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Re: two questions: fund raising money and publicity

Hi Ana!

On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 10:21:20AM +0100, Ana Guerrero Lopez wrote:
> 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?)

Yes and no :)
Having written (if my memory serves me correctly!) the first sponsorship
brochure for DebConf 7 I view it as slightly more subtle than that.

If DebConf didn't happen, then I don't believe that would mean that
there would be an equivalent annual donation that would come in. The
funding that's given is committed for a reason - sponsorship of an event
raises the profile of the company for the attendees, enable recruitment
and offer opportunities for contact building, as well as being "give
back to the community". I don't think that a general "give money to
Debian" request has quite the same draw. There's a reason it's much
easier to raise money for a specific goal/thing than in general :)

> 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?

I do view this as a problem, and the short answer is that I support
Brian Gupta's efforts in the debian-sponsors-discuss list[0]. It's
something we should be encouraging, and would potentially draw people
into Debian who have not previously felt able to contribute. A great
article on fund-raising of a talk from Josh Berkus is at [1].

[0] http://lists.alioth.debian.org/pipermail/debian-sponsors-discuss/Week-of-Mon-20140310/000079.html
[1] https://lwn.net/Articles/560381/

> * Publicizing Debian
> We have several officials ways of publicizing stuff in Debian:
> press releases, identi.ca, bits.d.o and the DPN. We also have the bits
> from the DPL that sometimes overlap with the above sources and announce
> stuff that should be announce somewhere else instead of mixed with the
> DPL activity.
> That said, the coordination between the above sources doesn't work very
> well, all of them have a lot of room for improvement (and I say that
> being closely involved in one of them) and I have seen Debian contributors
> lost about what to do when they want to announce something, sometimes
> being played as a ping pong ball between teams.
> I would love to know your vision about how publicizing Debian should work
> and if you think you can do something as DPL to improve the current
> situation.

Indeed, with my press officer hat on, I'd say that publicity and press
is just about scraping by. This isn't to denigrate the fantastic work
being done in this area by people, but that I think everyone's
overworked, and could do with more help. When Lucas looked at the press
delegation, a few of the active publicity people were approached to
suggest they may want to become press officers, but unfortunately
weren't able to commit the time to do so.

Ideally, I'd love to see someone with the enthusiasm and time to take
this on, to coordinate our efforts and bring together the different
methods of communication we do.

As for how to solve this issue, I'll be honest: I don't know. I think
that coordination of publicity should go through the debian-publicity
mailing list if at all possible, but the core issue is finding someone
to take the role and drive it forward.


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