Finances

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Detailed records of income (including donations) and expenditure by the Foundation are kept in accordance with UK accounting standards. The Foundation has a legal obligation to publish its accounts annually at Companies House.

The majority of the Foundations income comes from the annual State of the Map conference in the form of conference fees and corporate sponsorship. Periodic fundraising appeals for hardware have also elicit a good response.

Our income is from a variety of sources and we continually strive to identify new funding channels. Currently these include personal donations, corporate sponsorship, donations of hardware and bandwidth, commission from retail affiliation schemes (Storage Depot, Amazon), foundation membership fees and most recently the State of the Map conference (registration fees and sponsorship).

It is probably appropriate now to publish management accounts on a quarterly basis.

The treasurer tries to personally acknowledge as many donations as he can and, where possible, gives an indication of how that donation is likely to be spent.

Historically, not all funding gets channelled through the Foundation. For example in 2006 Multimap funded Steve Coast directly to spend some of his time working on the project. Another example, the Foundation submitted a proposal to Digital Pioneers and won funding in 2007 to stimulate mapping parties in the Netherlands. The funding went directly to Stichting Vrijschrift, a Dutch non-profit organisation, who actually had the responsibility for making the mapping parties happen there.

When the Foundation was formed the membership was polled about how income should be spent and we received a mandate to spend 60% of income on hardware, 20% on promotion and 20% on legal matters. Currently, the Foundation’s expenditure is mainly on server hardware, and activities that promote the project (typically, travel expenses for speaking engagements, board meetings and the like).

The project can always benefit from more hardware and this is where most of the funding goes. Personally, I (writes 80n) am not keen on tapping contributors for donations since they already made their donations of time and effort to add map data. In this respect my belief is that beneficiaries of the map data should fund the project. We are indeed starting to see sponsorship from the likes of MultiMap, Google and Yahoo although the reality is that we still need to rely on donations from contributors, and judging by the funding model of projects like Wikipedia will probably always need to.

Expenditure

It was agreed at an irc meeting on July 11, 2006 that spending over the next 12 months should be apportioned roughly as follows. The Board agreed to maintain this ratio for the 2007-8 and 2008-9 year:

  • Legal 20%
  • Hardware 60%
  • Promotion (speaker’s expenses etc) 20%