[Foundation-l] board, babysitting, speaking engagements, etc.

daniwo59 at aol.com daniwo59 at aol.com
Sat Aug 12 11:10:05 UTC 2006

This conversation had jumped back and forth from single-instance expenses  
(eg. babysitting costs) to much larger issues such as speakers fees. With the  
number of speaking requests pouring in to the Foundation (and they come in at 
an  ever increasing rate), I want to suggest the following guidelines for board 
 members and others giving talks about the Foundation. Much of this is based 
on  my belief that it is possible to say no to speaker requests too. We are 
big  enough to set the terms by which we offer to send speakers, and the 
benefits of  participating in various conferences etc. should be weighed against the 
real  needs and interests of the Foundation. My proposal is as follows.
1. Requests for speakers from the Foundation will be approved by a  
subcommittee of the Communications Committee to be known as the "Speakers  
2. The Speakers Subcommittee will determine whether and how fulfilling the  
request furthers the goals of the Foundation. This will be called Speaker  
3. The Speakers Subcommittee will then determine whether the Speaker  
Objectives are equal or greater to the costs involved in sending a speaker to  the 
4. The Speaker Subcommittee will then determine which representative of the  
WMF is best suited to deliver the talk, based on considerations of language,  
geography, skills, conference needs, availability, etc.

5. Basic costs for speakers will include 
    a. transportation
    b. per diem (hotel, food)
    c. ancillary (babysitting, formal wear such as  renting a tux, other)
6. The Speaker Subcommittee will negotiate with the requesting organization  
to ensure that they cover as much of these costs as possible. Should the event 
 be deemed worthwhile, but the requesting organization is unable to cover 
these  basic costs, the Speakers Committee will determine a budget for the 
speaker to  participate.
7. The Speaker Subcommittee will also request an honorarium, to be paid to  
the Foundation, for providing a speaker.
8. A calendar of speaking engagements and speakers will be maintained  in a 
public space, such as wikimediafoundation.org. 
9. Only speakers approved and appointed by the Speakers Subcommittee will  be 
entitled to speak on behalf of the Foundation in such public forums and to  
make use of Foundation property such as logos, registered tm's, etc. in their  
10. Upon completing their speaking engagement, speakers will provide a  
written report to the Speakers Subcommittee in which they describe whether and  how 
the Speaker Objectives were met.
11. The written report will include a summary of the talk, major questions  
asked, and a copy of handouts, PowerPoint presentations, etc. as  necessary.
12. These materials will be made easily available to other speakers so as  to 
enhance their own presentations.
13. Upon completing their speaking engagement, speakers will also  submit any 
receipts for *approved* expenses.
14. Upon submission of receipts, the written report, and ancillary  
materials--and only upon their submission--the speaker will be reimbursed for  any 
out-of-pocket expenses.
While this may seem bureaucratic to some, I believe that it is a common  
sense approach to dealing with the growing influx of requests for speakers that  
the Foundation is facing. It will help us to avoid what Mr. Merkey wisely 
called  "poaching speaking engagements," and ensure that previous experiences as a  
speaker are shared with others.
Rather than dwell upon what happened in the past, let's move forward by  
improving this initial proposal and submitting it to the Board for vote.

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