[Global_chapter_committee] Discussion on New Chapter Finance Policy

Kate Hartmann kate.hartmann at owasp.org
Thu Jun 30 10:23:04 EDT 2011

Matt, the crappy proposal came from me.  It is an attempt to flush out the community consensus on the very heated topic of chapter finances.  It was a byproduct of the conference revenue split and cap debate.  

It is an additive to a proposed compromise to another heated topic, also regarding chapter finances.  It was not voted on but I'm glad to see it being discussed.  

When an organization donates $5k to become a corporate supporter of the OWASP foundation and indicates, say, Milwaukee as their local chapter, $2k is allocated from the foundation into an account that is available to that chapter to directly support OWASP in Milwaukee.  

The Foundation, then, has a responsibility to show that company that their funds are being used to support the program.  The Milwaukee chapter operates as an extension of the Foundation.

You can apply this situation to conference revenue as well.

In this and in the other thread, I am merely trying to promote the concept of accountability at a local level for expenses incurred on behalf of the foundation.  Recently, there have been accusations of secret budgets and of inappropriate spending at all levels.  Regardless of how one feels the funds should arrive in a particular chapter's account, I think that everyone can agree that it should be spent appropriately.  

Trying to keep the funds available to the chapter means being able to approach the donating company next year and ask for renewal because we can show that their donation increased awareness in the community by hosting chapter meetings, or providing outreach to 1000 developers or [insert activity here] and not that we spent your $$$$ on a chapter board planning meeting at a really great restaurant with a full bar and we need some more, please.

Alison writes the checks and the board signs them.  As far as I know, there have only been a couple of instances in the past few years where eyebrows have been raised before funds are paid.  This illustrates that there are no restrictions on how funds are spent.  That's fine, but in effort to protect the chapter leader from accusations of mismanagement don't you think some checks and balances at the chapter level would be appropriate?

These are the "chapter funds" and not just the "chapter leader funds". Companies who spend money want a ROI.  we need to be able to quantify this for them.

Kate Hartmann
OWASP Operations Director

On Jun 29, 2011, at 11:02 PM, Matthew Chalmers <matthew.chalmers at owasp.org> wrote:

> Where did this "proposal" come from? Why is the Board voting on it? I see the only page that links to it on the wiki is the minutes from a Board meeting, but it's listed as a reference without much context.
> Before commenting on this "proposal" (which looks and sounds like complete crap to me), I'd like to know where it came from and who asked the Board to vote on it.
> --matt
> On Tue, Jun 28, 2011 at 9:04 PM, Tin Zaw <tin.zaw at owasp.org> wrote:
> Dear Committee Members,
> This is rather an important topic that we should discuss on before sending it to the board for vote.
> The details are outlined at https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Chapter_Finance_Policy_and_Procedure
> In short, I disagree with this policy proposal. Here are the reasons. 
> First, I think it is redundant to state that "have a named treasurer listed on their chapter page". I believe the chapter leader handbook requires that each chapter need a treasurer and that the chapter leader may be the treasurer. This is, however, a minor issue.
> The important issue is the automatic transfer of "expired" chapter funds to the Foundation. The 60/40 split between the Foundation and the chapter is based on the principle that the chapter's funds are for local purposes. When we recruit members -- individuals and companies -- we always make a commitment that 40% of the dues stay locally, and we put our personal reputation on it. We should honor that commitment. As the Foundation's funds from local membership don't have expiration date, the chapter funds should not have expiration either. 
> As an alternate, I propose the following.
> 1. At the end of the year, chapters are asked to allocate their extra funds to the Foundation, other chapters, OWASP projects, or other special purposes such as OWASP Summit. This is like the a fund raising drive for the foundation. It should be OK for the chapters not to participate. 
> 2. Above option should be available to the chapters at all times.
> 3. At the end of the year, each chapter with significant funds (to be decided, I am OK with $3000) needs to acknowledge that they will continue to use the funds to advance OWASP mission. Failure to do so may result in automatic transfer of funds to the Foundation. (In practice, we should contact chapters that did not do that in the first call so that we can be sure they don't have technical issues, etc. If a chapter does not respond after three tries, automatic transfer happens). 
> Please let me know what you think. 
> -- 
> Chapter Leader and President, OWASP Los Angeles Chapter
> Chair, OWASP Global Chapter Committee 
> Google Voice: (213) 973-9295
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tinzaw
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