funding a dedicated server

Geocaching Australia governance issues
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GIN51E
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Post by GIN51E » 30 January 08 9:15 pm

How about when members sign up they need to enter their credit card details and get charged daily depending on the load they place on the system, you can also have special off peak rates?




ok ok relax, just having a little fun :lol:


There is a lot of suggestions i like such as the following

funding by lots of smaller donations, eg some kind of pay-pal thing for people to put in whatever they think fit. we think it would be sad for there to be threads begging for money though. there would also have to be some way of putting a cap on the funding so we don't get surpluses which then need to be looked after by someone. (it would be good to do it without having to go to the cost and hassle of forming a legal entity)



Whilst having some non legal entity would seem ideal, it has inherent dangers. Creating an association isn't that complicated and "meetings" can be conducted on-line as could elections for office bearers. The office bearers can then outsoure the IT specifics to ideology or whomever they wish. BUT at the end of the day the association owns "geocaching.com.au", not any individuals.

We have 5,000 registered users, no doubt someone can check as to how many are active users. Assuming only 20% are active, that's 1,000 users who if they became members with an annual membership fee of $5 would be able to support the ongoing running of the webiste.

Others could still access the website, but won't be able to vote for office bearers and be involved, all be it in a small way, in the future development of the association. All there would eb would be a small area for "Members Only" information (ie voting, regulations, etc.)


I like the donation idea. Instead of of worring about a surplus, remember the old fundraising signs in front of schools and hospitals that use to say when the required amount was reached. That way people who want to donate can and when the the limit is reached that's the end of it.


I like this idea as well.An alternative is that any excess funds be held over for the next year or used to upgrade the service and/or used in some form to make the coders / Fairies lives easier





Except I'm not keen on a membership type system, even if only $5 per year or less. The whole beauty of the GCA site is it has no advertisements, is free and open to all with no members restricted to some areas or stats.




I like the idea of Donations. I'm sure there is enough members who are willing to throw a few or many bucks towards the site.
I myself would be more than happy to contribute to the funding of the site especially when my programing skills can't be utilised as they would defiantly cause more problems then they would fix. That's if i could even fix any!




But Just to create a few more choices i will attempt to explain my own idea.

I'd place a link on the front page "Donations"
Which operates through Pay-Pal with a minimum donation amount of $5

Once a member has made a donation a couple of little things could take place to acknowledge the member who donated in the interest of the site.
(As its hard to get money from someone if they don't get anything out of it)

In the users forum posts under there GCA Finds Stat perhaps get the message
"I Supported GCA"

Image

And Perhaps Next to the Cachers name in search results, Profile and Logs
you could have a little GCA logo.


Image

Image

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In regards to the safe keeping of the money you could block the donations once the required amount is reached or put it back into resources used in developing and maintaining the site, eg coffee.
Buy some GCA stickers and send them out to the supported members.
Or if a lot of money is raised it can be put towards running a GCA event in each state by paying for food/drinks.
The options are endless and really depends on how much extra money is raised.

In order to keep the funds coming year after year you could save the additional funds and hold them for the next coming year or at the end of the year everyone looses there "I supported GCA"message , icons. and need to redonate to get them back.

And for all developers/volunteers involved behind the scenes of the GCA website they automatically receive the support message and icons with no need to donate money.



That is one idea of mine and hopefully something worth considering or at least some parts of it.


One thing for certain is if there is a donation system there needs to be a tally for all to see.


Sorry ideology hope you don't mind me using you as an example :)

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psychokat
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Post by psychokat » 30 January 08 9:38 pm

I agree with nearly everything that GIN51E has said except for the acknowledgement of a donation. That could start a 'Well I gave a donation and you didn't so I have more say than you' or something similar.

I know some people will say no we aren't like that but it happens and consider how some remarks are taken the wrong way. We don't need another miss understanding like last years forum posting against cache finding drama.

For the Tax view of the money aren't we a kind of club??? The paypal account could be a club account not an association. Does it have to be paypal?? I love this website so much I'd send Ideology a money order to cover my donation if it would help the Devlopers and Fairies.

Kat

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Post by Map Monkey » 30 January 08 9:47 pm

GIN51E wrote:How about when members sign up they need to enter their credit card details and get charged daily depending on the load they place on the system, you can also have special off peak rates?

http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopic.php?t=7750 :twisted:

mm

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Team Piggy
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Post by Team Piggy » 30 January 08 9:59 pm

I may be wrong, but do paypal take details of the person? Eg tax details, shoe size?

If they dont, then dontations would simply go into the paypal account and the server fees can be paid from there? (I know it sounds too simple to be true..) :roll:

I think going associations, declaring etc etc, is all too much red tape and complication.

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GIN51E
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Post by GIN51E » 30 January 08 10:17 pm

psychokat wrote:I agree with nearly everything that GIN51E has said except for the acknowledgement of a donation. That could start a 'Well I gave a donation and you didn't so I have more say than you' or something similar.

I know some people will say no we aren't like that but it happens and consider how some remarks are taken the wrong way. We don't need another miss understanding like last years forum posting against cache finding drama.


I see your point and we wouldn't know what sort of reactions it would cause until it was implemented but I'd like to think that us Geocachers are beyond petty things like that.

I've participated in the exact same system just under 10 years ago on the Toymods Forum "Toyota Car Club" in which Donating members received the same level of acknowledgment as I've suggested for this site. That didn't cause one problem or comment between donating and non donating members.

So the way i see it is if it works for a Club full of young and old car hoons then i don't see why it would create a problem for young and old Geocachers.

Although times have changed over the past 10 years.

If we did start to see some sort of a problem arise then we simply remove the feature.

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Facitman
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Post by Facitman » 30 January 08 10:28 pm

I was about to post a similar suggestion to GIN51E's. :)
In addition to his suggestions I think there should be a recognition of years a cacher has been financially supporting GCA eg. GCA Supporter for 3 years if you donate every year.

I understand that there is some concern about upsetting people but the reality is that i! have been very graciously supporting our site for years and if we want people to chuck in a few dollars then we should celebrate their contribution. The acknowledgement of multiple years of support may well be considered by some as a score (remember it's not about the numbers :D ) but if it encourages ongoing donations then that's a good thing.

If functionality of the site is the same regardless of whether you have contributed or not and the minimum contribution is kept low ie. few dollars a month with no differentiation between small donations and large ones then I don't see an issue.

In Australian Geocaching I have not seen any indication that we as Geocachers put a different value on cachers who are premium members of groundspeak verse geocachers who have a basic membership (and we don't grovel at the feet of Charter members either :lol: ) so why would we judge people on whether they donated to GCA other than to be positive and say "Good on ya"

Peter
Just my view, one of many I'm sure

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Post by riblit » 30 January 08 10:52 pm

Team Piggy wrote:I may be wrong, but do paypal take details of the person? Eg tax details, shoe size?

If they dont, then dontations would simply go into the paypal account and the server fees can be paid from there? (I know it sounds too simple to be true..) :roll:

I think going associations, declaring etc etc, is all too much red tape and complication.


Tax details and shoe size weren't required when I set mine up, however a bank account or credit card is if you want to get money out of the account.
The credit card was verified. There are transaction fees payable by the merchant. 1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 USD
You need a PayPal Premier or Business account to accept money.

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Post by Team Piggy » 30 January 08 11:06 pm

So short of the tranaction fees, money could be left in the account in limbo and then used to pay for smething (server/hosting/B-width)..
No bank account needed then? Though you prob need one to register an account with paypal...

:?:

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Post by trail_geek » 30 January 08 11:32 pm

I would actually be happy with just about any of the subscription options, the site being clean and ad free is a good thing.

Worst case I am sure one of the origional options of $200 each for 20 premium members would also work....

PS, if it helps i can donate another server :P

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Post by riblit » 31 January 08 12:00 am

trail_geek wrote:
PS, if it helps i can donate another server :P


Appreciated, however the current server is in America as bandwidth is a lot cheaper there than here. Now, if you could donate a nice fat pipe we could plug into. :D

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listmaker
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Post by listmaker » 31 January 08 9:18 am

If a donation model is decided on (better than ads), can it be flexible enough to allow for a choice between paypal or cheque/money order donations? And will we be able to choose between one-off and regular (monthly, yearly) donations, or is more certainty required with regard to the level of funds coming in?

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Post by hydroflare » 31 January 08 9:29 am

Yes, much cheaper in the US and a lot more resources for the money.<P>

It sounds like GSA needs to move from being a community service to an association. Setting up an association is not a significant task and it will receive an ABN for tax purposes. <p>

It will require, however, more work to 'maintain'. It will need an executive with an AGM to elect the office bearers. It will require accounts and records to be kept and made available when required. It will require a constitution and meet any taxation obligations.<p>

This is a lot more work that simply having a website. I'm a little in the dark over how it is currently setup/run/maintained as a community service, however I get the feeling that a handful of dedicated enthusiasts have built and maintained it at their own cost. <p>

If the problem is really how to adequately fund a new host to cater for the increased demands of the site then there may be other ways to solve this.<p>

Is there really a need to have a dedicated server? The stats given at the start of this thread are reasonable small compared to the limits on some hosting plans (eg siteground.com has 7500GB bandwidth and 750GB space for US$6 per month, and I'm sure there are loads of others). The actual costs of expansion may well be far less than the quotes US$200-300 per month.

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Post by caughtatwork » 31 January 08 9:34 am

If we go with donations, I would propose a yearly "drive", starting, say, 3 months before the server lease comes up.

You could donate anytime, but we would have a donation ramp up for the preceeding 3 months to get to the right target.

Any funds in excess of the yearly requirement would be held over until the next year.

Any shortfall could be addressed by way of a special request or "patron/s" making up the difference.

I agree that donation methods other than just paypal would be preferable. Cash, cheque, MO, direct deposit as well as paypal via CC would be the way to garner the best result while inconveniencing the person donating the least.

This would imply both a paypal and bank account to account for the "any format, anytime, any amount" donations.

Tying up donations to a tag in the forum or special icon for an "I Support GCA" would be a challenge, but doable.

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Post by caughtatwork » 31 January 08 9:39 am

hydroflare wrote:Is there really a need to have a dedicated server? The stats given at the start of this thread are reasonable small compared to the limits on some hosting plans (eg siteground.com has 7500GB bandwidth and 750GB space for US$6 per month, and I'm sure there are loads of others). The actual costs of expansion may well be far less than the quotes US$200-300 per month.


Dedicated RAM and CPU are the problems with a shared service rather than bandwidth and disk space. If we only had 256MB of RAM for everyone (which would be typical of a shared server environment), then we would die a short and horrible death even though the bandwidth and disk capacity would be sufficient.

Having moved my own site (www.caughtatwork.net where a lot of interesting geocaching graph data is served) very recently from a shared envionment to a semi dedicated server, my costs went from $15 per month to over $60 per month. This was necessary to get the CPU and RAM needed for trolling the database and serving the data.

I get 256MB guaranteed RAM, burstable up to 1.2GB with around 20% of a 2.6GB CPU. The more dedicated RAM and CPU you want, the higher the price.

So the $200-$400 per month would provide us with a server of our own with (probably) 2GB RAM and a dual 2.6GB processor. That's the sort of system requirement we probably need.

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Post by Nilbog_Aus » 31 January 08 11:29 am

listmaker wrote:I will no doubt be burnt alive for this, but .... could enough funds be raised by the sale of a limited edition, annual, GCA geocoin? A margin could be added to the price of each coin, to support GCA.


I think listmaker's idea is a good one. I would definitely buy a couple.

The coin could also be tracked on GCA further reducing costs and (IMHO) being more in sync with GCA's philosophies.

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