Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Arno Töll-4
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Hello,

On 12.03.2012 19:25, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 03:16:42AM +0800, Thomas Goirand wrote:
>> Over the years, I've always been very surprised to see that
>> there's very little money that Debian is able to get. I'm
>> convinced that this situation could change with a bit of
>> involvement from the DPL, and that such money could help a lot
>> the project. For example, sending open letters to big companies,
>> and letting them know that we do accept monetary contributions
>> could help.
>
> Let me start by observing the obvious: attracting money is not a
> goal per se; Putting them into good use for Debian is. According to
> my DPL experience, we have two main chapters in Debian budget:
> travel sponsoring and hardware replacement.

(cc:-ing -project as that's a more general discussion not directly
directed to DPL candidates but related. Maybe follow-ups should be
sent there)

as somebody who pushed $work to donate money to Debian (i.e. via
FFIS), I always wondered about the financial merits of these
donations. As much as I am involved to work within Debian, I have no
clue what you used "our" money for. I am probably not literally
interested what for you spent the money we donated, but I think
sponsors would appreciate or be more interested to donate if they
could see in a more popular advertisement what Debian spends money for
(i.e. something more handsome than SPI board minutes) and possibly
getting little "thank you" post cards or some merchandise (e.g. a
coffee mug or a T-Shirt) as a symbolic acknowledgement of gratidude.

Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian better as
he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money donations to Debian
as he didn't get much feedback about that, other than a tax deductable
receipt.

- --
with kind regards,
Arno Töll
IRC: daemonkeeper on Freenode/OFTC
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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Joey Schulze
Arno Töll wrote:

> as somebody who pushed $work to donate money to Debian (i.e. via
> FFIS), I always wondered about the financial merits of these
> donations. As much as I am involved to work within Debian, I have no
> clue what you used "our" money for. I am probably not literally
> interested what for you spent the money we donated, but I think
> sponsors would appreciate or be more interested to donate if they
> could see in a more popular advertisement what Debian spends money for
> (i.e. something more handsome than SPI board minutes) and possibly
> getting little "thank you" post cards or some merchandise (e.g. a
> coffee mug or a T-Shirt) as a symbolic acknowledgement of gratidude.

Here are some hints:

http://lists.debian.org/debian-announce/2010/msg00004.html
http://www.debian.org/News/2009/20090208

There are probably more if one searches more.

Regards,

        Joey

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Visible results from sponsor funds [Re: Finding sponsors for Debian]

Don Armstrong
In reply to this post by Arno Töll-4
On Mon, 12 Mar 2012, Arno Töll wrote:
> Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian better
> as he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money donations to
> Debian as he didn't get much feedback about that, other than a tax
> deductable receipt.

It would probably be useful to have a single location in the w.d.o
hierarchy which listed recent money expenditures by the project, with
links to announcements and blog posts or similar. [And in the case of
hardware, pictures of the hardware or similar.] (Maybe one already
exists and I don't know about it?)

Cc:'ing to -www for comment.


Don Armstrong

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http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu


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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Stefano Zacchiroli
In reply to this post by Arno Töll-4
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 09:55:25PM +0100, Arno Töll wrote:

> as somebody who pushed $work to donate money to Debian (i.e. via
> FFIS), I always wondered about the financial merits of these
> donations. As much as I am involved to work within Debian, I have no
> clue what you used "our" money for. I am probably not literally
> interested what for you spent the money we donated, but I think
> sponsors would appreciate or be more interested to donate if they
> could see in a more popular advertisement what Debian spends money for
> (i.e. something more handsome than SPI board minutes) and possibly
> getting little "thank you" post cards or some merchandise (e.g. a
> coffee mug or a T-Shirt) as a symbolic acknowledgement of gratidude.
>
> Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian better as
> he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money donations to Debian
> as he didn't get much feedback about that, other than a tax deductable
> receipt.
Something that I've found to work well to "convince" $companies and
$bosses is DebConf sponsoring (which has a more recent incarnation of
the announcement posted by Martin is at
http://www.debian.org/News/2012/20120304 ) and
http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints .

The former works well because companies tend to know pretty well the
burden and costs of conference organization.

The latter works well, especially with FOSS-aware companies, because
there is quite some company culture that it is at developer meetings
that donated money "turn into code" (I've stolen the expression from a
Google representative. I don't particularly like it, but it has the
benefit of being effective).

At the risk of repeating myself, this is one of the reason why I've
insisted so much with indexing sprint and insisted so much for facto
sprint reports, at the point of documenting it as a sort of requirement
to ask for reimbursements.

Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Gunnar Wolf
In reply to this post by Arno Töll-4
Arno Töll dijo [Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 09:55:25PM +0100]:

> as somebody who pushed $work to donate money to Debian (i.e. via
> FFIS), I always wondered about the financial merits of these
> donations. As much as I am involved to work within Debian, I have no
> clue what you used "our" money for. I am probably not literally
> interested what for you spent the money we donated, but I think
> sponsors would appreciate or be more interested to donate if they
> could see in a more popular advertisement what Debian spends money for
> (i.e. something more handsome than SPI board minutes) and possibly
> getting little "thank you" post cards or some merchandise (e.g. a
> coffee mug or a T-Shirt) as a symbolic acknowledgement of gratidude.

Well, we now have a Debian Auditor, a position that in part answers
precisely that kind of queries. And also, as said earlier in the
thread in d-vote, Debian's main annual expense is DebConf. DebConf
*tries* not to use Debian funds and to be as completely sponsor-funded
as possible. We have also published final status reports which,
although maybe not cent-by-cent, include a general insight on our main
money expenses — So you can think your $work helped fund some Debian
people to get to the DebConf that happened in $donation_year :-}

> Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian better as
> he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money donations to Debian
> as he didn't get much feedback about that, other than a tax deductable
> receipt.

We have talked (and I mean in DebConf, that's the area of Debian I
spent most of my orga-work in) about allowing this year for a better
way of identifying precisely _what_ is a donor giving — As we did many
years ago, we will allow sponsors to target their money to a specific
target. So, i.e. we will be able to say "the conference dinner was
kindly sponsored by Toell.net". Does it sound interesting? :-}


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Re: Visible results from sponsor funds [Re: Finding sponsors for Debian]

Simon Paillard-2
In reply to this post by Don Armstrong
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 03:04:34PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:

> On Mon, 12 Mar 2012, Arno Töll wrote:
> > Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian better
> > as he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money donations to
> > Debian as he didn't get much feedback about that, other than a tax
> > deductable receipt.
>
> It would probably be useful to have a single location in the w.d.o
> hierarchy which listed recent money expenditures by the project, with
> links to announcements and blog posts or similar. [And in the case of
> hardware, pictures of the hardware or similar.] (Maybe one already
> exists and I don't know about it?)

Maybe not enough visible, but linked from http://www.debian.org/donations :
http://www.debian.org/partners/
http://www.debian.org/misc/equipment_donations
(and http://www.debian.org/mirror/official_sponsors too)

--
Simon Paillard


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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Arno Töll-4
In reply to this post by Gunnar Wolf
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Hi,

On 12.03.2012 23:19, Gunnar Wolf wrote:

>> Actually, $boss asked me the other day how to support Debian
>> better as he wasn't very convinced about usefulness of money
>> donations to Debian as he didn't get much feedback about that,
>> other than a tax deductable receipt.
>
> We have talked (and I mean in DebConf, that's the area of Debian I
> spent most of my orga-work in) about allowing this year for a
> better way of identifying precisely _what_ is a donor giving — As
> we did many years ago, we will allow sponsors to target their money
> to a specific target. So, i.e. we will be able to say "the
> conference dinner was kindly sponsored by Toell.net". Does it sound
> interesting? :-}

heh, except that that's my private address (and you can find us in the
DC11 sponsor list with already (Holger can give you details :)), but
I'm not here to advertise ourselves).

We sponsored both, Debian and DebConf in the past but my boss does not
feel very comfortable to sponsor DebConfs because he's more interested
to support actual Debian work as a distribution, as Debian is the
system we rely upon for our business. I find that understandable from
an outsider's point of view as he'd like to show his appreciation for
a rock stable distribution with great tools in the first place.

However, let me repeat my point is not to mention our individual
situation, with my $work hat on. I'm more keen to make Debian a more
interesting target to donations and I think Debian lacks some
transparency and public-relation work to make us attractive to
sponsors. I'm sure there are plenty of links, mailing list posts and
asset reports - but is a bunch of links really all we want to throw to
a donator? We may like it or not, but it matters much how we present
ourselves if we want to collect money from people.



- --
with kind regards,
Arno Töll
IRC: daemonkeeper on Freenode/OFTC
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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Stefano Zacchiroli
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 11:46:13PM +0100, Arno Töll wrote:
> We sponsored both, Debian and DebConf in the past but my boss does not
> feel very comfortable to sponsor DebConfs because he's more interested
> to support actual Debian work as a distribution, as Debian is the
> system we rely upon for our business. I find that understandable from
> an outsider's point of view as he'd like to show his appreciation for
> a rock stable distribution with great tools in the first place.

How about the Sprint page I've mentioned in my previous reply? I know
that it has worked well for other $companies, but it'd be useful to know
if your $company find that convincing or not. If they don't, it would be
helpful if you can share your impressions on why they don't.

Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
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Re: Visible results from sponsor funds [Re: Finding sponsors for Debian]

Stefano Zacchiroli
In reply to this post by Don Armstrong
On Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 03:04:34PM -0700, Don Armstrong wrote:
> It would probably be useful to have a single location in the w.d.o
> hierarchy which listed recent money expenditures by the project, with
> links to announcements and blog posts or similar. [And in the case of
> hardware, pictures of the hardware or similar.] (Maybe one already
> exists and I don't know about it?)
>
> Cc:'ing to -www for comment.

As briefly discussed on IRC with Don: the auditors already plan to
periodically publish money reports in a specific www.d.o section.

What is missing, though, is cross referencing with visual clues that
*show* work being done with donated money. We are quite good at that for
DebConf, with the final report, but we don't do that for other events
like sprints or, why not, machine installations / replacement.

Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Holger Levsen-2
In reply to this post by Arno Töll-4
Hi,

On Montag, 12. März 2012, Arno Töll wrote:
> We sponsored both, Debian and DebConf in the past but my boss does not
> feel very comfortable to sponsor DebConfs because he's more interested
> to support actual Debian work as a distribution, as Debian is the
> system we rely upon for our business.

I think that means we failed to communicate (well enough) that sponsoring
DebConf, the conf, _means_ sponsoring Debian, the distribution.

Arno, maybe you can show your boss the (pretty short and pretty pretty pretty)
article Stefano wrote about this in the DebConf11 final report, right the
first one here:

http://media.debconf.org/dc11/report/DebConf11_FinalReport.pdf

But I've learned that we need to communicate this a whole lot better. Ideas
how?


cheers,
        Holger


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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Neil McGovern-5
On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 10:13:38AM +0100, Holger Levsen wrote:
> But I've learned that we need to communicate this a whole lot better. Ideas
> how
... would be best directed to debian-project :)

Neil
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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Arno Töll-4
In reply to this post by Stefano Zacchiroli
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Hi,
On 13.03.2012 09:19, Stefano Zacchiroli wrote:
> How about the Sprint page I've mentioned in my previous reply? I
> know that it has worked well for other $companies, but it'd be
> useful to know if your $company find that convincing or not. If
> they don't, it would be helpful if you can share your impressions
> on why they don't.

reporting the outcome of my talk to $boss. [As a disclaimer: He's not
involved into Debian development, he has no clue about organizational
details and my commitment on Debian is purely private. I mean: I am
not paid to work in Debian by him which means his interest is rather
cursorily and some points don't reflect my opinion]:

As I already reported, he would basically like to see a financial
summary for what purpose Debian spends money. It may be all obvious to
Debian Developers but it is not to outsiders. He literally said "If I
donate Debian 20 servers, I know what they use them for. But I don't
know what they do with my money". You know, he's $boss, he has no time
(let's pretend it is time :)) to dig mailing lists, SPI board minutes
and such to grab the information he's interested in. He probably would
like to see some nifty overview tables, some fancy pie charts and
actual expenses presented in a fashion someone not involved into
Debian can understand.

These things should be all coordinated on a central place
understandable to everyone and yes, I appreciate any work done on that
so far. For example he found the sprints interesting, but he denoted a
"not for us" point of view, because he has _no_ clue what "DSA"
"FDDAM" and such means and what their roles are. Please keep in mind
Debian Developer might find these things obvious but I don't think my
boss ever heard of any core team aside of the security team and I
can't resent, as that's not really interesting to !Developers who link
Debian with the software CD they get in hands every other year. He
probably won't read DebConf reports either or would like to hear
"$mycompany sponsored this dinner" unless he's a local sponsor
attending there.

He also suggested, that he'd be willing to give substantial donations
if they were earmarked to certain activities/tasks he's interested in.
That's perhaps like the sprint thing: If you're a company doing
business with groupwares you may be very well interested in the
groupware sprint - if you're not, oh well, ...

Bear in mind, you have plenty opportunities to donate money. There are
lots of organizations which want you to donate - as a donor you have
the choice. The winner is that one who made the best impression and I
think we could do that better (though not literally meaning "me" by
"we").

- --
with kind regards,
Arno Töll
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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Stefano Zacchiroli
On Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 12:50:44PM +0100, Arno Töll wrote:

> As I already reported, he would basically like to see a financial
> summary for what purpose Debian spends money. It may be all obvious to
> Debian Developers but it is not to outsiders. He literally said "If I
> donate Debian 20 servers, I know what they use them for. But I don't
> know what they do with my money". You know, he's $boss, he has no time
> (let's pretend it is time :)) to dig mailing lists, SPI board minutes
> and such to grab the information he's interested in. He probably would
> like to see some nifty overview tables, some fancy pie charts and
> actual expenses presented in a fashion someone not involved into
> Debian can understand.
Awesome. This is exactly what the auditors are working on, in particular
thanks to the recent frenetic work on the matter by Martin Michlmayr.
The ETA for delivery is still as vague as "in the next $few months" but
we're as close to the goal as we have ever been (I've given some more
pointers about all this in my platform).

According to a recent discussion with Martin, right not is not a good
moment to volunteer to help, because a lot of work is ongoing and it
need to be stabilized a bit before others could help.

But it is useful to have this discussion. I hope it shows how this kind
of work is important for the project, and not just useless bureaucracy
and boring non-typical-geek stuff.

Cheers.
--
Stefano Zacchiroli     zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} . o .
Maître de conférences   ......   http://upsilon.cc/zack   ......   . . o
Debian Project Leader    .......   @zack on identi.ca   .......    o o o
« the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club »

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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Gunnar Wolf
In reply to this post by Arno Töll-4
I'm redirecting this thread to d-project... You and I tend to think
about money very much DebConf-wise (specially in the March-July period
;-) ), but I think this is going away from the current d-vote
topic. Please reply to this message to d-project only.

Holger Levsen dijo [Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 12:56:00PM +0100]:

> > (Note/reminder: we have resolved last year that DebConf budget is part
> > of Debian budget, it is just earmarked differently for a time period
> > centered around the conference.)
>
> IIRC you still need to reply to a mail I sent to leader@ about this, where I
> question this or maybe parts of it :-) Let me summarize:
>
> If DebConf goes well, this modell works nicely.
>
> But if it goes really bad (not just a little), because the DebConf orga team
> made some stupid decissions, bad mistakes, etc. I dont think Debian as a whole
> should be liable for eg 100k€ losses. (As much as I dont want the individuals
> / the specific debconfX NGO to be in that debt for this, I do think if they
> mess it up, they have to pay the bill.)
>
> Comments how to fix properly are very welcome. Maybe it just needs some
> cleaner wordings ;-)
> Because probably most of this is already covered: _if_ $DebConf-Orga-person
> does something out of gross negligence, it's not Debians (or DebConfs) fault
> anyway. (ie someone drives a car (with the purpose of doing some requested
> job) for DebConf, and then drives way too fast and crashes and cause 2mio €
> damages.)
>
> But what if we book (way too) $expensive_place now and then later have to
> cancel this (and pay a huge cancelation fee) or have to take it, despite not
> having the money...
>
> Contracts/agreements are usually not needed if things go well, only if they
> don't. I'm not sure we have good enough agreement (for the D/DC releationship)
> for when^wif things go horrible wrong.
>
> I havent finished thinking about this, but still wanted to bring this up on
> the table now.
I'll just answer to this by stating that I... Agree with your general
view and worry. Of course, the way a specific controversy (or
situation-gone-terrible) is solved depends on the situation, and
should be dealt with case by case. But, yes, in the moment we formally
acknowledged that DebConf is Debian (and not, as it was +- managed
before, that DebConf is *for* Debian), the project gives us some
liability coverage... Which we, of course, prefer not to use!

> > DebConf travel sponsoring dominates our overall travel sponsoring costs,
> > so it makes sense to go knocking at companies door yearly as part of
> > DebConf organization. I don't think it would be useful to do so more
> > than once per year. Companies would feel split among the different calls
> > for donations and they would hardly give more. The DPL being already
> > part of the effort, I don't see margin of improvement on that front
> > either.
>
> we need to ask for money *way* earlier. Starting now (for the conf happening
> this year), is about 6 months too late.
>
> (Also, but not only, because many companies donate money at the end of the
> year...)
Right. DebConf produces quite a bit of burnout syndrome, where we
don't want to even think about it for several months. And those are
the aptest months for sponsor acquisition - And for testing some
important improvements (say, as in the Penta replacement we have
pending).

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