[Bundle-sponsorship-wg] International PyCon Prospectus

M.-A. Lemburg mal at python.org
Tue Apr 12 03:32:02 EDT 2016

On 12.04.2016 04:09, Nick Coghlan wrote:
> On 12 April 2016 at 06:20, Betsy Waliszewski <betsy at python.org> wrote:
>> Hi team,
>> After discussing this with Ewa, we're going to put this project on hold
>> until after PyCon. I've requested an invoice to pay for the design services
>> so far. We can revisit adding clarity to the proposal after the conference
>> is over and I have time to dedicate to this important project.
> I agree that makes sense from a staff focus perspective, but would it
> still be acceptable for us to pitch the prospectus directly in its
> current form?

Sure, why not ?

The current form is what we had discussed. I suspect that
when opening up the discussion again, we'll either end up with
something that will need a new version of the brochure or
we come to the conclusion that the bundle idea is not
really working out, in which case, we'd stop putting more
effort into this.

> I'm currently trying to explain to Red Hat's Open Source
> & Standards team the differences between working with a public
> interest charity and trade associations run in the interests of
> sponsor members, as well as asking if a fee waiver for a year or two
> would impact their current attitude of "We don't want to pay a modest
> admin fee to help a public interest charity run a self-supporting
> regional conference funding program". However, Red Hat's annual
> budgeting cycle runs March -> February, so if we put the idea entirely
> on hold from the PSF side until July or so (allowing a month for
> post-PyCon wind down activities and bringing the new Board up to
> speed), it would make more sense for me to defer that argument until
> next financial year.
> Regards,
> Nick.
>> Best,
>> Betsy
>> On Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 8:30 PM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On 15 March 2016 at 04:10, Betsy Waliszewski <betsy at python.org> wrote:
>>>> Hi Nick,
>>>> We're not using the google doc where you posted your comments. The PDF I
>>>> sent around is our working document.
>>> Ah, nice - that *is* very attractive!
>>>> That being said, we do need to
>>>> incorporate new language more clearly identifying the benefits and
>>>> whatever
>>>> discounts we decide to offer.
>>> Right, at the moment it isn't clear what the benefits are relative to
>>> sponsoring directly, nor where the 15% program administration charge
>>> is going to go. It may be helpful if there were a couple of sections
>>> like:
>>> Program Sponsor Benefits:
>>> * year-round acknowledgement on python.org in addition to any
>>> acknowledgements on individual conference sites
>>> * single point of financial contact for 10+ conferences
>>> * consistent financial arrangements year-over-year
>>> * delegated responsibility for compliance with financial regulations
>>> in recipient countries
>>> Program Administration Activities:
>>> * disbursing funds to participating conferences in compliance with
>>> local and international regulations
>>> * advising community-led conferences on working effectively with sponsors
>>> * advising sponsors on working effectively with community-led conferences
>>> * advising community-led conferences on responsibly managing financial
>>> risks
>>> * promoting and facilitating the addition of further community-led
>>> conferences to the program
>>> * collection and presentation of sponsorship details from
>>> participating conferences in a standard format
>>> The first suggested point under "sponsor benefits" is a new one, but
>>> something we could do pretty easily that represents a concrete perk
>>> above and beyond sponsoring the individual conferences.
>>>> The challenge is that the only thing we can discount is the admin fee.
>>>> Based
>>>> on my feedback, even if we didn't charge any fees, I'm not convinced
>>>> that
>>>> any companies would take us up on what we're offering in the prospectus.
>>> We have a bit of a chicken & egg problem here - we need conference
>>> organisers to get involved to make the program attractive to sponsors,
>>> but we need sponsors to get involved to make the program attractive to
>>> conference organisers.
>>> Given the somewhat experimental nature of the program, perhaps it
>>> might make sense to offer a straight up fee waiver for the first year
>>> or two for the inaugural sponsors? That would mean a greater
>>> speculative investment on the PSF's part, but it could potentially get
>>> us past the bootstrapping stage, and provide the initial impetus
>>> needed to create a virtuous cycle of sponsor participation attracting
>>> conference participation, which makes the program more attractive to
>>> future sponsors, which makes it more obviously beneficial for
>>> conferences to participate, etc...
>>> It would also mean we could be up front with the inaugural sponsors
>>> that the 15% figure is a preliminary estimate for what we think would
>>> be needed to make this program self-sustaining rather than
>>> cross-subsidised by other PSF revenue raising activities, and we
>>> wouldn't actually start charging the admin fee until we had a year or
>>> two of real data to use to calibrate the appropriate amount.
>>>> Granted, we only sent the prospectus to 6-7 companies, so we don't have
>>>> a
>>>> lot of data to look at.
>>> Right, and a number of those are companies where their list of
>>> sponsored Python conferences is already longer than the list in the
>>> prospectus, so the value proposition for them is different from that
>>> for organisations where the program will hopefully let them expand
>>> their reach beyond what they could readily manage on their own.
>>>> I'm very willing to add copy to our working doc, but I need help with
>>>> the
>>>> wording. A page could be added before the "Build Your Own Bundle" page
>>>> that
>>>> shows the offer that is not "custom" or a la carte and the discount.
>>>> Right
>>>> now, we're only showing a custom option.
>>> Postponing the bundles to the 2nd year of the program is still
>>> attractive from the point of view of keeping things as simple as we
>>> can this time around. There are also other ways we could structure the
>>> discounts, such as on a "length of continuous participation" basis
>>> (since a sponsor organisation is likely to require more handholding in
>>> the first year than they are in subsequent years), or in terms of
>>> sheer number of conferences sponsored.
>>> So despite my advocacy for the "bundle discount" approach, I'm
>>> becoming more of a fan of the "as thanks for helping us launch the
>>> prospectus, first year sponsors will have their admin fees waived for
>>> the first two years the international prospectus is in operation". We
>>> likely do need to be explicit that the PSF doesn't plan to subsidise
>>> sponsor's administration costs indefinitely, though - we're just
>>> prepared to do it for a couple of years in order to gather the data we
>>> need to figure out the actual costs of running the program.
>>> Regards,
>>> Nick.
>>>> Betsy
>>>> On Sat, Mar 12, 2016 at 6:28 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> On 12 March 2016 at 23:24, M.-A. Lemburg <mal at python.org> wrote:
>>>>>> On 12.03.2016 08:55, Nick Coghlan wrote:
>>>>>>> As far as covering costs goes, I think an important aspect of that
>>>>>>> will be to be clear that bundling carries an expectation of reduced
>>>>>>> customisation of benefits, at least at the PSF level - hence the fee
>>>>>>> discounts.
>>>>>> I'm not sure which fee discounts you are referring to here.
>>>>> I mean the proposal for distinct a la carte/regional/global rates for
>>>>> the administration overhead - my working assumption from the start has
>>>>> always been that conferences get their normal sponsorship amounts, and
>>>>> we'd figure out some other way to cover the PSF's costs (whether that
>>>>> was cross-subsidisation from PyCon US, covering it out of general
>>>>> sponsorships, or applying an additional percentage to the bundles to
>>>>> cover costs).
>>>>> The reason I specifically like the "15/7.5/3" administration charge
>>>>> structure is that:
>>>>> * a self-sustaining program is preferable, since that provides more
>>>>> scope for future hiring & grant making
>>>>> * 50% and 80% are substantial enough discounts for potential sponsors
>>>>> to appreciate them
>>>>> * 20/10/4 feels too high, 10/5/2 feels too low, so 15/7.5/3 splits the
>>>>> difference
>>>>> * I except many of the PSF's costs in staff time to be incurred per
>>>>> sponsor, rather than per event (registering with their supplier
>>>>> management if they're not already PSF or PyCon sponsors, getting to
>>>>> know the right points of contact within their event management
>>>>> organisation, getting to know what they're generally interested in as
>>>>> sponsor benefits, etc)
>>>>> * for sponsors that opt for a bundle over a la carte, I'd still expect
>>>>> their typical engagement with the smaller regional events to be low
>>>>> (since they often won't have an on-site presence there - unless they
>>>>> were planning to be involved in the event anyway, the cost in staff
>>>>> time and travel would likely exceed the sponsorship)
>>>>> Consider the global Platinum sponsorship, for example - the admin fee
>>>>> discount there ends up being just over $9000. Compared to a more
>>>>> selective a la carte sponsorship, that's likely going to mean a
>>>>> Platinum sponsorship for each of the 3 or 4 lowest cost conferences
>>>>> participating in the prospectus - those are often also going to be the
>>>>> ones where the return on investment for large sponsors is smallest,
>>>>> but the potential return on investment for the PSF in terms of growing
>>>>> the Python community is highest (it's much easier for a 150 person
>>>>> conference to grow to 300 people than it is for a 750 person
>>>>> conference to grow to 1500).
>>>>> Along those lines, I've posted a couple of comments in the document
>>>>> suggesting a change in the way the administration charges for the
>>>>> bundles are presented.
>>>>> Currently, the discounts are baked into the percentage used to
>>>>> calculate the the administration charge line item. I believe it would
>>>>> be preferable to always list the administration charge at the a la
>>>>> carte rate, and then explicitly list the fee discount as a separate
>>>>> line. Using the global Platinum sponsorship as an example again,
>>>>> that's currently presented as:
>>>>> Funds distributed to conferences: 76590
>>>>> Program administration charge (3%): 2298
>>>>> Cost to sponsoring organisation: 78888
>>>>> I'd suggest instead presenting it as:
>>>>> Funds distributed to conferences: 76590
>>>>> Program administration charge (15%): 11488
>>>>> Administration charge discount (80%): -9191
>>>>> Cost to sponsoring organisation: 78887
>>>>> (In that particular case, the rounding works out slightly differently,
>>>>> but that's at most a dollar either way)
>>>>> Regards,
>>>>> Nick.
>>>>> --
>>>>> Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia
>>>> --
>>>> Betsy Waliszewski
>>>> Python Software Foundation
>>>> Event Coordinator / Administrator
>>>> @betswaliszewski
>>> --
>>> Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia
>> --
>> Betsy Waliszewski
>> Python Software Foundation
>> Event Coordinator / Administrator
>> @betswaliszewski

Marc-Andre Lemburg
Python Software Foundation

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