Finance Committee/Minutes/2024-03-06

From OpenStreetMap Foundation

OpenStreetMap Foundation

DRAFT Finance Committee Minutes

6 March 2024


  • Craig Allan
  • Guillaume Rischard
  • Harrison Devine


  • Roland Olbricht
  • Mikel Maron


The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

Contract Management

Sarah has posted a first draft guide to entering into hiring contractors that came out of a Personnel committee meeting with Sarah, Craig and Mikel. Comments were that is “fantastic” to do this but the draft is still too long. An implementable policy should be readily accessible. There is some overlap with the layered spending policy which can be eliminated.

Question raised why hiring contractors is on this agenda - the answer was that hiring contractors is both personnel and procurement and procurement is clearly a Finance issue. Hiring needs to fit in the procurement framework.

Budget Reporting

In the budget just presented, the overflow amounts were not sufficiently clear. However, that can wait to be fixed in the next budget at year end. Our priority now is to prepare monthly reports.

We should aim for monthly reports being prepared by the 3rd Thursday of each month, so they they can be on the agenda of the Board meeting. This allows three weeks and some days for month-end processes to be run.

Harrison will look at a standard automated format for the monthly report. It would be useful if it showed spend to date, committed funds and available funds. Showing committed funds in an automated fashion is an unsolved problem so it may not be part of the first monthly report. Craig is working on that

Monthly reporting is good for catching any problems and correcting them at an early stage. It is good practice to have monthly Board surveillance of the financials.

Noted that Harrison will not take on day-to-day accounting work – his role in OSMF Finance is to develop the systems.

Fundraising financial reporting should happen in parallel with spending reporting. That is a different process, also important, still to be developed.

Internal controls

After budgets and reporting is working well, we need to look at internal controls. A general principle is separation of powers – for example, one person processes payments and another does the bank reconciliation. It’s like two factor identification in that the different players check on each other. In OSMF the lack of people has limitd the scope of separation of financial roles.


Also there is a need to look at auditing. Audits give the Board (and Donors) a high level of assurance that things are going properly. We may be able to recruit a voluntary auditor.



We have a lot of money to raise. Craig wants to prepare a plan for fundraising this year. He’ll put a first draft together in the form of a discussion document and circulate it in the next week for everyone to help build it. The first circulation will be to the Board and the Fundraising advisors.

Fundraising restrictions

Discussion on restrictions on raising funds as a non-profit. Harrison spoke of financial constraints on 501©(3) organisations in the USA. As far as Guillaume and Craig are aware the current UK legislation places no restrictions on OSMF with regard to fundraising. In the EU, the rules are slightly different but the Belgian law at least is not restrictive on non-profit organisations.


Some discussion on using CiviCRM for managing donor interactions and allowing co-ordination between people contacting donors. It has a difficult interface, apparently fustrating Courtney, but is fairly capable if you know it. It is for managing people and will not manage funds. Craig and Harrison were given a tour of the app by Guillaume. Craig is to spend time learning the software.

Image Management

Donors don't like it when we look chaotic – for example when Board members contradict each others in public. They also don't like it when we ask for money and don't do anything with it. We need to communicate a coherent plan that is being implemented with a visible managed, planned outflow of funds to operations and development projects. We need to tell the story. We have the projects and the financial numbers so we must communicate where we are going with them. It can be done in a good way or a bad way. We have to find the good way. We also need to solicit feedback and take it seriously. Guillaume gave an example of good feedback on the vector tile project.


Keeping in touch with the donors, especially those on the Advisory Board, is important. Once we get decent financial reporting we can share it with the Local Chapters and the Donors on the Advisory Board. If we follow industry standard Board procedures it will build confidence in the Foundation. Noted that our financial reports are not secret – the reports will be published with the agenda of each Board meeting. It may be possible to vary the reports based on group needs so that one format goes to the Board, another to the Advisory Board and another to Working groups.

Next meeting

Wednesday 13th March 2024, in the new Finance boardroom.

20h00 UTC

Minutes by Craig Allan