[Global_chapter_committee] Chapter Committee Policy Discussion

Tin Zaw tin.zaw at owasp.org
Thu Mar 22 00:09:51 UTC 2012


Thanks for the good news -- that we are all on the same page. I aways
almost lose my breath after reading long emails :)

Here are my points.

* I think chapter inactivity should be based on the activity, not
movement in budget. If a chapter has less than two activities--
meeting, conference, training -- for a year, it should be marked as
inactive, per the current handbook's mandatory requirements. In
addition, if the leader gracefully steps down (by notifying us) or we
know as a fact that the leader has moved on (without notifying), we
can discuss and possibly mark it inactive.  Stale budget should raise
a red flag, but should not be a reason for getting marked as inactive.

Case in point: a chapter may have $5000 stable in its account, but it
held 5 meetings with ~30 attendees in each meeting last year. It's an
active chapter. Good for them that they get sponsors for these
meetings. They can use that $5000 for sending folks to the Summit,
etc. LA and Belgium chapters chipped in to sponsor Gustavo to the
Summit last year.

* The foundation should charge 10% administrative overhead for the
GROSS revenue of the admission fees. If the chapter charges $10 for a
ticket, $1 goes to the foundation. That is before profit and loss is
calculated. It is fair because the foundation underwrites the event
from legal and contractual perspective, regardless of P&L.

Open question: Should 10% of sponsorship money go to the foundation
too? It gets murky when the sponsor pays for food, venue, etc.
directly. I would say no here.

* The net income (or profit) should be shared with the foundation, at
10-20%, if the event is self-supported.

* For events that require financial investment by the foundation --
i.e., the chapter has $1000 in bank but the event costs $2000, and the
foundation has to "invest" $1000 in the event, the profit should be
shared 50/50 (suggestion, can negotiate), after the foundation's
investment ($1000) and the foundation's admin overhead (10% of ticket
sales) are covered.

I am thankful to you all that we are discussing this in a civil,
collegial manner. Let's hash out the details.

On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
> I'm renaming this discussion to further separate it from the other one.  I
> agree with both what Kate and Seba have said so far and it seems like we're
> driving toward a consensus on a new Chapter Committee policy which is
> excellent.  So here's what I'm thinking:
> * We need to update "Chapter 6: Chapter Activity" of the chapter handbook to
> include additional verbiage on Inactive Chapters.  Currently we only say
> that a chapter will be tagged as inactive if they have not hosted a meeting
> or event in over a year or if the leader abandoned and nobody stepped up to
> take the role.  We have identified some additional things to consider for a
> chapter to be tagged as inactive and should probably try to hash those out
> further.
> * Not necessarily a part of the handbook, but it sounds like we need to
> create some GChapC policies around the flags we are looking for, how we
> intend to handle them, etc.  You are absolutely right in that we should be
> looking at some of these things as warning signs pointing to areas where we
> could better engage with the chapters.
> * I like the idea of reclaiming funds from inactive chapters in order to
> strengthen other chapters.  Again, not necessarily part of the handbook, but
> should become GChapC policy.
> * In terms of covering Foundation costs, I agree that the Foundation
> provides value in services, assets, and general things like insurance.  I
> also agree that we need to cover these costs before profit is ever
> realized.  The thing I've never been able to get a good answer on is what
> are these things worth.  If we say it's a 90/10 split then we're effectively
> saying that these resources are worth 10% of something, but that something
> could be $0 or it could be $20k.  This is why I have tried to avoid
> percentages and try to get an actual number.  Something that I can apply
> regardless of event type, regardless of attendee fees, etc.  I think that we
> can probably come up with a number that would be acceptable here, but if the
> majority thinks 90/10 (or some other fractional split) is the way to go,
> then I can support that.
> * In terms of startup fees, I agree in principle, but I'll give you an
> example where the no startup doesn't always work.  Assume a chapter has $0
> in the bank, but wants to hold an event to raise money.  The first thing
> they need, before they can find a sponsor, is a venue and a date.  Typically
> to lock a date in with a venue, it requires a deposit.  So....perhaps our
> committee should treat this as a "loan" and if the chapter does not have
> enough money to cover the deposit we, as a committee, can evaluate what they
> are doing and determine whether to assist them (if the budget is available)
> until they can find a sponsor to pay it back.  This loan needs to be paid
> back immediately once the funding becomes available.  Thoughts?
> * For loss, I agree that it should be next to impossible to lose money under
> the LASCON model.  That said, this model does require leaders who are
> willing to stick to the plan and follow through.  This could be handled by
> some minor accounting controls just to make sure that expense is never
> greater than revenue + chapter account balance fora chapter.  Thoughts?
> The good news is that I think we are all on the same page here in terms of
> what we want the outcome of this discussion to be.  We just need to work
> through the finer grained details.
> ~josh
> On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 2:06 PM, Seba <seba at owasp.org> wrote:
>> see my remarks inline
>> --seba
>>> 1) How do we, as a committee, define what constitutes "stale" chapter
>>> funds?  Is it a timeframe?  Is it an active/inactive chapter status?
>>> I believe it is important to focus on the chapter that the funds are
>>> there to support.  If the local chapter has funds but isn’t using them, then
>>> this shows that support exisits for the chapter (individual contributions or
>>> corporate donations) but the volunteer support is not at a strong enough
>>> level to energize the chapter.  Perhaps maybe changing the focus from the
>>> funds to the people might get to the root of the solution.
>> this comes down to a key question: how do we differentiate active/inactive
>> chapters.
>> There should be a couple of easy metrics to raise warning flags: e.g.
>> 1) the budget (if above 0) does not change over a period of 6 months or
>> one year
>> 2) the chapter does not announce or organize a chapter meeting over a
>> period of 6 months or one year
>> 3) a chapter budget continously stays above a certain treshold: e.g. $
>> 5000
>> As Kate rightly points out: we have to focus on the people.
>> If one of the above warning flags is raised (we have to automate this as
>> much as possible) we ask the chapter leaders how we can help them and point
>> out that they actually have a budget they can use to get back on track.
>> Only when a chapter becomes inactive = the current chapter leader(s) step
>> down, we could reclaim the budget. But I'd focus on finding new chapter
>> leaders and reserve the remaining budget for the restart.
>> If the chapter budget stays continously above the treshold (a luxury
>> problem in my opinion): we kindly ask the chapter to spend it on chapter
>> growth or sugest a list of donations (other chapters, GPC, Educations,
>> Summit, ...)
>>> 2) If "stale" chapter funds are reclaimed, where do they go?  To the
>>> Foundation?  To the Chapters Committee budget to reallocate?  Can a chapter
>>> ever get those funds back?
>>> I have always been an advocate of absorbed funds from local chapters
>>> remaining in the hands of the chapter committee.  Should a chapter then need
>>> to access the funds as seed money, they can appeal to the committee of their
>>> peers – less intimidating than “the mothership” As I have said before,
>>> perception is 99% of reality, so maintaining that chapter support group
>>> seems like it would be critical
>> I'd say: the chapter committee to spend on startup chapters. In the event
>> we have excess budget, the committee can re-allocate this to the board for
>> other goals.
>>> 3) What are the Foundation costs (hard and soft) that could be associated
>>> with running a Chapter event?  Can we put a dollar value on those such as $X
>>> per paid attendee?  That would make it easy for chapters to absorb them as
>>> part of the event fee.
>>> The amount it costs for an attendee to attend a particular event will
>>> vary  depending on a number of fluctuating criteria.  There is the
>>> registration cost – depends on registration vendor, the Insurance cost (all
>>> chapter events, conferences, meetings, etc globally are covered in the
>>> Foundation policy), support staff time (varies depending on event and
>>> effectiveness of local planning team), financial oversight, direct cost of
>>> attendee (food, coffee, etc) which is usually covered by sponsorships, and
>>> the use of the OWASP Brand.  The last item seems to be the most difficult
>>> one to quantify.  How successful would Bill and Teds Application Security
>>> conference be compared to Bill and Ted’s OWASP AppSec Event?  Can we measure
>>> this?
>> This will vary depending on the type of event, the event size, location
>> and local versus global support.
>> In practice the venue and catering make out the biggest costs: the local
>> chapter board has to assure that these are covered with a good "business
>> plan" for the event and look for sponsors upfront.
>>> 4) How do we handle startup fees if the chapter does not have money in
>>> their accounts?
>>> See answer to #2
>>> The chapter committee can “budget” annually for startup fees for local
>>> chapters.
>> In general a chapter should not need money to start up: we have organised
>> 50+ attendee chapter meetings for years with zero budget. Once the chapters
>> grows in number of attendees and chapter meetings, findings sponsor and
>> budget becomes easier (ie attractive for the sponsors)
>>> 4) How do we handle profit (ie. after both event and Foundation costs are
>>> paid) from chapter events?  I've seen examples in OWASP of both 60/40 splits
>>> (membership) and 90/10 (chapter sponsorships).  I've also seen 50/50 tossed
>>> out there and Ivy's 80/20 from below.
>>> See answer to #2
>>> The Chapter committee can have the ability to directly support local
>>> chapter activities through the donations from local events.  Again,
>>> perception is important and I believe that local chapters may be less
>>> critical with funds returning to the foundation if they had the comfort
>>> level that it will go directly to support other chapters than be absorbed by
>>> the Foundation.  The chapter committee then needs to understand their own
>>> budget and be prepared to provide support for the hard and soft costs back
>>> to the foundation on behalf of the local chapters.
>> I woud put a minimum of 90/10 to cover the general administrative support
>> costs and leave it up to the individual chapters on how they want to split
>> it. I think we will be positively surprised on how much we can raise through
>> a "volunteer" split.
>>> 5) How do we handle loss?  More importantly, how do we ensure that events
>>> don't lose more than a chapter has in their account?
>>> See answer to #2
>>> The chapter committee will have visibility to events that require
>>> contracts, deposits, etc.  These events can receive additional support from
>>> the committee (updates, reports)  The best way to prevent loss is to plan
>>> adequately.  I think that the LASCON team has worked out a great formula for
>>> a revenue generating local event that could be scaled globally.  Start with
>>> a break even, bare bones event and then as sponsorships increase, the event
>>> can be added to (thinking last minute addition of mechanical bull sponsor in
>>> 2010)
>> In general we should never have a loss, for the exceptional occasion we
>> should cover this with the chapter committee budget and research the root
>> cause with the chapter in question. A good case is Spain: here we should
>> cover the loss and make sure they organize events again: now nothing
>> happens.
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Chapter Leader and President, OWASP Los Angeles Chapter
Member, OWASP Global Chapter Committee
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LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tinzaw

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