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Why Should Your Company Sponsor the Joomla! Project and OSM?

18 Oct 2011
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According to the May 29, 2011 published OSM budget, the sponsorship line item was budgeted to bring in $63,000 in 2011. In the P&L report for May 29, 2011, there was no reported income from sponsorships. It is unfotunate that we don't have more current reports to review. A review of the available OSM board minutes for 2011 (published through July, 2011) revealed the Treasurer would be invoicing a new major sponsor (name not provided) would be coming on board (April, 2011); two large sponsors were reported recruited in the April OSM board meeting minutes (possibly one of those is the one reported to be invoiced by the Treasurer). No names were mentioned. In the May, 2011 OSM minutes, it was reported that they were ready to invoice the sponsor. In the July, 2011 minutes it was reported that they were following through on invoicing sponsors.

So, in summary, at least through the May, 2011 financial reports, no income from sponsorships was reported. By July 2011, the OSM board was still working on invoicing two (maybe 3) new sponsors. So, how to explain the following?

 

So, let's take a moment to review the information about sponsorships. It is very difficult to find on the Joomla site. You can find the overview at this location. And the other two links provided above will at least show you who is listed but not other information about their contributions. It would be very nice if the actual contribution (whether it be time or money)  be listed for developer sponsors. Since Community sponsors provide money, at least a range can be inferred by their level - platinum, gold, silver, or bronze.

So, if your company wanted to provide a sponsorship, the first thing to look for is how much recognition are you provided. Interestingly enough, if you didn't know where to look you would never find the recognition page so that is the first negative.

We haven't spoken about Global Sponsors. They provide anywhere from $25K to $9K per year and are promised several things -

  • Footer navigation of the entire Joomla.org family of sites will link directly to the Global Sponsors page for easy access anywhere within our domain.
  • Joint press release with Joomla/OSM and your company

Plus a few other considerations. Examination of the footer navigation will not reveal any links to to the Global Sponsors page. Most companies proudly catalog their press releases so that they can be found on their web sites. Not OSM and not joomla.org. Were there ever any press releases? I found one on Rochen.

There are three Global sponsors which can be found on the partners page.The Rochen Global sponsorship can be explained because Rochen contributes server space and other services at no charge to OSM. The Software Frredom Foundation frequently provides legal assisatnce to the Project. But what about the remaining global sponsor?

Development sponsors are promised:

Development sponsors will be listed on a development sponsors page on joomla.org whicn will also be linked from the new development website and Joomlacode.org.

They are listed on the development sponsors page on joomla.org but no references whatsoever on the development website or joomlacode.org.

Community sponsors are promised:

  • A link to the community sponsors page of Joomla.org will be highlighted on the Joomla! Community Site (http://community.joomla.org).
  • Blog post about sponsorship on community site

There are no links to the community sponsors page on the Joomla! Community Portal. A review of all the blog posts on the community site going back to the middle of 2010 found no blogs about sponsorships.

After reviewing the above information, most would wonder what exactly is going on at OSM. It appears that promises are made and not followed through at the very least. Contracts are required of sponsors (at least they were when I was Treasurer). Is OSM failing to get contracts, failing to follow through with contracts, or simply failing to enforce. Difficult to tell. The absolute lack of financial information and the apparent intentional slow speed in posting board minutes makes it impossible to judge what to attribute these issues.

Right now, companies wishing to provide sponsorships to the Joomla Project and OSM should be ready and willing to hold the organization's executive and board member's feet to the fire to follow through on their commitments.

 

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David Huelsmann

Dave Huelsmann was Treasurer of Open Source Matters, Inc. from 2008 to July, 2010 and Joomla Forum Global Moderator from 2005 to November, 2010. Now retired, he was a senior healthcare executive who managed large and diverse clinical laboratory, radiology, electroencephalography, and centralized patient transport operations/departments in both not-for-profit and for-profit companies throughout the United States.

Dave was a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam while attached to Seabee battalionmcb71
MCB-71.

Read more about Dave Huelsmann

Comments   

+1 # Ruth Cheesley 2011-10-20 17:27
An interesting read. We contacted the Joomla! project via the sponsors page (which as you suggest was ridiculously difficult to actually find, although I think it's a bit easier now?) with regards to becoming a development sponsor as we were hoping to sponsor our web developer apprentice to work with the project for one day initially, perhaps two as their skills developed. I gave up with the process in the end. It took two emails before anyone even bothered to reply, then several emails went back and forth with little by way of guidance on how to actually get set up as a sponsor, eventually emails went unanswered and to be honest, I didn't have time to keep chasing.

What we're doing instead is paying the person we were going to donate the time of to spend time (when they are up to speed with how it all works) doing stuff with the bug squad, forums and so forth.

I wonder whether the Joomla! project actually have the internal structures in place to deal with the sponsorship packages which are purportedly available - for example people to manage the developers - and wouldn't be suprised if they drop most of the packages.

It was disappointing but hopefully going the route we're taking will have the same effect of giving time to the project and helping with the community a bit where we can, just without the publicity for our business and the monetary donation to the project.
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