atom feed4 messages in Foundation Budget for 2008
FromSent OnAttachments
Vincent UntzMar 12, 2008 7:49 am.ods
Dave NearyMar 12, 2008 9:22 am 
Luis VillaMar 12, 2008 9:29 am 
Jonathan BlandfordMar 13, 2008 12:07 pm 
Subject:Re: Foundation Budget for 2008
From:Dave Neary (
Date:Mar 12, 2008 9:22:48 am

Hi Vincent,

First, congrats on having a budget, and getting it out into the public several months before I did last year, it's a big step forward on the past.

I have a fair few comments, though, both about the form and the content.

Vincent Untz wrote:

(Note that the GUADEC budget is not included by default in the totals, since we're keeping it separate.)

Last year we included a line on GUADEC. It has almost always generated a surplus which has been used to fund other foundation activities such as the summit, and last year I included that estimate in the budget. The GUADEC team generated a surplus in excess of what I had included in the budget, way to go guys!

Last year, we figured a surplus of $30,000. Given the reduction in the dollar value over the past year, I think that a surplus of $20,000 is more reasonable this year, but it's important that the expectations be explicit for all concerned.

Some interesting items:

+ currently projected income: $217,000 + currently projected expenditures: $256,261 => we're projecting a $39,261 loss so far

I think that you should try to balance the budget. If you spend a little less or a little more so be it, but starting out with the goal of losing money is dangerous.

But: + $40,000 are allocated for the business developer which we don't have yet. This amount of money means (s)he'll join us around or after the middle of the year, but this is most probably related to us paying a head hunter...

I would allocate the entire $40,000 to getting a headhunter on board, and getting advice on the bizdev/executive director hire. I would drop the sysadmin hire and sysadmin fundraising from the budget. The foundation will have to pay for a sysadmin from its income. As I suggested, I think that any fundraising which will be used to pay a sysadmin should be program-related.

As I was saying to you on IRC, fundraising to pay a salary is a *very* hard sell. To fundraise in a non-profit you need to tug on heart-strings, get people worked up, or appeal directly to people's wallets. Paying a salary does none of those. So break it down: why do we need a sysadmin? What will a sysadmin achieve? How will that further the goals of the foundation? Fundraise against the end, not against the means.

+ the budget assumes we'll have 3 $10,000 hackfests without any sponsor. => hopefully, we'd get some sponsorship

I would drop one of the hackfests from the budget until the question comes up. In the case of the accessibility summit, for example, we're piggy-backing on the Summit. For GMAE meetings we have also done this. To this point, we have not yet drawn down money for either of these. I would like to see smaller focussed meetings like the GTK+ hackfest (great initiative), but I'm not convinced that there will be another 3 of those this year.

I think that one of the 3 "hackfests" could be a board meeting. The idea was proposed in the past, but was awkward because the good time isn't really obvious.

+ we'll likely spend a bit more (I'd say between $5,000 and $10,000) for community development (Latin America tour is not complete, for example)

$25,000 on community user groups seems very generous to me already - I think it'd be better to tighten the purse stroings a little for everyone and ask local groups to supplement the foundation funds with local sponsorship, membership fees and merchandising sales (as GNOME-fr has done).

Some further comments:

Trademark applications: are there plans to do any of those this year?

Friends of GNOME: community contributions have been ridiculously low for the past 2 years since we have not pushed them. This can be a source of problems for us if we get audited by the IRS, since we don't have enough community funding to justify our 501(c)3 status right now. I suggest overhawling FoG, figuring out how to set up annual subscriptions and establishing donation levels, and doing a big community fundraising push.

Short version: I think the budget should be balanced, I suggest removing some of the aspirational items which might not happen, and I suggest focusing on one hire, preferably the bizdev/executive director hire, rather than the sysadmin hire. And Friends of GNOME should be a major source of income for the foundation for two reasons: we have a community who is passionate and rocks, and the IRS insists we pass a community interest test.

Cheers, Dave.