501c3 narrative

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As per 501c3_todo#Part_IV:

The organization is and will be involved in at least three different kinds of activities.

Raising Awareness

We are focused on promoting and representing our free, publicly available, projects throughout the world. We use trade shows and conferences as a means of educating the public about the capabilities of our projects and how our work provides tools for the public good. Our largest annual effort of promotion happens through our popular international annual conference known as FOSS4G. 2007's event was held in Canada - the web site is available at http://www.foss4g2007.org. Last year's event was held in Switzerland and this year's will be held in South Africa. The event draws more than 700 people from around the world who come to hear and share the latest news about the many projects and efforts underway within and outside of our organization. This event is our largest source of annual revenue and our largest annual expense.

Building Community

Each of our projects have distinct sets of developers, users and those who implement the tools. We encourage the building of a larger community that draws together members from each of the individual projects to help promote each other and enable collaboration. This is one of our core goals and was a primary reason for establishing the organization. It was recognized that many members of our communities were using common tools and could work together to promote these free tools for public use. To meet this goal we have many different communication methods that our members use to share information, promote work and describe how our tools are helping advance mapping and geospatial work within their own governments, companies, schools, etc.

The organization also hosts many discussion lists and online interactive communications between its members. Across our 48 discussion lists we have over 4,000 subscribers. Some only received news updates and announcements, but many contribute to ongoing discussion between projects, community members, users, developers and others. By hosting these services the organization encourages dialog and debate on many issues. As a non-partisan group, this helps meet the objectives for benefit of the public good locally, nationally and globally.

In addition to providing discussion forums, the organization also provides other internet-based communication infrastructure support, by hosting web sites and programming code repositories. The www.osgeo.org website is one of the sites that is run for the benefit of the community. It serves as a portal to learn more about the communities and projects that are working together under the organizations banner.

One way we share case studies, examples, news and training to the general public is through our new electronic OSGeo Journal. It is the only journal of its kind that covers our topical area of open source and geospatial software. The journal is a registered international serial publication (ISSN 1994-1897) and has a broad international set of contributors and readers. We have just completed one year of publications. The OSGeo Journal also has a peer review process to help publish related academic quality articles. It has become a central way to keep both our communities and the public up to date on latest project developments and ideas.

International Initiatives

The organizational goals are to help apply tools and educate potential users as to the benefits of using our tools. These are given away freely and developed in an open, transparent, community environment. This kind of development model is especially suited for global co-operation on certain topics. As such, one goal is to encourage the development of regional or local user groups - which we call Local Chapters - around the world. These international groups serve to help apply the organizational goals and tools in other countries. While they claim the same goals as the main organization, they are financially independent and loosely associated. They do not follow a franchise or subsidiary model and are not controlled by the main organization.


The organization is dependent on sponsors from various external organizations - including like-minded corporate donors, other non-profits, government grants and individuals. To help get started there were substantial donations from one particular donor, but we have successfully increased our donor base, moving toward sustainability for the organization spread across many sponsors. The OSGeo membership, board and staff pursue finding sponsors using known contacts and associates. We do not use bulk email, mail or mass media campaigning for raising funds. Our sponsors tend to be users, developers and supporters of the same types of tools our organization provides.

Our annual conference is also a fundraising source, with a modest revenue planned for each event. This is still possible while keeping attendee costs relatively low so that the public can still afford to participate.