Date and Time: 12/17/2020 at 1 pm eastern
Run Time: 90 minutes including Q & A session
Leader: Sam Erkonen, Attorney at Law
Credits: Awarded 1.5 credit hours by HRCI
Price: Webinar $295; Webinar + Download $349 (Share the download with your colleagues)
Audience: Finance, department heads, event planners, in-house counsel, executive directors


The success of your events is of fundamental importance to your organization and its mission, but the pandemic has shed new light on the risks your organization faces if it continues to do business as usual when negotiating for new venues. The Pandemic has reshaped how negotiating for a venue is being done, and your underlying agreements need to change if your organization is to have the protections it requires. At a minimum, your future agreements should include beefed up protections against penalties for cancellations caused by events beyond your control. Unfortunately, current “force majeure” clauses and other contractual protections are just not up to the job. In addition, in the current Pandemic environment your organization may also be dealing with the challenge of canceling an existing agreement for a future venue. And add to this, events have gone virtual, and contracting for a virtual event has its own set of questions and contract terms which need to be considered. Nonprofit events have changed, and your agreements need to keep pace.

You’ll be negotiating from a position of strength if you start with an understanding of the areas that need to be covered in a new agreement for a venue or virtual event and how the Pandemic and other current trends have changed the face of nonprofit event negotiations and contracting. Please join Sam Erkonen, attorney at law, as he explains what needs to be documented in your agreements and how recent developments, including the shift to virtual events, is changing the agreements you’ll be negotiating the next time you sit down to plan a meeting.


Mr. Erkonen will be discussing:

  • Current “hot topics” in the contracts area such as attrition, cancellation and evolving technology.
  • Innovative ideas on contractually protecting your not for profit in the event something goes wrong
  • Beefing up “force majeure” and other protections. Why current “force majeure” clauses don’t work
  • Realistic approaches to protecting your organization from “real world” risks such as safety and potential liquor liability
  • Strategies for canceling current agreements with minimal penalties including postponements, credits, timing of notice, etc.
  • Points to be covered in an agreement for a virtual event including archiving of content, participant requirements, cancellation, privacy, etc.)
  • Basic virtual event contract provisions
  • The need for the venue to acknowledge that you are a not-for-profit organization in order not to be charged taxes
  • What you should do in the future when the hotel sends you their “standard agreement”
  • Should you send out an RFP to several potential locations
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • Nailing it down-avoiding the gray areas in contracts
  • Common sense clauses to include in your contracts
  • Standard provisions such as: force majeure, cancellation, indemnification, insurance, deposits, minimum guarantees, deposits, cut-off dates, etc.
  • Negotiation, when to “hold ’em” and when to “fold ’em;” and how much flexibility you really have
  • Safety and health issues such as ADA compliance, food handling, etc.


Samuel J. Erkonen is a partner with Howe & Hutton, Ltd. He earned his B.B.A. in finance from the University of Iowa and is a 1989 graduate of the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. While at Washington University, Sam was elected president of his legal fraternity. He also possesses a master of laws degree in taxation.

Mr. Erkonen has extensive nationwide litigation experience at the state and federal levels and presently serves primarily the hospitality, entertainment, and trade association industries chiefly in the areas of contract negotiations and litigation. Sam is past chairman (twice) of the Trade and Professional Association Committee and recently served on the Nominating Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. Sam is a frequent speaker for MPI and its chapters, the MPI Foundation’s Platinum Series programs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, PCMA, ASAE, ISES and other groups in the meetings, travel and hospitality industries.

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