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Drupalcon Budget

Platinum and gold sponsors

Solid corporate sponsorship is critical to the success of DrupalCon Boston and so to the Drupal project. Please help by purchasing a sponsorship package.

The Drupal association solicited conference bids from the entire community for several months. The Boston organizing team was selected to host Drupalcon North America 2008. The Boston team spent 4 months investigating venues including dozens of universities, corporate campuses, hotels, and conference centers in the Boston area. Ultimately, we selected the Boston Conference and Exhibition Center(BCEC) because it is a premier facility, and the cross promotion with the AIIM content management industry conference provided better marketing opportunities for the Drupal project.

Drupalcon has become large enough that there are a limited number of venues able to accommodate an expected 500+ attendee conference size. (Hoorah for Drupal’s growth!) Most available venues capable of holding this many people are large hotel conference centers. The typical deals with such hotels provide their conference facilities “for free” — in exchange for multi-hundred-thousand-dollar “minimum guest room rental and event catering revenue” guarantees. The Boston team felt that these proposals exposed the Drupal Association to excessive downside cost risks. Instead, the team elected to work with AIIM to rent the BCEC’s conference rooms, and avoid the risky hotel revenue guarantees. (Plus, the actual food costs are significantly lower than the equivalent costs at hotel conference facilities.)

While Boston 2008 is more expensive than past Drupalcons, it is actually quite affordable for individual attendees of the conference. Comparable technical conferences such as PHP, O’Reilly Open Source, and RubyOnRails conferences can charge $800-$1000. We’re only charging $195, though actual costs per person for Drupalcon Boston 2008 are expected to be around $420.

In order to keep attendee fees to a minimum, the Boston team elected to use the BCEC alternative, and seek sponsors from among Drupal-related businesses. For the record, Drupalcon revenue and costs are being aimed at running the conference at a zero (or very small) profit target. Receipts in excess of costs are retained by the Drupal Association.

Here’s how overall costs break down:

Drupalcon Boston 2008 Expenses

  • Venue: Things like the facility rental, setup/breakdown fees, and required signage. Also the Code Sprint on Friday.
  • Infrastructure: Wireless network and audio/visual equipment in the rooms. In Boston, setting up these sorts of things go through vendor approved suppliers which tends to raise the price.
  • Food: Catered breakfast and lunch each day, and an Association dinner for Platinum sponsors.
  • Event Management: Overhead for things like an event production consultant, registration processing fees, and marketing.
  • Swag: T-shirts, pamphlets, gift bags, etc.
  • Misc: Office supplies, on-site items, shipping, and other expenses that don’t really fit well into any of the other categories.