June 30th, 2011

How much does it cost to run Ignite Philly or Barcamp?

Geoff DiMasi

Since we have a lot of experience running events like Ignite Philly, the Junto and have helped figure out the logistics for events like Barcamp, we get lots of questions from people about how to handle money and sponsorships. They also want to know if we formed a new organization to put on the event.

Since our goal is to make Philadelphia a better place to be, we try to keep things as simple as possible while keeping that goal in mind. After responding to a recent email about the topic, I decided this perspective on event planning was worth sharing. I hope you find this email exchange helpful.

This is the email I received:


I emailed you a while back but didn't see any response. I understand that this is an intrusion and you may not have time to respond. Our group is moving forward with our event, now planned for the fall, but we still have some questions I was hoping you could answer

1) Did you form some kind of business/non-profit structure to enable financial processing/bank account, etc.? If so, how did you run/govern it? 2) How did you structure the sponsorships--how much did each "tier" donate? 3) Can you share the budget figure you worked with for Barcamp Philly?

We have one offer for sponsorship at present so that helps to establish the thing. Of course our organizing committee is at a bit of a loss as to what to do next, as the group has never filed anything formally or had a bank account.

And this was my response:

Hi [person running event],

Sorry for not responding sooner.

We have always tried to keep things simple with all of the events we organize. We have not started a new company or organization. We do not have a bank account for them. We have kept the sponsorship levels low so that many people can contribute. We are not trying to raise money.

We run things using shared Google Docs, Basecamp and email. We give away the money we collect.

Our goal is to make Philadelphia a better place. With that in mind, it helps to make all of our decisions.

In terms of budget, just add up the costs that each piece costs and you have your budget. In fact, we try to have people pay vendors directly. For instance, if you are having coffee at the event ask someone to sponsor it and pay the coffee place directly.

Hope this is helpful.

Best, Geoff



Geoff DiMasi