in Europe are on a much smaller scale and Kacper is in no doubt that other Model United Nations conference organisers will be looking at the success of the streamlined administration system of the London conference. Kacper Pancewicz would have no hesitation in recommending Evergreen to LIMUN's European counterparts looking to implement an online database system for conference registration. Kacper summarises his experience working with Evergreen as saying ''Evergreen are very efficient. We always have great confidence that they will always meet our requirements and that any problems we may have will be fixed straight away. I would certainly recommend them to any organisation looking for an online database system.''