- Conference budget: Whether the conference you are organising is departmental, faculty-wide, or bigger, there are usually allocated budgets. For instance, if you are organising a faculty-wide conference, you can contact the faculty head and ask whether there are any funds available. They will either be able to help you directly or direct you to someone who can. If your conference focuses on a specific group (eg doctoral students), an initiative (eg climate change) or a research practice (eg qualitative methods), you can contact any relevant bodies, organisations/industries committees or societies and either access existing funds or apply for funds wherever they are available.
- Registration fees: Requesting registration fees from your attendees depends on the type of conference you are organising and the budget you have available, so it is completely optional and based on the purpose of the conference. If you want to keep the conference free to attend and take part in, this will not be something to consider, but if you need to make (extra) funds, you could charge a registration fee (but keep in mind that this can hold people back from registering). Although, if it is a university event, you’ll need to check if you are allowed to ask for registration fees.
- Sponsorship: A great way to access additional funding is to get sponsorship. This means contacting businesses and companies that may be relevant to the purpose of your conference, such as suppliers of lab equipment or student service providers and offering them an opportunity to promote their company on the event day. In exchange, they will be able to pay a sum of money which could go towards the conference budget. You could offer tiers of sponsorship with different benefits, so that they have different options to choose from. For instance, for £100 you could offer conference admission and promotion of company and logo on the conference programme, website and all promotional materials; for £200 you could also offer a speaking slot during the conference, additional person’s conference admission, more company/logo exposure and first choice of exhibition area, etc. Below you can find an email template for approaching companies. If they respond positively, you can follow up with a document outlining your sponsorship packages with prices.
“Dear Sir/Madam or Insert name of contact,
As Insert value of their relevance to your audience, we thought you might be interested in receiving more information about an upcoming Insert brief description of conference which has now been confirmed to be occurring on Insert date! We would like to extend an invitation to you to join us this year. Please find some more information below:
Insert details about the conference including theme, audience, venue, prospective attendees, estimated number of attendees, etc
We would be delighted if you could attend the conference (either virtually or in-person) to provide information to researchers who already use your services or may want to in future. If you would be interested in attending, please find attached a document detailing the tiers of sponsorship which we are currently offering. Insert financial status of the conference if relevant e.g., free, not-for-profit, or emphasise the initiative. If you have any queries or require any more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you.