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Re: [Debconf-team] Early travel sponsorship

On Mon, 06 Jun 2011 23:53:20 +0100, Philip Hands <phil@hands.com> wrote:
> On Mon, 06 Jun 2011 23:17:30 +0200, Joerg Jaspert <joerg@debconf.org> wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > someone approached me today with the following thought / idea:
> As is perhaps obvious, that was me.
> See my ramblings in the other thread just now.  Sorry about that, I
> somehow didn't see this before writing that, although I don't think I
> quite duplicated, so that's OK I suppose.
> As for this year, I'd think that the most likely way it could be
> accelerated would be if we happen to have funds sufficient to tell
> everyone "yes", in which case the order is irrelevant.

Every year this has been a major problem for me. I think I wrote to the
list one year, in a similar vein to what you have done. Last year, I
thought that since I was working on Debconf, and was part of the
sponsorship comittee, I would be able to work on fixing this problem
because I knew that it did not impact just myself.

What I found was that this is essentially impossible, unless we have
money ahead of time. It turns out, the way Debconf fundraising goes, we
often don't have money until it is quite late. Even then, all we have is
promisory commits from sponsors that they will provide $X. Its a bit
scary, even with those commits, to go ahead with doing travel

I think that the only way that this can happen is if there is enough
surplus in the Debconf account each year to provide enough of a buffer
to approve a certain percentage of travel sponsorship early on, or as
you suggest pull an amount as an 'underwriting' of some sort, which then
gets paid back later when the money comes in. 

This would essentially be a no-interest loan from some source that would
involve a certain amount of risk in repayment. I think that risk is
worth it. If the money doesn't come through from commits for that year
to cover the advancement, then it would need to be repayed before a
second advancement was done.


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