Frequently Asked Questions

Registration
Schedule and Itinerary Builder
Payment
Cancellation
Volunteers
Media
Travel, Accommodations and Transportation

Registration

When does Registration Open?
Registration is now open! Register now to receive the discounted, early bird rate.

Where will the 2015 Conference on Volunteering and Service be held?
GRB Houston Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
800-427-4697
http://www.houstonconventionctr.com/

How much does it cost to attend?
Registration costs start as low as $250 and vary by registrant type. For a full list of registration fees, please view our pricing chart. The general sessions, workshops, forums, service project, etc., are included in the basic pricing. Some sessions have additional fees that will be noted in the Itinerary Builder within the registration process.

Under which registration category and subcategory should I register?
Read this quick overview before you start the registration process to ensure you register under the correct category and subcategory, which determines your registration rate.

Registration Categories:

  • Conference Attendee: The majority of registrants will fall into this category.
  • Conference Volunteer: Each year Conference volunteers are needed to help with tasks such as stuffing Conference bags, greeting attendees and helping with registration. Conference volunteers sign up for at least one four-hour volunteer shift. In exchange for their service, they receive a discounted registration rate. Conference volunteers have the same access to Conference events as other attendees. If you register as a Conference Volunteer you will be required to sign up for a four-hour volunteer shift before completing your registration. Anyone can sign up for a four-hour Conference volunteer shift to receive a discounted registration. Volunteer shifts are limited and are first come, first served.
  • Conference Sponsors: If you are part of an organization that is sponsoring Conference, please register as a Conference Sponsor. Conference Sponsors have access to all sessions and plenaries.
  • Volunteer Only: Each year Conference volunteers are needed to help with tasks such as stuffing Conference bags, greeting attendees and helping with registration. If you are interested in volunteering at Conference you can register as a Volunteer Only for no charge. However, you will NOT have access to any sessions or plenaries.
  • Accepted Speakers: If you have been accepted by the Conference planning team to present a session during one of the five workshop blocks at Conference, please follow the instructions in the Presenter Resource Center to register. There is a maximum of three speakers per session. Speakers have access to all sessions and plenaries. Please note that submitters were notified of their proposal status on March 26. If you submitted a proposal and did not receive an email about the status of you proposal, please contact us.

NOTE: Once you select your registration category you will be prompted to select a subcategory.

Registration Subcategories:

  • Points of Light Member - Points of Light has several membership programs for organizations: HandsOn Network Affiliates, AmeriCorps Alums, Corporate Service Council and nonprofit and government members. If you believe your organization or company is already a member of one of these programs or if you would like more information about becoming a member, please contact us at the corresponding email address. For HandsOn Network Affiliate membership inquiries, contact membership@handsonnetwork.org. For Corporate Service Council membership inquiries, contact corporateinstitute@pointsoflight.org. For Nonprofit/Government membership inquiries, contact training@pointsoflight.org.
  • CNCS Grantee or Project - Corporation for National and Community Service grantees and projects include:
    • AmeriCorps state and national program/host site
    • AmeriCorps VISTA programs/host sites
    • CNCS staff
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day grantees
    • Senior Corps programs
    • Social Innovation Fund grantees/sub-grantees
    • State commissions
    • 9/11 grantees
  • Nonmember: National Service Member - This subcategory includes:
    • Current serving AmeriCorps state and national members
    • Current serving AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps members
    • Current AmeriCorps VISTA members
    • Current FEMA Corps members
    • Current Senior Corps volunteers
  • Nonmember: Business - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing businesses or corporations.
  • Nonmember: Nonprofit - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing nonprofit organizations.
  • Nonmember: Foundation - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing foundations.
  • Nonmember: Education - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing K-12 schools, colleges or universities. Students also fall into this subcategory. If you are a current student you may qualify for a discount. Please scan a copy of your student ID and email it to polregistration@helmsbriscoe.com for a discount code.
  • Nonmember: Government - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing government organizations.
  • Nonmember: Faith-based - This subcategory is for Conference attendees who are not Points of Light Members and are representing faith-based organizations.

Are registrants allowed to bring guests?
Registered attendees are welcome to bring a guest for an extra fee. Guest registration is available to any spouse or partner of a registered attendee. Guest participation, however, is limited. Workshops are open to registrants only. Co-workers and/or business partners are not considered guests and should register as attendees. Please register your guest(s) when you register for Conference.

Where is the Conference being held?
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston, TX 77010

Conference Dates
Monday, October 19 - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cut off Dates for Pricing
Early Bird July 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Regular October 17, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET
Onsite Begins October 18, 2015

Pricing
Click here for the 2015 Conference on Volunteering and Service registration fees.

  • Registration Categories
  • Conference Volunteer: You get a discounted rate if you sign up to volunteer for a 4 hour shift. You sign up once you register. All volunteer shifts are first come, first serve through registration. You also MUST select a volunteer shift in order to proceed with your registration.
  • To qualify for the student fee students must present a valid student ID at the registration kiosk when they check in. To qualify for the National Service (current AmeriCorps, current Senior Corps or AmeriCorps VISTA) registration fee, members must wear their National Service uniform or present a valid ID. If a valid ID is not produced, or you are not wearing your National Service uniform, the applicable on-site registration fee will be charged.

Group Discounts: If you are interested in discounted group registration ratesplease email events@pointsoflight.org.

Audience

  • Anyone who believes in putting needs of others first through the giving of their time, talent and voice.
  • Anyone who lives to give, stands up to serve and lights the way for others.
  • Anyone who believes that it doesn't take a lot of power to make a difference in the lives of others.
  • Anyone who wants to grow as a person, affirm their purpose and take the next step in making a difference in the lives of others.

Age Limitations
Children under the age of 18 must be escorted by a parent or guardian.

Contact

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Schedule and Itinerary Builder

Where can I find a schedule of Conference events?
Click here for a current schedule at a glance, subject to change.

Where do I select workshops and events that I would like to attend?
The "Itinerary Builder" is available through registration. Attendees can select the specific workshops, special events, specialty trainings and receptions they would like to attend on the Itinerary Builder page in their registration record. The only way to guarantee a spot in a session is by adding it to your itinerary.

Where can I view sessions without logging into my registration record?
Session Locator is the application that allows you to view all of the Conference workshops and sessions before registering for Conference.

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Payment

I still have a balance due; can I make a payment onsite?
Yes, please visit the "Registration Payments and Questions" counter at the registration. You can also go to the Program Viewing Station and log into your registration record to make a credit card payment to an outstanding balance.

Where can I get a completed W-9 form?
For organizations that need a W-9 form to process payment, download a completed W-9 form.

Payment Options

  • Credit Card: (American Express, Discovery, Visa, Master Card)
  • Check: Please make your check payable to "Points of Light" and be sure to reference "Conference 2015" on the memo line to ensure accurate processing. Please mail checks to 600 Means Street Suite 210 Atlanta, GA 30318. There is a $50 fee for all returned checks. Your attendee status will be considered "pending" until payment is received and processed.
  • Purchase Order: Mailing address for PURCHASE ORDERS should go to 600 Means Street Suite 210 Atlanta, GA 30318. In order to attendee the Conference you must be fully paid and in "active" status. Payments must be received before you can be admitted into Conference.

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Cancellation

What is your cancellation policy?
All requests for cancellations and refunds must be made in writing and emailed to polregistration@helmsbriscoe.com with "Cancellation Request" or "Refund Request" in the subject line. The date of the cancellation will be the date the email is sent. It is the responsibility of the registrant to confirm receipt of cancellation.

There is a $100 processing fee for all cancellations. No refunds will be issued for registrations cancelled or created after 11:59 p.m. ET on September 18, 2015. Credit card refunds will be issued at the time of cancellation approval by the Conference team. Check refunds will be issued within 60 days of the cancellation request. 

I have already registered, but I can no longer attend. Can one of my colleagues attend in my place?
Substitutions will be honored until 5 p.m. ET Thursday October 1, 2015. In order to process a substitution, the original registration must be paid in full and should not be cancelled. Payment method changes will not be honored. Please email polregistration@helmsbriscoe.com to make a substitution.

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Volunteers

What volunteer opportunities are available?
We have hundreds of opportunities to volunteer this year, including greeting and assisting other Conference attendees, packing Conference bags, assisting with registration and more. You may sign up for as many shifts as your schedule can accommodate. We will do our best to place you in the role you choose, but we may have to make some adjustments based on the needs of the Conference planning team.

If you would like to volunteer at Conference please register under the Conference Volunteer category; you will receive a discounted registration rate in exchange for working at least one four-hour volunteer shift. If you would like to volunteer at Conference but not attend the Conference please register under the Volunteer Only category. If you register under the Volunteer Only category there is no cost to volunteer, but you will not have access to any workshops.

If I volunteer during Conference, do I receive a discounted registration rate?
Yes, we do offer a discounted registration rate for attendees who will volunteer for at least one four-hour volunteer shift during Conference. If you would like to volunteer at Conference and receive the discounted rate please register under the Conference Volunteer category. You will be asked to sign up for one four-hour volunteer shift before your registration is complete.

Volunteering at a service project does not count as a Conference volunteer shift and you will not receive a discounted registration rate for participating. All Conference volunteers must register and show up for his or her four-hour shift to receive the discount. If a volunteer misses his or her volunteer shift, he or she will be charged the full registration fee.

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Media

When will media registration open?
Media registration will open in September 2015. If you have any questions please contact Jennifer Geckler at jgeckler@pointsoflight.org

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Travel, Accommodations and Transportation

Lodging Rates
Only available after registration is complete.

  • Hilton Americas - $219 per night 1600 Lamar St. Houston, TX 77010
  • DoubleTree by Hilton - $179 per night 400 Dallas St. Houston TX 77002
  • Hyatt Regency - $189 per night 1200 Louisiana St. Houston TX 77002
  • Magnolia Hotel - $209 per night 1100 Texas Ave. Houston, TX 77002
  • Holiday Inn - $174 per night (Government Rates Available) 1810 Bell St. Houston TX 77003

Approximately four weeks before the conference starts, attendees will be able to call the hotel directly to get their reservations numbers or make alterations directly with the hotel.

GOVERNMENT RATED ROOMS are LIMITED AND OFFERED ON A FIRST COME FIRST SERVE BASIS. Registrations that reserve a government rated room must show proof upon check in to the front desk.

If there is a question that you can't answer or they have a very specific question about a session you can tell them to email the below email address. You can also email the question for them. 
conference@volunteeringandservice.org.

Transportation to Houston

Conference will be held at the George R. Brown Houston Convention Center

GRB Houston Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas
Houston, TX 77010
800-427-4697
http://www.houstonconventionctr.com/

Fly United Airlines, the official airline partner for the Conference on Volunteering and Service.

  • Airports
    • Hobby Airport (HOU)
      Cab fare from Hobby Airport (HOU) to Downtown approximately $22
    • Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
      Cab fare from Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Downtown approximately $45

  • Taxis
    $6 Cab Fare Anywhere Downtown
    The City of Houston has authorized a flat taxi fare of $6 for all trips in the downtown area. This $6 fare will apply anywhere within the Central Business District, bounded by Interstate 45, Interstate 10 and U.S. 59. The fare, in addition to increased downtown taxi stands, provides an easy alternative to driving to lunch, business meetings and activities throughout the downtown area. No surcharges will apply to the fare, which can accommodate multiple riders under the $6 total rate.

    Taxi stands are designated areas where cabs can "stand" and wait for a fare. Additionally, there are at least 30 "hailing cab" icons on various downtown streets, which mark that particular site as a three-minute zone where taxis can briefly stop to pick up and drop off passengers.

  • Buses
    Free transportation in Downtown Houston - GreenLink Buses

    Seven buses operate in Downtown Houston Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., about 7-10 minutes apart. The route spans 2.5 miles with 18 stops and connects Metro transit stops, the convention corridor, hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment.

    Greenlink buses stop at popular downtown destinations including GreenStreet, George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Main Street Square, City Hall and the Central Library and connects to Metro Park & Ride services and to the Main Street MetroRail line.

    The buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), making them a cleaner transportation alternative. Features of the buses include a streamlined, modern design, low-floor access, perimeter seating, high-quality air conditioning, 28-seat capacity, a front-mounted bike rack and are ADA compliant.

    Click here for a route map of the GreenLink Buses

Weather

Average Temperatures Average Precipitation
Month High Low Month Inches
September 89° F 68° F September 4.33
October 82° F 59° F October 4.50

For more information about Houston, please visit www.visithoustontexas.com

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Conference on Volunteering and Service