I’m a full-time freelancer developer living in South Florida (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area). I am a WordPress developer and specialize in BuddyPress sites/applications. I also do stand-alone PHP work. I’m also a speaker, meetup organizer, conference organizer, and father of three.
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FYI: Although WordCamp Miami is still energetically seeking sponsors, this post is not meant to promote. In fact, an official version of this post is being planned to be posted on the WordCamp Miami website but I felt first was safe and proper to post on my personal blog.
Disclaimer: In case you didn’t know, i’m currently involved with WordCamp Miami organization for 2017 and have been involved in years past.
Recently, Tony Perez from Sucuri Security wrote a guest post on WPTavern about WordCamps and Sponsorships. I’m not writing now to give my feedback on the article and his points – although I highly suggest you read it. One thing I can tell you is that I was pleased he mentioned WordCamp Miami in a favorably way. I’m not an accountant or even good with math – but it seemed (at least to me) WordCamp Miami was favored positively in his published reports.
After talk with lead organizer Ptah Dunbar, I wrote a response to a question in the comments section (risky I know!) about what Miami does that might stand out to sponsors like Sucuri and Tony. Although I couldn’t answer for Tony I wanted to list the reasons WE thought of, since we do get this question in some form from time to time. This is basically what we responded with:
Financial – We don’t have total control over sponsorship amounts, but we even have provided in the past early bird pricing for sponsors who want to get on board early. This helps us too since the more support we have early, the better we can plan for the event.
Communication – We talk to sponsors as soon as they express interest, and stay in communication with enough updates as to not annoy them. At the event, we assign a sponsor coordinator and that person(s) touches base with the sponsors physically before registration and during the event. Sponsors also get a private Slack channel, and some other perks.
Exposure – We make it a point to accommodate sponsors that have tables/booths in our area. We include them in conference “mini-events” – like our kid’s camp, and we also make “trading cards” for them (as we do for our speakers) to increase foot traffic and interactivity.
Announcements – It might seem small, but we strive at WCMIA to not rattle off mentions of sponsors quickly at all announcements, esp. during the opening remarks. We try to give each top level sponsor a half-minute or two of why we respect them and why attendees should check them out. We are constantly tweaking this, and we might be trying new ways of introducing sponsors at next WCMIA. We also tend to mention sponsors at after parties and other functions, in visual (in the form of signs) or vocally.
At some point, I would like to write up a more detailed blog post. But for now, I felt the above information should be living outside WPTavern’s comment section (no disrespect to WPTavern at all, in fact the opposite). We are constantly making adjustments, correcting a mistake here or there, and doing our best. Personally, I think little details can make a difference.
As organizers, our uncompromising goal is to throw a phenomenal event for WordCamp attendees by packing in as much bang for their buck as we can.
1) Inspiring me to join meetups and eventually take over operations of the local WordPress meetups, which have grown with much success and now we have two meetups in Broward and Dade/Miami. Refresh Miami was one of the first meetups I ever attended, and seeing it operate got me to follow some of their examples with my own meetups.
2) While i think WordCamp Miami would have started on it’s own, I will gladly admit that without Refresh Miami it probably would have taken longer to get it started. WordCamp Miami started w/ BarCamp Miami, that’s true – but it’s a chain reaction. Without the meetups, the WordCamp wouldn’t have followed. And again, like I said, Refresh Miami inspired me to get the WordPress meetups in shape.
Sadly I miss Refresh Lauderdale – which existed for a year or two in Broward and was easier to travel too. And I also don’t get to Refresh Miami much anymore due to my busy schedule and me living about an hour away with traffic. I’ll watch videos and live streams when they exist. I’ve seen Refresh Miami grow from a dozen or so people in a room of some business to much bigger venues with a bigger budget and national speakers. Sadly I miss the days the topics were more on tech and development – a few years ago the shift of the meeting went mostly to startups, funding, etc. But there are other meetups and conferences that I think have picked up the slack… including WordCamp Miami.
Refresh Miami has also been one of the biggest supporters of WordCamp Miami over the years.
I raise my glass to Refresh Miami and here’s to another 10 years.