[Owasp-leaders] Membership funds

Kate Hartmann kate.hartmann at owasp.org
Fri Jun 7 01:26:46 UTC 2013

Leaders, I would like to chime into this discussion.  I’ve tried to be
fairly quiet, with many topics, but I believe there are some issues in this
thread that are being missed.

1.     The topic of the 40/60 split was resurrected  during the recent
staff summit.  As a group, the operational team discussed the pros and cons
to the split.  Obviously, there are lots of benefits to the individual
chapters in densely populated areas who have active membership.

2.     If you look at the “donation scoreboard” for the chapters and look
at the income sources from the “richest” chapters, you will see that – in
reality – a small percent of these balances come from individual
supporters.  Austin is the closest chapter to being an “exception” of them

Austin:   $1700 from Individual memberships

            $9926 from AppSec USA and corporate donations

Minneapolis St Paul - $1186 from Individual Memberships

            $5938 from corporate memberships and donations

Sweden - $200 from individual memberships – balance is from AppSec EU 2010

Los Angeles - $600 from individual memberships

            $11,000 from corporate supporters and donations

                        Virginia - $659 from individual memberships

                                    $3880 from corporate memberships and

3.     The intention of ending the split for individual memberships is not
to PUNISH successful and active chapters, but rather to provide an
available pool of financial resources to ENCOURAGE smaller or newer

4.     The proposal is to leave the corporate membership split in place.

It had been recommended that the foundation simply “donate” seed money to
new chapters.  This is a great idea, in theory, but is not financially

The proposal – which has actually been brought up before – is to end the
split for individual memberships – leaving corporate membership split and
the donation/chapter supporter models in place


Everyone points to the “stagnant fund” challenge as a main source of
contention.  The reality is that while – yes – the Foundation would like to
see these funds used to support other global initiatives like project
reboots, summits, in person workshops, graphic and marketing investments,
and a myriad of other items on the global wish list, the funds have been
allocated to the chapters.  The intent was to provide a way for chapters to
fund local initiatives and do this with local flair.  As chapter leaders,
you know what is of benefit to your local community and how best to spread
the mission.

There is nothing wrong with “saving” the funds to spend on a future planned
activity, but in most cases, these funds remain untouched.  From an
operational perspective, the Foundation is not able to access these unused
funds to invest in other potential programs.  Additionally, there is much
discussion over the long term financial planning for the Foundation.  As a
business, we should be investing funds in a manner that would provide a
return on the financial balances.  However, much of the balances (all
except a few thousand dollars) is allocated to chapters.  These funds need
to remain liquid should there be a run on chapter reimbursements.

Finally, the MAIN reason that the operations team resurrected this proposal
was to alleviate the accounting burden it has created.  As the org runs on
very limited human resources, we need to continuously look at how to most
effectively allocate those resources.

When an individual member allocates to a local chapter through the
membership process, we must preform several time consuming tasks to
identify and redistribute those funds to the appropriate chapter “bucket”

Alison has been doing an amazing job with this for the past couple of
years.  As the org grows, so does the volume of work.  Operationally, it is
difficult to allocate staff time to a task that only accounts for a small
percentage of chapter funds.

Choosing to allocate to “chapters” or to “projects” or to “chapter
operational support” requires less than 1/10 of the required operational

On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 6:01 PM, Tony Turner <tony.turner at owasp.org> wrote:

> My biggest issue has more to do with having to foot the bill for anything
> the chapter wants to do and then deal with reimbursement requests. If there
> was an easier way for the chapter to spend money without me having to
> explain to my wife to chill out, am getting reimbursed. The secondary issue
> is I completely fail at filing reimbursement requests for the chapter so
> never wind up touching the chapter funds even though I feed everyone each
> quarter. Yeah, I need more people than myself running the chapter but I
> haven't done a good job recruiting help. (Have a co-leader but he's swamped
> with grad school)
> -Tony
> OWASP Orlando Chapter Leader
> On Jun 6, 2013 5:53 PM, "Eoin" <eoin.keary at owasp.org> wrote:
>> I think this is a great idea assuming people feel they can spend the
>> funds and also generate more by soliciting membership to keep the funding
>> topped up.
>> Eoin Keary
>> Owasp Global Board
>> +353 87 977 2988
>> On 6 Jun 2013, at 16:56, Dinis Cruz <dinis.cruz at owasp.org> wrote:
>> I think the solution is to create a chapters generic fund (maybe with 50%
>> of the current available funds to kickstart it) and let any chapter leader
>> use those funds
>> This would solve just about all current probs.
>> We should run this for 6/12 months and see what happens
>> My only question is if this should also include all project leaders of if
>> we need a similar 'generic fund' for Projects
>> I don't really care about the percentages, the whole point of this idea
>> was to empower the OWASP leaders to ACT, to experiment, to create, to
>> deliver.
>> The available money should go to who wants to spend it.
>> And since all expenses are done in an open way, we will very quickly
>> create a list of 'ok, lets not do THAT again' :)
>> Dinis Cruz
>> On 6 Jun 2013, at 15:27, Sarah Baso <sarah.baso at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Eoin (and others) -
>> I have tried to capture some of the comments received on the board list
>> about this below to get the conversation up to speed. Thanks to everyone
>> for your constructive input so far (and sorry in advance if I missed anyone.
>> *Eoin Keary *
>> Maybe richer chapters get a sliding scale %
>> This will encourage the dormant funds to be used.
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *Tom Brennan*
>> Many of the board members are or have been chapter leaders so leading by
>> example is important here.  Many staff have no concept of what it takes to
>> run a chapter+ this is the purpose of the board list discussion.. Hence
>> discuss + talk on the monthly call
>>  Today there is a split on memberships BOTH individual and corporate
>> 60/40 Split
>> $50=$20 per chapter
>> $5000=$2000 per chapter
>> So from the chapters perspective you have two options
>>  1. Enable local chapters to set there own local membership fee and
>> non-profit incorporate status
>> 2. Change the global percentage 40/60 25/75 or other
>> Either way the chapters are the local face of owasp in the community and
>> that needs to rewarded and highlighted.  "Elimination" was a poor choice
>> but clearly has gotten the attention look forward to the board call
>> Chapters can pack up and become joes InfoSec club but that's not what is
>> in the best interest of the community. But this does and will happen with
>> to much micromanagement and those interested in robinhood asset seizure ;)
>> a balance is needed - starts with a telephone call to the chapter to say
>> SPEND IT on the mission <insert spend guidelines>
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *
>> *Eoin Keary*
>> I am also against "Eliminate Foundation/Chapter or Project Split on
>> Individual Memberships".
>> *Seba Deleersnyder*
>> I am against the proposed "Eliminate Foundation/Chapter or Project Split
>> on Individual Memberships".
>> For 2 reasons:
>> 1) chapter are our "feet on the street" and main drivers to push
>> individual membership, the current split is a great incentive for the
>> chapters
>> 2) this provides much needed income for the smaller (or poorer) chapters
>> I recommend rethinking on how to activate the dormant chapter budget.
>>    - Focus on the chapters with a high dormant budget
>>    - Challenge these chapters on spending / budget plan
>>    - Ask if they can adopt one or more chapters or projects and donate
>>    some of their budget and support to these
>> *Andy Willingham*
>> I agree with the point that eliminating the split is a bad idea. If there
>> are chapters with large balances then it would be a good idea to talk with
>> them individually rather than eliminate the split. I would imagine that
>> many chapters have low balances and part of that is because they are in
>> small population areas and actually use their funds for chapter activities.
>> Chapters that are in a large population areas have lots of companies to get
>> to sponsor their meetings and don't need the money to buy pizza or pay for
>> a venue. They also usually have a higher percentage of members and
>> renewals. Don't punish all for the success of others.*
>> *
>> *Josh Sokol*
>>    - Proposed policy to eliminate individual membership split - 100% to
>>    Foundation. * *This needs details fleshed out and discussion, but is
>>    a starting point to raise awareness into the large amount of money that is
>>    sitting in the chapters and project funds (over $260,000 USD).
>> Seriously, WTF?  Who do you think is out there pimping memberships to
>> begin with?  Looking at the current memberships, the Austin Chapter holds
>> more membership than any other chapter other than NYC.  Know why?  Because
>> we require them for LASCON attendance in order to 1) Add something of value
>> to becoming an OWASP member and 2) raise funds for the chapter.  If you
>> eliminate the chapter split, then you eliminate all incentive for a chapter
>> to promote membership.  This isn't raising awareness about money that is
>> sitting dormant.  This is taking away one of the very few methods that
>> chapters have to raise money.  Those funds are pretty piddly for the
>> chapters that are the problem here, but are huge for the ones that have
>> next to nothing in the bank.  If you have an issue with the way (or lack
>> of) chapters are spending their money, then why not just take it up with
>> the chapters that you take issue with?  If those funds are lying dormant,
>> then ask the leaders what they plan on doing with the money.  Make them
>> provide a budget.  Don't punish the chapters who have nothing because of a
>> few that aren't spending what they have.
>> Above you say that there's over $260k that is "sitting", but according to
>> the Scoreboard there's less than $230k total between both Chapters and
>> projects:
>> https://docs.google.com/a/owasp.org/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&key=0Atu4kyR3ljftdEdQWTczbUxoMUFnWmlTODZ2ZFZvaXc&output=html
>> To give you another perspective on this, out of 196 chapters and
>> projects, only 41 (21%) have a balance above $1k.  Only 13 (7%) have a
>> balance above $5k.  And only 5 (3%) have a balance above $10k.  The ones
>> with the money don't have it due to memberships.  They have it because they
>> either ran a conference or found sponsors.  Wanna know who gets affected by
>> this proposal?  Pakistan, Paraiba, Kuwait, Florianopolis,
>> Curitiba, St. Louis, Campinas, Mexico City, Goiania, Ypisilanti, and the
>> list goes on.  These are areas where the chapter leaders are already
>> struggling and now you're eliminating what little resources they have.
>> I continue to be concerned by the way that the Board views the chapters.
>> They are the lifeblood of this organization.  They are our ability to reach
>> out to areas we couldn't otherwise touch.  They are our future volunteers.
>> They host our sponsors.  They run the conferences that generate money for
>> OWASP to run.  It's not easy to run a chapter and it's often a completely
>> thankless job.  Please don't make the lives of these chapter leaders even
>> more difficult by taking away their already limited funding sources.
>> Regards,
>> Sarah Baso
>> --
>> Executive Director
>> OWASP Foundation
>> sarah.baso at owasp.org
>> +1.312.869.2779
>> On Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 7:21 AM, Eoin <eoin.keary at owasp.org> wrote:
>>> Hello leaders,
>>> There is a foundation proposal to remove the split 60/40 from the
>>> individual membership dues. 100% if the funding goes to the foundation.
>>> The funds are to be used to hire additional staff but also what prompts
>>> this is the lack of spending.....
>>> Chapters simply are not spending their funds and we have 0000's building
>>> up in owasp bank accounts, all ring fenced and going nowhere!!
>>> Please share your thoughts with myself and the board.
>>> Eoin Keary
>>> Owasp Global Board
>>> +353 87 977 2988
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>> OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org
>>> https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
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Kate Hartmann
kate.hartmann at owasp.org
+1 301-275-9403
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