[FOSDEM] Budget outline for FOSDEM, needed to organize other project

Christophe Vandeplas cvandeplas at fosdem.org
Sat Apr 23 15:20:59 CEST 2011

Hello Jakub,

It looks like you already had many very useful replies from visitors.
In the very unlikely situation that this information does not suffice
I'll give you some totally useless information
(end of irony)

Jakub, I could give you financial numbers, but considering the huge
difference between Africa and Europe it will be totally irrelevant.

the biggest challange you will face is creating a team from motivated
people you can trust upon.
Form a team of 5 people who really want to invest time and energy into
organizing your conference.
Make it clear that it's not a thing for only one year, involvement for
at least two or three years is necessary.

Ok, now you have a team.
The next question is to make an estimation on how much visitors you
think will come to your conference.
This number is rather difficult to guess, but it will vary depending
on the involvement of people around your community and the ease they
have to travel to your conference.
Don't think a first conference will reach a number of 500 visitors.
That's probably being to optimistic.

Now based on the number of visitors, try to search for a location
where you can organize the conference.
Don't forget that you also need places where people can walk around,
look at stands, ... or simply sit and eat.
A first conference will probably have only one simultaneous lecture,
maybe with another room with workshops?
Look for more than one location.

Now, depending of the dates of other conferences, and the availability
of your location choose a date.
You now have a date and a location. You also have an idea of the
price/budget for the location.

Depending on the number of lectures, and the policy you have to
reimburse costs of speakers (hotel, transport/airplane/...) you should
also be able to make the budget for speakers. What kind of speakers do
you want to invite? Local people cost less in travel costs. Use
online-airplane-booking-calculations to know how much it would cost to
come from the US or from Europe.
Contact hotels near your conference location and check the prices. You
might (in a later phase) negotiate prices with them.
Always do amount * 1,3 = budget_amount to be certain you have enough
budget estimated.

Now the logistics budget. Depending on the available infrastructure
you might want to rent more tables/chairs. Check with one or two
companies to have an idea of the cost.
For t-shirts: expect that 30-40% of your visitors will buy tshirts.
Contact one or two t-shirt companies in your region to have prices.
A way to limit the loss would be to use a design without year printed
on it. It's less unique, however if you really have leftovers you can
still sell them the second edition of your conference.

Then there are various costs, paper, pens, bags, printing costs,...
very difficult to estimate a budget. But just take a rough number
linked to how much these things cost where you live.

That's about budgeting the spent money. Always budget MORE for expenses.

Now budgeting income. To budget income always budget LESS than you expect.
Do visitors need to pay entrance? Use your visitor estimation *

With the expenses budget and the income-tickets-budget you know how
much money you need from sponsors.
Sponsors are clever. Make sure to do the math when they propose
something to you in compensation for their money. Sometimes you start
spending more for them than the money they bring in. (not from a
FOSDEM experience)
Also favor long term relations with sponsors. It's better to get less
money from a sponsor, but to have him two years in a row. Than to have
more money only once. From my FOSDEM and BruCON experience sponsors
tend to contact the organization back when they were pleased. That's a
lot less work and thus a win-win for you and the sponsor.

I think that's enough to help you start, I hope this helps
All the best with your conference.


(FOSDEM staff for 7 or 8 years, and now BruCON staff)

2011/4/23 Jakub Szypulka <cubibubi at googlemail.com>:
> Please be more precise, people as in what?
> Le 23 avr. 2011 14:14, "Geert Stappers" <stappers at stappers.nl> a écrit :
> On Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 02:01:19PM +0200, Jakub Szypulka wrote:
>> Le 23 avr. 2011 13:33, "Richard Ha...
>> Thanks! As a participant in FOSDEM, I am aware of the basics of the
>> conference. I am interested ...
> FOSDEM started with people.
> I suggest that FEDACON also starts with people.
> Groeten
> Geert Stappers
> --
>> And is there a policy on top-posting vs. bottom-posting?
> Yes.
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