Advisory Board/Minutes/2023-03-14

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

Draft minutes. Please note that these minutes do not go through a formal approval process.

The OSMF Board of Directors had an online meeting with members of the Advisory Board on 2022-03-14 at 13:00 UTC. Meeting not open to observers.

Some points have been reordered.


Affiliation - Name (role, notes)

Not Present


Names and affiliations (see above).

Input on 2023 OSMF fundraising plan

Draft notes on the 2023 OSMF Fundraising Plan were shared with the Advisory Board before the meeting.

The topic was introduced by Mikel and Courtney Williamson, and a discussion followed.

  • Fundraising identified as a top priority for the year.
  • OSMF is looking after the servers and API, make sure that legal and other issues are looked after and that costs money.
  • OSM has run very lean and hiring so late is exceptional - just 1 employee.
  • OSM produces immense value.
  • Taken on some new staff, which was overdue.
  • Last fundraising campaign 3 years ago.
  • Donations from: Corporate Members, individual members.

General goal

Be more sustainable.

Additional benefit: Fundraising helps to position yourself.

On the relations of the board with the Advisory Board

  • The board wants to be transparent to the Advisory Board and providing thoughts early in the process.
  • There was past criticism that when things were brought up by the board to the AB, decisions had already been taken.

2020 Fundraising campaign

On 2023 fundraising

  • Want to be organised around fundraising and looking to engage all facets of our community and the broader world that supports open knowledge.
  • Three board members got training on fundraising from AspirationTech. Maggie Cawley (OSM US) is also engaged with AspirationTech.
  • Courtney Williamson (Fundraiser) has some fundraising background and helps to start shaping the 2023 OSM campaign.

Timing is right due to:

  • Value of OSM.
  • Importance. The story of geospatial is becoming more well known to outside people and its relevance for sustainability.
  • Responsibility. OSMF has a financial responsibility to support the project and make sure it is sustainable long-term.
  • Companies are tuning in to the importance of open data and open-source software.

Other point mentioned: Eager for feedback, comments, concerns, how to be involved, messages that would appeal.


  • Be cost neutral for 2023, keeping going with what is working now and keeping our reserves. Cover some of the Operations Working Group expenses and staff.
    • Servers/hardware: ~ 200K.
    • Rest: employees, contractors, software development support, legal fees.

On communication

Broad-based campaign to improve connections.

  • Extend the list to people/entities who would give us major gifts.
  • Channels: social media, email, lists, one-to-one asks.
  • Have regional ambassadors - there might be a distribution list.
  • Improve messaging to Corporates.


  • Get a unifying case statement that is consistent and document it for reporting.
  • Provide templates and resources that can be translated.

Question by OSM Slovakia whether the Advisory Board will be notified about the fundraising, as OSM Slovakia could put a banner on their website.

> The Advisory Board will be kept notified.

On previous microgrants

Question by OSMF Japan on whether there is any report about previous OSMF microgrants.

> Report on 2020 OSMF Microgrants
> In discussion with the Local Chapters and Communities Working Group to have better assessment of past programs, which previously were both for technical and community needs.
> The Engineering Working Group is currently looking to support engineering needs, while the LCCWG is looking into future community grants.
> If we reach a certain fundraising target, we might think about putting funds towards microgrants.

On sharing funds with local chapters

Question by OSM US on whether the board imagines some kind of fund sharing to incentivize local chapters to support since there is a reliance on local chapters and events to help with fundraising and we all also have funding needs.

  • Fundraising needs to be benefiting both local communities and OSMF, as they are complementing entities.
  • It makes sense to support both the engineering and the community side.
  • Local Chapters create an external value outside of the OSM database by providing education and building local communities.
  • Connect with the communities to find the unique needs.
  • Events important this year as there will be only regional conferences, and no international State of the Map. Can generate interest and excitement.

Regarding corporate donors

Inside companies:

  • people don't understand the difference between the different OSM organisations.
  • have a hard time to make the case for value or to make two financial requests.

Suggestions by Gold/Platinum Corporate Members

  • Streamlining the process so that big companies can provide funds more easily to both OSMF and local chapters.
  • Communicating how the money is spent, to help people understand what the costs of supporting OSM are and help with companies' internal processes. Can be specific, like $100 = X hours of OSM infrastructure/changesets supported.
  • Have a donation add-on for corporate and individual memberships and maybe also for SoTM events. E.g. "add 10% to support the foundation and x minutes/hours of servers keeping OSM live and available to the world."

Other point mentioned

  • Gunner/AspirationTech is amazing.

Suggestions by Local Chapters

  • Coordinated messaging: It would help if OSMF and Local Chapters had a shared narrative and the same talking points.
  • Mention specific features that can be funded instead of just asking to "support OSM". Use membership fees to pay generic things.
    • It is not either/or.
    • One of the board members is talking with Paul Norman about doing a Vector Tiles project, and there will be fundraising for that.
    • Website improvements: Hard to do anything graphic design/UI oriented as volunteers.

Suggestion related to reworking the OSMF Corporate Membership tiers

Make it clear that what organisations get with their OSMF Corporate Memberships are not the perks of the membership tiers but what you buy is supporting the map.

Future plans

  • Annual or semi-annual fundraising.
  • Will build infrastructure for future fundraising.
  • 2024 budget: Expanding, what can we do with the website.

Other link mentioned

OSM Belgium fundraising:

Thoughts on Overture

Introduction provided by Mikel

  • The OSMF board shared their thoughts via the blog on the initial Overture announcement.
  • The OSMF board established contact with the Overture Steering Committee
  • There was a meeting of the OSMF board with the Overture Steering Committee on 2023-02-07. A summary was provided during the February board meeting. Was an introductory call, with discussion about opportunities and concerns.
  • An agenda will be set for a subsequent meeting. Overture has not identified yet who will help to set-the agenda up from their side.



  • Under-appreciation for the value of collaborative environment. Overture is very focused on technical side of using OSM data, which is not the best value for money if you want to provide money to solve the issue of using OSM data.
  • Going out of the OSM ecosystem, while our goals align.


  • Spend a fraction of the money on 20 people working on: Local Chapters' coordination, community health management, website development, projects' management, corporate relations management, organising global/regional events. This will improve data quality after a few years.
  • Overture joining OSMF as a Corporate Member.

On communication

  • Imperative on OSM to make the case for the value of what we do.
  • Do a better job at explaining and communicating with companies involved with Overture and others. The fundraising campaign is part of that.

On OSM's value

  • The value of OSM is not just in reproducing the data, but in the community.

Other points mentioned

  • This kind of work was already happening, as there were significant investments made by companies in silo, now efforts are made in the open.
  • There is a place for technical solutions.
  • There's an FAQ posted

On whether OSMF is considering joining Overture

  • Important to have an organisational relationship between OSMF and Overture.
  • Both OSMF and Overture's Steering Committee recognise that the current ways to join Overture do not fit OSMF. The "join as a non-profit" option does not recognise the special position of OSMF to what Overture is doing.


  • All Local Chapters are non-profits and there could be a big representation of OSM on Overture.
    • OSM UK had no contact with Overture.
    • Suggestion to coordinate.
    • The German community might not be less than ecstatic.

Other points mentioned:

  • There should be representation of the OSM community, not just of the Foundation.
  • We need to be more assertive about our value, as well as about how it is a responsibility of companies and other stakeholders to support and sustain this value.

Updates to

A past investigation by Joost Schouppe on how local chapter websites look like showed that all local chapter websites explain what OSM is, in contrast to, which is built for mappers.



  • Make the main page on a welcoming page, explaining what we do and how people can support us, and move the map at The proposed main welcoming page on can have similar content to
    • Depending on funds, time investment and whether it is possible to afford a project manager.
    • Changing the landing page is difficult. There is slow progress even for small changes on the website, where money was already budgeted for them.
  • Hire a full-time web developer to work on the website and do more than minor cosmetic changes.

Other points mentioned:

  • Do small changes, that don't involve a major overhaul of the project.
  • The small change regarding blocking feature took more than 2 years.

Any other business

Meeting frequency

Suggestion to have Advisory Board meetings every couple of months (mentioned during the discussion of one of the previous topics).

Meeting adjourned 68' after start.