[Foundation-l] [Found>, > 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 (an

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Sat Aug 12 23:09:54 UTC 2006

On 8/12/06, Jimmy Wales <jwales at wikia.com> wrote:
> daniwo59 at aol.com wrote:
> >  7. The Speaker Subcommittee will also request an honorarium, to be
> >  paid to the Foundation, for providing a speaker.
> I think this concept of the Foundation receiving speaker's fees makes a
> lot of sense for employees of the foundation, just as it
> might for any organization where speakers are being paid by the
> organization and the speaking is a part of what their salary covers.
> For volunteers, this makes significantly less sense to me.

I believe it does not only make sense, but it seems completely and
totally normal that employees of the Foundation, whenever giving a
speech and offered an honorarium, should *not* be given an honorarium
personally, but rather make sure whatever money is there to take goes
to the Foundation.

> I have for a very long time now stressed to everyone who invites me to
> speak that they are inviting me in my personal capacity.  So this
> policy will have no impact on me.  But it could have impact on many others.

This is where, in my opinion, we hit the borderline case. If you take
every single speech in your personal capacity, what chance is there
that organisations that would like to help the projects as a whole
ever can? Of course they want Jimmy Wales. But if you never are tasked
with the role of representing the Foundation, and hence bring some of
the honoraria into the organisation, there is a big chance that we'll
never see the first cent of anything. Although I do agree with you
that people should be able to take whatever money is given to them, I
also believe that *some* of it should go to the Foundation.

I am not saying all of it, I am not even putting forward a percentage,
but the Foundation has to see a return on investment in the time and
money they put in providing speakers to the organisations that ask for
them (booking tickets, making sure that the person is there,
reimbursing upfront the speaker while waiting that the conference
organizer reimburse them has a cost in the end), as well as for the
trademarks used to advertise the conferences etc. This includes all
volunteers, and in my opinion, you.

This return on investment could be on an "assume good faith" basis,
ie. if a speaker is offered XXX dollars per year to give speeches,
they might want to make a donation to the Foundation one day or the
other, or at least be in a position where they can attest their talk
has brought something to the Foundation, may it be contacts (and hence
potential sponsors that turn into real sponsors), a great press
coverage (and hence an increase in donations) etc.

Another thing is also, that although I agree with Danny that we should
be in a position where we can refuse to send a speaker, this should
only be keeping in mind the return on investment. We should never find
ourselves in a position where we refuse to send a speaker *because*
there is no money involved. One speech that might cost us money to
arrange can bring millions of dollars in, another that costs nothing
and brings money to one person (the speaker) might bring the
Foundation absolutely nothing. There is a balance to be found.

This said, I would be interested in knowing what speakers and speeches
have actually brought to the Foundation in its 3 years of existence,
whether directly or indirectly. Having an idea of that should give a
good basis to fine tune Danny's proposal.



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