Beginners Guide to Starting a Local Edcamp

This post is the second in the series The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Local Edcamp. Check out all posts in the series: Who to Involve in Edcamp, Edcamp SWAG & Door Prizes Round-up, and Jobs at an Edcamp.

The Beginners Guide to Starting a Local Edcamp BANNER

Yes, the real reward is the knowledge and connections you make at an Edcamp.
Right, but it is fun to get the other good stuff too, right? And when others tell the story of your Edcamp (But I know you want to tell it first{future link}) they will include the awesome prizes, and food, and t-shirt they got. Because teachers always learn from everything they do, we assume attendees learned, but look at this other good stuff they got!

Yes, there are other important things. Do not ignore the location, wifi, social media presence, or the logistics of signing people up and signing them in, but … about that good stuff you want to give away …. And we know what the good stuff is, don’t we? SWAG and Door-Prizes!

SWAG – Stuff We All Get

Edcamp T-shirts

Without setting up a nonprofit, you need to identify a local printer for a quote and introduce them to a sponsor you find to pay for the shirts. Sounds too easy? Of course it isn’t, but here are the steps.

Estimate the number of shirts, aim high. Ascertain cost for a variety of sizes, sometimes XL+ cost more. Speaking of that, plan for a wide spectrum of sizes M-XL adult sizes.

Create an edcamp design, consider outsourcing this to a class which is learning how to do this, short of that ask the printer who they work with at your/someone on the planning team’s school. The design can be either static or a new one yearly, but you free up time if students do it, so don’t worry about it being perfect. Once you have a graphic of the edcamp, plan where to include your hashtag and sponsor/vendors. Decide if you will print your premier vendors on the back or just an inspirational quote.

Once you have a quote, start shopping the idea to potential larger sponsors: car dealerships, local resorts, realtors, an educational organization.

Edcamp Meals

You can cover a light breakfast with the funds the Edcamp in a Box provides (link), but if you want lunch you will need to start with a quote from a local restaurant which delivers to the edcamp location. Numbers can be hard to estimate as many people sign up right before attending. The first year is the toughest to estimate, but once you have one year under your belt you can start with last year’s number and estimate using the tools within Eventbrite to project a final number.

Attendee Bags

While not glamorous, a bag becomes necessary if you do the rest of the job well, getting SWAG to stuff bags with, the t-shirt, and {fingers crossed} Door Prizes to put in the bags!

School Media Specialists and local Librarians may help you out with a connection to a vendor who has giveaway bags. These are like the ones you may get at conference and are likely to have a tie to literature, bonus, and be cute enough for a teacher to carry, awesome!

Those bags are valuable to potential donors too. You can offer to stuff the bags with their donated pens and post-it notes, but also literature these informal leaders at their school may be interested in. Obviously you control to whom you offer that, but it can sweeten a deal to convince a donor on the return of their investment.

Plan to give these out with check-in the day of. However, stuff everything except the t-shirt the evening before.

Potential Edcamp Sponsors

Start with your Edcamp committee for connections within their families or known educator families in the area. Consider local realtors, edtech companies, local car dealerships, local chains/restaurants/grocery stores all as potential sponsors.

About your LinkedIn account; this is a perfect time to work those resources, those business cards you have collected and connected with from conferences past. Who is working for an edtech company? Anyone who now has a job in the private sector? How about someone who works for a publishing house? Your contacts can connect you to those willing to donate to edcampers if you present your request and connect with a decision maker who wants to support educators.

Always ask for donations, but if you need to accept cash, document it well, and keep receipts!!! After the event include receipts to your sponsors with their personalized Thank You note.

Edcamp Swag and Prizes Roundup


Raffle/Door Prizes

Always ask by which name business or people want to receive thanks and ask for their preferred logo (so you do not have to snip it off their website). And when you feel like you have gathered the right amount of prizes or when it is one week before your event, whichever comes first, stop working on this and start working on preparing for the day of the event.

Even the most incredible prizes may not appeal to everyone. Provide a way for people to put in for only the items they want to win; think raffle tickets in a container per item.

Teacher Subscriptions

Many educational technology companies are more than happy to donate a one-year, premium subscription to a teacher. It does not cost them much and may bring in future revenue. Start with any salespeople you or contacts in your district know for companies your teachers are interested in. Ask for free premium accounts.


You may need to create some promotional pages to stand in as the “prize.” Just make sure all the information is included on it – who to contact, email, code to use, etc.

Teacher Tools

A big-ticket item right now is ergonomic furniture. Scour local edcamps for similar giveaways and target in on those companies for donations. ergonomic furniture.

Smaller technology for the classroom, ipevo, Queball, podcasting equipment, small camera set-up.


Yes. Teachers always want to read. Consider reaching out to authors you know on Twitter and asking for specific donations of books, even autographed books. They may send a variety or multiples, but if they were a teacher they usually honor these requests (because teacher = awesome).

Reach out also to the (database, book) vendors your Media Specialists/Librarians might offer up, they are often connected to professional learning publishers who could donate multiple copies of professional learning books – and they know the popular ones!

Online Courses

Reach out to the big players in online course offerings like Coursera, EdX,, Udemy.  Also keep in mind the smaller solo-prenuers/teacherpreneurs out there offering small applicable classes for teachers. Searching Pinterest, Blogs, and Twitter should help you find those one-off classes which may donate one complimentary course to your edcamp.

Teacher Gift Certificates

Reach out to support at places like Donors Choose and TeachersPayTeachers. Start with a small request and then ask them for more the following year.

Amazon gift certificates, local teacher stores, target, are all awesome prizes for teachers! Consider suggesting these to those who want to contribute to the raffle/door prizes but do not have physical items to donate.

Classroom Supplies

For those who are more comfortable donating purchased items, provide a list of suggested classroom supplies from which to contribute.

Local Businesses

Offer local small businesses the chance to contribute and show their support of these teachers too! Target the most involved in the community and offer them special ways to contribute with gift baskets, gift certificates, in-person volunteers.


 It isn’t enough to give stuff away…

As you are awarding the Raffle/Door Prizes, take a lot of pictures of the excitement and the prizes! Make sure to tweet these out with your Edcamp hashtag and the vendor username.

Advertise a Thank You booth, a place for teachers to get their picture taken a tweet out to the vendors how much they appreciate the support! Thank yous for the Edcamp and the recipient should be welcomed social media presence by the donor!


What else have you seen given away at an Edcamp which was AWESOME? What should be given out at an Edcamp?

Edcamp SWAG and Door Prizes Round up