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Edcamp Sponsorship Levels

Edcamp Sponsorship Levels

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Hi everyone -

For three years now I've been helping organize the sponsorship outreach for a local edcamp (edcampSFBay) and I wanted to ask some veteran edcamp organizers some thoughts on sponsorship levels and packages.

Typically, we ask for in-kind (goodies) donations or cash donations via email and twitter. Cash donations we give extra promotion to on social media, on our website (they go first in order of logos), and during the event promotion but that's it. Nothing super fancy.

I did notice tons of edcamps out there that created levels (gold, platinum, friend, supporter kind of things) that specifially state what each level gets in terms of recognition.

I thought we could use this space to share what we all do and reflect to see if there's a point of diminishing returns (is there a point where we're putting in tons of effort with less in return). In typical edcamp style, I usually like to keep it efficient, informal, and easy (without overbearing the attendees with sponsorship stuff) but I'm also VERY open to see what's working for everyone. 

Perhaps we can also share a list of organizations to approach. 

Thanks in advance!

Elana

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Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Laura and Gwen - It seems like we're on the same page. I sometimes feel I need a bit more "polish" -- showing exactly what they get per level and making it worth the sponsor's time but as Gwen talked about -- it's about the learning first.

I am facing trying to cover lunch for our attendees, which is about $2500 and without a ton of documentation, not many vendors are willing to donate that level of cash.

(1)
Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Hi Elana,

Be very, very careful - how many are you expecting to attend?

You've heard I'm sure of the infamous 50% attrition rule - it's a virtual certainty that AT LEAST half the people who sign up won't come.

It varies by event, I know in Boston the attrition rate is closer to 40%, and that's what we usually see with Padcamp, but, virtually every other Edcamp I have been associated with had more than half not show up.

This is especially a problem for events that purchase lunch. One Edcamp in particular (that I won't mention by name) had both a very expensive lunch and a very high attrition rate, something like 65%. They wasted a TON of food - and money.

I'd seriously consider either not providing lunch or making something available "on the day of the event at an extra cost for those who wish to purchase it." That way the event is still free and true to the Edcamp ethos, and you cover all the bases.

Another option is to just provide one type of food and not stress about it. At Padcamp, we provide plain cheese pizza and water. We've never heard a single complaint. Why? IT'S FREE, like the whole event! If you don't want pizza, make your own plans! :) Simple.

Hope this helps,

-kj-

(1)
Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Thanks Kevin. I think we're going to provide vouchers for a certain amount off of lunch. We've done this three times now and we're at about a 50% attrition rate. Vouchers allow us to customize it and base it off of people who show up. We're just not sure how much the vouchers will be worth yet but it seemed to work out last year and you're right...free is free :)

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Ah! Gotcha. Sounds good! Didn't realize you were a veteran organizer!

Rusul Alrubail's picture
Rusul Alrubail
Writer/Edutopia Community Facilitator/Chief Education Officer at The Writing Project

Hi Elana, this post is really helpful for me since it's my first time co organizing EdCampToronto so I am learning a lot as I go.

I am curious how you manage the sponsors at your edcamp, without them being overtly marketing their products. I don't have a problem with sponsors, but would like to maintain the non commercial feel of Edcamp.

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi Rusul,
I find the key is to very strongly and carefully set expectations about what they will not get:
- vendor table or booth
- sponsored sessions
- special time to sell their product at the beginning or end of the day

What they will get:
- logo in a bunch of places around the site
- thanks at the beginning and end of the day
- logo and link on the blog

Sponsors are always welcome to attend an Edcamp, but if they do, I caution them against running a sales pitch session, because at an Edcamp, it will not engender any good will towards their product. They're much better acting as any other participant, sharing about the things they're interested in, not their products.

(1)
Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Echoing Dan's thoughts. I find more edu-vendors are now familiar with the edcamp model but not all of them. I *always* echo that we are all just educators and we can only promise the specific things we mention and for us that's just a logo on our website and verbal mentions at the event . The bonus stuff of social media mentions I usually don't mention because you don't want to be put in that awkward situation where you promised something that didn't happen.

I have a simple template and go from there and haven't had any problems but better to be safe than sorry.

Hope this helps!

CFox's picture

Hello! I know this is an old post but still very relevant as more of us are organizing edcamps than ever! I am curious how and what kind of sponsor you reached out to for monetary donations? I feel like all we are reaching out to are giving us goodies (which we love!) but monetary donations would be so helpful in covering food and beverages! Any help here would be greatly appreciated!

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

Hi CFox,
I feel your pain. Tons of companies will reach out to do prizes, but prizes don't pay the bills. I know that in Boston we've had much better luck by working with local companies and nonprofit organizations to cover the costs than we ever have with companies outside of the area. If you haven't already, you should get in contact with the Edcamp Foundation http://www.edcamp.org/contact-us who can help you get some funds as well as get you in contact with an experienced organizer to help you think through your options.

CFox's picture

Thanks for responding! That seems to be what we are seeing as well. We are reaching out to local banks and other companies that already have a relationship with our school division or those in the area. Plus we have a lot of personal contacts just within the group of organizers.
The edcamp Foundation has already been a huge help to us and given us loads of information regarding sponsors and handling the tax letters and such. I agree that anyone organizing an edcamp, especially for the first time, should reach out to them!

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