Consultation on fundraising strategy

I think this might be the point you’re referring to : see #21 of the AFP

Members shall:
21. not accept compensation or enter into a contract that is based on a percentage of contributions; nor shall members accept finder’s fees or contingent fees.
22. be permitted to accept performance-based compensation, such as bonuses, only if such bonuses are in accord with prevailing practices within the members’ own organizations and are not based on a percentage of contributions.
23. neither offer nor accept payments or special considerations for the purpose of influencing the selection of products or services.
24. not pay finder’s fees, commissions or percentage compensation based on contributions.
25. meet the legal requirements for the disbursement of funds if they receive funds on behalf of a donor or client.

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There are better examples to cite :wink:

“sources close to the deal tell TechCrunch that Citymapper investors are mostly not making their money back in the transaction and that it’s effectively a washout”

We’re in a very different situation than what’s typically considered for fundraising. OSMF has no standing endowment, donor cultivation system or any kind of fundraising operation. We have a very minimal funded operation overall. Essentially we’re starting up, and the approach we’ve taken here is very low risk, and gets a contractor working on piloting and developing with low overhead. In developing this approach, we have taken steps to confer with other fundraising professionals, and given the circumstances, no eyebrows were raised. The scope of the current contract is through the end of the year, so as we develop our fundraising efforts, in no way are we limited to this method of compensation in the future.


Have they documented somewhere why they are OK with performance-based compensation, but against very specific case of performance-based compensation that scales linearly with funds raised?

Also, have they documented whether it is position taken for ethical reasons or is it position taken because it is beneficial to American fundraising professionals belonging to that organisation or for some other reason?

In consultation with ChatGPT, I think OpenStreetmap should also think about this:

  • Maintaining donor trust: OSM relies on the support of individuals, organizations, and the wider mapping community. By avoiding percentage-based compensation and finder’s fees, OSM can maintain the trust of its donors by ensuring that fundraisers are focused on the project’s mission and long-term goals rather than personal financial gain.

  • Avoiding conflicts of interest: By not tying a fundraiser’s income to the amount of money raised, OSM can minimize the risk of conflicts of interest. This helps to ensure that fundraisers prioritize the best interests of OSM and its donors, rather than focusing on maximizing their own earnings.

  • Fostering long-term relationships: OSM’s success depends on the ongoing support and engagement of its community. By avoiding percentage-based compensation, OSM can encourage fundraisers to cultivate long-term relationships with donors, fostering a more stable and sustainable funding base for the project.

  • Fairness and equity among fundraisers: OSM’s fundraising efforts may involve volunteers and/or contractors with various levels of responsibility and experience. By avoiding percentage-based compensation, OSM can promote fairness and equity among its fundraisers, ensuring that they are rewarded based on their skills and contributions rather than the size of the donations they secure.

  • Cost efficiency: By paying fundraisers a fixed salary or using other performance-based compensation models that do not rely on a percentage of contributions, OSM can potentially reduce its fundraising costs, allowing more resources to be allocated to the project’s core mission.

It is important to consider whether there may be ethical dilemmas within local OpenStreetMap communities, such as discouraging potential local donors from contributing during the current campaign because their donations may be more effectively utilized if given later. Alternatively, they might be encouraged to support local foundations, such as the 18 existing Local Chapters (LCs), where overhead costs might be lower.

With respect to ChatGPT, if it hasn’t mapped anything recently it can bugger off until it has. We have enough problems with its country cousins not knowing what shape houses are :smiley: .

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I’m not quite sure I understand! ChatGPT can be used ethically to support OSM’s Diversity Statement. As a non-native English speaker, I primarily use ChatGPT for translation and editing services. Hungarian is indeed a unique language, and ChatGPT proves to be a more effective translator than Deepl or Google Translate.

if you are interested:
This was the part of the original request … you can verify in DeepL

Ezt fogalmazd át angolul - érthetően és tömören:
""" Azt is meg kell vizsgálni, hogy a helyi OpenStreetMap közösségekben lehet-e olyan etikai dilemma, hogy a potenciális helyi donorokat lebeszéli a helyi közösség, hogy a mostani  kampányban adakozzon, mivel ha később adakozik, akkor jobban hasznosulhat az adomány. 
Vagy arra beszélik rá, hogy inkább a helyi alapítványokat (  now the OSM has  18 Local Chapters (LCs): )  támogassák, mivel ott nincs akkora overhead a költségeken."""

I should also mention that we have already been at work for a couple weeks on a set of guiding principles for fundraising. Plan is to polish those out and post about them in the next week or so.

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Perhaps just write in Hungarian and use Discourse’s built in translation? FWIW, the translation of the old forum into English by the built-in translator seems pretty good.

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.

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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

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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)

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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.