transparency about the fellowship

Daniel Pocock daniel at
Mon Jul 9 18:57:17 UTC 2018

Hi everybody,

In the blog about fellowship elections being cancelled[1], the
fellowship has been likened to a corporate donor.

A similar comparison was made in the invitation to the extraordinary
general assembly.

On the transparency page[2], there is a link to donor information[3]
where FSFE identifies the significant corporate donors, especially those
who contribute more than 10% of the budget.

The fellowship appears to contribute[4] about a third of the budget,
more than any other single donor.  That was almost EUR 190,000 in 2016

A single fellow also made a bequest of EUR 150,000 to FSFE and they were
not identified publicly.  Every corporate donor who contributes over 10%
is named publicly.  Does anybody feel that the same transparency
principle should apply in cases such as bequests?

Corporate donors (whether they are publicly listed or private companies)
typically have to publish some information publicly, at a bare minimum,
we can see in which country they are domiciled and who their directors are.

I feel it is a good idea to publish more details about FSFE membership
and fellowship.  In comparison, while at RMLL, I was at the session
about April where they announced that they have 4,000 members[5] and
clarified that these are all full members of the association with a
right to vote.

FSFE currently publishes[6] the names of all legal members (GA members),
there are 29.  FSFE has not directly published statistics about the
fellowship though, although the page[7] about the last elections showed
there were 1,532 people eligible to vote.

There is a weekly report circulated in the team mailing list that gives
a membership breakdown by country.  As fellowship representative, I feel
that the information in this report is quite important for the
fellowship at large.  I also feel that it is important for other reasons:

- giving volunteers transparency, the same details that GA and team are
aware of

- being consistent with the availability of information about the
corporate donors (e.g. we can see where corporate donors are domiciled,
so it is important to know where the fellows are predominantly domiciled)

- as the "E" in FSFE is for Europe, I feel it is important to
demonstrate the extent to which FSFE is engaged in each European country

The dissemination of the fellowship statistics on the team mailing list
stopped shortly after the extraordinary general assembly.  I notice that
the fellowship numbers had been increasing last year but in the last few
months it has been decreasing.  Personally, I suspect that two factors
may be responsible:

- the renaming of "fellow" to "supporter", many of the email templates
and web pages only started using the new term in the last few months.
I personally feel this is a downgrade, as a fellow is by definition a
member of a fellowship while a supporter is a more external role.  Other
people may have had the same feeling and quit.

- increasing awareness about the GA decision[8] in October to begin the
process of abolishing elections

There is also a report circulated each week about mailing list
subscriptions.  I notice in this report that there is a strong
correlation between the number of fellows in each country and the number
of mailing list users in each country.  The blog[1] about removing the
elections asserts that fellows are a "purely financial contributor" but
if they are active in the mailing list and volunteering, I feel that
statement does not adequately describe the fellowship and it is even
more critical to have details on the transparency page and to ensure the
GA meeting in October puts in place a new procedure for community
members to vote.




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