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

Philip Paeps philip at fosdem.org
Sat Apr 23 15:42:07 CEST 2011

On 23 Apr 2011, at 12:05, Jakub Szypulka wrote:
> I'm co-organizing an upcoming F/LOSS event in Africa, called FEDACON,
> the Fedora African Conference.

I don't know what the background of your conference is, but I wonder if
it doesn't make more sense to run a more "generic" rather than a more
"specific" conference.  Why Fedora to the exclusion of all other open
source projects?

If you make your conference more generic, it is likely that more people
will show up, which will in turn give you the benefits of scale.  Of
course, more people will show up, which means you'll have to deal with
more people...

> As most of us are quite new to organizing such events, we would like,
> if possible, to see how FOSDEM organized their budget, i.e how much
> money was spend on T-Shirts, pens, how much money on the venue (if
> any!), how much money on advertising, and also how the income
> structure looked like.

It's difficult to compare FOSDEM to other conferences.  FOSDEM is a huge
conference.  Your conference will likely start much smaller.  You are
also on a completely different continent, so exact numbers wouldn't mean
anything to you.

Most of FOSDEM's budget goes to travel and accommodation for speakers.
Hotels in Brussels are expensive and flights to Brussels from all over
the world likewise.  You will probably start out with far fewer speakers
than we currently have, and I'm sure accommodation in Africa is cheaper
than in Brussels.

In terms of income structure: we work with comparatively few sponsors
each of whom gives rather generously.  The very first editions of FOSDEM
started with one generous contribution from a single sponsor.  You may
find that this is enough for you.  Other than sponsors, FOSDEM gets a lot
of donations from visitors.

As Geert wrote though: the you should worry about people first and only
then start thinking about money.  Once you have a plan and capable hands
to execute it, you can start thinking about money.  Before you need to
worry about finding money, you need to figure out how much money you will
actually need.

FOSDEM has the advantage of getting the venue for free.  If you can't get
a free venue, most of your money will go there.

I think your first step is to come up with a plan: find people to help
organize your conference, talk to speakers.  Ask if speakers are willing
to travel on their own money, or if their employers could be convinced to
pay.  Once you know roughly how much money you'll need, you can start to
worry about where you're going to find it.

Good luck!

Organizing conferences is hard work, but it can be very rewarding.

- Philip

Philip Paeps
Senior Reality Engineer
Ministry of Information

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