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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • As we've discussed before, there also needs to be a comfortable year to year balance. As with any checking account, there is a cyclical up and down and you need to be able to accommodate this without going negative. In our case, for example, we need some cushion for funding down payments for YAPC. We also need to be conscious of the money we need to support some legal costs to manage Perl trademarks, etc.

    So what is that number? I don't know and I'd appreciate any guidance on how to arrive at it. Once we hav
    • But keeping right around that balance should be the goal, no? I don't think you're suggesting we spend down to zero each year. But you don't like the 100k number. So I guess we should have something in between.
      It's not the specific number that concerns me, it's seeing a year-to-year increase in the bank balance without a clear sense of why that's happening. That's all. Maybe 100k is the right amount of cushion, in which case that's great, TPF has reached that goal, and should make sure that in the future it spends enough to keep the balance right around there.

      Personally, I suspect that's a bit high, and that a balance of maybe $30-50k is probably best. That should be more than enough to cover down payments on a couple conferences, and gives us $50k to go to town on ;)

      We do spend money on things other than grants, but we haven't done a good job of explaining to people where it goes. We're working on that so people know better what they are supporting when they support TPF.
      I think this is the key. I wouldn't really worry about any bank balance, regardless of amount, as long as it was clear why that balance should be maintained.

      It seems like every time I think about things I dislike about TPF, it mostly comes back to communication issues.

      The reason for my journal entry wasn't to point the finger and say "TPF is hogging up our money", it was really to raise the question of what do we do with the money, and if we are accumulating more than is needed in the bank, can we think of other ways to spend it that would further TPF's mission and be acceptable to the donor base. I deliberately phrase this as "we", despite not being a TPF officer, because I don't expect the TPF steering committee to have all the answers.

      Personally, I like the idea of sabbatical-funded grants, mostly cause it's the only way I can see myself applying for one, but I'm sure people can come up with lots of other interesting ideas too.
      • I wouldn't worry too much about the amount of money in the bank.

        At the very worst, this money is earning extra interest (it is in a cash-generating fund right?) that strengthens the position of the TPF, because it's created more of the all-important cash flow.

        If I was Mozilla, I'd be sitting 50 or 100m in the bank generating the operating cash.

        Further, with that money available, at least you HAVE the option of spending it if something comes up down the track that deserves it.

        If you feel too much pressure to
        • I wouldn't worry too much about the amount of money in the bank.

          I wouldn't care much if TPF didn't do things like solicit people to "rush the stage" at YAPC to donate money, and things like that. Basically, why is an organization that is accumulating profits year to year begging for money in that manner?

          Mostly, it's a question of transparency, like I've already said. If I knew there was a long-term plan that required $200k in the bank, then that'd be fine. As it is, there is this weird pressure to donate at YAPC and similar events, without any reason why TPF needs mone