Changeset - 52b676e3dc39
[Not reviewed]
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Bradley M. Kuhn - 6 months ago 2020-09-22 02:48:47
bkuhn@sfconservancy.org
Substantial update of Member Project Application page.

This page had much out of date material, particularly the timeline
and the types of projects we seek, but also the FAQ section did not
include standard information that we're now regularly giving projects
during intake.

This update attempts to address many of those issues.
1 file changed with 90 insertions and 41 deletions:
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www/conservancy/static/projects/apply/index.html
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@@ -5,18 +5,45 @@
 

	
 
<h1> Applying to Join Conservancy as a Member Project</h1>
 

	
 
<p>Conservancy's Evaluation Committee considers  applications monthly on a
 
  rolling basis.  Currently, Conservancy has dozens of projects in
 
  various stages of the application process.</p>
 

	
 
<p>The application process is somewhat informal.  New applicants should
 
  write an initial inquiry email
 
<p>Part of Conservancy's activity is through its member projects.  These
 
  projects become formally part of Conservancy and have a close relationship
 
  with our activity.  Most of our projects are purely software projects, but
 
  we also occasionally accept initiatives designed to advance software
 
  freedom, such as Outreachy.</p>
 

	
 
<p>The situation for non-profit homes for FOSS activities has improved
 
  greatly since Conservancy was founded in 2006.  In the USA, options now
 
  exist for 501(c)(3), 501(c)(6) and even for-profit fiscal sponsorship, and
 
  there are other options around the globe as well.  Prospective member
 
  projects should carefully consider what type of structure is right for
 
  them.</p>
 

	
 
<p>For our part, Conservancy seeks projects that dedicate themselves to the
 
  advancement of software freedom and focus their projects on the rights of
 
  users to copy, share, modify and improve their software.  Being a FOSS
 
  project under an OSI-approved and DFSG-free license is mandatory, but not
 
  the only criteria.  Given the many options available for fiscal
 
  sponsorship, we are selective and often refer projects to other fiscal
 
  sponsors that are a better fit.  Nevertheless, we encourage projects to
 
  that need a non-profit home to apply to many fiscal sponsors.
 
  
 
<p>Conservancy's Evaluation Committee considers applications on a rolling
 
  basis.  Conservancy generally has dozens of projects in various stages of
 
  the application process.  We do not move rapidly to accept new projects, as
 
  we have found that consideration of joining or forming a non-profit
 
  organization for your project is best done with careful consideration over
 
  a period of many months rather than rapidly.</p>
 

	
 
<p>Conservancy's application process is somewhat informal.  New applicants
 
  should write an initial inquiry email
 
  to <a href="mailto:apply@sfconservancy.org">&lt;apply@sfconservancy.org&gt;</a>
 
  with a very brief description of their project and a URL to their
 
  project's website.  We'll send back initial questions (if any), and
 
  after those questions are answered, we'll send the full application
 
  materials.  Applications should be submitted in plain ASCII text via
 
  email.</p>
 
  with a very brief description of their project and a URL to their project's
 
  website.  We'll send back initial questions, and after those questions are
 
  answered, we'll send the full application materials.  Applications should
 
  be submitted in plain ASCII text via email.  Your application will be
 
  assigned a ticket number in our ticketing system, and please be sure to
 
  include the proper ticket number details in the Subject line of your
 
  emails to ensure they are routed to the right place.</p>
 

	
 
<p>Projects are reviewed by Conservancy's Evaluation Committee, which is
 
  chartered by Conservancy's <a href="/about/board/">Board of
...
 
@@ -41,7 +68,9 @@
 
  sometimes can take quite a while to finish the application process and
 
  be offered membership, but please note that such delays mean that should
 
  your project ultimately become a member project, your project will then
 
  be a beneficiary of this policy.</p>
 
  be a beneficiary of this policy.  Also, generally speaking, we encourage
 
  care and consideration when joining a non-profit and we do not believe
 
  a rapid membership process is in the interest of projects.</p>
 

	
 
<h2>What are the key criteria our project must meet to join?</h2>
 

	
...
 
@@ -49,25 +78,23 @@
 
  outline of those criteria are as follows:</p>
 

	
 
<ul><li>The project must be exclusively devoted to the development and
 
    documentation of FLOSS.  The project's goals must be consistent with
 
    Conservancy's tax-exempt purposes, and other requirements imposed
 
    on Conservancy by the IRS' 501(c)(3) rules.  Namely, the goal of the
 
    project must to develop and document the software in a not-for-profit
 
    way to advance the public good, and must develop the software in
 
    public.</li>
 

	
 
    <li>The project must be licensed in a way fitting with software
 
      freedom principles.  Specifically, all software of the project
 
      should be licensed under a license that is listed both as
 
      a <a href="http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html">Free
 
      Software license by the Free Software Foundation</a> and as
 
    documentation of FOSS.  The project's goals must be consistent with
 
    Conservancy's tax-exempt purposes, and other requirements imposed on
 
    Conservancy by the IRS' 501(c)(3) rules.  Namely, the goal of the project
 
    must to develop and document the software in a not-for-profit way to
 
    advance the public good, and must develop the software in public, and
 
    strategically advance software freedom for all users.</li>
 

	
 
    <li>The project must be licensed in a way fitting with software freedom
 
      principles.  Specifically, all software of the project should be
 
      licensed under a license that is listed both as as
 
      an <a href="http://www.opensource.org/licenses/alphabetical">Open
 
      Source license by the Open Source Initiative</a>.  All software
 
      documentation for the project should be licensed under a license on
 
      the preceding lists, or under Creative
 
      Source license by the Open Source Initiative</a> and
 
      as <a href="https://www.debian.org/legal/licenses/">DFSG-Free
 
      license</a>.  All software documentation for the project should be
 
      licensed under a license on the preceding lists, or under Creative
 
      Commons' <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/">CC-By-SA</a>
 
      or <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">CC-By</a>
 
      or
 
      or <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/">CC-By</a> or
 
        <a href="https://creativecommons.org/choose/zero/">CC-0</a>.</li>
 

	
 
   <li>The project should have an existing, vibrant, diverse community
...
 
@@ -101,7 +128,15 @@
 
<p>We maintain a <a href="/members/services">detailed list of services
 
    that Conservancy provides to member projects</a>.  If you have
 
    detailed questions about any of the benefits, please
 
    ask <a href="mailto:apply@sfconservancy.org">&lt;apply@sfconservancy.org&gt;</a>.</p>
 
    ask <a href="mailto:apply@sfconservancy.org">&lt;apply@sfconservancy.org&gt;</a>
 
    in your application ticket.  We find however that projects will find
 
    Conservancy a better fit if you don't view Conservancy as a service
 
    provider; we are not a service provider in the sense of your hosting
 
    provider or other vendor.  Conservancy projects become a part of
 
    Conservancy, and as such membership with Conservancy is an equal
 
    partnership between you and your project and should be treated as such.
 
    If that's not the kind of relationship you want from your fiscal
 
    sponsor, then other options are likely a better fit for your project.</p>
 

	
 
<h2>Conservancy seems to be called a &ldquo;fiscal sponsor&rdquo; to its
 
  member projects.  Does that mean you give our project money if we join?</h2>
...
 
@@ -153,11 +188,16 @@ not involve itself with technical or artistic decision making.  Projects
 
are asked, however, to keep Conservancy up to date on their
 
activities.</p>
 

	
 
<p>Additionally, when Conservancy discovers or becomes aware of any legal,
 
  licensing or PR issues regarding your project, Conservancy will contact the
 
  project and ask you to work collectively with Conservancy.</p>
 

	
 
<h2>Once our project joins, who holds its assets (money, copyrights, trademarks, etc.)?</h2>
 

	
 
<p>Conservancy holds assets on behalf of its member projects and
 
manages and disburses those assets in accordance with the wishes of the
 
project's leadership.  Funds received by Conservancy on behalf of a
 
project's leadership, as long as those wishes are consistent with non-profit
 
rules, requirements, and Conservancy's mission.  Funds received by Conservancy on behalf of a
 
project are kept track of separately for each specific project and the
 
management of those funds is directed by the project.  For example, if a
 
donor wanted to contribute $100 to Project Foo, they would formally make
...
 
@@ -169,7 +209,7 @@ legitimate non-profit expense fitting with Conservancy's non-profit
 
  mission, Conservancy pays the expense on the Project's behalf.</p>
 

	
 
<p>Similarly, any copyrights, trademarks, domain name or other assets
 
transferred to a project can also be held by Conservancy on behalf of
 
transferred to a project are typically held by Conservancy on behalf of
 
the project.  A significant service that Conservancy provides its
 
members is a vehicle through which copyright ownership in the project can
 
be unified.  There are several advantages to having a consolidated
...
 
@@ -187,7 +227,7 @@ must transfer their assets from Conservancy in a way that is
 
consistent with Conservancy's not-for-profit tax status &mdash;
 
meaning the assets cannot be transferred to an individual or a for-profit
 
entity.  Generally, a project would either find another fiscal sponsor or
 
form their own independent tax-exempt non-profit.</p>
 
form their own independent tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit.</p>
 

	
 
<p>We fully expect that some Conservancy projects will ultimately wish to
 
  form their own non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations; that's why we design
...
 
@@ -225,13 +265,22 @@ form their own independent tax-exempt non-profit.</p>
 
  all to the general fund, but we unfortunately discovered that without
 
  this requirement, Conservancy was not able to offer the myriad of
 
  services to all its projects, particularly to larger projects that
 
  have more income and therefore need more attention from staff.</p>
 

	
 
<p>We do understand that, particularly for small projects that only
 
  receive a few small donations, that donating a percentage of your income
 
  back to Conservancy can be a high burden.  Therefore, Conservancy
 
  remains open to discussion on a case-by-case basis for smaller projects
 
  about how to handle this requirement, and applicants should feel free to
 
  raise any concerns about this issue during the application process.</p>
 
  have more income and therefore need more attention from staff.  Even now,
 
  the 10% we receive from our project does not fully fund our fiscal
 
  sponsorship activities; we raise additional funds
 
  through <a href="/supporter">support program</a> to subsidize our fiscal
 
  sponsorship work.</p>
 

	
 
<p>We do understand that, particularly for small projects that only receive a
 
  few small donations, that donating a percentage of your income back to
 
  Conservancy can be a high burden.  We encourage such small projects to
 
  consider <a href="https://www.spi-inc.org/">Software in the Public
 
  Interest</a>, which offers fewer services than Conservancy, but only
 
  requires 5% of gross revenue.  To our knowledge, SPI is the only fiscal
 
  sponsor operating in FOSS that requires less than 10%; most FOSS fiscal
 
  sponsors require at least 10%, or they operate on a fee-for-service model
 
  whereby projects pay the actual costs of any service they receive (and such
 
  charges are usually much higher than 10%).  We urge you to very explicitly
 
  ask about these issues with any fiscal sponsor you consider.</p>
 

	
 
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