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Re: two questions: fund raising money and publicity

Ana Guerrero Lopez dijo [Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:21:20AM +0100]:
> * Fundraising
> DebConf is one of the biggest expenses of Debian, every year we look
> for sponsorship and we had (and have) sponsors who were sponsoring
> DebConf as a way of giving their "annual donation" to Debian and
> not necessarily funding DebConf itself.
> (Do you agree with this part, BTW?)
> In recent years, we have started to invest more Debian money in stuaff
> such like sprints and minidebconfs¹ that sometimes look for external
> founding. This has lead to some  cases where sponsors have been
> contacted for separate teams in Debian which can be confusing.
> If you think this is a problem. How do you think we can improve this?
> ¹ Both investments are a great idea BTW

Hi Ana, and thanks for bringing this up. I want to add a point to your
question by moving a request/discussion I should be commenting on in
the DebConf world, but is completely relevant to what you say. So, DPL
candidates, please also comment on this!

A fundamental part of DebConf organization (and a part I'm basically
unfamiliar with, as I've always shied away from those aspects) is
sponsor acquisition. And, of course, DebConf cannot (and is not
expected) to reach a perfect balance — some years we end up with a
surplus, and sometimes we have to ask Debian for money. Fortunately
(and thanks to the great, hard work of the people doing sponsor
scouting), the overall balance is quite equilibrated.

As you can see on the DebConf13 final report¹, last year was a great
success in this regard: Not only we stayed quite under the estimated
budget, but we raised one of the largest sponsorship amounts in our

But, as Ana says in this mail, many sponsors view this money they are
giving as their "annual donation" to Debian. Not all of Debian's
expenses are as publicized as DebConf is, and it might be hard to get
the money just for our regular running costs and upgrade plans, or for
smaller conferences/sprints, or whatever.

Now, DebConf has followed the policy of not counting of a given year's
surplus as income for our next edition. All of the surplus of
DebConf13 becomes, just as DC13 is finalized, regular Debian money.

Now... Being five months before DC14, we still have a long time to get
more sponsors. But we are also at the point in time that most likely
seems dismal. We are in no way at a "failure" point, but the DC14 team
asked Lucas (and us chairs) for Debian to make a funding commitment of
up to the DC13 surplus.

So... I want to make this specific case more into the generic case,
not specifically discussing DC14. I know (from historical trends) that
we are at a point where tension is building, and close to DebConf
things will automagically start working. I don't know how, but it
tends to work that way ;-) 

So, back to the case: What's your take on this issue? How much can one
part of the Debian universe of subprojects expect the money it
generated be available for its future? Should we set a clear number?

[ Full disclosure: I'm pushing this subject here with authorization
  from Steve Langasek, who brought up the topic in a private
  DPL-Auditors-Chairs mail. Lucas answered right away; we the Chairs
  have not yet answered a peep on the topic, but making the issue
  (without some details as specific money or specific questions) more
  visible might be a good idea. Besides, I feel this to be on-topic
  for the discussion at hand. ]

¹ http://media.debconf.org/dc13/report/DebConf13-final-report.en.pdf

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