WordCamp 2018 Global Sponsor Updates

It’s a new year, and with that comes the need to check WordCamp sites created last year with last year’s Global Sponsors to ensure they’ve been updated for 2018. An email with updated sponsor information has gone out to all 2018 camps, but the next step is a site audit to ensure sponsors are being properly recognized on each site.

We need a few existing deputies who have access to WordCamp’s Help Scout to volunteer to check each 2018 WordCamp site, let us know if the sponsor areas are accurate and reach out to the team to remind them to update if it isn’t. Ideally this project will be completed by Monday, January 15, 2018.

We’ve created a spreadsheet listing each event, the event’s region, email address, and a column for you to leave any notes. If you’re interested in checking a few sites please dive right in, just sign off on the completed items by putting your name in the “checked by” column. You can find the spreadsheet here.

The 2018 Global Sponsors by region and level are as follows:

Western Region (The Americas):
Gold: Jetpack, WooCommerce, Bluehost
Silver: Dreamhost, GoDaddy
Bronze: Boldgrid

Eastern Region (Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific):
Gold: Jetpack, WooCommerce
Silver: GoDaddy
Bronze: Bluehost

For more details read through the Global Sponsors page in the handbook. 

If you have any questions let us know below!

#deputies, #global-sponsors, #wordcamps

New Gold level Global Sponsor for the second half of 2016: BoldGrid

Hey folks, good news! We have a new global community sponsor in the Western region for the second half of 2016: BoldGrid! I’ll be pushing out the sponsor post to each Western-region WordCamp on the schedule this week, and following up with organizers to make sure they get the message. 🙂 During that process, we might revisit global sponsorship grants with events that are struggling with fundraising, but we won’t be adding to the global grant if that would mean over-funding an event.

If you have any questions about this, please comment! 🙂

#global-sponsors

Quarterly report on WordPress Community Team activity: April to June 2016

I send a quarterly report to our Global Community Sponsors on what the WordPress Community team has been up to in the past 3 months, and I thought it would be worth sharing amongst ourselves as well. 🙂 So here it is: our Q2 WordPress Community activity report!

WordCamps

Twenty-eight WordCamps were held between April and June (11 in the Eastern sponsorship region, 16 in the Western sponsorship region, and WordCamp Europe which of course is not a part of the global sponsorship program), with a total of nearly 9,000 tickets sold. The biggest event in this period (not counting WordCamp Europe) was WordCamp Miami, with three days of events and over 1,000 attendees, closely followed by WordCamp Atlanta, which sold 928 tickets for their three-day event.

Name Sponsor Region Tickets Sold
WordCamp Torino Eastern 396
WordCamp London Eastern 660
WordCamp Finland Eastern 262
WordCamp Bratislava Eastern 191
WordCamp Sunshine Coast Eastern 187
WordCamp Porto Eastern 324
WordCamp Denmark Eastern 71
WordCamp Antwerp Eastern 198
WordCamp Belgrade Eastern 226
WordCamp Marbella Eastern 122
WordCamp Bilbao Eastern 146
WordCamp Europe excluded 2,178 (plus 1,399 free livestream tickets)
WordCamp Jacksonville Western 210
WordCamp Nuremberg Western 295
WordCamp San Diego Western 584
WordCamp Albuquerque Western 100
WordCamp Buffalo Western 143
WordCamp Chicago Western 373
WordCamp Vernon Western 109
WordCamp Maine Western 171
WordCamp St. Louis Western 192
WordCamp Minneapolis Western 602
WordCamp Calgary Western 134
WordCamp Asheville Western 326
WordCamp Hamilton Western 190
WordCamp Kansas City Western 167
WordCamp Northeast Ohio Western 118
WordCamp Ottawa Western 246
 TOTAL 8,921 (or 10,320 including the WCEU livestream tickets)

So. Many. WordCamps! We have 33 camps currently scheduled for the July-September period, 11 WordCamps scheduled for Q4 (including WordCamp US), and 31 WordCamps that have been approved for pre-planning (about 10 of these are slated for 2017, but still). We’re right on track for seeing more than 100 WordCamps organized this year!

Meetups

The WordPress meetup chapter account grew by more than 56 groups in Q2 (April-June), with a total number of groups on the chapter account clocking in at 305 as of July 1! There were a whopping 806 official meetup events in just the second quarter of this year, with a recorded attendance total of 15,976. The total number of members across all groups on the chapter account is currently 112,778. In the first half of 2016, we’ve added nearly the same number of meetup groups to the chapter account as we added for the entire year of 2015. Yeah, I can’t believe my eyes either!

Community Deputies

These last three months, our deputies have been focusing on providing as much support as possible to our WordCamp and meetup event organizers, who have been busy elves as you can see above! We’re going to start working on the 2017 Global Sponsorship program around September, and send out a sponsor survey around that time to find out what our global sponsors are loving and also where we can improve for next year.

Finally, the WordCamp Incubator program announced three locations for late-2017: Denpasar, Indonesia, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Medellín, Colombia will all have WordCamps this year for the very first time! Dates for those events should be announced no later than August, so stay tuned!

#global-sponsors

Global Community Sponosrship informational hangout on March 9

For companies interested in joining the global community sponsorship program in the second quarter of 2016, we’ll be holding a Q&A hangout on Wednesday, March 9, 12pm – 1pm Pacific time.

If your company is not already enrolled in the global community sponsorship program but would like to be, and you have questions about the program, please reply in the comments or email support@wordcamp.org, and we’ll invite you to the Q&A. Companies that wish to join the global sponsorship program for Q2 must confirm and pay their first invoice no later than March 15.

If you’re an event organizer and have questions about the global sponsorship program, check out this page in the handbook! If you have more questions after reading that through, check out Sponsorship Office Hours, Wednesdays at 17:00 UTC in #events.

#community-management, #global-sponsors

Global Community Sponsorship Update

Hey all! @kcristiano and I just wanted to update you on what’s been happening in the Global Community Sponsorship program in the last couple of weeks since our last update. (Hint: a lot!) We have received signed contracts and payment from the following confirmed global sponsors:

Bluehost (Gold Western and Silver Eastern)
GoDaddy (Silver Worldwide)
Jetpack (Gold Worldwide)
Pantheon (Silver Western)
WooCommerce (Gold Worldwide)
WPML (Bronze Worldwide)

Either Kevin or I have added all of these fantastic sponsors to the relevant 2016 WordCamp sites, merged into the local levels. If you have a 2016 WordCamp on the official schedule and think there might be a problem or discrepancy with global sponsor acknowledgement, please just ping Kevin or me in slack, or leave a comment on this thread. 🙂

We are still waiting for payment from Bronze global sponsors DreamHost (Bronze Western) and Plesk (Bronze Western), but they’ve returned their signed contracts and issued payment so it’s just a matter of a few more days until we can add them to all the 2016 sites.

Speaking of those 2016 sites, at this time, they are:

WordCamp Paris
WordCamp Norway
WordCamp Miami
WordCamp Prague
WordCamp Dayton
WordCamp Lancaster PA
WordCamp Mumbai
WordCamp Atlanta
WordCamp Torino
WordCamp London
WordCamp Jacksonville
WordCamp Nuremberg
WordCamp San Diego
WordCamp Chicago
WordCamp Vernon
WordCamp Minneapolis

Gold global sponsors should be merged into the highest local sponsorship level, Silver should be merged into the second highest, and Bronze should be merged into the third highest, and then organizing teams should  acknowledge global sponsors like all other sponsor at that level. Essentially, global sponsors should receive whatever is in their global package plus anything additional you’re providing to your local sponsors, if your local packages include additional items. If you have a question about how to work with or acknowledge your global sponsors, please just leave a comment on this post or ping Kevin or me on Slack — we’re happy to help clarify.

We’ve been talking to lots of other companies, too! We’ve responded to everyone who reached out via email all the companies who sponsored more than 5 WordCamps last year. Here’s the status on outreach.

Still in talks with:
InMotion Hosting
ManageWP
WiredTree

Have received a definite “not at this time” from:
10up
CloudFlare
GMO Internet Group
Interserver
LiquidWeb
Siteimprove, Inc.
SiteLock
Sucuri
Tucows
WinningWP
WPEngine
Yoast

Have not heard back from:
CrowdFavorite
CSSIgniter
Human Made
iThemes
MainWP
ServerPress
SiteGround
VertaMedia
WPRocket

We’ll continue to roll in additional global sponsors into the program on a quarterly basis as the year progresses, but with plenty of time before each quarter begins so we don’t put early-quarter camps in a pinch. Announcement as a Global Community Sponsors will start up on the WordCamp Central blog next week. If you have any questions about the global sponsorship program at all, please let us know!

#community-management, #global-sponsors, #global-sponsorship

Global Sponsorship update for mid-January

Curious about what companies have signed on as global sponsors for 2016? Here’s a list of confirmed sponsors, which I’ve broken up by region, for ease of reference.

As we receive payment for each sponsorship (all the confirmed sponsors were invoiced between Jan 7 and today), either I or @kcristiano will add these sponsors (with updated descriptions) to the website of each active 2016 WordCamp and then send that informative intro email to each sponsor for each active WordCamp on the schedule in their region.

Western region (the Americas):

Gold sponsors: Bluehost, Jetpack, WooCommerce
Silver sponsors: GoDaddy, Pantheon
Bronze sponsors: DreamHost, WPML, Plesk

Eastern region (Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific):

Gold sponsors: Jetpack, WooCommerce
Silver sponsors: Bluehost, GoDaddy
Bronze sponsors: WPML

I’m updating the planning handbook documentation with the updated info as well. Got questions? Ask ’em in the comments!

#events-2, #global-sponsors

2016 Global Sponsorship outreach progress report

Last week we finalized our 2016 Global Community Sponsorship program, yay! Working with @kcristiano, I emailed details about the program to past and some prospective sponsors who had already expressed interest.

Here’s a list of those companies; unless noted otherwise, all of them are reviewing the program details and will get back to me when they’ve made their decisions. 🙂

2015 global sponsors have all been contacted:
Jetpack
GoDaddy
Bluehost – confirmed as Gold level for Western and Silver level for Eastern region for 2016
Dreamhost
WPML – confirmed as Bronze level for Western and Eastern regions for 2016
WiredTree – not yet confirmed; mentioned wanting to reduce their sponsorship level in 2016
Planethoster – not interested in global sponsorship for 2016

Companies that had expressed interest in the program previously have also been contacted:
Pantheon – confirmed as Silver level for Western region for 2016
GMO Internet Group
Odin/Plesk
LiquidWeb
VertaMedia
CloudFlare
CrowdFavorite
SiteGround
Tucows
WooThemes

In January, we’ll email every company that sponsored a WordCamp in 2015 to thank them for their support and let them know about the global sponsorship program as well.

#community-management, #global-sponsors

Follow up on proposed global sponsorship levels and benefits

I’d like to move forward on this proposal so we can send out the deck to prospective sponsors for 2016. Matt expressed concern to me about the proposal that we offer discounts on sponsorship of WCEU and WCUS will result in less money for those events. If you have strong opinions around our dropping this proposed benefit for 2016, please share them in the comments here. If you don’t really care one way or the other, then you can ignore this post. 🙂

#global-sponsors, #multi-event-sponsorship, #wordcamps

All Deputies Action

In the post about a global sponsor that wasn’t, the company in question was Media Temple, and they should *not* be receiving sponsor benefits. Please check in with all your WC organizers and ask them to a) not thank MT for being a sponsor, b) remove them from the WC site if they are listed there.

@kovshenin or @iandunn can you take them out of any default listings?

#global-sponsors, #wordcamps

Money, Money, Money

There are three money-related things to update you on: global sponsors, paying the bills, and running money through the Foundation.

Global Sponsors
We’ve discovered an issue with the global sponsors program, in that not all of the sponsors who’ve been getting recognition this year were actually billed and/or paid up. @andreamiddleton is currently digging into this and has gotten in touch with all the sponsors involved. She will be taking over the global sponsors program again moving forward, and once she comes up for air she’ll probably be posting some requests about how we track stuff related to sponsors.

What happened — isn’t it a rule that we don’t post sponsors until *after* we’ve received their cold, hard cash? Yes, it sure is. So let this be a lesson to you that it’s really important: one of the global sponsors who has been getting thanked all year long actually said they weren’t going to be participating this year back in January but it wasn’t tracked, so that’s 150k we didn’t get this year, and dozens of WordCamps they got credit for. Deputies: please emphasize to your organizers the importance of not posting sponsors until payment has been received, and of tracking communications.

We vacillated over whether or not to even post this, because it’s often not helpful or productive for something like this to turn into a news item on a wp community news/forum site, but we want to emphasize how important it is to hold to this rule of collecting payment before posting sponsors. Also, everyone makes errors sometimes, and using them as learning experiences to fix holes in our processes is good for us in the long run.

Paying the Bills
A few years ago (um…. 2011?) we started running WC money through the Foundation. This serves several purposes: liability and tax protection for organizers, non-profit discounts from venues/vendors, not needing to raise tons of money before starting to spend money, etc. As the WC program has grown, though, it’s become a full-time job to pay the bills, because what you’d hope would be a simple approval and click of a button often turns into a day of unreturned phone calls (vendors who want credit cards only), wire transfers on the buggy bank site, and processing check payments (don’t even get us started on when an international vendor will only take a check rather than a wire transfer or cc, and we have to convince the bank teller in person at a bank branch that they can issue a check in international currency). You probably didn’t realize it was such a pain in the neck, did you? 🙂

For the past year or so we’ve been exploring the possibility of instituting a WC credit card program, so that organizers would have a credit card to make payments themselves, and would then just submit an expense report, which would make this a TON easier. Unfortunately, that program won’t be possible at the current time. We will be talking with the bank to see about options to potentially try again in 2016, but in the meantime, we are drowning in payments.

Because we don’t want any WC to be in danger of losing a vendor, payments are prioritized over almost everything else, but this has been bad. It means that the people hired to work on the program full time because of their experience wind up spending days each week making payments rather than handling WCs/meetups, working with deputies, updating documentation, and doing other things that could move the program forward. Many of our volunteer deputies would be happy to help with this, but because it’s all tied to bank accounts, we have to keep a more restricted access than we do with the other things we’ve recently opened up to deputies. So we need to come up with ways to make this better.

@kovshenin is going to be looking into options and APIs for QuickBooks, paypal, and the bank site, but that might take a while, and knowing financial software, still might not offer us any relief. Until we can work out a better system, if you have organizers who work for successful WP-based companies who would just as soon put everything on their company card and get reimbursed once a month or so rather than submitting each individual bill to be paid, let’s go ahead and encourage that. Ditto anyone who likes to use their own card to get airline miles. If any organizer wants to go this route, ask them to divvy up their receipts into payment requests by category (using the payments plugin — swag, food/beverage, etc.) so we can track them (vs putting everything on one invoice with category headings in one payment request). We’ll also be updating the payments plugin UI soon so it’s a little easier to use. This doesn’t mean we are going to stop paying bills — we’re not! Just hoping there might be a couple of WCs who have the ability to handle things this way to get the volume down a bit while we come up with better processes. We’re still happy to run as usual by default.

Financial Entity
Running everything through the WP Foundation gives organizers protection against being sued by an unhappy attendee (which has happened to previous organizers) or being audited by the IRS (which has also happened to previous organizers). However, that means that the legal entity safeguarding WordCamps is the same entity that owns the WordPress trademark. We’re looking into starting a standalone company for WordCamps to separate trademark protection from WordCamp finances. We’re not sure what this will wind up being, but it’s possible it will be a regular company or maybe a b-corp (a US classification for a regular company that operates for social good) so that we won’t be beholden to all the IRS rules we’ve been operating under as a non-profit (this is most relevant when we talk about the IRS rules for sponsors). We’ve got lawyers looking into what would work best for us, and will update you when we figure out what we’ll be doing to move forward. This shouldn’t have any negative effects — we may lose some non-profit discounts for a few venues, but we’d gain more freedom in how we do other things. Whatever the corporate structure, it would still be run the same, with any extra money put into more programs and event support.

A Closing Note
Most open source projects wouldn’t make a post like this to a contributor team, but we take our goal of transparency very seriously. I hope that everyone can respect that, and that this doesn’t turn into fodder for gossip or speculation on other sites. If anyone has any questions about any of these things, please go ahead and ask in the comments here, and we’ll do our best to answer. Thanks!

#community-management, #foundation, #global-sponsors, #money