Consultation on fundraising strategy

For 2023, the OSMF Board has decided to target a balanced budget. Given our expected income and expenses, there is a gap of approximately 500K GBP that we need to fundraise for.

In the fall, we started planning for this by taking part in a workshop on fundraising strategy and operations Board/Minutes/2022-10 - OpenStreetMap Foundation.

What has been clear is that we need a diversified campaign engaging wide community for small amounts, and target larger asks to businesses and major giving from individuals. This needs to be organized and executed effectively – there is a lot of communication, outreach, development of new mechanisms for giving, etc.

We are considering contracting an experience consultant who is already engaged in OpenStreetMap community to assist us in this process. The usual set up for such is a small percentage fee of what’s raised. They would work closely with the Board and fundraising committee, as well as share details of process publicly in regular diary entries. All of this is designed in mind to make the fundraising campaign reflect how we work as a community. We think this is low risk, high reward, and that dedicated attention to fundraising is necessary to make it successful.

We’ll need everyone’s help as well – from getting the word out, creatively engaging potential donors, to making asks, to of course kicking in a bit of money too.

Please share viewpoints here, or if you prefer directly with We will receive your input over the next week until March 22.


One possible option there is to ask all OSM members, if they are able to, to contribute a very small amount e.g 1 US$ / GB£ / € each “month” (quarter / 6 months / annually).

A small amount such as that shouldn’t have a serious effect on anybody’s individual finances, but x 5 million members, should also make a nice amount!

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Why monthly donations are important for your NGO

The importance of monthly donations for non-profit organizations: Monthly donations can provide a consistent stream of revenue throughout the year, which is beneficial for non-profits of any size or growth stage. Recurring donors are more valuable to non-profits than one-time donors, and online recurring donations are convenient for donors and help with donor retention. The article lists six reasons why monthly donations are important, including increased revenue and the ability to plan ahead with a predictable income stream.

Keep in mind that even many intermediate mappers have no idea of what is going “behind the scenes” in OSM, that OSMF exists, who they are and what they do. We have a problem of community awareness. It is pretty much possible for someone to rake in a few dozen mapping days without having their changeset even commented.
Maybe the local chapters could help by the way of institutionalizing the “welcoming committee” which already sort of exists with and mention the OSMF goals and needs in the welcome message.

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Thanks we are going to look at setting up recurring donations.

And agreed, communication of what makes OSM and OSMF work is top priority for the campaign. Good idea to use welcome messages from local chapters to explain OSMF as well.

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Thanks, Mikel.

One thing about that though - there are lots of charities that already ask for money that way, but I’ve seen many of them that ask for $50+ / month, which immediately turns me off the idea!

If you’re going to put this out to all members, please don’t set a high minimum amount - leave it at what people can easily afford without missing it from their daily finances, & stress that they don’t donate anything if they can’t afford it. As I suggested, a tiny amount like 1 $ / £ / € a month shouldn’t bother many people but will certainly add up in the long run!

If the international donation concept turns out to be too complicated, a work around may be to actually donate to your local country chapter, which then passes it on? e.g. I donate to Oceania, they get to keep “5%” of the proceeds & pass the rest to Head Office?

Remember, one can join the OpenStreetMap Foundation. It costs £15 per year (~ 1 GBP per month), and that money goes to the OSMF. :slightly_smiling_face: