Page 0: Bidding
Page 0: Bidding for a Worldcon or NASFiC
The first step in running a Worldcon or NASFiC is the bidding process. Bidding for a Worldcon is more complex than for a NASFiC, but the fundamentals are the same.
Firstly, you need to have a team. This can be a pre-existing group, an existing group, or a combination of the two. In the USA these are typically non-profit volunteer organizations.
Secondly, you need a site. This can be a hotel, a convention center, or a combination of the two. In the USA a Worldcon typically uses a convention center and multiple hotels. Recent NASFiCs have been smaller than earlier ones, so using one or two hotels might be sufficient.
Thirdly, you need to select a year or years for your bid. You need to take into account who else is bidding and where.
Fourthly, you need to attend Worldcons and NASFiCs. You should also consider attending SMOFcons where Worldcon/NASFiC runners meet annually to discuss how to run these events and network with fellow convention runners.
Fifthly, you need to raise money to pay for the bidding. Typically, this involves selling pre-support memberships (once you've officially announced the bid). Prior to announcing you might ask a sponsoring organization to give you money to fund the bid; you can also ask bid team members for monthly or quarterly funds. It will take time and money to launch and run a bid.
As of 2016 Worldcons are voted on two years prior and NASFiCs are voted on one year prior. It is traditional to officially launch a Worldcon bid four years prior which gives you two years to bid. It is traditional to officially launch a NASFiC bid two years prior which gives you one year to bid. These numbers can be longer or shorter than typical. The WSFS Constitution specifies a filing deadline of six months prior to the vote and some bids have waited until the last minute to file, so there is variation in the bid launch dates.
Let's say you have spoken to your local group and formed a bid team that's interested in bidding for a Worldcon. As many of the team members as possible should attend the next Worldcon and the next SMOFcon. This will give you an opportunity to meet others running Worldcons, find out who is bidding where in the future, and start the necessary networking to determine which year would be best for your bid. Sometimes that year is dictated by local conditions while other times you have to work around another group or city for one reason or another. Attend, ask questions, and learn from those fans who have been through this process a time or two.
What can you expect to spend on a bid?