How should Tech Ops, Occupy.net folks, Action Resource Fund (ARF) and other interested parties think about using our collective resources and legitimacy for fundraising?
Below is a set of theses, arguments and proposals that might constitute a framework. The need for it comes from a year of trying to advance efforts to become self-sustaining as a movement, and meeting various obstacles. We actually have a wonderful infrastructure that enables fundraising (= covering the costs of your work with help from supporters who love you) but it’s not being utilized very well. An example is the repeated use of WePay and fiscal sponsorship from 501c3 nonprofits when not actually necessary.
Please do chime in with your comments and suggestions.
- Our online resources should be used for fundraising by as many occupy related entities as we can support.
- It is important that folks raising money for personal reasons, or primarily to benefit themselves without a comparable benefit for OWS, should not use our resources.
- We can divide fundraising projects into some useful categories. All of them are ‘legitimate’ as long as we are careful about representing them accurately:
- OWS or NYCGA wide efforts or entities that enjoy a high level of legitimacy. This includes May First, S17, and the remnants of the NYCGA money that we use for bail. ARF and Accounting.
- Well known, long standing, and relatively accountable structures like InterOcc, Tech Ops, Farms that have attempted to operate within the (fluid and hard to navigate) boundaries of OWS.
- Affinity groups, campaigns, and special project. Examples: student debt strike, Freedom School, Tidal, livestreaming groups.
- Fiscal sponsorship is OPTIONAL. In some cases it feels essential, to provide for a higher level of accountability for large sums of money. In other cases it is a wasteful expense, as in the case of a small sum for a specific project. Fiscal sponsorship should be an option for all and a requirement for none.
- We affirm that c3 status for fiscal sponsorship is relevant when you need to promise a tax deduction to the donor or to receive funds from an institutional donor. It is not ‘necessary’ beyond that, though it may be desired for the appearance of legitimacy..
- Groups wanting fiscal sponsorship via ARF should have a way of asking for it, with clear conditions on who is eligible. Any group or individual with fiscal sponsorship of their own can use that as well.
- Using Civi or Salsa, any group can provide data for the merchant account and donation gateway of their choosing. We discourage the use of services like WePay and PayPal. IF you are using WePay or PayPal, then processing will likely cost you more, and you don’t need Civi or Salsa to do it.
- Anyone using our Civi or Salsa for fundraising needs to supply a roadmap for how the funds will be collected, transferred, spent, and accounted for. This is a task we can and should help with, according to our capacity.
- The existence of one mechanism for raising funds will never be a reason to prevent, prohibit or discourage the use of another mechanism.
- Blocking power over using Tech Ops/Occupy.net tools and resources does not exist. That said, many things simply cannot be done without expertise and access that is distributed among many people. In the case of serious concerns, blocking can take place if 50% +1 of Tool Managers support it.
- Tool Managers list is meant to comprise those using Civi and Salsa, working to update it, have access to the backend, and/or are key users. The only purpose of a Tools Managers list is to address blocks. Proposed initial list includes Drew, Ravi, Ingrid, Devin, Charles, Andrew, Dana, Patricia, Badger, Leah, Tom and Dan. (this post will be the first they heard of it….)