Community Team Program Supporter Tasks

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Reviewing Budgets: Intro and Philosophy

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Budget reviews serve two purposes:

  • First, it’s the point when the Community team and a local organizing team come to an agreement about what expenses the global program will commit to paying for. Generally, anything on the approved budget is a guaranteed expense, but can be revisited if economic situations arise or local fundraising goals aren’t met. If an expense depends on meeting local fundraising, this should be noted in the budget.
  • Second, a budget review can help a Program Supporter or Manager understand exactly what style of event organizers have planned, since we go down the list of expenses line-by-line and discuss each one. If an organizer is planning something that doesn’t fit within the WordCamp model, or something that has caused stress or trouble for other organizers, we often discover that in this deep discussion of the plans for the event. In this way, a budget review can help us avoid issues before they become problems.

What is our budget philosophy?

We’re not a non-profit organization, but we do our best to act like one. We advocate lean budgets for a number of reasons:

  1. Fundraising takes energy away from speaker selection and event logistics. The more money local organizers have to raise, the less time they can spend making sure the event has carefully chosen content, well-prepared speakers, smooth event logistics, strong outreach, and engaged volunteers.
  2. Complex events are complex to organize. The more you spend money on, the more tasks you have to manage. Everyone on the team is a volunteer and you never know when life might get in the way of their commitment to WordCamp work. You can still meet all the goals of a WordCamp without spending a lot of money on “nice to have” items. In fact some of the most simple events get the most positive feedback.
  3. Simpler events are more easily replicable. Setting the precedent of holding a highly complex, expensive event with lots of moving parts in a certain community can make it difficult for other community members to step into leadership roles. We frequently find that the organizers of more complex events have a harder time recruiting new organizers, because the time and amount of work needed is challenging or intimidating.
  4. Higher costs bring higher risks. Our community leaders are not required to be professional event organizers, and every event carries a certain amount of risk. A risk that the global program has to absorb if attendance or fundraising goals aren’t met. Simpler events with lower budgets allow us to try new things and build new leaders, while keeping the risks manageable.

When does a budget review happen?

After an organizing team has been approved for pre-planning, but before they announce their date or we sign a contract with their venue, we ask the lead organizer to schedule a budget review.

During the review a Program Supporter or Manager will discuss the budget with the lead organizer (or organizing team). The budget is reviewed line by line with changes suggested if necessary. Once the supporter/manager and the organizing team have arrived at a budget that they’re both comfortable with the preliminary event budget is marked “Approved”.