Fundraising Strategy

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For discussion purposes only -- a work in progress -- Contact User:Tmitchell


At its simplest level the purpose of fundraising within OSGeo can be described as: securing funding to maintain, support and expand operational goals. This may happen by asking for money directly, writing grant proposals, holding events, selling merchandise and more. The process and delivery of a fundraising program can be very broad and include many seemingly unrelated tasks. The tasks may overlap strongly with other programs or initiatives, especially those that build relationships outside of the organization. This document seeks to help describe the current purpose and potential methods of fundraising for OSGeo, while at the same time helping to set targets for fundraising and hone the inward and outward-facing messages.


Here are some of the terms and concepts that embody fundraising concepts common to OSGeo.

  • Fundraising – securing funds for OSGeo purposes
  • Donor – anyone who donates funding at any level and for any purpose
  • Sponsor – a donor that gives according to a sponsorship program
  • Community – the individuals who are members of OSGeo; the organizations that are represented by these individuals; sponsors; officers
  • Targets – levels of funding being sought after within a certain time period

Purpose of Fundraising

When discussing the topic of raising funding it helps to have an agreed upon purpose for fundraising. If the stated purpose is simply “get money” it will be less meaningful than funding something in particular or providing a purpose to would-be fundraisers. Changing historic patterns of giving may be the ultimate objective, but a clearer purpose inspires the process.

With OSGeo through its first full year of having substantial finances to manage, it is a good time to review the purpose of pursuing further fundraising. This essentially comes down to two questions: what do you need money for and what do you want more for?

Cover Ongoing Costs

Perhaps the most obvious need is to continue to cover ongoing operational costs. This includes systems, staff, financial management, conference commitments, etc. Often this is the purpose of fundraising in the earliest years of an organization. When pursuing fundraising in a given year it is important to identify the minimal level of funding required to maintain operational costs.

In 2007 the approximate ongoing operational costs were $150,000. This was mainly staff salary, benefits, travel and offices expenses, marketing/promotion, payroll costs and system hosting. [Note that FOSS4G 2007 covered its costs through its own sponsorship program, so funding was not required from general OSGeo accounts.]

Expanding Programs

As time progresses there is usually a desire to deliver more programs or reach more areas. In the case of OSGeo this will likely mean increased budgets for committees or special projects. Some of these expanded program areas may become ongoing, recurring, operational costs eventually, or remain optional depending on how much funding is available.

For 2008, the main expanded areas identified in the budget are primarily around Promotion – Web Development and Marketing. The increase will cost about $25,000. For the purposes of this document it will be assumed that additional funds will help further supplement budgets for these committees.

Developing targets for 2009 and beyond would help for giving fundraising efforts a goal to reach and a sense of purpose.

...more coming