[Bundle-sponsorship-wg] International PyCon Prospectus

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Mon Mar 14 23:30:52 EDT 2016

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

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.


> 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

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