This is a question deputies Community Program Supporters (formerly Deputies) are a team of people worldwide who review WordCamp and Meetup applications, interview lead organizers, and keep things moving at WordCamp Central. Find more about program supporters in our Program Supporter Handbook. hear quite a bit. As with so many things, the quick answer to this question is usually “That depends, let’s talk about why you might need or want one”.
For meetups Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook. that happen in-person, the potential costs are far more than virtual meetups. I’ll talk about that in a bit, but for now I’ll focus on the more common virtual meetups.
In a virtual meetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook., what costs need to be covered? WordPress Community Support WordPress Community Support PBC is a subsidiary of WordPress Foundation. It is created specifically to be the financial and legal support for WordCamps, WordPress Meetup groups, and any additional “official” events organized within the WordPress Community Events program. covers the meetup fees. This allows access to meetup.com which can be used to communicate with your members and take registrations. The meetup itself will need to be hosted on a service such as Zoom, or Google Meet. You can see a full list of possible tools in the handbook. Some of these services may incur costs. Many meetups are fortunate to have someone donate a paid Zoom account, but what if they don’t have one?
The Community Team has Zoom accounts available for meetups. You can see the application on this page. This can be very helpful, especially if the meetup has more than 100 attendees as these accounts allow up to 300 attendees. Because Meetups share these accounts, organizers do need to apply for a Zoom account each time, and the logins and links will change.
Beyond the virtual meeting tool, are there other costs involved that a sponsor would help with? If there are, ask the Community Team so that deputies can discuss and help you determine what to do.
With in-person meetups, there are more costs. There may be venue costs. Many meetups like a ‘snack’ and since attendees are not charged for meetups, this cost must be covered from somewhere. Some meetups get donated space from a sponsor and others have them sponsor the ‘snacks’. Both of these are wonderful opportunities to engage a sponsor to help out.
Are covering costs the only reason to have a sponsor? No. A good relationship between a meetup and a sponsor goes beyond money. A sponsor can add value to a meetup and let’s look at that.
Aside from covering venue costs and snacks (or pizza) for in person meetups, sponsors can and have offered their virtual meeting tools to local meetups. This allows others to use the Zoom accounts that the Community Team has. Many of our program sponsors are hosting companies, and they have offered hosting to meetups that want to have their own community website.
I’ve been focusing on what meetups need from sponsors, but an equally important question is: what value will sponsors receive from sponsoring a meetup?
In any sponsor relationship, both sides have to give and receive something the other wants. Sponsors will mostly get exposure and their name out to all the meetup attendees. Sponsors can also be a great resource to meetup organizers. Sponsors can help out with topic ideas and possibly provide speakers, as long as speakers also follow the five good faith rules.
This year all meetups have sponsors via the Global Sponsorship program. While the benefits are limited (see this post for the details), meetup organizers should make use of their valuable resources.
How have you involved sponsors in your meetup? Do you have additional questions around meetup sponsors that you’d like to discuss?
Thanks to @angelasjin @camikaos @liamdempsey for their contributions.