This year we felt it important to be able to offer subsidies to help people with no disposable income attend Mindcamp. Because we operate exclusively with volunteer labor and with very thin margins over our hard costs, we included an “ask” on the registration form for small donations to go towards subsidies for other Mindcampers.
Our plan was exciting: we would gather as many donations as we could, and then approach some of the disadvantaged communities we had worked with through Facilitators Without Borders, offering them subsidized spots at the conference.
Reality, as usual, isn’t cooperating. So far, the reference to donations in the registration form has elicited more requests than donations: not surprising, given that many people are hurting in this economic environment. The creative community, especially, seems to be experiencing tough times.
The good news is that Mindcamp is already a great deal. Most creativity conferences cost more (in some cases much more) and those of comparable price generally do not include accommodation. All of these conferences offer great value for your money: the variable is that some others may offer more comfort (nicer beds, finer food, etc.) and may have paid staff to take care of participants and presenters. At Mindcamp, we just take care of one another. We like that model, and think it works well.
We still hope to be able to accommodate the subsidy applications through donations, probably with a special email “ask” sometime in the next few weeks.