Nonprofit Assistance Program Proposal

From FreekiWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This proposal was approved by council at the March 16, 2005 meeting.

The proposal

Free Geek will disband the Collaborative Technologies group and establish a new group. This new group will be called the Free Geek Nonprofit Assistance Program (NAP). It shall:

adopt a mission statement as follows,
Create a group that will facilitate the adoption of open source software based, sustainable solutions for non-profit organizations and that will pay for itself and provide a stream of revenue into the Free Geek general fund.
begin by packaging existing Free Geek programs for nonprofit organizations,
Hardware Grants, Technical Support, and Education would be the initial three cornerstones of the new program
initially add to that package only a few very easy to do things,
NAP will create a slightly expanded distro based on the FreekBox distro that will be aimed specifically at nonprofits. The software additions will be selected by NAP but should be initially limited to software already in use at Free Geek.
create a list of available contractors,
This list could be incorporated into Free Geek's existing database and would be designed to help us track a contractor's skills, association with Free Geek, and history of working with nonprofits. NAP would then propose criteria to be used for referring nonprofits to these contractors and shepherd this criteria through the Community Council.
survey the nonprofit community about what additional services would be useful, and
The survey should only offer small, reachable steps beyond what we can currently do. Surveys are as much a marketing tool as they are information gathering, so this needs to be done carefully.
plan and maintain three stages defined by short term, medium term, and long term goals.
As each goal is completed, NAP should propose adjustments in the phases and shepherd actual changes through the Free Geek Community Council. The short term stage should consist of tasks that we are capable of working on right now, and the medium and long term goals give us a sense of direction. It is recognized that the medium and long term goals are likely to shift over time. The initial short, medium, and long term goals are listed below as a part of this proposal.

No new part of the program will be put into action until a funding plan for it has been developed. A funding plan would be drafted by NAP and approved by the Community Council and the Staff Collective before new programs are actually launched. (For instance, if onsite training is to be offered for a fee there would need to be a funding plan that explains expected costs and incomes and this plan would need to be approved by the Staff Collective and the Community Council before NAP could proceed with the onsite trainings.)

Short term goals

NAP would deliver FreekBoxen, GrantBoxen, firewalls, Diskless Labs, and necessary cabling, hubs, etc., along with printers by working through the existing Hardware Grants and Build programs.
NAP would provide debian Linux (sarge) systems, especially those with the standard set of software included on FreekBoxen, plus Apache, Mailman, Samba, Webmin, and CUPS working through the existing Distro group.
NAP would provide training on standard FreekBox systems to nonprofit organizations through our current adoption classes. Working with the current Education Program, NAP would develop training curriculum for the additional software included with the idea that on site training could be made available, or it could be held at Free Geek.
Tech Support
NAP would offer support during regular Technical Support hours using our current Technical Support staff and volunteers. NAP would try to to increase these hours as much as possible within our current resources.
Needs assessments
NAP would develop a process for providing basic needs assessments for nonprofit organizations. The needs assessment to be provided would help the nonprofit make intelligent decisions when evaluating what type of technology is appropriate for their needs.
Consultants list
NAP would collect contact and other information on consultants with the purpose of listing these consultants as a resource for nonprofits. NAP would develop a legal disclaimer, diminishing liability to Free Geek that nonprofits would need to read before using the consultants. NAP would explore other similar resources available to the nonprofit community.
NAP will explore financing options. For instance, we could charge fees for diskless labs, or we could charge for fees for the special classes (i.e. any System Admininstration oriented classes that are developed), and/or for on-site training. We could also charge fees for Technical Support services. NAP would develop a longer term financing plan and investigate grantwriting as a way of growing to a sustainable level.
All staffing at this stage would need to be done with current paid staff and volunteers.

Medium Term goals

NAP should provide all of the above plus an enterprise level server (with fail over, redundancy, etc.), and possibly additional peripherals (like scanners and cameras) as they are requested and as Free Geek develops the capacity to test and support them. A sub-program (Server Build) under the Build program would be developed to support the refurbishing of the enterprise level servers.
NAP should provide all of the above plus an off-the-shelf, non-customized database application for Linux and/or a generic front end to windows or linux databases. This would have to be chosen and tested.
NAP should provide all of the above plus develop training on the off-the-shelf database application.
Tech Support
NAP should offer tech support during regular working hours using the current Technical Support program.
Needs assessments
NAP would begin to offer basic needs assessments.
Consultants list
NAP would publicize its consultants list to the nonprofit community. NAP would explore ways to get feedback on the performance of the consultants. NAP would explore ways of making actual referrals.
NAP would try to expand the above mentioned income streams wherever practical. NAP could also charge for the enterprise level hardware and additional peripherals that are supported.
NAP may have part time staff coordinator paid for by the income streams generated by the program along with paid and volunteer internships. Additional hours may be added to existing staff positions to allow for expanded service.

Long term goals

(See above)
All of the above software would be provided. Custom database applications may be provided as needed.
All the above, plus training on the use of the custom database application.
Tech Support
All of the above plus on site support.
Needs assessments
Custom database applications would require a more formal needs assessment process for a nonprofit.
Consultants list
NAP may begin to make actual consultant referals to nonprofits.
All of the above plus charging for on site support and open source software development grants.
Full time and part time staff as can be supported by the income streams, and volunteer and/or paid interns. The needs assessment process could be performed by Free Geek staff or volunteers, by as contractors managed by Free Geek, or by contractors referred by Free Geek to the nonprofits. Custom database development would most likely be performed by consultants outside of Free Geek, but NAP should consider all alternatives.

Differences between this and other proposals

Nonprofit Assistance Program

The Nonprofit Assistance Program proposal is similar to this one in many ways, but starts by changing the current Hardware Grants program, rather than establishing a new group. The current Hardware Grants program is working well enough (though there are some flaws) and members of the group have shown reluctance to take on new duties. A danger in radically tampering with an existing successful program is that we might break it while trying to implement something new. Under the Future of Collab proposal, once NAP is up and running, if we found the two programs to significantly overlap, we could consider merging them, resulting in the same outcome -- or if the overlap was less significant, we'd be free to keep the programs separate.

Also, this Future of Collab proposal spells out more of the mission and roadmap of NAP than the Nonprofit Assistance Program does.

Contractor List

The Contractor List proposal is an attempt to establish a network of consultants for nonprofit who that have a relationship with Free Geek and have demonstrated some sort of competence. The Contractor List proposal could go forward as a separate motion. However, some of its points have been incorporated into this version of the Future of Collab proposal.

Some major issues to consider in the development of a contractor list:

  • What is the liability to Free Geek?
  • Do we just advertise or recommend contractors?
  • If we recommend:
    • What kind of criteria do we apply?
    • How do we track that criteria?