When the New York City PostgreSQL User Group (NYCPUG) launched the campaign to create PGDay NYC (now PGConf NYC) back in 2012, our goal was to create a multi-day community PostgreSQL conference in New York City. However, we knew that we had to start small with a one-day two track conference, and even with that, we had many obstacles to overcome: timing, logistics, and of course, securing funding to pay for the event. We were very fortunate that we had fantastic sponsors for our inaugural event, but we faced a simple yet daunting problem: where would we actually collect the money for the conference?
Because NYCPUG was not an official nonprofit organization in 2012, we were unable to open a bank account to collect funds for PGDay NYC 2012. We relied on the money collection in two ways: informing our sponsors to send checks directly to the venue, or collect the money through one of our organizations and have it count against our corporate and personal taxes.
Neither of these methods were ideal. Though paying the venue directly might work in ideal circumstances, we ended up in a prolonged billing dispute with the venue after the event where they owed us more money than they claimed. Additionally, to lower the tax liabilities on our end, we tried to spend all of the money that was raised, which did not allow us to save any money for PGDay NYC 2013.
However, we received a major lifeline in 2013. The United Statues PostgreSQL Association (PG.US) approached us with a unique solution: we could register NYCPUG as a subsidiary of PG.US, which would give NYCPUG nonprofit 501(c)(3) status and its own bank account.
This immediately provided a lot of benefits for organizing PGDay NYC 2013. First and foremost, we saved money from the venue expenses because we did not have to pay tax due to nonprofit status – this meant we had capital that could be invested in enhancing the experience of the conference. The savings enabled us to have the conference at a better, more professional venue, which for PGDay NYC 2013 was in Liberty Hall the ACE Hotel in New York. We could also consolidate the funds for PGDay NYC 2013 in one place – this made it much easier to pay bills and handle the accounting on our end, which in turn made it easier for sponsors and vendors to work with us.
Perhaps most importantly, we were able to carry over our proceeds from PGDay NYC 2013 to use for the 2014 conference. This allowed us to expand our conference from 1 to 2 days (hence we became "PGConf NYC") and to accommodate more speakers and attendees in a larger venue, which for PGConf NYC 2014 is the New York Marriott Downtown.
Without the administrative support of PG.US, we may not have been able to create this amazing event in NYC on the same level and scale. While not all PostgreSQL community events will be the same size as PGConf NYC, I hope that by sharing our learning experiences that the rest of the advocacy community can utilize our model and help to effectively teach good PostgreSQL practices.