Sponsors can be the financial life-blood of a conference. Their support helps you lower the ticket prices and generally offer attendees a better conference experience.

In return, sponsors benefit from exposure, an opportunity to meet and engage with the users of their products and services, and to meet potential new recruits. And also, often they simply want to support the open-source software communities that they are part of.

Sponsorship levels

Typically, a conference will offer a few different levels of sponsorship, so that small and large organisations can find a suitable way in which to contribute.

Below are some suggested levels. These are just suggestions of course - you need to make sure that the levels, however many and whatever they are, are suitable for your event. In this suggested scheme each level is twice the price of the previous one.

You don’t need to worry too much about fine-tuning the levels - just make the options clear and reasonable.

Bronze (£500)

  • their logo, and a link on the website
  • mentions in conference email messages to the community

Silver (£1000)

Similar to Bronze, but includes:

  • a stand & banners at the venues
  • a quarter-page advertisement in the programme
  • a complimentary ticket to the conference

Gold (£2000)

Similar to Silver, but includes:

  • a half-page advertisement in the conference programme
  • two complimentary tickets to the conference

Platinum (£4000)

Similar to Gold, but includes:

  • their banners adjacent to the speakers’ stage at the venue
  • a full-page advertisement in the conference programme
  • four complimentary tickets to the conference

Sponsorship prospectus

A sponsorship prospectus is a standalone document that contains:

  • basic information about the event
  • some reasons why companies will benefit from sponsoring
  • a description of the sponsorship levels
  • contact information

Even someone not already familiar with the event or the websites should be able to pick up the prospectus and understand what sponsorship would mean for them. Some photographs of previous events, venues, previous sponsors at their booths and so on will all help.

How to approach sponsors

Some companies have a person or an office dedicated to sponsorship of events - but either way, it’s always better to write directly to a named person, preferably one with whom you’ve already had some contact.

Write describing the event, mentioning the web page listing your sponsorship levels, and including a copy of the sponsorship prospectus.