Why GrumpyConf Has No Sponsors post

November 8th, 2018

GrumpyConf 2019 will mark the 7th conference I've been involved in running:

  • CakeFest in Orlando, Florida, USA in 2008
  • TrueNorthPHP in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada from 2012 until 2016
  • GrumpyConf in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada starting in 2018

As I helped organize these events, I quickly came to understand that the role of sponsors is to help offset the costs of running these events. In exchange, you promise to give them access to your attendees in a number of ways:

  • keynotes/talks/hackathons related to their products
  • booths or tables for outreach
  • paying for meals and/or snacks
  • swag to give to attendees and sometimes speakers

I have never been shy about asking for sponsorship of my events because they are expensive to run and I have certain ideas and standards I want to stick to.

But what do you do when the normal ways you have to reward sponsors aren't available? This is the dilemma I face with GrumpyConf.

The idea of GrumpyConf is to have a small event at a somewhat isolated location and set up conditions where the attendees mingle with speakers who have experience solving tough problems and have great personal skils. If you're looking for an event that will show you a path to "levelling up" your skills to further your career, this is the one for you.

The event is not cheap because it's at a nice resort and the ticket includes three nights' stay and meals. Plus I pay my speakers' travel expenses and hotel. So I set the prices to make sure I could break even if the same number of folks come who did last year. It's entirely funded out of my pocket through ticket sales and whatever other expenses I need to cover. As long as I don't have to put a lot of my own money into the event, I can continue to run it. I am not a charity and will not run an event at any kind of substantial loss.

I would love sponsorship of my event to defray the costs of my speakers. But I am at a lost to figure out what I can give these generous sponsors in exchange for their money.

If you are interested in sponsoring GrumpyConf 2019, please get in touch with me. My contact information is in the sidebar (on desktop) or all the way at the bottom in mobile versions.