We approach sponsorships at SUPCONF differently than a lot of other conferences. Our sponsors invest in making the experience better for all attendees rather than viewing it as a sales opportunity. Sponsors participate in the event as attendees instead of being on the sidelines.
Improving the attendee experience
This is not how most conference sponsorships are done, so let me give you a few examples from the first SUPCONF of how sponsors improved the attendee experience in a number of ways:
Hosting the conference
Securing a venue is one of the biggest challenges for a new conference and we were fortunate to have a beautiful space for SUPCONF thanks to the generosity of a sponsor.
Generously sharing with attendees
Instead of sponsor tables, we worked with sponsors to schedule swag giveaways (t-shirts, stickers, notebooks, knit monkey hats and cat hats!) that gave attendees an opportunity to meet and learn about our sponsors.
Gathering folks with common interests
We co-hosted a dinner to bring together attendees for extended conversations around support related topics to learn from each other.
Adding fun to the event
A sponsor offered and arranged for a photo booth so we could take fun pictures.
Participating in SUPCONF
Another thing we do differently is our sponsors fully participate in the event as attendees. We do everything together – talks, breakout discussions, meals, and taking funny pictures. We get to know sponsors as fellow attendees.
Sponsoring the next SUPCONF
We heard from attendees and sponsors that they loved the communal spirit of the event. Because our sponsors contributed to the attendee experience and participated as attendees, we created an experience together that was far greater than what we could have done alone. We’re calling it potluck sponsorship and it’s the model that we want to explore for future SUPCONFs.
With that in mind, we’re keeping the cost of sponsorship modest – we’d rather have sponsors spend the majority of their budget on improving the attendee experience. And we’re including tickets with every sponsorship to encourage sponsors to participate in SUPCONF.
Do you have a new idea for how the attendee experience could be improved? We’d love to hear it! We’re always refining and experimenting with new ideas for the SUPCONF experience.
If your company would be a good fit to contribute to the SUPCONF potluck or if you know of a company that would be, get in touch!