Apply for membership and meet us at FOSDEM

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Mon Feb 5 13:58:47 UTC 2018

On 05/02/18 13:09, Florian Snow wrote:
> Hi Carsten,
> Carsten Agger <agger at> writes:
>> Of course Google could not have a voice in the GA - they're a
>> proprietary software company and by definition are not committed to
>> the values of free software.
> To make this clear:  I am not advocating for companies getting a voice,
> but what you are describing is not clear from Daniel's proposition.  If
> financial contribution equals the right to vote for a representative in
> the GA, then I am not sure how it would be justified to exclude some
> financial contributions from that right.

There are many points related to that:

- some non-profits do accept corporate members, with or without voting

- some non-profits allow donors to give to specific campaigns: so a
corporate could "vote" for the Public Money Public Code campaign by
making a donation that is only for that campaign.  FSFE could choose to
reject the donation if that condition is not acceptable.  Nonetheless,
each campaign could include an admin overhead cost that helps keep the
lights on in the office, so corporates could not avoid contributing to
essential operational costs.

- in businesses, it is normal for votes at the AGM to be based on
financial shareholding, a shareholder with more shares gets more votes. 
In some countries I think non-profits can choose that model too.  It is
complicated when mixing the votes of volunteers with the votes of
financial donors though so this would be unlikely in FSFE.

- the German laws for non-profits (this was mentioned on another list)
allow donors to specify that their donation or ongoing contributions be
used for capital purposes.  So any fellow/supporter can write an email
to contact at and declare that all or a percentage of their
donations are for investment / capital reserves and that money can't be
spent on operating expenses or campaigns.  This might be very relevant
for people leaving a bequest to FSFE who want the money to have a
long-term impact and not be spent on one campaign.

So there are many ways that people can "direct" or influence the the
organization's activities without having annual elections or fellowship
representatives.  I think it is worthwhile to put a process in place to
explore all these things.  Is it possible that giving people more
choices and more control may increase the amount they are willing to donate?



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