Announcement Donation target adjusted

jedidia

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Not accepting donations while there is a surplus sounds like a good idea at first. I don't think this would dispel potential donors in the long run, would it?
From a decade of NGO work, and expieriences from others that worked a lot longer, I have to say that yes, it would... A large part about succesfull longterm funding is that people can automise their transactions (I suspect I'm getting money from some people that have even forgotten that they're sending me money...), which means the only way to "refund" a donation would be sending it back after receit (as far as I am aware... maybe Paypal and co. provide other options?), which again costs money, so the refund would be less than the sum donated. Which tends to annoy people, because now they just donated a few unneccessary money transactions and feel stupid.

I second the idea of not donating the excess funds and use them as backup if donation goals are not reached in future periods if this does not create legal problems as indicated by jedidia.
The other problem is, even if there's no legal problem (which it probably wouldn't be until a certain ammount has been stockpiled), if everything runs smoothly (as we all hope it will) eventually you will have to do something with that money. I.E. the problem gets likely larger over time. Once you have 5000 dollars stacked up, the issue of what's going to be done with them will be huge.

It seems a bit strange that we're worrying about excess money, but it's really not that uncommon a problem in a non-profit organisation. May God have mercy on your soul if you ever have signifficant ammounts of money left at the end of a project. Smart people therefore have a contingency for this, something in the project documentation that sys something along the lines of "excess money will be used for x". That's exactly what the Administrators are trying to do, and while we might argue about what that should look like, there's no way around some solution that doesn't involve stockpiling with ill-defined purpose. Turning down donations will lead to solvency problems in the future.

Anyways, how's the Doctor doing financially?
 
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Enjo

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Xyon said:
The charity concept covers the disparity between the target we've stated, and the money we receive, should the latter exceed the former. Moving the target about doesn't really affect that.
It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.
 
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Spacethingy

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How about an inverse-Flattr kind of thing... (bear with me... :))

Instead of just giving an amount, donators would pledge a maximum sum that they'd be willing to give for covering, say, the next three months. Should the total donations exceed the amount required, each donation could be scaled down to make the total fit. That way, any number of people can donate to the forum without their donation having to be returned.

E.g. with server costs stated as $100 for the next three months, five donators give $25, $40, $10, $35 and $15. This gives $125, 1.25 times too much. Scaling all the donations down to $20, $32, $8, $28 and $12 gives the desired total. This would also cover an unexpected drop in server costs, or a shortfall-caused donation drive bringing in too many donations.

Would that work? Or are their legal/moral/etc. problems with that?
 

Xyon

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It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.
Of course, every recurring donator is entitled, and perhaps encouraged, to review how much they are donating on a routine basis and, if they can no longer afford to donate, to cease doing so. I imagine that you are correct, at least partly, but of course everybody has different circumstances. While some people may feel that it is time to reduce how much they donate, others may not, and we are grateful for every dollar donated to us. What's happening here is, as jedida noted above, a readjustment of our stated goals in accordance with the decrease in our server costs - to not make this kind of announcement would be deceitful, perhaps.

How about an inverse-Flattr kind of thing... (bear with me... :))

Instead of just giving an amount, donators would pledge a maximum sum that they'd be willing to give for covering, say, the next three months. Should the total donations exceed the amount required, each donation could be scaled down to make the total fit. That way, any number of people can donate to the forum without their donation having to be returned.

E.g. with server costs stated as $100 for the next three months, five donators give $25, $40, $10, $35 and $15. This gives $125, 1.25 times too much. Scaling all the donations down to $20, $32, $8, $28 and $12 gives the desired total. This would also cover an unexpected drop in server costs, or a shortfall-caused donation drive bringing in too many donations.

Would that work? Or are their legal/moral/etc. problems with that?
I haven't had enough coffee yet to process this fully, but, it actually looks like a good idea - my problem with it is that in this manner, it's not clear how much you'll be donating in any given month. I'd like to continue to let people donate a fixed amount, since I know that this can be important for budgeting.
 

N_Molson

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Or, to be more Earth-to-ground, maybe martins could hire a student from his University to help him with the most repetitive coding tasks in Orbiter ? :)
 

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Or, to be more Earth-to-ground, maybe martins could hire a student from his University to help him with the most repetitive coding tasks in Orbiter ? :)
Let's be realistic, how high will the excess sum be? Not more than $100 (60 Sterling). Probably way less IMO. Let's not go capitalist on this but pay that guy a correct amount. At least 7 Sterlings an hour, no? Which translates to not even two afternoons.

Also it would probably take more time to get that set up to work efficiently. Coding for yourself is easy. Coding for another guy is like painting for another guy. You'll quickly see differences and both involved are confused what the other wants.


My opinion: Let's see how much excess ends up in December. And then I would prefer to keep it orbiter-related. Also I think the mods and especially Tex would deserve a nice christmas treat by the community. At least they've invested a fair share of time to create and maintain this place.
But I neither know if they'd accept it nor if anyone agrees with me there. The money gets donated for Orbiter-Forum, not for a new bike racing jersey for Tex.:lol:
 

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It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.
That's a fair point and there's no need to rush. We could see where we are at the end of next year. Or better yet, my preference would be to do it at 30 June, since I do the accounts for the forum and I have aligned the accounts with the Australian financial year :lol:

Personally, I'm glad that we have a little buffer. One thing that the previous donation goal never covered were PayPal fees. Each month we received $123, and then sent $123 and paid the fees on the transactions in both directions. That added up to a reasonable sum of money over the course of the year at between 0.5 and 3.3 % per transaction, depending on the country involved in the transaction. And that money had to come from somewhere.
 

kamaz

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Personally, I'm glad that we have a little buffer. One thing that the previous donation goal never covered were PayPal fees. Each month we received $123, and then sent $123 and paid the fees on the transactions in both directions. That added up to a reasonable sum of money over the course of the year at between 0.5 and 3.3 % per transaction, depending on the country involved in the transaction. And that money had to come from somewhere.
And the problem with using donation money to pay transaction fees is...?

Besides, I have an impression that the amount of attention this issue receives is inversely proportional to the amount of money involved.

As far as my donations are concerned, you can buy yourself a beer. :cheers:
 

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I would like to see most of the excess go to Martin. If there is to much for that, then spread it out among the primary devs, Dan, dbeachy, face and such. It's here to promote the community, why not give a little back to those that have created the stuff that this site is about.
I'm fine with donating excess money to Doctor or buying him 1:36 3D printed and nicely painted Deltaglider. I'm fine with keeping money in reserve for unexpected events

As for money for add-on devs. There are a few problems

How you'd determine which add-on dev should get money?? Download threshold ?? Public polling?? Arbitrary decision?? That's IMO recipe for disaster.

There are more problems:
We're pretty open community at the moment and many add-ons share code snippets with another ones. How should we decide which part to which developer. Some of add-ons are sharing meshes or using slightly tweaked previous ones. What about them?

For example: One can admire SSU team a lot for work they're doing. Should his/her money go to them if he/she doesn't use their add-on because simply he/she is not interested in full blown simulation and prefer XR style??

What about other way around? Should shuttle fanatic support sci-fi ship like XR series or DG-IV?
 

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I honestly don't know why I bother.
 
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dbeachy1

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To be clear, and speaking for the staff, there is no way we would ever divvy up leftover donation money between add-on developers. There are many reasons for this, including the ones Loru mentioned -- it would be a huge mess and money isn't the reason that Orbiter-Forum was created anyway.

As for donating any leftover amount to Martin at the end of each year, I could see that working if the community took a vote on it and chose to do that vs. choosing a charity. But IMO that vote should happen sooner rather than later so members would know exactly how any leftover donation money would be used next December.
 

Xyon

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I'd just like to point out that we are still taking suggestions on this note and we'd still like to see a resolution fairly soon. :cheers:
 

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3 months have passed. Have you noticed any solid trends emerging? I mean decrease of donations, or even momentum of decrease? Since the donations requests have been postponed until now, is the balance near 0 now? (I assume that the "fixed" donations were being accepted all the time, or?)
 

orb

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Since the donations requests have been postponed until now, is the balance near 0 now? (I assume that the "fixed" donations were being accepted all the time, or?)
If there was no donation goal bar displayed last month (I don't remember there was or wasn't one), then it's because money were carried over from the previous month.

Recurring donations have been accepted all the time (and according to e-mails, most of them are being received at the end of month) - they are automatically added to the donation goal bar balance, while single donations are usually seen only being received in first days of month - they are confirmed manually to update the donation goal bar.

The currently displayed received amount of 30 USD on the donation goal bar is the result of only the excess money carried over from earlier months, for now, but according to admin e-mails I've just read, there were 3 single donations on Feb 1. They haven't been yet confirmed, and that's the reason for the goal bar not yet updating the received amount or even disappearing completely.
 

Xyon

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Thanks for the reminder orb.
 

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Hello all!

Another update here: we have made some file server changes in the last few weeks. As you may know, the Orbit-Hanger file repository was previously hosted on godaddy.com via my AlteaAerospace.com Web site, but due to ongoing reliability and performance problems over the past number of months I recently dumped godaddy.com and migrated my site over to DigitalOcean. This means that AlteaAerospace.com no longer has the disk space to host the Orbit-Hangar file repository or mirror the (very large!) Orbiter beta texture files. As such, we have migrated the Orbit-Hangar repository (just over 5000 files totalling 35 GB) over to a dedicated server hosted by Hetzner that Xyon leases and administers (the specs are here). That server has 2 TB of RAID-1 disk and so has ample space to reliably host the Orbit-Hangar file repository and the high-res texture files for the new Orbiter version currently in beta. As such, we have bumped up the donation target from $60/month to $80/month to help offset part of the monthly file server cost. As before, any excess donations received in the previous month are automatically applied to the next month's total.

Here is a summary of the monthly forum expenses going foward:

$20.00 per month - Orbiter-Forum and Orbit-Hangar Web virtual server fees (hosted by DigitalOcean)
$40.00 per month - Orbit-Hangar file repository + high-res Orbiter texture files dedicated server & administration fees (hosted by Hetzner)
$20.00 per month - Reserve
----------
$80.00 total
Here is a financial breakdown of the donations and expenses for Orbiter-Forum during 2014 (thanks, Xyon, for putting this report together!) All values are USD:

No code has to be inserted here.

The delta for the entire year of 2014 is a profit of $199.54, all of which is currently held in reserve in case the forum is short some month (or months). Going forward we will continue to post yearly summaries of income and expenses, and we can also vote as a community if we want to make a donation to a charity, etc. using any excess reserves.

Thanks again for your continued support!
 

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I am glad to see you had a surplus and I definitely think you need to keep a decent reserve. I will have to think about a charity that I would want to support and post back then.

Thanks for all your hard work.
 

N_Molson

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There was a real frenzy in May & September 2014. End/Start of University classes ? :)

Such transparency is really nice, thanks.
 
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