[Board] Sponsorship funding and value for money

Dave McIlhagga dmcilhagga at dmsolutions.ca
Tue Jan 8 06:21:38 PST 2008

I'm glad you wrote Frank -- as it saved me a bunch of typing. :)

So in addition to what Frank wrote - I'd just like to mention that  
other than pro-active sponsorship activities (which I think we all  
agree is a priority for 2008) we have achieved a heck of a lot in the  
past year. Just the fantastic number of new local chapters is a major  
achievement. We had a great event in Victoria (thanks Paul!) and  
we're starting to get organized on the marketing front. We have  
contracts out for GDAL work, we have a new reliable infrastructure  
for our software (remember Collabnet anyone?) We've had projects  
graduate from incubation and new projects enter incubation. In terms  
of professionalism -- look at the difference between the first  
"annual meeting" for OSGeo in Lausanne vs. our meeting this year.

I realize that all of these things happen because of volunteers --  
but the coordination of all this activity was impossible for the  
board to achieve before the ED role came into existence.

Having said all of this -- we do need to revisit our priorities on a  
consistent basis - and relay this to Tyler in order to set his  
priorities accordingly.

Personally - I think that if we can continue to grow what we have  
achieved in 2007 during the course of 2008 + get 50-100k of new  
sponsorship funding in the next year, we'll continue to be making big  
strides forward.


On 8-Jan-08, at 12:32 AM, Frank Warmerdam wrote:

> 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.
> Tyler,
> 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
> desirable.
>> 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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