Funding “Open”

November 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

Geoffrey MacDougall just created this talk exploring the challenges and opportunities for organizations looking to fund more “open” approaches to philanthropy, and the Mozilla Foundation’s current thinking around project support. He’s looking for your feedback and ideas.

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§ 2 Responses to Funding “Open”

  • Geoffrey says:

    Thanks, Matt!

  • Steve says:

    It is great to see a organization as big as Mozilla pursuing open funding models for web projects. Some things to keep in mind about this:

    1. Transparency is key. For every project, there should be “open books”. That is there should be an accounting package that indicates where the money is coming from and where it is going to (eg. hardware, server time, salaries)
    2. The more flat the funding structure the better. If funding is come from more than one source, make sure that a few sources don’t predominate. You could consider that for each entity (individual or organization) that is doing the funding, they amount contributed can only be 1/2 more than the next highest amount. This gives individual contributors less leverage over the project scope and priorities. The more funders their are the more independent the project implementers can be and the more input they must seek for a change of direction
    3. Consider giving some sort of payback for investments (ie. stock or something like as — as the law allows). It is not necessary as it could be run on a donation basis, but the non-donation model could allow larger projects to occur.
    4. If there is a investment model, consider giving sweat equity in the forms of stock.

    Introducing money into projects will be contentious. Whereas most open source projects compensate by things which are hard to measure the value of: (respect, reputation, community), money can create new tensions where there were none before. On the other hand it could allow people who couldn’t participate fully in open source before because they had a deficit in time to do it as a partial way to make a living.

    Please keep this going. If a working model could be built, it could be extended beyond the open web and to the making of actual tangible objects.

    Steve

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