When we created Sirens, we created something different: something smart, something friendly, something inclusive. Something that is as much a community as it is a conference. An inviting space full of respect, brilliance, and inspiration, where people both speak and listen, and where many people now feel at home.
In order to foster that community, we include elements in Sirens such as our Thursday afternoon tea and our keynote addresses that bring all attendees together, often over a shared meal. These elements raise Sirens’s costs significantly.
Yet, despite these costs, we remain committed to keeping the price of Sirens as low as possible, so that more individuals have an opportunity to attend our conference and participate in our community. As a result, we run an unusual budget structure: the costs of presenting Sirens exceed our registration revenue by over $12,000. In fact, every time someone registers for Sirens, we lose money.
We’re asking for your help. Each year, Sirens covers that monetary gap by raising funds, in three ways, from those who can perhaps provide a bit more support. These funds go directly to covering Sirens’s costs, and are critical to our ability to continue providing registrations at lower prices so that our community can continue to flourish.
We hope that you’ll consider supporting Sirens this year in one of the following ways.
Each year, thousands of dollars of the costs of presenting Sirens are offset by monetary donations, in amounts ranging from $5 to $1,500. The donors are members of the Sirens community, friends and family, and even strangers who simply believe in our mission of providing a space to discuss and debate the remarkable, diverse women of fantasy literature. All monetary donations go directly toward the elements of Sirens that provide immediate value for attendees: catering, t-shirts, registration bags, audiovisual equipment, event insurance, and so forth. (In fact, it’s worth noting that Sirens does not incur many of the indirect expenses that most events incur, such as salaries or office space rental, as our staff are volunteers who not only donate their time, but also use their personal computers, cellphones, and living space to plan Sirens.)
If you’d like to make a donation, in any amount, please visit our donations page. We will acknowledge you on our website, in our program book, and at Sirens.
For those of you particularly interested in programming, very soon you will be able to sponsor individual presentations for $35, and in doing so, support and encourage particular presenters or the inclusion of particular topics on our schedule. If you’d like to sponsor a programming presentation, please visit our accepted programming page. (We expect to begin posting summaries of accepted presentations July 24!) We will acknowledge you in connection with your chosen programming presentation on our website, in our program book, and at Sirens.
For those of you particularly interested in other elements of Sirens, we’re always happy to discuss sponsorship of other programming and events. If you’re interested, please email us at (donate at sirensconference.org).
The Sirens auction has become an unexpected source of significant revenue in recent years, and one that we especially love: while raising money for Sirens, we’re also providing attendees the opportunity to obtain amazing items and services. Our auction includes both a silent component, culminating at our Toil and Trouble Ball, and a live component, which provides an always-raucous element to our final breakfast.
All items in our auction are donated by individuals: Sirens staff, Sirens attendees, and other Sirens supporters. These items are frequently fun, sometimes one-of-a-kind, occasionally startling, and often a terrific deal on professional services. We’ve featured everything from unique articles such as t-shirts, pillows, journals, and jewelry; to professional services such as manuscript critiques and query letter reviews; to art pieces such as custom digital artwork, character naming rights for upcoming books, and original watercolors.
The sky’s the limit, and if you are interested in donating an item or two for our auction, please email us at (donate at sirensconference.org).
A few years ago, Narrate Conferences, Inc., the presenting 501(c)(3) charitable organization behind Sirens, began operating the Sirens bookstore as a fundraiser. This gives us the opportunity to use the bookstore profits to support Sirens. But it also gives us the opportunity, in defiance of the commercial market, to stock our bookstore exclusively with fantasy books written by, or featuring, amazing women—books that we and the Sirens community love.
In many ways, our bookstore operates like any other bookstore: we acquire new books for sale just like anyone else. But in two ways, our bookstore is different. First, our community frequently donates new books, just to make sure that the bookstore includes them in its inventory; sometimes these attendees work for publishers, but more often, these attendees are simply Sirens supporters who want to help make our bookstore as wonderful as possible. Second, we have a used section of our bookstore where we offer gently used fantasy books for $5 each. That section of our bookstore is stocked entirely through donations.
If you would like to donate books to our bookstore, please send your books to the following address, to arrive no later than August 1, 2017. (And remember, if you’re shipping only books, the USPS media mail option is terrifically cheap, but terrifically slow, so please leave time for your package to arrive.)
c/o Narrate Conferences
P.O. Box 149
Sedalia, CO 80135
Narrate Conferences, Inc., the presenting organization behind Sirens, is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Therefore, all donations to Sirens are eligible for tax deduction in accordance with U.S. law.
Regardless of whether you are able to provide us with additional support this year or not, and if so, regardless of the type or amount of that additional support, we thank you. This community means the world to us, and we’re both honored and humbled to say that we’re presenting our ninth year of Sirens this October.