[Wikimediaau-l] 2008-11-09 ctte meeting minutes

Michael Bimmler mbimmler at gmail.com
Wed Nov 12 13:12:17 UTC 2008

Jumping in here:  In Wikimedia CH we have basically two categories of
membership (ignoring members honoris causa): active members and
supporting members.  The former are voting members, the latter aren't.
 We decided (and thus provided for in our bylaws) that legal entities
can only become supporting members, i.e. they cannot vote.

At the moment, we have two or three minor IT companies as members as
well as the two big university libraries of Zurich -- the "Central
Library Zurich" (which is town, canton and university library) as well
as the library of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
(ETH Zurich).  With the first library, we have been actively working
together on projects and they then decided to formally join us to
express their support.

Corporate members pay a fee of CHF 100 (or higher, if so wished),
which is a third more than individual supporting members (CHF 75) and
double the amount of the non-reduced fee for active members (CHF 50).

I think the chance that an organisation or corporation will "take
over" is small -- measures against it include not giving corporations
a vote (or solely 1 vote, notwithstanding their size),  setting a
symbolic (low) fee for membership and asking them to provide financial
support rather through donations than through membership fees.


2008/11/12 Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt at gmail.com>:
> Re. the corporate membership,
> This is a very interesting development...
> I appreciate the concern that we do not want to become beholden to the will
> of some corporation - this is the similar concern with having one
> philanthropic organisation donate so much money to the WMFoundation that
> they supply a 'controling stake' of the foundation's capital.
> It is for this reason that any donations to the Foundation that represent
> more than 10% of the income in that year must be specifically approved by
> the board - for more on this please listen to the interview I did with
> Florence
> Devourard. http://wikipediaweekly.org/2008/10/03/episode-63-interview-with-florence/
> Let me take the concerns 1 by 1 (in the text below):
> On 10/11/2008, at 7:52 PM, Brianna Laugher wrote:
> == Corporate sponsorship ==
> John added this to the agenda at Peter "PM"'s request.
> We discussed the ideas of corporate sponsorship and corporate
> membership. Our rules currently don't allow for corporate members.
> Opinions were mixed about the relative concerns and benefits of
> sponsorship vs membership. Nathan suggested that corp sponsorship
> would be purely for the other company's good marketing;
> It would no doubt be a nice thing for their goodwill-o-meter but we are so
> insignificantly small that they would gain absolutely no PublicRelations
> benifit from it (as yet at least). If anything it could be that the
> shareholders, employees or government financiers ask why their money is
> being wasted on some uppity little group of web-volunteers.
> No - it would be good for our marketing, not theirs. At least for the
> forseeable future.
> Brianna felt that wherever there were large sums of money there would likely
> be a
> feeling of influence, and that membership was more 'contained' than
> sponsorship because of the Rules.
> Fair enough - see top. But this does not mean we have to drop the idea
> entirely. For one, this implies that they would be giving so much money that
> we would start to need them for our continued existence. Corporate
> membership need not be expensive and therefore *financially* influential. We
> could also include a clause stating that a corporate member is a non-voting
> member so that it is not *politically* influential.
> Sarah was concerned about undue
> influence with corp membership. John suggested corp membership could
> constitute a larger membership fee but still just one vote.
> -- As discussed above --
> As there is mixed opinion about this issue it is not something we are
> likely to act on in any great rush.
> As it happens there are several organisations that are already lined up to
> support WM-Au if given the option. I don't know whether it is appropriate to
> say whom but if you know me then you can probably make a good guess. None of
> them are either rolling in cash nor have any concern to takeover and
> 'influence' us. Rather - they are just wishing to help us (and the free
> culture community more generally) get on our feet. Effectively - what is
> good for us will be good for them.
> If we reject their goodwill at this point they might not be interested when
> we graciously decide to accept their money (or in kind support) in the
> future.
> I say that we don't look a gift-horse in the mouth. If some companies want
> to be supporters then we just make "ACME-museum" a regular member and be
> done with it. No special rules or procedures for their ilk. (this may not be
> legal under the current rules however). We can do with as much established
> support as we can get and we should AGF in these corporations intentions.
> -Liam
> [[user:witty lama]]
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Michael Bimmler
mbimmler at gmail.com

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