Consultation on fundraising strategy

In that case I encourage you to consider hiring a CFRE- certified fundraising executive - - these are highly trained, certified and professional fundraising professionals. The ChatGPT result is actually spot on for the recognized standard of practice for certified fundraising professionals.

Naive, emerging non-profit organizations (no slight intended), are often in this situation and like the ChatGPT bot suggests need an effective, long-term solution not some snake-oil, get-rich quick salesman type who will work to maximize their payout since its basically on commission. Incredible harm to potential long-term major and planned giving donors can be done by poor stewarship- asking for more than a donor’s capacity/willingness to give, not following through/making commitments the organization cannot fulfill or will be detrimental to operations (tail wagging the dog). Fundraising for unobligated funds, using existing network of the board and users, particularly stakeholders who want OSM to persist and build an endowment will be the most successful fundraising strategy.

Oftentimes technical, program people get in charge of a new non-profit. They need to navigate the world of non-profit administration, learn HR, accounting, and donor relations. There is no shortcutting either of those- people need to be hire, benefits managed; financial disclosures filed; and funds raised. And services delivered like in OSM- management and deployment of an open-source, public geodatabase service. Each person has their job, and a fundraiser is key to the nonprofit since funds aren’t made by selling a product or service (generally). They take the place of your salespeople, but they are not salespeople, or public relations people- they are their own thing and valuable in that regard.

Were the people you consulted credentialed - like a CFRE? Like accounting- don’t take advice from anyone isn’t a CPA. Would you have just some guy work on your bicycle or car? Sign your financial statements? Talk to your most valuable donors/collaborators/stakeholders and make promises on your behalf? On the contrary its highly risky and a classic mistake of managers of new non-profits to hire some fundraiser who promises big and works on commission and ends up dealing untold years of damage to an organization’s reputation with donors and fundraising capacity. DM me if you want to chat more about this.

I trust you realise that OSMF is not a US-headquartered organisation?

… and that the fund raiser has already been contracted.

1 Like

Please add a Diversity section :slight_smile:

OSM Fundrasing ~ aims to encourage volunteering time, money, and good quality open data, while also maintaining or boosting the community’s goodwill.

Diversity in fundraising:

In the OSM Foundation’s fundraising efforts, it is crucial to emphasize that both time and money, as well as good-quality open data donations, are equally valuable for supporting the organization. This means that, aside from making monetary donations, people can contribute in various ways, such as volunteering their time and skills or providing valuable open data that can be integrated into OpenStreetMap. Volunteers can work as mappers, developers, tutorial writers, or in other roles that suit their talents. By encouraging diversity in fundraising and acknowledging the importance of open data contributions, the OSM Foundation can attract a wide range of supporters, which will ultimately help create a stronger and more inclusive community, enriched by diverse data sources and dedicated volunteers.


  1. Emphasize equal value of time, money, and open data donations in fundraising efforts.
  2. Encourage monetary donations.
  3. Promote volunteering as a way to contribute.
  4. Highlight various volunteer roles (mappers, developers, tutorial writers, etc.).
  5. Advocate for good-quality open data donations.
  6. Attract diverse supporters.
  7. Build a stronger, more inclusive community.
  8. Enrich OpenStreetMap with diverse data sources and dedicated volunteers.

The fundraising guideline could include a statement of ethical principles[1] ,
as well as any recommendations that the organisation and the fundraiser make.[2]

[1] “Normative fundraising ethics: A review of the field”

  • Fundraising is ethical when it promotes, sustains, protects or maintains public/donor trust in fundraising and unethical when it damages or harms this trust.
  • Mercenarism says: Fundraising is unethical when it prioritises raising money above other factors.
  • Community: Fundraising is ethical when it prioritises and/or serves the needs of the community, and unethical when it does not.

CCF Principles: “Time is valued equally as money.”

[2] a signed example of accepting 5 policies/principles:

  • Community-Centric Fundraising 10 principles
  • AFP Code of Ethical Standards
  • AFP Donor Bill of Rights
  • AFP Code of Ethics
  • National Fundraising Associations statements of Ethical Principles in Fundraising

[3] The recent Wikipedia fundraising campaign received serious ethical criticism, even from its own community. This negatively affected the community’s goodwill. Therefore, the main goal for OSM fundraising campaigns should be to not harm goodwill while raising funds.

[4] OSM Foundation - Diversity Statement
~ All-inclusive [ “socio-economic status”] → no money, only time

1 Like

Thanks so much for all the input here. The Board has written draft Fundraising Guidelines and wants to hear from the community about them. At a high level, fundraising is guided by these main points.

  • Funds are raised to support the OSMF’s mission.
  • We balance honouring donors’ wishes and preferences while upholding the communities’ values.
  • Our communication will adhere to high standards of integrity and transparency.
  • Collaboration and inclusivity of the diverse OSM community in fundraising efforts is paramount.
  • Fundraising will be executed and managed effectively.
  • Our guidelines are anchored in clear policies.

Please take a close look and provide any feedback here or directly


Just wanted to throw random idea out there… Adding monthly donations with options 1€, 5€, 15€ and 50€ per month. And on anywhere where user name is show add small icon(colored coins?) indicating user financially supporting OSM would probably have some effect on active users donating and raising awareness(people would hover icon and it would explain this user is suppporting OSM financially and how they can too).
Today donating members have 0 recognition afaik…


Adding monthly donations with options 1€, 5€, 15€ and 50€ per month.

we should avoid micro payments because of banking fees, better send 12eur a year than 1 each month, so this could still be presented as 1 eur a month but should be advised to actually send less frequently.


there is a list of donators with an opt-out if you don’t want (box is ticked by default)

1 Like

Fees to the individual donors, or the OSMF?

Either way it comes from the donors, and there could be multiple fees depending on the details on how the donor is paying. I think there will always be some which reduce the amount the OSMF gets compared to the amount transferred, and often some that will increase the amount that the donor pays compared to the amount transferred.

A typical example for online systems (PayPal, stripe, etc) is a fixed fee (e.g. 30 cent) plus a percentage fee (e.g 1.2%). Both deducted from how much OSMF receives from you.

Lots of small donations would incur lots of the fixed fees, whereas one larger donation would only incur one fixed fee. That’s why it’s better to do one large rather than many small payments.

we should avoid micro payments because of banking fees

Fees to the individual donors, or the OSMF?

In the end, money that people wanted to give to the OSMF ends up
improving PayPal’s bottom line instead. Other ways of payment might even
be worse.

There are at least three mechanisms by which money spent by donors gets
lost for OSMF work:

  • bad exchange rates by PayPal
  • direct fees to the OSMF by PayPal
  • work effort to process failed payments

In general, every hundredth or so payment requires attention, and every
thousandth payment or so requires half a workday to unwind what has gone
wrong. Makes on average about an hour of work time per 100 transactions.

That way, running the OSMF from 1 GBP donations would mean to employ
multiple people for payment processing. Even running the OSMF solely
from 15 GBP sized donations ends up in a part time job for someone.

The small donations help proving that the OSMF is independent and such
are strategically important. But they are in direct conflict to the
other expectation to the OSMF to remain lean.


But obviously small donations are welcome!

(though it is better to donate 30 euro once than to donate 1 euro each day for a month)

12€/year, 5€/month, 15€/month, 50€/month is reasonable solution I would say, also I’m guessing with montly “subscription”, amount of failures/reverts/interventions will be lower vs. one time payments…

I want to hear how people feel about showing icons on next to donating members username, giving more recognition in community and awerness about donating to other members who will see icons…

A pull request that @datendelphin started in 2018 has been mostly abandoned since.

I would be more aggressive and display icon everywhere usename is shown on, changeset page, node/way/relation(Last edited by), changeset discussion… Only showing on user profile is much better than current donation page, but in my opinion not enough…

I’m divided on this. On the one hand, it might encourage more people to donate, on the other, it might shame low-income people who can’t afford to donate (or don’t/can’t have a credit card) but contribute a lot in other ways.

That abandoned PR by @Stereo seemed like better idea to me, as (if I understand it correctly) it would add icon for every OSMF member (which can be accomplished not only by paying membership fees, but also by instead editing the map regularly).

On the other hand, it is not perfect either. For example, I’ve been (paying) OSMF member for a time, but decided to drop out - as politicking at the time was negatively impacting my health. Nowdays I’m not an OSMF member (even though I qualify for gratis membership), don’t follow regular news and don’t even own a TV - going outside to hike/cycle and map instead. (And as result I am much happier, so I would recommend that to everyone feeling stressed; but I digress).


If you’re looking to support the OSM movement without this particular global flavor of politics, OSMF’s local chapters also run on donations. I can’t guarantee that all their politics are copacetic around election season, but at least things are smaller in scale, so that you might feel more empowered to help steer the ship in a better direction.


Note that osm mappers should not be obligated/pressured to donate, especially poorer ones. And it should not matter in changeset discussion or in similar place how much each mapper donated.

(Though I would encourage people having entertainment funds to consider donating pay off it)

(Above is my personal opinion)