[foundation-board] Omidyar funding renewal update

Laura James laura.james at okfn.org
Sat Apr 5 18:13:13 UTC 2014

*All, *

*Firstly, I know there was some confusion earlier this year as to whether
or not Martin was on this list. Martin is not on this list at this time.
 We need to remember to separately CC him for board business as board
observer. *

*Secondly: **Morris** is well underway with interviews and Rufus and I
continue to provide him with various information and contacts as required.
 I quote from a recent email " **By the way, I wanted to add that I'm very
pleased with how things are **going for the most part. Your staff and
network colleagues are being **very cooperative and forthcoming, and I'm
getting great information." *I think his sense of how to understand us as
an organisation (as discussed at last board meeting) is evolving too.

In terms of* programmatic evaluation*, he is looking at the network as one
programme, and at CKAN as the other. The last I heard he was still trying
to work out the right angle for CKAN as this isn't the sort of thing he's
very familiar with.

Finally: I had a useful call with Martin to flesh out the *grant renewal
timeline and process*, as I wasn't here "last time".  I include my rough
notes below.  The most immediate deadline is April 16th for a first draft
of the proposal (written proposal plus financial forecasts to August 2017).
I am working on these and have made some progress although there is still a
lot more to do on the forecasts and fleshing out the plan.

*One risk area I would note is that our strategy does not provide much
information on what sort of advocacy we pursue* (type of advocacy, how we
work internationally etc), or focus areas (other than "public finances"),
or target events/governments/etc.  This is an area of particular interest
for Martin personally and I imagine he will want to see some more
information than we have today, but this is also an area I am quite
ignorant of, not having worked in policy or advocacy or having seen much of
Open Knowledge's work in these areas. With Jonathan Gray on sabbatical at
present, we lack expertise in the team in this. I hope to get Jonathan's
(incomplete) policy plans from him in the next week or two but I am not
sure how much material we have there, and it may be that this is an area we
need to work up in the proposal iteration phase (16/4 - mid May) as I doubt
we'll have it robust enough for Martin before the 16th.

Best regards,



Specific things that will happen:
* We will need to prepare a written proposal which will take the form of a
detailed business plan for the whole organisation (including financial
model) for sept2014-aug2017 before april 16.
* a lot of other bits and pieces will go alongside this (accounts, org
charts, strategy, etc) - I am leading on this


IC = Investment Committee
MT = Martin Tisne [investment manager for us]
ON = Omidyar Network

In terms of the process for applying for an Omidyar renewal:

very like a wholly new grant
timing v important

*process *- send proposal; back and forth; iterate together with Martin &
Andrew at Omidyar. Martin "leading on investment" with andrew (new member
of martin's team) as 'backstop'

16th april first draft - earlier better, early april great

Proposal - is basically our business plan.  may need to update plan to
reflect grant term etc if we don't have a 3y plan already

really key in crunch time (proposal and deck iteration phases) to have docs
to hand (eg quarterly accounts) & to be super responsive, getting docs back
to ON within a day for each request and faster if possible

send everything to both andrew + MT

Praise for the  v helpful  bar charts - breakdown of different funders past
and future - which i prepared for our topup grant a year ago, ours is used
as an example to show others what to do!!

will need finances for past years and full grant period projections

start to send these now

proposal should reflect totality of what OKF does

aim for iterating proposal in april w/martin
MT start writing internal ON docs early May
will send a heads up memo to team internally mid May
by that time must clear in terms  of money asked for & metrics on grant
will go for 3 year grant (don't want to do less, ON never granted more)
MT share with subset of IC late may - share 'contours'
MT travel in april but not in may
late may / early  june finalise internal docs - inc powerpoint finalised by
8 june
then IC mtg on 17 june for which:
* 15 slides max
* 10-15 slides good
* by late may start sending draft deck (deck is ppt version of proposal)

who in room for IC?  typically CEO  + 1 key person;  Laura + rufus + that's
enough.  up for discussion.  chair of board possible... senior leadership

IC mtg - 90m slot;  at 430 or 6pm.  at omidyar office for telepresence kit
first 30m, present slides (KEEP to time!!!)
dynamic, pitch style
then 30m questions, can bleed over. then oKF leave, then MT stays to talk
further and take internal qs

amount - will be fairly large - definitely above a million - may or may not
be 2 IC meetings.
decision never made at meeting - just get favourable indication - then some
issues to work on,... for this sort of larger investment, likely to be a
2nd meeting 2-3 weeks later,  without OKF but with MT presenting with
further info which he's worked up with us to address the issues raised in
1st mtg

one conversation with us will be about sustainability - not fund us forever
- set us up for success!

unclear at ON - do they say 'last grant' after number of grants or number
of years????   could we get another project grant...  they don't have a
fixed strategy at this stage.  MT will try to make sure we play our cards
right and other project grants may be possible.


MT very much in favour of regrant but not guaranteed

not a thumbs up /down style evaluation from Morris

core grants - always a hard problem to determine grant metrics - discuss
with Morris - metrics can set org on wrong path
first grant - metrics around chapters - wasn't right in Martin's view (he
was somewhat scathing about Stephen king's work - SK was the ON lead on the
original grant)
evaluation  will help to identify right metrics
metrics can be changed each year, there is flexibility

[LJ note: our own thinking on org metrics should help here]
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