How can a coin show that costs thousands to operate be free to those who attend?
The Michigan State Numismatic Society makes it work again at its fall show.
There are basically two types of coin show promotions: business/for profit and business/nonprofit. This commentary focuses on a nonprofit organization by way of a free convention and coin show.
All of the free opportunities start and finish with the countless hours given by scores of volunteers, starting with an elected board of directors, officers and many other helpers.
One of the jobs of the directors and officers is to locate and secure a facility that is of sufficient size, in a excellent location and affordable.
The directors and officers must be very diligent about balancing all factors that will encourage dealers to participate, such as table rental cost and associated expenses. It is very easy for a dealer who travels any distance to spend $2,000 or more before the first coin is sold.
The MSNS secretary/treasurer runs the day-to-day business of the society and assembles, organizes and publishes the quarterly membership magazine, The Michmatist.
A bourse chairman works hundreds of hours developing a show floor plan, dealer locations, and volunteer coordination. He also spends a great deal of time developing relationships with dealers from across the country. This is done to assure that the collector and hobbyist not only will be able to interact with the familiar local dealers but have a vast selection from a very diverse group.
The emphasis on free educational experiences requires volunteer coordinators for exhibits, education seminars, hospitality and youth numismatics. Hundreds of display cases and lights must be inspected and prepared for distribution.
Through all of this planning and work the bills are mounting, but the directors and officers understand their fiduciary responsibilities as a nonprofit organization. The budget, accounts and transactions are made available for public review by including this information in The Michmatist and on the MSNS website. The directors and officers must be prudent and ever so diligent with the funds that have been entrusted to them by the MSNS membership and, at the same time, offer a cost-effective opportunity for the dealers whose table rental fees cover the majority of expenses.