[Board] ED Position, Key Targets, Sponsorship

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu May 19 14:05:06 PDT 2011

On 11-05-19 12:56 PM, Tyler Mitchell (OSGeo) wrote:
> Just following up on my email from 10 days ago - does any of the strategic stuff I wrote sound good to you?  I'm carrying on as I laid out there, but there were a few questions in there for you that would be good to discuss.  What's your vision for OSGeo going forward?  Does it line up with what I'm proposing?
> Tyler

>> - ----
>> First, the current job description:
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Executive_Director_Job_Description
>> Anytime we talk about budgets and expenses it is important to review this
>> description to see what expectations may have changed. I would appreciate a
>> review of these items to make sure that my current task list is as on-target as
>> possible. This may be especially helpful for the newer directors who haven't
>> gone through the cycle of reviewing priorities, budgets, etc. for the ED position.
>> After we've had a review of this, I can provide a list of everything I
>> do,  categorised, so you can see what removing certain parts of the job results in.
>> This is also important to do so you can see what the funding for the position
>> goes toward.


I reviewed the job description and it still makes sense to me.  A few minor

  o It does not address the ED responsibility for most routine financial
    activities of the foundation.
  o It possibly underemphasizes the importance of fund raising.
  o It would be nice if the last section reflected the evolved
    practices around established ED budgets for travel and office

>> When we met in Barcelona, I presented some strategic vision ideas I had
>> for OSGeo's future.  There I presented the primary target areas that I
>> believe are critical to the maturity and future growth of OSGeo:
>> http://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Targets
>> These are our key constituents for the future growth of OSGeo:  ACADEMIC,
>> There was general agreement that these targets are worth pursuing.  I've
>> made some progress but there is still a lot to be done to develop plans
>> and enjoy broader enthusiasm from the board and elsewhere.  I'm looking
>> for directors or members who are interested in working with me to
>> co-develop plans for these key target areas.  Ideally a director or very
>> engaged member who works in one of these target capacities already can
>> spend a few minutes brainstorming with me.

I agree that these targets will work best in cooperation with
directors or other OSGeo activists.  I would encourage you to
adjust the effort on these targets to reflect the interest and
involvement of other volunteers.

>> Fundraising was the other topic woven through the discussions in
>> Barcelona.  So, in addition to the job description items, the above
>> targets and ideas, the board also desired that a significant part of my
>> time be used for sponsorship&  fundraising.
>> It's worth taking time to review the above direction and I would
>> appreciate some discussion on the matter.  Which areas are not of
>> interest?  What, if any, changes in the core ED position should I expect
>> or work toward?  Are there tasks that the board would rather take care of
>> to free up time for me to work on other things?

I do not have concrete feedback on this.  I will say that it is
not practical to pursue all directions at once so I would say it
is better to make meaningful progress on a few based on evident
opportunities and involvement of other volunteers.

>> A. CURRENT SPONSORS. Engage current sponsors to stimulate them to renew.
Keeping current customers should always be a priority. This means making
opportunities to meet with current sponsors to discuss their interests,
questions and any needs I could help them with. Every trip I make includes
meetings with any nearby sponsors and supplying them with marketing material
they can share with their colleagues and often involving a presentation or
boardroom discussion. Demonstrating the value of OSGeo (and hence the value of
sponsoring) is foremost on my mind during these discussions.
>> B. NEW SPONSORS. Brainstorm and approach potential new sponsors. Every
presentation I make is geared toward 'selling' the benefits of being a sponsor
and showing the value we are delivering in exchange. At each event I speak at
or attend, meeting potential sponsors is top of the list. More often than not,
local chapter colleagues help make stakeholder meetings happen so that we can
have the discussion. As part of this I put together the sponsorship packs to
help make it easy to work together to pursue new sponsors. Local reps,
committee members, members at large and directors can help by providing leads
to follow up with. Leads can also be taken from past FOSS4G sponsor lists,
attendee lists, by watching news items, etc.
>> C. FOSS4G SPONSORS. Aiming to bring in new sponsors for FOSS4G each year.
Many organisations can use their marketing budgets for events, but not as
easily for organisational sponsorships, so this second pitch to these companies
is important. Sometimes it means gaining sponsors for both OSGeo and FOSS4G -
but either way they are sponsors for OSGeo. The past two years of "surplus"
sponsors for FOSS4G has helped smooth over the lows from the OSGeo sponsor
program. Please note, this approach is not the same as intentionally setting
highly profitable budgets for FOSS4G, but is a reflection of increased interest
in sponsoring FOSS4G, so much so that it happily exceeds conservative budgeted
revenues of the events.

I agree with the above in general.  I will encourage you to approach
sponsorship leads on your own initiative if you see a good prospect
whether they have been brought forward by someone else or not.

>> D. Related to C, I was to investigate the viability of holding
>> (profitable)
multi-purpose mini events in between FOSS4G annual events to help increase
revenue, among our other goals. For example, I've done this on a small scale
along with OGC for the OGC-OSGeo Interop Day in Nottingham in June and I've
discussed several others ideas like this with OGC and with GITA already. I will
also discuss it with some local chapters and other committees.

I'm not terribly optimistic about this angle being a significant
revenue generator, but I wouldn't stand in the way of you or others
pursuing the approach.

>> Lastly, I've done a lot of reading on organisational cycles and related
strategies for success (yes, I love this stuff!). I believe we've hit the top
of our initial growth curve and are struggling for maturity. This is the
make-or-break point. Organisations either regroup and realign to enjoy
revitalisation and further growth, or they fumble and start to decline and
regress or even die. A quick search found this illustration:
>> A similar model is described, complete with exercises, here:
>> I encourage you to read this short article and assess where they think
>> we're at.

I am afraid reading this article did not give me any useful thoughts
relative to OSGeo.

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    | Geospatial Programmer for Rent

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