[Osmf-talk] Financing the OSMF

Kai Krueger kakrueger at gmail.com
Tue Aug 27 01:30:16 UTC 2013


during SotM-US there seems to have been a certain buzz around getting
corporate donations for OSMF. Although if I understand it correctly (did
I?), things haven't worked out quite as well as hoped back then, it
probably does indicate that among the various companies using OSM a
certain willingness to donate to OSM(F) exists.

As the OSMF in the past hasn't needed to do much real fund raising
(outside of SotM), it is perhaps not too surprising the corporate fund
raising at and after SotM-US or in general was not as successful as it
perhaps could have been. But it would probably be good to see if there
are lessons to be learned and things that can be done to increase the
success rate. It would be nice if the people involved in that effort
could share their experience and what the issues were in converting that
buzz into real money. Equally for the organizers of various SotMs, who
have been quite successfull in the past in organizing sponsors, it would
be great to share their experience.

What do companies want in return for donations? Publicity in form of
e.g. blog posts or donor websites? Evidence that the OSMF spends the
money wisely and responsibly? Certificates that they donated for tax
purposes? Do they indeed prefer to become "members" with re-occuring
charges or rather just donate repeatedly in one off donations?

Which of those wishes is OSMF set up to be able to offer now or in the
near future? And what is the level of donations for which this is justified?

As OSM partly saves companies quite substantial amounts of money
compared to commercial vendors or provides fresh business opportunities,
there should be more appeal to companies to make sure OSMF is well
funded than just the "generosity of their hart"...

With SotM just around the corner, that is probably  a good opportunity
again to talk to various corporations and try and convince them to
donate. Or at least understand better what it would take for them to
become (re-occurring) donors? Is there something that general members of
the OSMF can do to help in this process? Who from OSMF could spear head
such a "targeted donation drive" during SotM?

Overall, despite the fact that OSMF has been very restrained with its
budget, mostly keeping things to the bare minimum, I do think that
relying in whole on personal member fees and small donations by fellow
mappers is not going to be a sustainable model.


On 08/26/2013 04:54 AM, Simon Poole wrote:
> [This is a topic of some personal interest to me and hasn't been
> discussed in depth nor has the discussion of this been sanctioned by the
> board]
> One of the issues that I believe we need to attack is the financing of
> the OSMF. I've mentioned this before in the articles of association
> discussions. Given that we now have 2012 financials as some facts to
> check our assumptions against, I would like to see if there are some
> ideas other than my own (the topic just doesn't seem to interest very
> much) that might be interesting to pursue.
> To illustrate the issues, lets look at the 2012 numbers. Leaving the
> earmarked donations for hardware and depreciation away and income and
> expense for SOTM (more on that later), we have roughly
> £3'000 income from membership fees
> £3'000 of misc. income
> versus
> £12'000     of operational expenses (hosting etc)
> £4'000        insurance
> £2'000        bank charges and other misc expenses
> £6'500        accounting and legal
> £5'000        expenses
> £6'000        professional fees (I suspect this was one time,
> historically this item was always negligible)
> of the above at least the hosting, insurance, accounting and bank
> charges are unavoidable recurring fixed costs. Comparing  our "secured"
> regular income (£'3000) with these costs (£25'000) we see an annual
> short fall of at least £22'000 (assuming that travel expenses and
> professional fees are not really necessary). Historically this hasn't
> been an issue because we have been able to rely on SOTM turning a neat
> profit, however there is no guarantee that this will continue and it is
> unfair in the sense that it adds an unspoken requirement on the SOTM
> organizers that may be very difficult to fulfil.
> Further, we are not exactly splurging on our operational costs, if we
> would have to pay anything near commercial rates we would likely be at
> least 10 times higher. It seems unlikely that with growth we will be
> able to maintain the extremely low rate of £1'000 per month in any case.
> I believe the issue is clear, we need a medium to long term model for
> financing the OSMF. My personal favourite solution would be to balance
> out our fixed costs with a similar amount of fixed income. Based on the,
> not unreasonable, feeling that it is relatively easy to get donations
> for hardware, asking the same to cover insurance is likely not to work.
> Assuming further that we are not going to change our business model, our
> only potential source of such fixed income are our membership fees, and
> given that we would rather lower, than increase such fees for
> individuals, that leaves fees for corporate membership as the only
> source of such income.
> But, as I wrote above, maybe there are other viable scenarios and ideas.
> If you have such, please bring them to the table.
> Simon
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