Need to define rules for %age of backflow of FOSS4G surplus

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Re: Need to define rules for %age of backflow of FOSS4G surplus

Eli Adam
On Tue, Jan 7, 2020 at 2:00 AM María Arias de Reyna <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I'm trying to avoid jumping in this thread as I am a very interested party here. I don't want to influence much the general rules for future events based on what we need right now.

I think that you're likely to have good ideas whether "interested" or
not.  What you need now is at least partly representative of what
others will need in the future.

>
> But consider this:
>
>> I'm in favor of "capping out" the total to the local chapter.  Unless
>> a local chapter has a particular method for spending the funds in some
>> useful way, I don't think that more than $10-30k is useful.
>
>
> Having the funds in advance to be able to organize a regional and local event without having to worry when then money is going to be available on the bank account is a huge relief and helps a lot on the sustainability of the regional events. Maybe the question here is if we want a centralized OSGeo fund system or we rely on the local/regional chapters to be able to handle funds. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
>
> Yes, probably a profit of 200k is too much for a regional/local chapter.  And maybe 30k looks like a lot if you are thinking on organizing small events. But for example, when it comes to a regional event that wants to also have a TGP, that money in advance is key to be able to do it properly. Even when you are sure you will have profit, tickets and sponsors are incomings that can came too late.

With those numbers ($10,000, $60,000, $120,000, and $200,000+), I was
referring to conference surpluses to apply splitting formulas to.
Some histroty on that is available here
https://wiki.osgeo.org/wiki/Finance_Operational_Notes#Historical_Overview
although take note that the years mean nothing in this presentation
(in relation to the FOSS4G year).  "The FOSS4G "years" mean nothing in
the current data portrayal. FOSS4G funds coming back to OSGeo come in
multiple payments over multiple years. This does show that OSGeo needs
to be able to float a substantial period of time before funds return.
This data should probably be sorted out and possibly analyzed on a
regional (i.e. every third year) basis for Europe, North America, Rest
of World. "

I was thinking of TGP still being run centrally.  Also the more local
an event is, the less travel costs.

>
> And I know what you are going to tell me: we can ask for money anytime so OSGeo gives us seed money or donations when needed, we don't need to store it ourselves. But right now I'm thinking on my particular case, where each transfer to/from Argentina is painful due to currency exchange. Giving money back to OSGeo in 2021 to ask again for money later means losing money on each conversion. Painful. And my "poor person" mindset quickly jumps into "better leave the money sitting here, we have time to give it back to OSGeo later if needed".

The banking system is pretty painful for some processes.  This is
something that we could look at generally for all of OSGeo (ways to
avoid the most painful aspects of the banking system) but those
usually involve a lot of work and make accounting and/or taxes
difficult.  There is a value to the ease of some banking aspects.  The
OSGeo Treasurer could maybe provide guidance here if we're serious
about pursuing this.  I like finances simple even if that comes at
some expense.

>
> IMHO we should prioritize empowering regional and local events and leaving "traces" of the OSGeo budget on different places can help a lot here. I bet Argentina is not the only case where fees or currency exchanges or similar "eats" a portion of the cake. Maybe others just assumed it as normal and didn't consider they can store part of that money instead of paying extra fees? The important thing is to use the money to keep OSGeo running. If it is centralized or not... I don't know that is best.

I'm very much in favor of leaving traces and things continuing locally
and independently.

>
> TL;DR: Each chapter will have its own reasons to ask for a different profit percentage. Guidelines are good, but write them in stone may discourage some locations.
>

My idea of adopting written guidelines would be to have a starting
point.  People can ask for other things but having a starting point is
a good idea.  I still view  FOSS4G as providing for OSGeo's financial
existence.  I'd very much like for OSGeo's finances to shift to some
other source and for the Conference Committee to run FOSS4G for the
widest reach and most accessibility, maybe even losing money every
year (that OSGeo has coming in elsewhere).

Best regards, Eli

> And I disappear again.
>
> Cheers!
> María.
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