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In order to more fairly share financial responsibility for the community resource that is PortlandWiki, it has been proposed that multiple people have the ability to pay for server costs and other essential expenses required for the daily operation of PortlandWiki.

Reasons for

  1. PortlandWiki is a community resource which aspires to be fully owned by the Portland community, and so responsibility for the financial upkeep of PortlandWiki should be shared by the community, or at least a broader segment of it.
  2. Should the one individual currently paying for PortlandWiki's upkeep suddenly become incapacitated, it would be difficult (though perhaps not impossible) to keep PortlandWiki up without significant downtime.

Reasons against

  1. The more people who have access/ownership over PortlandWiki funds, the more potential there may be for abuse. (this is not anticipated to be a problem if only a very few trusted individuals are allowed access)

Possible solutions

There is some in-depth discussion of these on the Portland WikiWednesday mailing list: [1]

  1. prepaid debit card with multiple owners (possible?)
  2. joint bank or credit union account (requires EIN)
    1. in the name of a registered nonprofit organization
    2. in the name of a community or volunteer group
    3. in the name of a business
  3. find a host or umbrella organization (possibility: Stumptown Syndicate) that could assist with financial structure
  4. individual cash or check reimbursements to one paying individual (a temporary solution, as the one paying individual would retain full responsibility)

New proposal

There's another option: we can sign up for a WePay account and set up a donation button on Portland Wiki's on homepage. They charge 3.5% per donation, no set up fees, contracts or monthly fees. Payments can be made through bank account, a WePay debit card or paper check. They don't do any tax reporting unless you earn more than $20k in a calendar year and have over 200 transactions.

Other ideas we might consider are establishing a tiered donation campaign. For a $10 annual contribution, these persons can have their name and a link posted on a PW supporter page, plus get a cool PW monthly report. For a $50 annual contribution, these persons will get the $10 donor bonuses plus, perhaps, one drink ticket to a PW meet up and an invitation to quarterly PW conversations with special guests or community leaders.

Other thngs we'd probably have to take into consideration (as mentioned above) are:

  • fiscal sponsor to accept and administer fees (no tax, paper worries), especially if we later get more significant donations.
  • signers for financial accounts.
  • written agreements for financial accounts and use of funds.
  • public description of what PW needs donations, i.e. what work will be supported.
  • a summary review of how PW began, has progressed, and its future direction.

Suggestions for front page:

  • PW “asks” of/from the community: donations, tech support, content

Important questions to answer

  1. What are the currently monthly costs for PortlandWiki?
    Answer: $20/mo. for solely PW costs, $28/mo for base server costs that may exist regardless of PortlandWiki (though PortlandWiki uses the vast majority of this base server resources). Some amount in between $20-$48/mo has been suggested as PortlandWiki's "dues".
    This figure does not include yearly domain name costs (estimate: ~$10/yr).
  2. When is initial reimbursement/revenue needed by (how long can we wait before revenue comes in)?
    Answer: Unknown, payments are currently viable for an indefinite period, but there is virtually no breathing room should unexpected obstacles occur. (short answer: fairly urgently)
  3. What is the amount needed to finish this year?
    Answer: One month of above figure ($20-$48)
  4. If we wanted to, can we get someone, company or other to sponsor PortlandWiki?

Next steps

  1. Investigate
    • Ask a CPA about what the risks involved are with each of the options under solution #2 (particularly as a community or volunteer group), as concerns have been raised by User:Matthew regarding liability and IRS withholding funds unfairly or without accountability)
    • Ask Stumptown Syndicate about possibility of them hosting PortlandWiki under their umbrella organization
    • Other things to investigate?
    • If nobody volunteers to investigate the above, recruit?
  2. Discuss
    • On wiki (proposal page, modeled after Wikipedia decision-making process)?
    • On mailing list?
    • At weekly meetups?
  3. Decide
    • Vote-based rough consensus on wiki (modeled after Wikipedia decision-making process)?
    • Other options?
  4. Act (or not, according to decision)
    • Delegates/workers self-select to do the legwork of setting up financial structure?
    • Delegates/workers selected by voting process above?