Although ffconf has been running since 2009, sponsorship is always a process that you have to start from scratch. The event is organised by just Julie and myself, specifically we don't have a dedicated sales person (perhaps we should?). This means keeping in touch with our sponsors and reaching out using a skill set that neither of us naturally possess.
I'm sure there's a lot of smaller events like us that work similarly. So I write this to speak to the companies who would be great supporters and sponsors of our events, and I hope to explain to you (the companies and people who can help point your companies to us) what our events bring to the web community, and web business in general.
What's the benefit to the business?
Over the years I've come to realise there's three main reasons for a company to support us:
- Product exposure (different from brand), i.e. launch of new product
- Hiring new talent
- Brand association by supporting the web community
The first two depend very much on where your business is at that point in time. It's the association that I want to talk about.
Community support, what it really means
What it really means is that the event can take place, in the way it envisions. For ffconf, one of the most important visions is to help change the face of the web industry - to pull in those people from marginalised communities and to drastically reduce the barrier to entry. Doing this year on year, I believe, helps to normalise a diverse community. But it takes work.
Money that comes in via sponsorship goes towards our scholarship fund. The scholarship fund isn't just free tickets to the event, but also travel and accommodation for those who need it.
The reality is often that the cost of the actual ticket is the cheapest part of an event. Surrounding supporting costs mount up for the individual: travel, hotels, food, drink, the time not earning. This is all assuming their work gives them the day off - otherwise it's an annual leave day, which is also a high cost.
Diversity in a company is (or should) never about ticking boxes. It makes for a better and smarter team. More varied lived experiences lead to better quality all around, which, translates to better for business and better for business is more money - because that's what it really boils down to for companies.
Supporting events through community support is a long game too. There's no instant wins, no metrics you'll be able to show off at a board meeting (though, maybe the spin doctors can work on that).
It's the association in supporting the event and thusly the web community that really does help real individuals.
It starts to associate your company name with the positive experience that people have at these events. The friends people make, the talks they saw, the questions they were left with, the laughs they had. Your brand gets thrown into that mix of emotions and memories, and the more your company and brand is seen associated with these events, the more your name lingers in the background as a positive experience.
There's many ways to support the growing web community. The smallest way is sponsoring a meetup, or perhaps lending your office space to let a meetup, meet up.
You can sponsor events like ffconf or find many of the other events that are scratching away year after year to make the web a better place.
Even if you, dear reader, don't pull the purse strings, you can pass the word inside your company and push to help. Like I said before, this helps real people in our web community.
Get in touch today if you want to support ffconf ❤️