This is a strategy laid out for the Drupal Association based on conversations held at "DrupalCon 2.0, Reloaded".
To help the Drupal Association to scale itself and to create a successful fundraising strategy.
The Risks of the Current Strategy
In this excellent post by Laura Scott, she points out that:
the DA has put on only 2 DrupalCons a year, and because of size, each event effectively puts the entire organization at risk. With 7-figure budgets, risk can't be avoided. This means that an imperative must be put on institutional knowledge, best practices, very sound financial management, and always keeping an eye on protecting the DA. If there were a major failure of a DrupalCon, suddenly the resources earmarked for the next DrupalCon would be compromised, money to back Drupal.org improvements is put at risk, and the resources the DA brings to all of its endeavors are threatened.
Rethinking the Strategy
DrupalCons are primarily a fundraising event and, so far, the only way the Drupal Association has found to increase revenue is to make DrupalCons:
- larger in size,
- more expensive for attendees,
- more expensive for sponsors,
- more overloaded for staff members,
- more overloaded for volunteers,
- more corporate-oriented,
- more risky.
But do fundraising events really have to be large to be successful?
Some counterexamples: local hospitals, schools and churches have been able to do community fundraising events quite successfully for centuries, even in small towns. Crowdfunding is a more recent counterexample.
Laying out a new Strategy
The Drupal Association should adopt a much better strategy, which include:
- Promoting a healthy bottom-up fundraising ecosystem;
- Allowing small/medium businesses/events to be part of it;
- Making it fun for everyone to be part of it: attendees, volunteers, sponsors, and staff;
- Promoting openness, transparency, collaboration, and inclusion always;
- Supporting the freedom and grassroot growth of the community spirit.
But how exactly can the Drupal Association achieve this?
Trusting the Community
The Drupal Association has to get the weight off its shoulders and just trust the Drupal Community. Instead on concentrating all its efforts and hopes in two DrupalCons, it should reach out to the worldwide Drupal community and ask for help.
There are hundreds of DrupalSummits and DrupalCamps being organized per year by volunteers across the globe, and the numbers will only grow. If the funds raised at these events could go upstream much like the bits of code for the Drupal software, the Drupal Association could raise enough funds to pay for its infrastructure and improvements.
The Proposal: BUDDI (Bottom-Up Donations for Drupal Initiative)
The best way to illustrate the BUDDI program is with an example.
Let us suppose that for a giving year there were 141 Drupal events that voluntarily decided to participate in the BUDDI program.
- 1 Major "Corporate" Event, donating 50.000 USD of surplus;
- 10 Big Events, donating 25.000 USD of surplus;
- 30 Medium Events, donating 5.000 USD of surplus;
- 100 Small Events, donating 500 USD of surplus;
In total, the Drupal Association will have reached 500.000 USD in donations.
Together, we can create a healthy bottom-up fundraising ecosystem for the Drupal Association. The Drupal Association is us, the Drupal Community. So let us be BUDDIes and, in a bottom-up manner, build the Drupal Association that we deserve and that we need!
Let us alleviate the risks and dependencies that the DA has by distributing this heavy workload that rests on the shoulders of DrupalCon organizers, staff, sponsors and attendees to hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the globe. All this while promoting the freedom and community spirit that we so much cherish!