WordCamp NYC 2010

A New Kind of Sponsorship

Last year, Steve and I wanted WordCamp NYC to be the biggest, broadest, most diverse WordCamp ever. With 8 tracks, over 50 speakers and close to 800 people, I’d say we succeeded! We raised a TON of money last year, including some high-priced sponsorships that we drummed up in anticipation of needing to pay NYC venue rental rates when our donated venue turned out to only have room for 200 (and we wound up not needing when last-minute serendipity found us a spot at Baruch). Since then, I’ve seen a lot of other WordCamps asking for big-dollar sponsorships, but the truth is, they shouldn’t be necessary at all. WordCamps are casual, the speakers are volunteers, ticket prices usually cover the cost of a t-shirt and lunch, and you really just need cash to cover things that you can’t get for free, like insurance, security/janitorial fees when you have a donated venue, office supplies, pizza for volunteers, printing, etc. Just as we blazed a trail last year, this year we’re hoping to set the opposite trend by proving you don’t need $15,000 sponsorship levels to have a great WordCamp.

Here’s where it gets fun.

We think of money as a foundation for structuring the event. You just don’t plan for more than you can afford, and you don’t ask for more than you *really* need, or more than your potential sponsors can really afford. This year? Roll your own sponsorship!

Just as we think of money as an event foundation, we think of buildings and bridges as the foundation of New York City’s structure and personality. This year, you can choose your own sponsorship $ amount by choosing the height of one of NYC’s buildings or bridges. What would this mean for dollar amounts? Here are a couple of examples:

Empire State Building: $1250 (or $1454 if you include pinnacle height)
Chrysler Building: $1046
Met Life Tower: $700
United Nations: $505
Brooklyn Bridge: $276

We found a handy list of the heights of buildings over 300 feet, but if you’re interested in bridges, you’ll have to look up their heights individually. The grand plan is that when we put together our programs and screensavers, we can cobble together a ‘sponsor skyline’ using the silhouettes of the structures our sponsors have chosen for their donation amounts. We’ll only accept one sponsor per building, though, so if you have a favorite, get your request in asap!

What does this do to the usual ‘what do i get for my money’ question? It turns it on its head! You should sponsor a WordCamp because you recognize the value of growing the local community and because you want to give something back to the free open source software that has improved your life and/or business, not because it’s a cheap advertising expense with one of the most highly desirable target audiences around. At least that’s how we think it should be. To that end?

  • Every sponsor will be announced on the blog, regardless of the amount. Every act of generosity deserves recognition.
  • Every sponsor above $500 will get space on our sponsor swag table for a postcard, flyer, sticker or button, and a space behind the table for an official company rep if desired. (Note: if we wind up with 50 sponsors this will be a problem, and we’ll maybe create a schedule or something.) We won’t put everyone’s stuff in a bag and hand it out like last year, because let’s face it — when you get a bag filled with promotional stuff, lots of people just throw it all away without even looking at it, and that is crazy wasteful. Not good. This way, people will take what interests them, so make your swag cool! And maybe have your rep wear a cool t-shirt that makes people want to talk to them! Note: If you want to be at this table, but you just like short buildings and bridges, you can combine two choices to get to 500, like pairing a 275 bridge with a 300 building.
  • No logos. Your logo will not be splashed on shirts, bags, screensavers, etc. We will include a logo in the post we write announcing your sponsorship, and there will be logo representation for the sponsor swag table so people can easily tell who’s there, but otherwise? No. Why? Because WordCamp sites covered in sponsor logos look like WordCamp sites covered in ads. This event is about the content and the community, not the ad placement. What you will get is a listing on our sponsor page with your company name, link, short description, and the name of the landmark you chose for your sponsorship level. Sponsors will be ranked on this page in order from highest to lowest donation amount.
  • You will be thanked at our event, in front of everyone. No one likes sitting through a lot of thanks, we know, so we’re cooking up something a little more entertaining.
  • In the main pre- and post-event emails, we will thank the sponsors (landmark name and company name).

We’ll also probably offer a low-level microsponsorship of $100 in place of a regular ticket purchase for individuals who want to kick in.

Finally, in-kind sponsorships are also very welcome. Want to provide coffee service? Printing? Lanyards? Videography? Snacks? Lunch? Speaker dinner? A party? If it’s free, we’ll probably take it (as long as it’s not covered in your logo)! We’d also love to get some loans — last year we bought a ton of office supplies to keep the event running smoothly that we wound up giving away to another WordCamp once ours ended. It would be great to just borrow and/or get donations of that kind of stuff instead (staplers, hole punches, post-its, pens, sharpies, etc). If you have access to something we can have or can borrow, let us know.

The race is on! WordCamp NYC is only 5 weeks away, so pick a NYC landmark and make your sponsorship bid today! Oh wait, how do you do that? Leave a comment on this post and fill in one of the forms below. We’ll grab your email from the comment information in WordPress and email you to work out the details. Thanks!

For cash sponsorships:

Name of NYC landmark –

Height/dollar amount –

Company name –

Your name –

For in-kind sponsorships:

What you’re offering (as detailed as possible, please) –

Company name (if applicable) –

Your name –

Instructions for Buying Tickets

We're using a new WordPress plugin for selling tickets, developed pro bono by 9seeds. If you have signed up to be a sponsor or have applied to be a speaker, please do not buy a ticket until you hear from Jane (by Sept 27, honest), as you'll need to use a special code to register if confirmed. If you're not sponsoring/speaking, go ahead and buy a Regular Admission ticket.

If you only buy one ticket, you'll fill in your attendee info right away. If you buy multiple tickets (like for a bunch of people from your company), you'll just fill in the billing info now, and you'll get an email with links for each attendee to go and fill in their own attendee profile (t-shirt size, email address, twitter ID, etc). This is a new system, so if you have trouble purchasing tickets, email jane/wordcamp/org for help.

P.S. The form styling will be fixed in the next plugin update. Beta, baby! :)

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