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Most users ever online was 16 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:17 am

Linden for your thoughts...

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Linden for your thoughts...




So many things seem to get reinvented in SP from year to year. It sometimes feels like the organization always has to begin at the starting line. Here is an example, regarding finance: each Pride year the new committee inherits a bank account with 0 Linden. 100% of the funds raised go to the charity of choice. What are your thoughts in this regard?

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Marcus Steeplechase
Events Chair, Second Pride 2010
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Marcus Steeplechase
SP10 Events Management Chair


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Linden for your thoughts... :: Comments

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Post on Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:52 pm  Lemonodo Oh

I think a zero balance is a highly principled technique of avoiding organizational self-aggrandizement or hubris. A previous Ambassador once put forward the view that we should not be raising any money beyond expenses at all (focus instead on things related to Second Pride such as our current festival's "theme"), but I've always felt that the charitable aspect is the way we do things for anything hinting of society, which certainly is an aspect of what we're about. This question hints of elements of the recent Open Letter, where a vision for charitably focused permanent presence was described. I think keeping a zero balance at the end of each term is a happy medium between these diametrically opposite visions (ambassador take-no-money vs. committee open letter), and in all humility, I hope we never abandon this way of being able to honestly say something like the following (informally expressed):
  • We have a lot of fun celebrating pride every year and we collect a ton of money to do it.
  • Every year we designate a charity that has an in-world presence who seems to be responsive to Second Pride and is directly involved in issues important to LGBTIQ people everywhere.
  • Every year we give all our money away to the designated charity over and above our expenses, which we keep as low as possible, yet, out of the incredible generosity and support we receive every year, we spend enough to accomplish all of our goals for Second Pride during any given current year.

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Post on Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:01 pm  Eaglewoman Lightfoot

*hands Marc $1L*
The zero (0)L balance system works great if you are "only" a charity based organization. When you begin to broaden your scope, add elements to your organization, add items ("rent", payroll perhaps, etc) the zero (0)L balance is no longer viable, nor is it prudent under those conditions. Every organization with "overhead", needs an "operating budget". Guidelines for how and where and by whom money is to be spent. "Part" of those guidelines may include, xx% of or "specified amount" per fiscal year, to go to "charity of choice".
*takes her $1L back* tongue

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Post on Wed Sep 16, 2009 4:47 pm  Marcus Steeplechase

Sorry I posted my questions outside of your respective topic areas, I had a brief newbie moment.


So is there consensus here? That as the organization grows, there may be some programs that require on-going support and funding, and this does not work when each Pride year begins with a zero balance?

FYI, in RL a charity is said to be low on overhead when more than 65% of its expenses go directly into the stated cause. For Amnesty International, 18% go into overhead (fundraising expenses and admin expenses) which is considered quite good. Their ending net assets for 2008 were $21,632,793 and total assets were roughly $34 million, or over 60% of the funds they raised in 2008 ($56.7 million).

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Post on Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:37 pm  Guest

INTRO
I'm not sure about 2007.

But for 2008 and 2009 the principle was to use the donations we gained for our expenses and we tried to minimize the costs as to give as much as possible to the charity.

Meaning we basically said we used what was required and the rest all went to the charity to all our sponsors.

In a way it still means we "keep" XX% for ourselves. But only from the donations we got on our Term, as to keep a clearer fund record, rather than saying we are going to keep a certain amount for the next group and having to make note of that too.

If it is needed by the new group to use L$ early, which is possible, but our principle until now was to use as little donation money as possible, we simply paid with our own money which was then refunded once the donations had reached a total that allowed to cover the expenses..

It has always been about volunteer work until now, I don't really have an opinion on this, but it did usually have a positive impact on sponsors when they heard that was the way we were doing our business.

QUESTION for candidates:

1. Linden Lab benefits from a very good "Volunteer Program" formed by Second Life Mentors etc... Do you think that in the case of Second Pride it is also possible to keep a volunteer based group or rather find another way?
2. Take both possibilities (yes/no to 1st question) and develop on what you think it would do as an impact to the general opinion of SP by Second Life residents. And how you could suggest in between methods to benefit both the reputation and the financing of the staff for their SP related expenses.

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Post on Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:41 pm  Eaglewoman Lightfoot

Marc, I believe I have already answered your question in my previous post.
Volunteerism is the heart of charity work. Both regular "business" activities and volunteering can happen at the same time, within the same organization. Since this discussion is touching upon an idea, a goal for the future of Second Pride, and still very much in the information gathering stage, I would not presume to lay out any specific plan as yet. Nor is it mine alone to lay out. I think I have also answered much of your question within my candidate forum post of yesterday.

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Post on Thu Sep 17, 2009 2:35 am  Lemonodo Oh

1. Linden Lab benefits from a very good "Volunteer Program" formed by Second Life Mentors etc... Do you think that in the case of Second Pride it is also possible to keep a volunteer based group or rather find another way?
2. Take both possibilities (yes/no to 1st question) and develop on what you think it would do as an impact to the general opinion of SP by Second Life residents. And how you could suggest in between methods to benefit both the reputation and the financing of the staff for their SP related expenses.
  1. Unfortunately with only a slight understanding of Second Life Mentors and the Volunteer Program you mention, I can't be sure my understanding of your question is accurate. I am slightly familiar with Burning Life, which I take to be a volunteer effort devoid of monetization.

    Short term, I simply assume Second Pride remains an essentially volunteer social effort comparable in appearance to Pride events located all over the world. Were it to immediately change to a paid non-profit effort, I think its meaning would change somewhat, perhaps for the worse, and it could be of less compelling interest. Frankly, I think if it were paid, it would be roughly comparable to another club. The immediate vision advanced in the Arrow Open Letter does not appear to be inconsistent with a volunteer effort if this basic notion is retained. I think the new vision is worth considerable, wide-ranging informal discussion to seek out pitfalls like this and a few others early on, because I think it is fair to say this forum is just too intimidating for that.

  2. I take this to mean under the new vision, ok, we have a job to do here. Let's say we buy 4 sims and set up a health center (hopefully about health, not disease). We can't make this happen as a volunteer effort any more with gazillion dollars in tier due each month and compensating people who know what they're doing as well. Short term, a budget would have to be based on cost projections with argument for benefits. If implemented, it wouldn't take all that long to test the total concept under fire and see if indeed this approach is a winner that reaches far beyond our previous modest volunteer efforts and delivers services, other charitable benefits and cold hard cash beyond our wildest dreams.

    If we kept the volunteer vision, we might be looking at continuing much as we started, essentially a colorful parade, booths and stages that carry powerful social messages to/from LGBTIQ people everywhere, but of course we'd still grow a lot. Under strict interpretation, it might be that we could found and name as designated charity the health center, but we would not run it ourselves because of fixed costs.

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Post on Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:47 pm  Lemonodo Oh

Forgive me if I am somewhat daunted by the sheer amount of forum activity where I am participant. I can barely find the questions and ideas requiring immediate consideration. For example, this one:
So is there consensus here? That as the organization grows, there may be some programs that require on-going support and funding, and this does not work when each Pride year begins with a zero balance?

FYI, in RL a charity is said to be low on overhead when more than 65% of its expenses go directly into the stated cause. For Amnesty International, 18% go into overhead (fundraising expenses and admin expenses) which is considered quite good. Their ending net assets for 2008 were $21,632,793 and total assets were roughly $34 million, or over 60% of the funds they raised in 2008 ($56.7 million).
  • Regrettably it is illogical to say we have reached consensus for incremental budgeting for on-going program, when indeed there is still considerable debate about this.

    Obviously this poses immediate practical concerns for you, and I am doing everything I can to adjust to your way of thinking, but I am not there yet.

  • These are very significant figures, as it offers hints as to the feasibility of the new vision if adopted. If elected, I can easily see myself doing this kind of research and coming up with similar figures for planning purposes, but at present it is fair to say we are simply not quite committed to being precisely the same kind of organization as our designated charity, but instead, we have more in common with Burning Life, which we'll become more familiar with by way of the fine efforts of Events Management.

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