Sponsoring a conference can be really beneficial to an organization. Nonprofits (especially volunteer-run groups) can rarely justify the cost. We’re trying a little experiment to fix that, and so far, it’s going well.
A few months ago, I wanted to donate some money to PyOhio. I love community tech conferences and try to support them when I can. In an attempt to have my cake and eat it too, I thought I’d try donating toward a booth for a local non-profit. I tweeted the idea, and the response was great.
A handful of generous people from the Python community offered to pitch in, and we had ourselves a sponsorship. The whole process came together without much more than a few tweets and some follow-up emails. Because I’m not local to Columbus, one of the hardest parts involved was finding a beneficiary group. Luckily, some of the folks involved mentioned Girl Develop It Columbus and put me in touch with one of the chapter’s organizers. I’m thrilled to be able to say that Girl Develop It is now listed on PyOhio’s sponsors page and will have a booth at PyOhio. I’m looking forward to seeing how the booth goes in July.
For anyone thinking of doing this at a conference:
That’s awesome, you should! Everyone involved in this was super supportive, and I expect you’ll find the same.
Try to find a beneficiary group early on. This was what took the most time for us, and front-loading this step would have shortened the timeline quite a bit.
No one wants to invoice ten people for $200 each for a single booth. To make things easy on the organizers, the person leading the donation should collect all the donations and serve as a single point of contact for the conference.