WordPress Community Support Program Recommends Cautious Spending Until In-Person Events Can Renew Revenue Stream – WP Tavern
WordPress Community Support (WPCS), the subsidiary of the WordPress Foundation that manages financial and legal support for official WordPress events, has published an overview of the current program finances and a summary of 2020.
Harmony Romo, a financial wrangler at Automattic, reported that WPCS ended the year with around $1.2 million in cash. $293,000 of the total represents unused global sponsorship funds that were carried forward from 2020. Current estimated operating expenses are $276,000. The total cash also includes $216,374 of prepaid expenses that were allocated in 2020 for WordCamps Asia, Atlanta and US.
Recently released financial data from the WordPress Foundation for 2020 shows that the WPCS program ended with a net loss, which was eligible for a refund of $50,708.
The WordPress Foundation itself has a reduced operating budget, with 2020 expenses totaling $3,438 and donations totaling $10,787. As a subsidiary managing the events, WPCS’ major expenses are Meetup.com fees, which total $55,000 per quarter or $220,000 per year. The program will carefully audit Meetup groups later in the year to remove inactive ones, as WPCS is billed for each group.
The main takeaway from the recently released financials is that WPCS’s finances are heavily dependent on corporate sponsorships. With the exception of a handful of WordCamps and in-person meetups, WordPress events have largely been suspended since March 2020. Sponsorship revenue is drying up when most events are held virtually, as these types of events have tend to offer a less significant return for businesses. and WPCS cannot justify the same levels of sponsorship offered in previous years.
The proposal for the 2022 Global Community Sponsorship Program did not include funding for WordCamps again this year, due to the unpredictability of hosting in-person events. The program has also been significantly scaled back from multiple tiers (ranging from $40,000 to $160,000) to a single package billed at US$10,000 per quarter, due to declining volunteer engagement among those administering sponsorships. .
“WPCS has a sufficient amount of cash on hand to meet current program needs, so as we move forward, we must do so with caution until there is a solid return to in-person events. and therefore a reliable source of income”, Romo mentioned. “Responsible spending decisions have allowed the program to endure and remain flexible as in-person events slowly return after a hiatus.”
So far, six in-person WordCamps are planned for 2022. With no funding from the Global Sponsorship Program for WordCamps, organizers have been advised that they must be prepared to raise 100% of the funds for their events. While I don’t think the lack of funding is fueling the controversial drive to restart in-person events while deaths from the pandemic are still high in many parts of the world, registering camps is definitely essential. for 2022 to recover corporate sponsorship funds. Changes to the Global Referral Program that were proposed in November 2021 are being finalized and the 2022 version of the program is expected to be released soon.