NarraScope is asking for your help

You may note that I’ve added a fundraiser bar to the NarraScope sponsorship page:

The event starts in three weeks, and the truth is we need additional funding to swing it. Your donation supports two days of talks and presentatations which will be streamed and made available for free.

IFTF runs the Colossal Fund drive every fall for IFComp prizes; that has been tremendously successful. We’re hoping that a second fundraiser in the spring isn’t too much to ask. The NarraScope presentations are a community benefit, but just like IFComp, money is part of the engine that makes it go.

You can donate via the “Donate” button on the page linked above. If you register for NarraScope with one of the “extra support” or “donation” options, that also counts.

Thanks for any help you can offer.


Background info, or, how did we wind up here?

In 2019 we ran NarraScope in Boston, and pretty well broke even on finances. For the past few years we have run NarraScope entirely online, and broke even. (We were even able to pay honoraria to speakers, which we didn’t do in 2019.)

This year we are running NarraScope as a hybrid event (Pittsburgh and online), and… we are not breaking even.

This may seem weird – why isn’t “hybrid” just a combination of the above? The answer is how we balanced the fixed costs. Or tried to.

In 2019 we charged attendees enough to cover food, plus a margin. The margin covered fixed costs: space at MIT and some extra food for speakers, whose attendance was comped. We had about 175 paying attendees and 40 speakers, so it worked out.

This year we have about the same number of attendees (so far) – but a large proportion of them have chosen to attend remotely. That puts them outside the food equation: not eating, but also not contributing. The fixed costs land on much smaller number of on-site attendees, and we just didn’t figure in enough margin for that.

(Hybrid is hard, folks.)

On top of that, we have gotten less interest in institutional sponsorship this year. I suspect that’s general economic slowdown dragging on game companies, but for whatever reason, the donation numbers are lower.

Anyway, that is why we have a fundraiser page all of a sudden.