As far as finances go, the core organizers strongly suggested that we should not handle finances on our own or pay for anything out of pocket. This left us with a few options:

Forming a non-profit would have introduced a lot of complexities and questions that the majority of us didn’t feel would be worth the effort. Since we were a small group of volunteers trying to organize this in our spare time, we weren’t completely opposed to the idea, but it definitely was not the first choice.

One of the organizers had reached out to a few existing non-profit user groups, but either didn’t receive responses or the responses weren’t what we were looking for. That left Conference Ops as the obvious choice, and in hindsight, one of the better choices we made throughout the process. Quoted from their website, Conference Ops

…was formed in 2013 to fill the need for financial management for the growing number of local DevOps Days events taking place around the country.

As the owner and founder of Conference Ops, Laura Wickett not only handled our finances, she also provided invaluable information about what worked well for other DevOpsDays events in the past. The contacts and rapport she’s made with sponsors over the last 3 years absolutely made things much easier for us as well.

After landing on a method to handle finances, the next steps became a little weird. We needed to lock in conference dates and secure a venue before our event would officially be announced on devopsdays.org, but we needed a down payment to secure most venues, which meant we needed a seed sponsor. In order for a seed sponsor, we needed to create a prospectus to hand out to potential sponsors.

At the time (and I still think this was the correct choice), we decided the most important thing to do first is to find a venue, secure dates, and create the prospectus. We chose this path for a few reasons:

  1. We would have a better chance landing sponsors if our event was officially posted on devopsdays.org
  2. We knew that at least one local company would sponsor, so took a leap of faith that other companies would as well

In the next post, I’ll go through the date and venue selection process, as well as decisions we took to create the prospectus.