[Yapc-na-organizers] Tasks

Joshua McAdams joshua.mcadams at gmail.com
Mon Sep 18 11:03:34 PDT 2006

> Thanks!  I talked with Pete (YAPC::NA 2006) about sponsorship.  Some the
> information he pointed me to suggested offering potential sponsors the
> opportunity to sponsor the venue, snacks, t-shirts, banquet, printed
> materials, and speaker event.  I also know that the job fair attracted
> additional sponsorship.

Indeed, we attacked sponsorship in a few different ways, each with
their own good and bad points.

We started out with a ten-page sponsorship document that detailed
different items that companies could sponsor.  Companies could be a
t-shirt sponsor, snack sponsor, a banquet sponsor, etc.  Eventually we
added basic cash sponsorship levels that companies could sponsor at:
platinum, gold, silver, etc.  Later, these levels were broken out into
a little one-page document that had a list of what the sponsor was
entitled to for each level of sponsorship.

Some companies liked the large document with sponsorable items and
others were happy to just have the quick summary of what they get for
how much :)  In retrospect, managing a mix of 'item' sponsors and
general cash sponsors was kind of a headache.  It would have been much
easier for me to just to work with the cash levels to begin with and
only have item-specific sponsorships at the sponsor's request.  Still,
having a banquet sponsor or, as the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop seems to
have done, room sponsors, might be workable.  I would stop there and
take general cash sponsorship for everything beyond those few
big-ticket items.

As far as finding sponsors, here is what we did:
  * Local Perl Mongers approached their own employers (very successful)
  * Contacted the typical sponsors such as O'Reilly, ActiveState, etc.
  * Search for Perl jobs and then contact the employers that are hiring
  * Search for Perl articles on the web and in magazines and contact
the media agencies for publicity
  * Contact people who you have worked with and see if they have any leads

It is safe to say that connections that Chicago.pm members had with
different employers brought in at least half of our sponsorship.  Be
sure to get the entire group involved here.

Beyond that, the job fair was a big hit.  I talked to a recruiter at a
company that I worked for and asked what a reasonable price would be
for entrance in the fair.  They said that $500 was a price that would
be hard to say no to, so that was the number that I went with for
entrance to the job fair.  Of course, for smaller companies I reduced
the price, but $500 was a good starting point that wouldn't get an
immediate no.

Another good source of income was the post-YAPC classes.  I would
definitely encourage doing these again.  There are tons of good and
recognized instructors that are very willing to help out (and make
some extra cash).  $200/student paid for the rooms for the classes,
made YAPC $5,000, and paid out $12,000 to the instructors.

Also, remember that you'll need to round up some auction items.  There
are quite a few companies that will gladly send you some swag to
auction off for charity.

>From memory, things we offered sponsors were:
  * Verbal recognition at YAPC
  * Placement on the conference t-shirt
  * Placement in the conference program
  * Banner and link from the conference website
  * Table at the job fair

There are other things that you have at your disposal that you can
offer sponsors, but that you don't want to give away to start with.
One of the most important is access to the conference.  A few of the
sponsors requested that they get free passes for their sponsorship.
This is workable, but it also directly effects your numbers because
each person that attends the conference costs you money.  For each
free pass, you have to basically deduct $50-80 from the sponsorship.
For this reason, free passes are a nice thing to keep in your back
pocket in case you need them, but not necessarily offer right away.
One thing we did instead was 'company-passes'.  Basically, a local
company could purchase x-seats at the conference and could have that
number of employees in sessions at any given time.  Of course, we
didn't police it closely, so it might have been abused.  Still, it got
us out of giving away passes and made the companies feel better.  If I
remember correctly, we even did this for some companies that didn't
sponsor us.  Basically, they couldn't have their entire department out
for three days and couldn't justify buying passes for people to only
attend a hand-full of sessions.  Having a seat reserved allowed them
to rotate employees going to the conference and made financial sense
enough that they bought the passes.

So, that was more of a brain dump, but if I had to hit the high points:
  * Use every connection that your group has, these tend to pay
  * Don't get too complex in your sponsorship structure
  * Selling the job fair is the easiest of all because it has the most
potential benefit for a company


by the way, do you have access to our orgwiki so that you can see our
sponsorship contacts?

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