Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PASS Update #2 - February 2012 Recap

During the January board meeting we were told that attendance at the 2011 Summit exceeded expectations and as a result there was more money in the budget than originally planned for. The outcome is that some money gets put into reserves for future use and collectively we have to figure out how to responsibly spend the rest in the remaining months of the fiscal year (PASS's fiscal year is Jul 1 - Jun 30). For SQLSaturday that meant working with Karla to put together a wish list of things that didn't make it into the original FY2012 budget, then go make our case to the rest of the board (who were doing the same thing for their portfolios) to convince them we should get the funds.

At this point PASS was giving $500 in "kickstarter" funds to every SQLSaturday event to help them get the ball rolling and in return we were listed as a sponsor. When we could, Karla would be at an event to help out or we would have a Regional Mentor or Board member be there to represent PASS. However, we didn't really have the same kind of presence like most sponsors do - i.e. no table with signs and marketing materials promoting the benefits of PASS membership. I've been speaking and attending SQLSaturdays for years and the impression I'm left with almost every time is that most attendees aren't aware of other PASS events, much less what PASS is even about. What better place is there, then, to tell people about all the great reasons to be a part of PASS than at our own events?

With that in mind, we put together our list of asks - table skirts, signs, laptop stickers, lanyards, road signs, and Summit DVDs for end of day raffles - with the intent of improving PASS visibility and generating interest in chapters, virtual chapters, and other PASS events. We also found ourselves with more SQLSaturdays in the pipeline than originally budgeted for and needed some additional money to be able to continue providing our kickstarter funds. We went in asking for roughly $46,000 to cover it all and in the end approved $30,000 - enough to cover everything we wanted but in smaller quantities. I'll call it a win!

Also of note, Karla and I began holding weekly calls with PASS HQ and marketing to discuss several SQLSaturday items that had been on the backburner for a while during the transition to the new Board. Discussion topics included improving PASS visibility at SQLSaturdays, streamlining HQ processes to reduce the admin overhead associated with each SQLSaturday, changes to the license agreement to adapt it to the non-US based events that Karla's been working on, etc.. Not terribly exciting stuff, but necessary to be able to support the growing number of SQLSaturdays that are taking place everywhere.

Finally, in February we published our first SQLSaturday newsletter to members of the SQLSaturday Advisory Council containing a short editorial, Tips & Tricks for running events, a volunteer spotlight, links to blog posts about recent SQLSaturdays, and a list of upcoming events. I'm happy with how it turned out and it shows that we're trying to stay in touch with our event leaders more often than just at the Summit or when it's time for their SQLSaturday. Our plan is to publish once every other month and eventually move to a monthly schedule.

As always, I recommend reading the minutes from each month's meetings to get a better idea of what the Board discussed in more detail. We had two in February, both via teleconference, and you can read them (PDF format) here and here.

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