On Jun 14, 2011, at 5:34 PM, Kyle Banerjee wrote:

>> So what I'm curious about, is how did the first 3-4 Code4Lib's manage to
>> happen in a way that satisfied us, had low conf registration, and had lower
>> sponsorship contributions and lower sponsor privileges than it is suggested
>> is now required?
> I can't speak with authority as I wasn't involved in planning any of them.
> But I've done a number of other conferences and I worked at Oregon State for
> a long time. My recollection was that facilities and bandwidth were free. No
> need to pay for bandwidth or equipment. Generous institutions were
> intentionally or unintentionally covering costs. The uni caterer was very
> reasonable.

I suspect that this is likely a large chunk of the difference ...

When I worked for a university, we could get space for cheap (student
groups could get it for free), and internet access was free, too.

When you grow to the size that you have to look at conference centers /
hotels / whatever to hold the event, it gets expensive very, very quickly.

And thinking that the 'free' wireless that some conference centers offer
is adequate for a decent size group of geeks is a joke ... I'm actually 
at a conference right now, and it crapped out entirely today.  (and as
there's no afternoon sessions for today, I think they might've given up
on fixing it ... a few of us started advertising SIDs like 'convention center
wifi sucks' ... and then it went downhill from there.)


One other thing to consider is location -- some places just cost more.
You likely wouldn't hold a conference in downtown New York city.
(Although, I did once go to one that was held in a middle school on
Roosevelt Island)

Unfortunately, the cheaper places may not be as well connected
(larger airports nearby, etc.) so even if you're able to keep the 
costs of running the conference down, the cost to attendees might
not.    (eg, I'm currently in Las Cruces, New Mexico ... but the closest
airport was El Paso, so it almost required people to rent a car
(we tried coordinating flights to reduce the number of cars, but
there were so many delayed flights, etc, that it turned into a
nightmare unless people were on the exact same flight)

Universities nearby can help, if the conference is in the summer
or when their dorms aren't in use ... some offer renting out their 
rooms by the day if it's for a university-affiliated event.


One other option, rather than sponsorship is grants -- if this were
a science related conference, you could put in for a grant from NSF.
I've gone through the IMLS grants, and the only one that seems
like it might fit is the "Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program" :

Does anyone know of any other government or foundation grants
that could be used for conferences?