funding a dedicated server

Geocaching Australia governance issues
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Team Red Roo
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Post by Team Red Roo » 31 January 08 12:46 pm

A lot of good ideas above :D .

Free and Open Geocaching - GCA would not be free if advertising was the first option. If an option at all - it should be last. It would put the price of downloading and seeing (but not necessarily watching) ads every time you open a GCA page.

I like things the way they are, but recognise that it has an associated cost that someone has to cover, and we've all been using GCA up to now at no cost to ourselves. Crunch time!

An association or club? I began Geocaching because of the lack of these, but agree that we need a body to control and maintain the server and associated software the forum and the website - we can't leave it the way it is. I'll gladly support that body either by a voluntary membership fee or a donation.

To retain the 'Free and Open' claim, membership fees or donations need to be voluntary, but I don't think that there'd be any problem raising the required amounts. I'd even be prepared to 'join' a club again.

Recognition of a paid membership below our forum user data may introduce angst in forum posts from time to time, but that's up to us all to monitor and 'control' if/when it occurs. While there would be some of us who 'pay the way', all users should be able to come with suggestions or requests (that's the free and open bit).

my 2 bob's worth
Wayne :D

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Jardry
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Post by Jardry » 31 January 08 1:57 pm

caughtatwork wrote: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.
As soon as you require a bank account you need an "organisation" to manage it!

I struggle to comprehend why anyone believes it is a lot of work to maintain an association. Granted a bit of work is required to set it up, but the constitution could stipulate that the association only has ONE on-line meeting per year (the AGM) and that physical attendance is not a meeting requirment.

The business of the AGM is to elect officer bearers for the forthcoming 12 months of whom some would become signatories to the bank account. The office bearers could then have on-line meetings as they see fit to maintain the website (if that is the object of the association).

For the majority who don't want anything to do with the association - nothing would change. They can still donate if they wish and operate as if the website relied purely on donations.

For those that have concerns about the informal donation arrangement, formalising an association allays those concerns.

As previously stated there are 6,000 or so registered users of the website. It will then be up to them when they donate whether they also wish to become a member whose only requirement would be to elect office bearers and if they choose to stand as an office bearer undertake the work associated with that position.

From the 6,000 or so, there may well be only 20, 50, 100 or 500 who want to participate in such a way. Elections are conducted democratically and for all intents and purposes nothing changes from what we can see now on the website.

Unfortunately, what seems to be the easiest option is fraught with danger. I personally do not know any of the current administrators and would be uncomfortable if one of them offered to use their personal bank account to accept PayPal donations.

And again, I do not believe they would do so, but how would anyone know just how much was raised in donations, other than their word. At least with an incorporated association there are safeguards that can be implemented to avoid any such dispersions being cast - ie the use of two signatories to withdraw money from a bank account, the preparation of annual financial reports, etc.

What happens if the ATO audits the bank account which had accreud a ridiculous amount of say $100,000. Technically it is the bank account owners money - not the informal Geocaching Australia website communities, and the ATO would expect any interest to be declared on the bank account owners tax return.

This "arguement" will never be settled such that everyone is happy with the eventual outcome - but at least settle it in such a way that it is sound legally.

Regards


Jardry

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Post by Pesky! » 31 January 08 3:45 pm

I like the idea of a 'donation" system.
perhap run with a system of recognitions in the forms of t-shirts caps, geo-coins etc.

for example:

everyone gets onto site for free ( thsis should stay)
$5.00 gets you a "i helped" sticker for that year
$10.00 gets a I "heart" GCA sew on patch or metal pin for you caching clobber
$20.00 gets you a GCA lovers shirt/hat
$ 50.00 gets you a coin.
$100.00 gets you a date with the developer of your choice...
$200.00 gets you... no well you get the idea anyway.
having the donation higher than the item costs to produce covers both production and maintenance.

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Jardry
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Post by Jardry » 31 January 08 3:48 pm

Pesky,

I think you are missing the point with donations. Someone has to administer the donations fund and whomever administers the fund needs to ensure that it is all above board.

The only legal way to do this is via an association.

Regards



Jardry

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Post by caughtatwork » 31 January 08 4:10 pm

Pesky! wrote:$100.00 gets you a date with the developer of your choice...
having the donation higher than the item costs to produce covers both production and maintenance.
Hey! I think I'm offended by that :shock: :lol:

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Papa Bear_Left
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Post by Papa Bear_Left » 31 January 08 4:29 pm

caughtatwork wrote:
Pesky! wrote:$100.00 gets you a date with the developer of your choice...
having the donation higher than the item costs to produce covers both production and maintenance.
Hey! I think I'm offended by that :shock: :lol:
If you choose C@W as your dev date, you only have to pay $20. :twisted:

Two random thoughts:

Look at gps.org.nz as a small-scale example of what we're looking at doing here. They're an incorporated society and have an annual subscription and sell geocoins to raise funds for their server costs (low because it's basically just a forum and wiki) and other expenses. The AGM is online and only available to Society members. The office bearers are The Usual Suspects and usually elected unopposed. Non-members get access to all the same stuff as members, except the elections, etc. Members get a forum tag to show that they've paid their dues.

I like the idea of an annual drive for the next year's funding. Displaying one of those "money thermometers" you see outside churches and scout halls in the headers would be useful to prompt users to contribute.

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Jardry
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Post by Jardry » 31 January 08 5:00 pm

Well said Papa Bear_Left,

The best of both options and no-one misses out.

Regards


Jardry

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Post by solomonfamily » 31 January 08 7:05 pm

What an amazing achievement the site is today - My sincere thanks to all those involved.

I like the association idea and would be prepared to contribute.

I can see the association considering other "roof" body functions - but I also dont see a problem with this.

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Richary
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Post by Richary » 31 January 08 10:02 pm

There has been a lot of useful discussion since I posted my suggestion for an "association" last night. All of it constructive too which is good to see.

Given the previous opposition to an "Australian Geocaching Association" or similar I thought my suggestion might stir up a few issues, which it has but nicely. But I like CraigRat's idea of having an association purely to look after the website etc. Then it is making no claim to running geocaching in Australia or how it should be done.

We would still need the legalities but that would be no problem, heck I could draw up a basic document using the radio club constitution we have. A few mandatory pieces of stuff basically copied from the relevant state legislation is all it takes. The association can be as big or small as is wanted.

It can then be set up so people can donate only if they want to, or can pay a membership fee so then they are a member of the association and get voting rights at the AGM. The only thing I am not sure of is if a non profit organisation can legally accept donations without selling something in return (any tax accountants here - and prepared to admit it? :D )

Of course, we could create a special series of stickers (I support GCA) and list them with a minimum cost of $5 for example, with the maximum cost being what the buyer is prepared to pay. As long as it can go through the books - sold 1 sticker at $xx

The radio club brings it books from overseas and sells them to members and non members so that side of it is legal.

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Post by caughtatwork » 31 January 08 10:11 pm

I'll stir the pot (no not the tea post), just a little.

Everyone so far thinks this is workable. Granted it's only a day or two since the thread started and there are still lots of people who won't have seen this or haven't formulated a thought yet.

Who will take up the challenge of getting it off the ground?

As one of the developers I'd be happy to be involved, but I really, really don't want to be leading the paperwork process to get an association up and running.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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Post by The Spindoctors » 31 January 08 10:21 pm

I was planning on spending more time to think about this and flesh it out with a select group of people, but this topic and the direction is heading has forced me to show hand early.

First off, I'll put my hand up to be on the committee of whatever Geocaching Australia Association is set up. However, my motivation is different to the one discussed here...

...hence I am starting a new topic in this section.

I ask that people please stick to the topics as labelled.

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Post by ideology » 31 January 08 10:36 pm

thanks all for your input

in our mind there's two topics:

1. how much people are prepared to fund the new server
2. how the funding is collected

thinking of each in turn:

1. funding amount: it is probably worthwhile to conduct a quick poll to see how much people would be prepared to donate per annum. the purpose is to see whether we are anywhere near the amount that is needed. for example if it's $4,000 pa (and we aren't sure about that yet!) then we'd need 160 people $25 per person. that's a lot of people! (perhaps gca #2 will have to start with a slower server and upgrade later?)

2. how the funding is collected. personally we think it's a bit of overkill to set up an association to raise $4,000 pa, however if people want to do it, that great - it might do things more than just raise funding for the website - so we would be delighted to join! as the good doctor suggests, it's probably easier if that discussion be held in another thread.

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Post by Richary » 31 January 08 11:02 pm

I await Spindoc's new thread. But I will say I would be happy to be involved, both in setting it up as well as supporting it financially. And being on the committee if one is requires. I think an organisation requires 3 or so :office bearers" such as President, Secretary and Treasurer and a few ordinary committee members.

Or if the desire is to fund it privately, I'm happy to do a paypal or bank transfer for whatever I can afford to whoever wants to volunteer to run it and take on any potential tax hassles. I will trust the recipient!

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Post by Geof » 31 January 08 11:26 pm

[color=red]i![/color] wrote:personally we think it's a bit of overkill to set up an association to raise $4,000 pa,
Agreed but who would accept funds.

Up till now no body can complain they don't get their moneys worth.

What ever alternatives are selected there will be times things hit the fan. Its a matter of how to deal with that and whos prepaired to deal with it.

The benevolent dictator* model has been just too easy.

*I know they don't but they arguably have every right to (consider it a complement)

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Post by Pesky! » 01 February 08 8:04 am

Just on a side note, how would the developers of applications such as GSAK and the website feel about using the sale of an application, developed specially, to fund part of the costs..

I know GSak is used by lots of geocachers, and im not usggesting we steal that from Clyde, there are heaps of sharewaret ype apps that people use for thier PDA/Phones etc. that are for navigation and geocaching, could somethinglike that be used to raise funds.

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