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Old 11-19-2013, 09:39 AM   #16
wingnut
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I second the idea of not donating the excess funds and use them as backup if donation goals are not reached in future periods if this does not create legal problems as indicated by jedidia.

Not accepting donations while there is a surplus sounds like a good idea at first. I don't think this would dispel potential donors in the long run, would it?
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:51 AM   #17
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I agree with Urwumpe, educational projects related to space seem an excellent choice. Or for organisms that help students to fund their studies in the aerospace sector. There are certainly people that are potentially top-notch space scientists/engineers/technicians, but that can't afford such studies and will spend their life selling cars. Not that it is a bad thing but you get my point, maybe we are missing a Von Braun or a Korolev somewhere because he hasn't access to the proper specialized teaching...
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enjo View Post
 Reduction of donation target would solve this "problem". I, for one, really don't have excess money in my current life situation, so such a reduction would help from my point of view, and I'd like to keep this forum running, without having all the donators pissed off because somebody manages their money in a way that wasn't originally intended. Think about it.
The issue isn't one of where the donation target is moved to - we've already established that we're paying the costs, and there is a small amount of contingency there to be available should it be required. That's in the $60 target already.

Now, think about this for a minute. We're (almost) halving a target which, thanks to our very generous members, we have managed to meet for several months, largely due to automated donations and recurring payments. The charity concept covers the disparity between the target we've stated, and the money we receive, should the latter exceed the former. Moving the target about doesn't really affect that.

Last edited by Xyon; 11-19-2013 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Wrong post to quote!
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 I agree with Urwumpe, educational projects related to space seem an excellent choice. Or for organisms that help students to fund their studies in the aerospace sector. There are certainly people that are potentially top-notch space scientists/engineers/technicians, but that can't afford such studies and will spend their life selling cars. Not that it is a bad thing but you get my point, maybe we are missing a Von Braun or a Korolev somewhere because he hasn't access to the proper specialized teaching...
Hey, this aerospace engineering student right here would love a bit of charity.
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Old 11-19-2013, 10:39 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 I agree with Urwumpe, educational projects related to space seem an excellent choice. Or for organisms that help students to fund their studies in the aerospace sector. There are certainly people that are potentially top-notch space scientists/engineers/technicians, but that can't afford such studies and will spend their life selling cars. Not that it is a bad thing but you get my point, maybe we are missing a Von Braun or a Korolev somewhere because he hasn't access to the proper specialized teaching...
I am not sure if there is an international organization helping aerospace students world-wide. Which would be important for me.

Also it must not be aerospace for me... lets take mathematics or physics. Alone preventing that children are sent to work instead to school is IMHO the small important work that has to be done for a better world. Maybe also making sure that girls can dream of landing on the moon one day.

No need to start big and specific there.

---------- Post added at 11:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:35 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quick_Nick View Post
 Hey, this aerospace engineering student right here would love a bit of charity.
Not only just you. We have dozens of aerospace engineering students in the forum, many of them in really greek fiscal conditions.

But what would be left at the end of the year, would be maybe enough for getting a new pocket calculator for one of you.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:38 AM   #21
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Not accepting donations while there is a surplus sounds like a good idea at first. I don't think this would dispel potential donors in the long run, would it?
From a decade of NGO work, and expieriences from others that worked a lot longer, I have to say that yes, it would... A large part about succesfull longterm funding is that people can automise their transactions (I suspect I'm getting money from some people that have even forgotten that they're sending me money...), which means the only way to "refund" a donation would be sending it back after receit (as far as I am aware... maybe Paypal and co. provide other options?), which again costs money, so the refund would be less than the sum donated. Which tends to annoy people, because now they just donated a few unneccessary money transactions and feel stupid.

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I second the idea of not donating the excess funds and use them as backup if donation goals are not reached in future periods if this does not create legal problems as indicated by jedidia.
The other problem is, even if there's no legal problem (which it probably wouldn't be until a certain ammount has been stockpiled), if everything runs smoothly (as we all hope it will) eventually you will have to do something with that money. I.E. the problem gets likely larger over time. Once you have 5000 dollars stacked up, the issue of what's going to be done with them will be huge.

It seems a bit strange that we're worrying about excess money, but it's really not that uncommon a problem in a non-profit organisation. May God have mercy on your soul if you ever have signifficant ammounts of money left at the end of a project. Smart people therefore have a contingency for this, something in the project documentation that sys something along the lines of "excess money will be used for x". That's exactly what the Administrators are trying to do, and while we might argue about what that should look like, there's no way around some solution that doesn't involve stockpiling with ill-defined purpose. Turning down donations will lead to solvency problems in the future.

Anyways, how's the Doctor doing financially?

Last edited by jedidia; 11-19-2013 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyon
 The charity concept covers the disparity between the target we've stated, and the money we receive, should the latter exceed the former. Moving the target about doesn't really affect that.
It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.

Last edited by Enjo; 11-19-2013 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:26 PM   #23
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How about an inverse-Flattr kind of thing... (bear with me... )

Instead of just giving an amount, donators would pledge a maximum sum that they'd be willing to give for covering, say, the next three months. Should the total donations exceed the amount required, each donation could be scaled down to make the total fit. That way, any number of people can donate to the forum without their donation having to be returned.

E.g. with server costs stated as $100 for the next three months, five donators give $25, $40, $10, $35 and $15. This gives $125, 1.25 times too much. Scaling all the donations down to $20, $32, $8, $28 and $12 gives the desired total. This would also cover an unexpected drop in server costs, or a shortfall-caused donation drive bringing in too many donations.

Would that work? Or are their legal/moral/etc. problems with that?
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Old 11-19-2013, 12:33 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enjo View Post
 It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.
Of course, every recurring donator is entitled, and perhaps encouraged, to review how much they are donating on a routine basis and, if they can no longer afford to donate, to cease doing so. I imagine that you are correct, at least partly, but of course everybody has different circumstances. While some people may feel that it is time to reduce how much they donate, others may not, and we are grateful for every dollar donated to us. What's happening here is, as jedida noted above, a readjustment of our stated goals in accordance with the decrease in our server costs - to not make this kind of announcement would be deceitful, perhaps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacethingy View Post
 How about an inverse-Flattr kind of thing... (bear with me... )

Instead of just giving an amount, donators would pledge a maximum sum that they'd be willing to give for covering, say, the next three months. Should the total donations exceed the amount required, each donation could be scaled down to make the total fit. That way, any number of people can donate to the forum without their donation having to be returned.

E.g. with server costs stated as $100 for the next three months, five donators give $25, $40, $10, $35 and $15. This gives $125, 1.25 times too much. Scaling all the donations down to $20, $32, $8, $28 and $12 gives the desired total. This would also cover an unexpected drop in server costs, or a shortfall-caused donation drive bringing in too many donations.

Would that work? Or are their legal/moral/etc. problems with that?
I haven't had enough coffee yet to process this fully, but, it actually looks like a good idea - my problem with it is that in this manner, it's not clear how much you'll be donating in any given month. I'd like to continue to let people donate a fixed amount, since I know that this can be important for budgeting.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:20 PM   #25
N_Molson
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Or, to be more Earth-to-ground, maybe martins could hire a student from his University to help him with the most repetitive coding tasks in Orbiter ?
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Old 11-19-2013, 07:20 PM   #26
MattBaker
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Originally Posted by N_Molson View Post
 Or, to be more Earth-to-ground, maybe martins could hire a student from his University to help him with the most repetitive coding tasks in Orbiter ?
Let's be realistic, how high will the excess sum be? Not more than $100 (60 Sterling). Probably way less IMO. Let's not go capitalist on this but pay that guy a correct amount. At least 7 Sterlings an hour, no? Which translates to not even two afternoons.

Also it would probably take more time to get that set up to work efficiently. Coding for yourself is easy. Coding for another guy is like painting for another guy. You'll quickly see differences and both involved are confused what the other wants.


My opinion: Let's see how much excess ends up in December. And then I would prefer to keep it orbiter-related. Also I think the mods and especially Tex would deserve a nice christmas treat by the community. At least they've invested a fair share of time to create and maintain this place.
But I neither know if they'd accept it nor if anyone agrees with me there. The money gets donated for Orbiter-Forum, not for a new bike racing jersey for Tex.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:42 AM   #27
tblaxland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enjo View Post
 It's good that you mentioned it because I think that the assumption may be wrong. If the current donators are like me then they will sigh with a relief and trim their donation amounts. Only time will tell but end of the year is in my opinion too early to make this decision. Already you can see that there are voices of disagreement which means that the amount to be received may decrease.
I think that's all I have to say.
That's a fair point and there's no need to rush. We could see where we are at the end of next year. Or better yet, my preference would be to do it at 30 June, since I do the accounts for the forum and I have aligned the accounts with the Australian financial year

Personally, I'm glad that we have a little buffer. One thing that the previous donation goal never covered were PayPal fees. Each month we received $123, and then sent $123 and paid the fees on the transactions in both directions. That added up to a reasonable sum of money over the course of the year at between 0.5 and 3.3 % per transaction, depending on the country involved in the transaction. And that money had to come from somewhere.
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Old 12-13-2013, 02:39 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by tblaxland View Post
 Personally, I'm glad that we have a little buffer. One thing that the previous donation goal never covered were PayPal fees. Each month we received $123, and then sent $123 and paid the fees on the transactions in both directions. That added up to a reasonable sum of money over the course of the year at between 0.5 and 3.3 % per transaction, depending on the country involved in the transaction. And that money had to come from somewhere.
And the problem with using donation money to pay transaction fees is...?

Besides, I have an impression that the amount of attention this issue receives is inversely proportional to the amount of money involved.

As far as my donations are concerned, you can buy yourself a beer.
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Old 12-13-2013, 04:19 PM   #29
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 And the problem with using donation money to pay transaction fees is...?
Quite simply, there wasn't enough, previously.
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Old 12-14-2013, 02:05 AM   #30
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Last edited by icedown; 12-14-2013 at 02:19 PM.
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