Sponsors play a big in supporting not only the conference but also the D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) initiatives. NeurIPS gives 30-40% of their income to D&I, travel awards, childcare, etc. We want every sponsor to be treated equally, other conferences do not put this effort into the sponsorships.
MLSys and AIStats need all the sponsorship money they can get. NeurIPS did not have a sponsor chair for many years, they let Mary Ellen and Lee manage it. In 2021, the Board was afraid some sponsors were not ethical and a selection process would take place, thus NeurIPS incorporated Sponsorship Chairs. ICML, MLSys and AIStats have chairs, some do the work, others don't play as much a role. For in person conference, we need to work with the decorator to figure out how many booths we can have in the space. Make sure this matches up with the prospectus.
The Prospectus is when the chairs and approval by the boards decide on the sponsorship levels and what will be provided within the sponsorship. The prospectus will vary depending on in person and virtual (reference 2019/2020 documentation folder). The Prospectus is sent out to an email list I have collected over the years. Our team has the Sponsor Portal ready for the year with updated information; see here.
The sponsor contact fills out the information, for in person, all 12 questions need to be used, for virtual, only down to #5. The information that is added in #3 is what will show up on the contract. The sponsor may want another name to appear on the website – also drawing from #3. Once the sponsor has submitted their application, Jen sends out the contract and payment wire information.
The contract is based on a template, we will review the template and make sure the Code of Conduct is included for the correct Conference. A cover email with the contract and wire information is sent out (reference the example email in the documentation folder for ICML 2021).
After the sponsors have paid and are visible, then they can check their comps page, and update all the people they are bringing, their free exhibitors. Jen/Mep have to copy those emails and add them to the add comps upload and submit it so they will get their registration, we then get their blue boxes and then go back into the report where she copied it and they should all be gone.
Sponsors get booths, which need to be built by Darren in Topia if virtual. If in person, we hire a decorator to lay out the space for the booths; go back to #8 in the sponsor portal.
After the conference, Brad will run a report to see the number of hits on their website. The metrics offered are on the Sponsor Checklist ( in documentation folder).
The general sponsor process is given here: