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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <dennis.hamil...@acm.org>
Subject RE: Making donations to the project
Date Wed, 19 Oct 2011 16:52:30 GMT
Considering the prominence being given to Team OpenOffice.org in some of these 
conversations:

It appears (according to that font of knowledge, Wikipedia) that an e.V in 
Germany is somehow comparable to an LLC or LLP in the US and elsewhere.  It 
can be for a profit-making or non-profit activity.  Whether non-profits are 
necessarily charities in Germany is not clear to me either.

I point that out because there has been tacit assumption that Team 
OpenOffice.org e.V is a charity, yet there is not the information one would 
expect to find about charities, their operation, and the handling of donations 
at the web site.  In the US, being a non-profit has some other obligations 
with regard to demonstration that it is not simply a creative way to shelter 
funds from taxation.  Also, being a non-profit need not mean that donations 
are tax deductible, though I don't understand all of those distinctions.

I certainly don't understand what the rules are in Germany.  I am simply 
cautioning us to not assume that the arrangements for Team OpenOffice.org e.V. 
can be understood by analogy to what may be familiar to each of us based on 
our local situation.

It doesn't matter so much, since in any case, since the appearance of Team 
OpenOffice.org on the OpenOffice.org site as the preferred vehicle for 
donation to the project will have to cease when ASF becomes the custodian of 
the OpenOffice.org sites.

 - Dennis

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob Weir [mailto:robweir@apache.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 05:13
To: ooo-dev@incubator.apache.org
Subject: Re: Making donations to the project

On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 4:20 AM, Ian Lynch <ianrlynch@gmail.com> wrote:
> This is a transfer of a discussion that started on the private list. It
> started by considering the situation of TeamOO in relation to the ASF. Many
> people over time have made small donations to TeamOO - some probably that
> are philosophically opposed to the Apache license and are committed to LibO
> or even something different. This leaves TeamOO in a difficult position in
> terms of administering the funds they have. ASF policy is that money donated
> simply goes to the ASF not to specific projects. Some would consider that
> the ASF donations system is not very accessible to individuals wanting to
> donate small amounts of money. This discussion is to explore ways of working
> that fit ASF's charitable status and donations policy while enabling those
> that want to make monetary contributions to OpenOffice.org to be able to do
> so.
>

1. IMHO (and I have no omniscience here) the problem Team OpenOffice
has is that they are soon to lose the "contribute" link on
OpenOffice.org.  Without that, their ability to raise funds is
drastically reduced.  It really shuts off their funding.    No one has
questioned what they did with the funds historically.  It was all used
for the benefit of the community, or at least I've heard no one
suggest otherwise.  But their business model, from a funding
perspective, was highly dependent on having a prominent "contribute"
link on the OpenOffice.org website, which receives a huge among of
traffic.  So any suggestion that they can simply raise money on their
own, without that link and without the use of the OOo trademark, may
be technically true, but i practice I don't see how that could work.

2. We could substitute a link to make ASF donations.  But my guess is
we would get a drastically smaller catch than the previous Team
OpenOffice link received:

a) ASF has no European entity, so donations are not tax deductible as
charitable contributions in Europe (Is this true?)

b) We're not able to say anything to potential contributors about how
the donations would be used.  All we can say is they will not be used
for the benefit of any specific project, i.e., the donations cannot be
targeted.  We probably lose 90% of the donations right there.


One way out:  Is there any way, with suitable disclaimers,and with
respect of the trademarks,  that we can link to an external non-profit
organization, for those users who want to contribute to the larger OOo
ecosystem?  A link that we put along the link to the ASF donation
page?  Maybe as part of a link exchange, where they agree to link as
well to the ASF donation page?

-Rob

> That is an attempt to summarise the discussion. If I got anything important
> wrong or left anything out please comment accordingly.
>
>
> --
> Ian
>
> Ofqual Accredited IT Qualifications (The Schools ITQ)
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