As we start reimagining what online events look like, so might we also have to reconsider our sponsorship packages and the perks we offer to our sponsors.
Online events do not incur such a high cost as in person events do, so the requirement to gather large sponsorship funds to make a successful WordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. no longer exists. This might mean that WordCamp organizers don’t feel the need to reach out to existing sponsors, and get them involved.
On the other hand, with online events, companies could possibly sponsor many more events worldwide, instead of focusing their sponsorships to local only events. So the possible reach of a sponsor could be wider.
It is important to remember that the option to sponsor a WordCamp has traditionally been with the agreement that sponsors don’t receive any “pay to play” type benefits. So typically sponsor perks have included things like advertising at key locations around the event, and sponsor booths/tables to interact with attendees and hand out swag.
In an online event, this is not possible, so WordCamps have had to adapt. One such example is the option of a Virtual Sponsor booth, where attendees can log in to a virtual room to chat with sponsors. This is something that is already being made available at existing WordCamps.
This is equivalent to offering a sponsor a physical booth/table in the general sponsors area at a WordCamp, typically in a space where attendees are very likely to walk past and therefore interact with sponsors.
The problem with such an option is that, if attendees have to log off the regular WordCamp platform, then go find some other link to the Virtual Booth, the experience becomes arduous and full of friction for the attendee making, it highly unlikely they’ll attend.
This ends up meaning that the Virtual Booth has no real benefit to sponsors, and as such, may opt out of choosing a higher tier sponsor package, that would include such a perk.
This post serves to open a discussion around the concept of sponsorships for virtual WordCamps, how they might need to change to fit into the new world of the all online event, and how we can better marry the needs of sponsors to the needs of attendees, to make an online event successful.
Please leave suggestions/ideas as comments on this post, which I will leave open for one week until Thursday 23 July 2020 at 3:00pm UTC. After that I will filter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output. the comments in a follow up post, where we can discuss them in detail, with an aim to turn them into an actionable plan for sponsorships of our online events.
Thanks to @hlashbrooke for reviewing this post and making sure I don’t sound foolish 🙂