[OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial expectations

Venkatesh Raghavan venka.osgeo at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 18:55:54 PDT 2016

Hi Steven and all,

My comments inline.

On 9/10/2016 12:07 AM, Steven Feldman wrote:
> Maria, Venka
> Cameron and Eli have already responded suggesting grant provision
> should be the responsibility of an OSGeo committee (new or existing)
> which I fully support. Similarly if we want an awards programme for
> students, women or any other group that should be run by a team
> outside of the LOC. We need to make life easier for LOCs not increase
> the workload on them by running grant and award programs or burden
> them by asking them to fund grants and concessions when finances are
> uncertain in the early stage of planning an event.

I agree to making things easier and simpler for the LoC.
As suggested earlier [1], the OSGeo Academic Track, OSGeo
Student Award can be handled by the Academic Committee Chair
with the help of the Academic Track Committee. This will
reduce the burden of the LoC.

For FOSS4G-2016 the travel grant were advanced by OSGeo
and this can be continued. Maybe better to have a separate
committee for selecting candidates for Travel Grants or
request the Academic Committee to kindly handle this task
too. I would again suggest that acceptance of presentation
(poster or oral) should be one of the criteria for being
eligible for Travel Grant support.

> I want to comment on some of the aspirations regarding prices for
> delegates and workshops (these comments apply principally to the NA
> and EU events).
> It is not possible to run a 3 day conference for up to 1000 people
> for $100/day unless we change the model substantially to find free
> venues and catering (there aren’t many, even universities tend to
> need to recover cost for such large events) and massively increase
> sponsorship. The economics of large events with multiple streams,
> catering, audio visual and heavy wifi requirements are different to
> smaller events.

Adopting a different model atleast when FOSS4G is organized by/in
low-income country is precisely what we should try and achieve.
Having a FOSS4G in a low-income country which is unaffordable
for participants in the region defeats the purpose, I think.

> Workshops can be run at $100/day (and $50/half day) but it is very
> tight with hire of space and equipment. There is more scope to get
> use of ‘computer labs’ donated.
> Even if we could make attendance at a FOSS4G free, the cost of
> travel, accommodation and subsistence would make attendance
> unaffordable for most from lower income countries.
> If we want to be inclusive of people from lower income countries we
> should focus on streaming the proceedings and encouraging regional
> communities to host small local events where people can meet and
> participate remotely in the main event.

The option of streaming the proceedings could be adopted when
FOSS4G is organized in high-income countries where internet
infrastructure tend to be better.

If/when FOSS4G is organized in low-income countries, the video
recording could be released after the conference. This may not
only encourage more participation form high-income countries
(who wish to see the presentation live and have f2f interaction
with users and developers) but also reduce the burden on LoC
to invest on broadband internet service for video streaming.



> ______ Steven
>> On 9 Sep 2016, at 09:02, Polimi <maria.brovelli at polimi.it> wrote:
>> Here my comments
>>> I would suggest the following;
>>> 1) There was some comment on issue of too many people requesting
>>> for free conference passes. We need to clearly decide a guideline
>>> for offering free passes. Free passes only offered to main
>>> Workshop Trainer, Keynote speakers and student volunteers? Apart
>>> from that *no one* gets a free pass.
>> Ok. Good to have an international call for student volunteers.
>>> 2) continue the discounted conference fee model for low-income
>>> countries. This model has been successfully used in FOSS4G-2015
>>> 3) Offer Travel support only for participants who are have their
>>> presentation accepted at the FOSS4G conference.
>> I agree, but I want to ask them to give back something to the
>> conference itself and to OSGeo. Detail reports of the sessions
>> and/or helping in the OSGeo booth or something else that can be
>> useful and give them more responsibility? If you agree on this
>> point please provide other example of activities...
>>> 4) Are we considering live streaming in future FOSS4G events? In
>>> that case, request local chapters to organize local "FOSS4GFest"
>>> during the duration of the main FOSS4G Conference and take
>>> advantage of watching the live-streaming along with the local
>>> community members who are unable to physically make it to the
>>> FOSS4G event.
>> Ok!
>>> 5) Consider recommending LoC to return a minimum fixed amount of
>>> profit to OSGeo. Taking into account, that OSGeo annual budget
>>> for 2015 is $75,000, we could consider having $50K-$60K returned
>>> from the profit to OSGeo foundation when FOSS4G is organized in
>>> high-income countries and $25K-$30K when FOSS4G is organized in
>>> low-income countries (they can retain part of the profit for
>>> organizing events to grow local communities, but should submit a
>>> budget report in subsequent FOSS4G conferences as to how the
>>> profits were used). This will help the foundation to sustain the
>>> "Travel Grant", "Student Award" and "Code Sprint" at FOSS4G
>>> events.
>> Yes, I agree. Reports are important to verify the success of
>> funding. Among award, I suggest also a "Women award" because the
>> presence of ladies at our conferences and in our organization has
>> to be increased.
>>> 6) If the LoC of FOSS4G event is able to generate more profit
>>> that stated in item 5 above, let them have a say in planning how
>>> such "extra" profit will be used in future.
>>> 7) Consider a upper cap on the conference registration fee. I
>>> would suggest $100/day of conference event when organized in
>>> high-income countries. This would be much lower when FOSS4G is
>>> organized in a low-income country
>> Ok. My registration was of 100 euro for the three days of
>> conference. I didn't have revenue but if I had requested 100
>> dollar/day I would have had gained 80 000 $ (400 attendees * 100*
>> 2) . And generally at FOSS4G International there are more than 400
>> people...
>> I also asked a small amount of money for the workshops ( 20 euro
>> for registering to every workshop). Will we suggest a maximum cost
>> also for workshops? In my opinion 50 $ in developed countries (
>> workshops generally last half day)
>>> Best
>>> Venka
>> Ciao! Maria
>>>>> Sent from my Samsung device
>>>>> -------- Original message -------- From: Cameron Shorter
>>>>> <cameron.shorter at gmail.com> Date: 08/09/2016 22:53
>>>>> (GMT+01:00) To: conference <conference_dev at lists.osgeo.org>
>>>>> Subject: Re: [OSGeo-Conf] FOSS4G Handbook - Financial
>>>>> expectations
>>>>> Ok, lets start working through Steven's list one item at a
>>>>> time, starting a new email thread for each.
>>>>> Once we have resolution (probably concluding with a vote) we
>>>>> can finalise it in the foss4g handbook.
>>>>> On 8/09/2016 9:12 PM, Steven Feldman wrote:
>>>>>>> 1) Overall financial expectations re surplus and sharing
>>>>>>> of surplus with OSGeo - possibly setting slightly
>>>>>>> different expectations for RoW to NA & EU
>>>>> We have draft principles on Finances in the handbook here:
>>>>> https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Finances
>>>>> <https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/FOSS4G_Handbook#Finances>
>>>>> I suggest using this existing text as the basis for guidance.
>>>>> I personally think it has the right principles in place. In
>>>>> particular, it is recommending each conference aim to hand
>>>>> over a fixed percentage of profits as surplus to OSGeo. 85%
>>>>> is suggested. I prefer this advise over the suggestion that
>>>>> low income countries retain more profit.
>>>>> -- Cameron Shorter M +61 419 142 254
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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