This post looks at the state of finances and fundraising for the SQL Saturday corporation.


I need to do a roundup of finances, but for 2022, we’ve spent about $200 running the SQL Saturday franchise. We don’t have too many expenses, and I’ve been running this as a volunteer effort. Between myself (Steve Jones) and the organizers, we’ve run 16 events in 2022 without many costs.

When I was setting up this charitable foundation, people involved in the past and some of the vendors were sure we’d need $100-250k a year to run this. My reply to most of them was that if it took more than US$1k, I’d be upset.

So far I’m well below this, but there have been a few things we’ve considered. First, we had to make a decision on trademarks. Those were donated to us, but a few are coming due. The renewals in various geographies are a few thousand dollars, so I’ve delayed this decison for now. While we could afford this, that would leave us dangerously low on reserves for future years. I am concered about having less than 2 years of reserves, and would prefer 3-4 years.

The previous organization might have a similar view now, after their difficulties during the pandemic. Redgate gave us a USD$5,000 grant to get started. We spent about $800 on getting an organization set up and running. With our current $200-300 annual expenditure, we can run for over a decade.

A Fundraising Idea

This is a charitable foundation right now, incorporated under the US 501.c.3 tax code. To maintain this status, we need to show donations from a number of people. If any single donor covers the majority of our expenses, we revert to a private foundation. Not a bad thing, but not what I’d prefer.

SQL Saturday was built on grass roots support, from organizers, speakers, and attendees. I’d like to ask people to donate to the franchise, but with a limit. I’d set this as USD$1 or maybe USD$5 from any one person. A few generous members have offered more, but really, I’d love to see a few hundred of you donate $1 a year.

I’ve also thought about having this as an add-on for those attending SQL Saturday at the $1 level. Like the US tax forms, you’d have the option to donate $1.

Fundraising Idea 2

One of the board members suggested selling SWAG (shirts, pens, hats, etc.) with the SQL Saturday logo (maybe a donor label) and taking some proceeds to fund the org.

Good idea? This is semi-expensive as outsourcing this effort eats up a lot of the funds. Would you want a SQL Saturday clothing item?

Usage for Funds

I don’t have any great ideas for using funds right now. The board has kicked around sending some token thank you (plaque, etc.) to organizers that run events. We’ve also thought about recognizing new speakers, or those that hit milestones (25, 50, 100 events).

The goal here would be to keep people interested and excited in events. Perhaps grow a few new organizers in new cities as well.

I’ve always liked the idea of scholarships, but those have higher $$ requirements, though perhaps we could find a way to fund those that might need training from people in our community at a reduced rate.

I’d love to hear what others think.

Feedback Requested

I’ve created an issue in this repo where you can comment and leave your thoughts. I’d appreciate positive, critical, or creative comments on how to move forward.

One quick request. Remind others to register here: They can join our mailing list and find out about how SQL Saturday is growing and adapting to the new world.