[foundation-board] More information on OKFest 2018

Paul Walsh paul.walsh at okfn.org
Wed Oct 18 06:52:15 UTC 2017


There are some points around OK Festival that I did not address in the
board meeting yesterday, in the interest of brevity.

I understand that brevity is important, but, I'm not aware of another
instance of the board being involved to this extent in the decision making
for an event or project, so I want to make sure that all the data for an
informed decision is available to everyone.

*Fundraising, Corporate Sponsorship, etc.*

I was using the word fundraising to include corporate sponsorship. The 5
emails Pavel has sent, between Sept 22rd and Oct 11th, have all been for
corporate sponsorship, using contacts from the OK Festival 2014 contact
list. I also reached out in August to GitLab and a civic tech unit in
Microsoft for corporate sponsorship unsuccessfully. This is the full extent
of effort by OKI towards securing funds for OK Fest to date.

OK Greece have a list of 15 potential corporate sponsors with local
presence. I do not know the status of these opportunities at this stage.

The 2014 Festival had some corporate sponsorship, yet funding from Omidyar
and Hewlett was the bulk of the "sponsorship" pool in reports on the 2014
event. Of course, significant losses were incurred, and covered by core

The 2013 Festival held in Switzerland was also raised in conversation last
night: that was funded, by all accounts, via family wealth of the
organising team in Switzerland. I only know this from talking to staff - I
cannot confirm it as a fact.

I don't have enough information on other OK Festivals.

*Sponsorship materials*

We do have public sponsorship offerings here:


These are very generic, based on the 2014 materials.

*Engagement with Network*

The concept note
produced in large by myself, Katelyn and Sander has been shared with the
Network for comments. 3 or 4 people engaged with the document.

(We all agree there is a serious issue with Network engagement, but in my
opinion a sustained approach with funding and staff can address that more
deeply than a large, point-in-time event.)

*Goals of the festival*

The primary goal of the concept note was to address the immediate need
Natasha had for some strategic framing and content that she could work with.

The close second goal was to ensure that the festival had a concept that
aligned with OKI's CSO-targeted strategy - we explicitly targeted this over
framing the festival "just" as a festival for the Network.

As part of the process, we identified specific internal and external goals
for the festival, which are in this section
of the concept note.

It became apparent to some of us, especially myself and Chris, who heads
the project team, that while these are worthwhile goals, it is not clear
why a large-scale festival is the best way to achieve them. I think this
ties in very well with Mark's suggestion of smaller events, or a
roadtrip-style series of events, combined with a revised approach to our
Network at large.


Anyway, I am proceeding as we discussed, by reaching out to OK Greece and
Natasha today. I hope the above information is useful when we reassess in


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