[Osmf-talk] Financing the OSMF

Adrian Schoenig adrian at skedgo.com
Thu Aug 29 23:37:54 UTC 2013


Very interesting discussion. As a technical director of a start-up which is relying on OSM (and contributing to it), our prespective is this:

A corporate membership or easy way to donate would be great - auto-renewals would certainly help! We wouldn't really expect anything in return. A mention of support would be appreciated, but the main goal for us is to give back to the OSMF to ensure its long-term viability.


On 28/08/2013, at 5:27 AM, Jonathan <bigfatfrog67 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I've been following this discussion closely.  I'm nervous about accepting money from corporations however necessary it may be sometimes.  It must always be considered carefully.  Personally I don't think corporations should be given a vote and I don't think money should buy influence.   If they want to give money to show their support or to gain greater visibility at SOTM or similar event then fine.  It should be made clear up front what any donations give them.
> Like Kate I feel more can be got from National or Super-National organisations from Governments to the UN, EU or other regional organisations such as the Arab League etc.  All of these organisations have remits to help and support their areas of interest and will have budgets to do that. OSM can underpin and is underpinning many global or local efforts.  We need to approach them.
> Has anyone approached large charities (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wealthiest_charitable_foundations) or Lotteries or Foundations (http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/topfunders/top100assets.html). If Bill and Melinda Gates want to help children in Africa it would help if they had up to date maps of Africa!
> Also, I agree wholeheartedly with who ever said we should make membership auto-renew, with Direct Debits.
> Lastly, do we have any idea/stats on who is using our maps or taking extracts from the database the most.  While we can't charge them for it we can approach them for support either financial or in some practical way?
> Hope some of those seeds land in fertile soil ;-)
> Jonathan
> (bigfatfrog67)
> On 26/08/2013 11:54, 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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