[Debian-sponsors-discuss] Debian fundraising thoughts.

Moray Allan moray at sermisy.org
Wed Feb 27 00:24:37 UTC 2013

On 2013-02-25 06:47, Brian Gupta wrote:
> 1) Although DebConf is the largest "line item" on the Debian budget,
> my sense is that we need to have a coordinated fundraising 
> sponsorship
> effort/team, that incorporates fundraising for DebConf, as well as
> other initiatives.

Yes.  Thank you for putting some time into this topic.

Even if I didn't believe that some positives can come from combining 
fundraising efforts, it would be needed anyway to share information to 
avoid potential negatives: I worry about the accidental problems that 
might emerge when we have different groups of people from Debian 
independently contacting the same organisations.

> 2) I'd like to see Debian Fundraising efforts start looking towards
> recurring revenue streams [...]

Right.  I would suggest postponing changing how fundraising is done as 
a second stage after we have a group that talk to each other with a 
complete image of Debian's fundraising efforts and needs, but indeed it 
would be sensible to try to shift towards longer-term agreements rather 
than one-off donations.

> 3) "Fundraising drives" with matching contributions from sponsor
> grants [...]

This seems a reasonable way to try to encourage individual donors, yes, 
though there may need to be a credible threat that the matching donor 
won't give the full amount (with e.g. an announced deadline) for it to 
encourage those individual donors to act.  And in the longer-term this 
kind of action may be better as occasional rather than ongoing, so that 
it can be announced as "news" each time.

> 4) One challenge for DebConf fundraising is that the levels and
> benefits of sponsoring DebConf change year over year, (including
> changing currencies.) which is a challenge for many sponsors.

I don't think the currency aspect needs to be a problem here, as we 
usually take donations in the donors' preferred currencies and convert 
ourselves.  I agree that in a scenario with longer-term donor 
agreements, you would need to agree what "level" those donors got over 
the whole period; and also that there could be advantages more generally 
in having more predictable "levels" rather than having them go up or 
down in line with local costs.

(Though even "fixed" levels should really take account of inflation and 
currency value changes, to avoid us in effect getting *falling* 
donations over time with the same benefits to donors.)

> 5) I feel like those sponsors who are sponsoring DebConf are really
> sponsoring Debian, and as such, should be recognized as such. [...]

I agree with the principle, but again I think I would suggest holding 
off a couple of years, until there is a group that discuss different 
types of sponsorship together on our side, and have some experience of 
what makes sense for each area.

> 6) In the light of recurring revenue, I'd like to see if we can setup
> something like the FSF has, where individuals can sign up to give a
> small amount every month that gets charged automatically from their
> credit cards. [...]

If we want individual donations at all, then this definitely makes 
sense.  I know most UK charities make a big effort to push donors into 
recurring donations rather than one-off gifts, including advertising 
that as the "normal" way to give, etc.

> 7) There is not enough continuity in the DebConf fundraising efforts,
> as each year many of the team (who are local to the host location)
> move on. [...]

Yes, though the counterargument to this is that the people who join the 
team for a short time do so because they are linked to a specific 
funding need, and therefore have the incentive to raise the required 
money.  We don't want to shift too far so that fundraising seems only 
someone else's problem, at least until we have many long-term funding 
agreements in place.

> 8) In corporate sponsorship, I feel that we must make allowances for
> smaller organizations, at the lowest tier. e.g. silver should have a
> lower barrier of entry for smaller companies. (Again this idea came
> from the Linux Foundation's model.)

On this kind of idea, I worry about the risk of upsetting larger 
sponsors (as well as the practical aspects of deciding what qualifies, 
knowing what to do when a company grows during the period of a donation 
agreement, etc.).  While in general I push for having as few "levels" as 
possible, it could be worth considering having some separate 
small-company "level" for this group, with a name relating to that 

> 9) Need to figure out what to do about sponsorship coming in from 
> many
> countries and currencies. I feel some rationalization here would make
> life easier for sponsors, as well as fundraising teams.

I'm not sure that there is a fundamental problem here, but perhaps the 
procedures should be clearer and more uniform over time.


More information about the Debian-sponsors-discuss mailing list