[Board] Sponsorship funding and value for money

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Mon Jan 7 21:32:57 PST 2008

Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:
> I've struggled with understanding this whole thread, so correct me if 
> I'm wrong.  The main point I'm taking away is that fundraising and 
> sponsorship need more focus, particularly from me and my time.  I accept 
> this and agree.  I hope you can leave it with me to manage the priority 
> conflicts that I have already acknowledged and to spend more time on 
> this front.


I look forward to this.

> The second point I think I'm reading from this thread is that the "value 
> for money" from the E.D. position/expenses is not clear to you and Jo.  
> I won't try to justify the position, but feel several concepts are 
> getting mixed up here.  Value is relative to the assessor - are we 
> talking value to OSGeo, value to sponsors or value to projects?  I feel 
> that OSGeo's corporate "value to sponsors" is getting mixed up with the 
> E.D.'s "value to OSGeo".  I believe that the board wants the E.D. 
> position to help on all these fronts, not just one or two.  I doubt that 
> sponsors come to OSGeo with funding because of any single thing the E.D. 
> might do - but instead because they support our mission, direction and 
> projects.  So it seems like it remains valuable to further clarify our 
> direction.

In my opinion the ED role exists because it was to hard to execute some
OSGeo priorities based on strictly volunteer effort.  I think the ED
role has been fairly successful at providing us as an organization a
way of getting key items done.

> ED Reports -- I specifically tried to make the last update report as 
> useful as possible, by not only providing an update, but also commentary 
> and opinion:
> http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/board/2007-December/002240.html
> In our board meeting in Victoria we discussed having more frequent 
> updates, but that there was no interest in getting more detail.  So I'm 
> not sure what you mean by "more granular reports", because I thought I 
> provided a good one.

I found the Dec 11 report quite good, and I would be pleased to receive
this sort of report on a monthly basis.  BTW, I think there was a
consensus that we would like to see an ED report 2-4 days before board
meetings so we have a bit of time to digest it before the meeting.  Our
next board meeting is this Friday, so a new report soon would be

> Sponsorship Value -- It's still tough to grasp what the concrete value 
> proposition for OSGeo is.  

I have to admit I'm surprised every time someone says this.  I guess
it depends on how concrete you want to get, but it seems clear to *me*
at least that our sponsorship value proposition is twofold and that
for most sponsors one or the other item will be more important.

1) Sponsoring OSGeo helps sustain the this magic cornocopia of
fantastic free software on which organizations are running.  It's
like throwing a few oats out for the goose that is laying the
golden eggs.

2) Sponsoring OSGeo has a marketing benefit by identifying the
sponsor with the very progressive, public spirited, modern and
sophisticated open source world.  When you sponsor OSGeo, the
users of FOSSGIS notice and want to:
  a) buy your proprietary software
  b) buy your services
  c) turn in terrorists to your agents
  d) buy you a drink at conferences
  e) fix bugs for you

Straight forward, eh?

 > I hope that this question of OSGeo sponsors
> getting value for money isn't primarily tied to just what I am doing.  
> If so, my priorities will look a lot different for 2008 and will not 
> include "unprofitable" day-to-day business support.  The value question 
> is a bigger one for the organisation, so I think worrying about E.D. 
> position priorities before figuring out the organisation's may be a bit 
> backward - but at least it gets the discussion started.

I don't see the ED getting value for money as being tied too much to
the activities of the ED.  But the ED will often be a main contact with
sponsors, and will help project a professional and organized sense of
the foundation.  Ultimately the value comes from the software from the
projects, and from the positive karma with the geospatial community.

>> As for trips, when we approved the travel budget I really thought 
>> these would be primarily for trips to either promote OSGeo to new 
>> areas, or to close on specific sponsors.  Going to a local chapter 
>> meeting and making the initial pitch seems less effective to me, the 
>> ED should come in for the close, for the final touch.
> I am confused by this because, indeed, I am coming to close the deal 
> after the local chapters that invited me set the deal up.  I have yet to 
> travel to go to a local chapter meeting, unless I was already there to 
> speak to a new audience.  I think it's getting confused here because the 
> local chapters are setting up the audience, inviting me, often paying 
> for part of the travel and then finding additional opportunities to use 
> me when I'm there.  These are attempts to make my trip more productive.  
> Apart from that I simply went to conference events, hosted our booth, 
> did talks, etc.  Perhaps my status reports were not clear on this front?

I have not had concerns about Tyler's choices in trips though I'd love
to hear a bit more about them.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGeo, http://osgeo.org

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