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Re: Finding sponsors for Debian

Since my thoughts have been pretty much summed up far better than I
could, I'd like to refer to Stefano's answers, as - apart from the
experience bits, as I obviously have no DPL experience - are very much
like my own would have been.

Stefano Zacchiroli <zack@debian.org> writes:

> 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.

I'd like to add here, that in my opinion, there are other ways companies
can help Debian, not necessarily just plain money (or hardware)

Sponsoring the DebConf or sprint travel expenses of their own employees
for example is one such way, and perhaps easier to achieve this than to
persuade them to donate money, that they don't directly know how will be
used. Even if it would be completely transparent what Debian spent its
money on, and even if donations could have usage restrictions (I do not
know if they can, or if they're desirable at all - I believe they're
counter-productive), I'd still find it a little bit easier to persuade a
company to sponsor their own people.

Of course, this largely depends on which company we're talking about -
some can afford to donate in general, and let Debian use that money as
it sees fit. Some are smaller, and would like to help Debian in one way
or the other, but would like a little bit more control on how that money
is spent. Allowing their employees to travel to Debian-related events,
or work for Debian during their paid time can be a nice little boost,

> According to my DPL experience, we have two main chapters in Debian
> budget: travel sponsoring and hardware replacement.
> For DebConf travel sponsoring, what you are asking for already happens.
> The DebConf sponsor team each year go knocking at companies door asking
> them to sponsor DebConf. The DPL is de facto a member of the DebConf
> sponsoring team, because he/she usually have company contacts and is
> happy to share with other team members.
> 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.

I too, agree that it wouldn't be useful to go knocking more than once a
year, but - as mentioned above - there's another option: not direct
donations, but things like sponsoring one's own employees. That can
benefit both Debian (since more people can attend DebConf, for example),
and the company (because the event also has the potential of being
extremely useful for those participating).

They'll know that their money went into 'their' guy, and they still
helped Debian in some way.

I'm pretty sure this is done already, but perhaps a little more emphasis
on this wouldn't hurt - along with what we're doing now, of course.

> In more general terms, I think the best way to encourage donations to
> Debian is to show to the world that we know how to use the money to
> benefit Debian. Nobody wants to donate to a bank. This has been one of
> my main motivation to streamline sprint management and standardize the
> procedures that give visibility to what we do during sprints:
> http://wiki.debian.org/Sprints .
> Showing what we are capable of doing with money has also been a
> motivation for me to invest some time on periodic budged reports, an
> ongoing task that I've discussed in more details in my platform.

This is a task that needs to be continued, indeed.


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