It’s less than two months since the generally excellent time we had at PyCon Australia 2012, but we’re already on the lookout for new sponsors to join us for our 2013 conference, which will also be held in Hobart.
As a community-driven conference, the generosity of our sponsors is what makes it possible for our conference to be as successful as it is.
To give you all an idea of how important sponsorship is for us, I thought it might be a good idea to explain what we put our sponsorship money towards.
Keeps our registration costs low
While Python is growing as a language used in industry and government work, the roots of the Python community are in science, research and the Open Source community. There are plenty of people who are active in the Python community and benefit from events like PyCon Australia.
For our two-day conference this year, we were able to charge less than $200 for enthusiast delegates, and less than $50 for Student Delegates.
In raw budgetary terms, our Enthusiast rate covers the extra costs involved with them attending the conference (the extra catering, a t-shirt, a dinner ticket). The Student rate actually loses us money.
Having a wide array of sponsors means that we don’t need to pass fixed costs such as venue hire, A/V equipment, and video recording onto our registration costs. This means that we can put registration for PyCon Australia into reach for more people who want it.
Chances are that students who benefited from our low costs will be back contributing to the Python community, and to our conference in years to come. It’s this sort of community building that PyCons are all about.
Attract international speakers
In the grand scheme of things, Australia’s pretty isolated. If you want to get here from Europe, you need to spend the best part of a day to fly here, and it’s not much better if you’re from the US.
A big role of holding a PyCon in Australia is to help connect the Australian Python community with the best Python developers around the world. Having extra budget to offset the travel costs for international speakers is one of the biggest benefits we derive from sponsorship.
Run more events
Having an excellent schedule of presentations and tutorials is a huge part of our conference, but having the opportunity to meet other delegates, and to chat with them in a less structured atmosphere is also really important.
In 2011, we introduced two days of sprints to the end of the conference, and in 2012, we folded the CodeWars programming tournament into the organisation of the conference itself. We’ve done our best to keep these events free of charge for all comers, and we couldn’t do that without our sponsors.
Help bring people to the conference
In past years, with our diversity programme partner, Google, we’ve run a grants scheme to help bring more women to PyCon Australia. In 2012, we helped to bring 5 enthusiastic women along to PyCon Australia, and by all accounts, it was an invaluable experience for them.
Next year, we want to make this programme even more wide-reaching. We know that there are many people, especially students, or people living further afield who can’t afford the trip down to Hobart. We want to put the conference firmly into their reach.