[Decision] - Radically Decentralized Art Funding - DEFERRED TO 2021
A decision has been made
Who made the decision: @Alexxx
When was the decision made: Sunday - 08/03/20
Decision Summary: This proposal will be put on the backburner for KB20. I would appreciate if you find and read this, to input your comments and thought on the topic, as it will be reviewed again in the fall of 2020 to re-emerge again as a proposal for KB2021. The more input we have on this thread, the better formulated proposal I can assemble at the start of next year. Thank you kindly for your time.
Thank you for the input everyone.
Due to the pause placed on Dreams because of this advice process, I consider it unwise to continue exploring the idea for KB2020. We will continue with the expected workload and manage accordingly.
The idea is naturally controversial, and I received almost balanced feedback, both positive and negative within the 24 hours of running.
It is clear to me that any major budget-affecting proposals need to be finalized early in the earl (i.e. by the end of January), and need at least 6 weeks if not 2 months in order to allow emotional space for participants to discuss and play with the idea. The heated and fracturing response to the 3 controversial proposals of this spring highlighted that to me personally.
Some participants were excited by the encouragement of Self-Reliance and Gifting contained within, as well as the more transcendental communal effort of supporting artists and creators in developing crowdfunding techniques that could be practices outside of our burniverse.
Others were concerned that the message Finance, and hence KB, that would be portrayed would be an unsupported environment for participants to bring their contributions to Kiez Burn. And so felt that we would become less inclusive.
Which of these principals we consider of highest value is to be assessed subjectivley. In the case of organizational structures, I would hope to think that it would be the affected responsible parties (primarily finance and dream guides) interperation of these values that would decide whether this a worthwhile proposal or not. I do consider dreamers affected, and I expect most would not be happy with the idea as we take one rung of 'Kiez Burn security' out of the equation, but I am personally in this gig to support and enable positive transformation growth, not to have simply more Art (by which I mean more art easily, I think on a macro level, enabling artists to fund their own projects year round more powerful and makes more art than giving them a single year hand-out), and so the support I would then offer to provide to assist those dreamers realize their projects through this new proposal much more valuable for our community as a whole.
Thank you kindly for your time in reading this. Please comment with your feedback on the topic. This is still in INFORMATION GATHERING STAGE, and so is not a full proposal yet. I am SEEKING ADVICE, so if your opinions do not help me to make a better decision, then please re-frame them so that they do.
The decision would need to be finalized by, at the latest, the day before the Ticket's go on Sale. As this proposal would make the Kiez Burn Tickets Cheaper.
Alex - Finance Lead
I am the Schatzmeister of the Verein and Finance Lead for the event.
The advice process
The first step in the advice process is to gather input and advice from experts and people affected. (see realities)
Information gathered before posting
Spoke with @Callum Macdonald in November who proposed the radical idea.
Spoke with @Saskia (The Fuzzy Facilitator) who's currently driving the Dreams process. She would like more information on the idea before inputting more advice, but would like the proposal/decision to be made quickly as she would be relinquished of a lot of work if it goes forward.
Spoke with @Franzi who displayed concern with how this proposal would interfere with our Vereinszweck - "Die Förderung von Künst und Kultur" (The promotion of Arts and Culture), not just in a legal setting, but also from a philosophical perspective as to what we represent as an organization and community.
People/roles most affected by this proposal
Dreams Platform @Saskia (The Fuzzy Facilitator) @waldo @Mareike @Clément @Paul aka Khromo (who else from here?
Ticketing (Otto and Jan)
Potential Art Department @benjamin Langholz
Robot Ministry @Robot Ministry's Helper Bot @flo @Henrik 🤖 @zach dunton
People/roles with the most knowledge and experience relevant to this proposal:
The Board in General @Franzi @Remy Schneider @waldo @HM
Previous Finance @Arthur Taylor
Currently, KB collects funds from participants through ticket sales. We try to divert as much of the raised money towards an Art Grants budget, after all Production and Organizational costs have been covered.
In 2018 there was an Art Grant committee that selected the Art projects from applications sent to them. The process was nontransparent and highly time consuming for the art grants team, hence the move to the dreams platform.
In 2019, that remaining budget (roughly 15k€) was directed to the Dreams Platform where participants could advertise their art project, and ticket holders could spend 'tokens' (allocated from their purchased ticket), which would amount to real-life refundable in Euros on the expenses of their project. The process was Transparent for most users, but there was still a lot of overhead time in setting-up and managing the Dreams Platform, as well as the many many hours of work done by several Dream guides to support the Dreamers in their projects.
In both those cases, after all of that was done, piles upon piles of somewhat-organized receipts were painstakingly gathered by artists, uploaded to an online tool, checked by the Dream guides that they were in-line with the 'Dreams Agreement', then organized and sent to Finance who had to check the validity of each receipt individually, double check the total sums of the receipts, spend about 30 hours of photocopying receipts for lazy artists (no joke), before processing in the backed finance spreadsheet, cover-sheets and documentation added, and then finally the refund could be sent to the artists.
At this point then it goes in a folder and is sent to the bookkeepers, who are costing us this year 80€ an hour for them to input all that information into their special programs and ensure that we did everything correctly before calling Finance to inform them of mistakes that Finance then has to chase hippies down in the height of summer for a piece of paper that the artists doesn't care about because they've got their money and life is good (so the problem is with the Verein and Schatzmeister).
Finance is currently recruiting developers and many others to re-design the finance tool to minimize this workload by automating as much of the process as possible. But this is a large investment of time and resources, and will only improve the overall process (which took me about 200 hours, after the burn, including emails, chasing things down, and photocopying.... fuck I hate the photocopying...)
Hence the Proposal
Radically Decentralize the Art Funding.
The Event budget is formed as a "Camping Event, in which we are hosting an Art Exhibition". Meaning the ticket is at the lowest price, and only covers production and organizational costs. This has the benefit that it is a clean 7% VAT, wheras currently we are uncertain we will get the "Cultural event" status, which is what we require for a 7% VAT. This means would probably have to pay 19% VAT (Which is a difference of 8000€ on the 2019 Budget)
We use the Dreams Platform as a platform to advertise the Art projects participants want to bring to Kiez Burn.
The Dream Guides operate instead as facilitators for Dreamers to set up Paypal Money Pools and Gofundme Campaigns. And we use the Kiez Burn platform to promote the projects and ensure they are well seen.
Participants Pay money directly to the Art Projects they want to see happen. Both Paypal and Gofundme are set up to be transparent and very easy, with multiple payment options and WAY more flexibility in timing. They have their money before the event as opposed to getting refunded some time afterwards (in some cases that was up to 4 months)
How would the proposal be implemented
The Budget and ticket price would need to be adjusted accordingly
@Robot Ministry's Helper Bot would need to be informed to change the Dreams Platform (simplify, as there is no need to implement heavy questionairs, or a system to transfer tokens from the ticketing platform to the dreams)
The Dream Guides would need to change the Dreamer Application process slightly, and adjust their roles to support Dreamers in a different fashion.
Support material could be created to assist Dreamers in the process of setting up their funding streams. Video Tutorials (@Alexxx is already working on this), written documentation for the step-by-step process.
Who would implement this proposal
@Alexxx - If I don't need to invest countless hours into setting up the documentation and communication for the Dreams refund process, then I can divert than energy to supporting Dreamers and Dream Guides to set up their new funding systems.
When would this proposal be implemented
At the latest, the day before Ticket Sales go online. Dreamers could start their funding process immediately (before ticket sales are even discussed). The Dreams Platform is up and running from 08.03.20, and their funding process could already start.
What would be the cost (time, money, effort, etc.) of this proposal
For Finance it's more than 50% of the total workload I have to commit to (saving me in the region of 100 voluntary hours, potentially more)
For Dream Guides it will likely also lower the total workload by a lot (I'd estimate 50%, as there's no guidelines to adhere to, the processes are the same for every application, and once the funding channels are set up, there's no more work for the Dream Guides)
Artists would need to divert some time (<30 mins) in setting up the Gofundme and/or Paypal Money Pools (<2 min if you have a Paypal account). This could actually be significantly less time that required to organize their receipts.
What are the advantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)
How does your proposal relate to the Kiez Burn principles?
Radical self reliance (Artists get their own money directly, and manage themselves)
Community (Trust that they will bring the project they say)
Co-Creation (Participants choose the projects they want to fund directly)
Participation (It's still transparent and other support can still be acquired)
Immediacy (Strong CTA could help the artists get the funding they want)
The major advantages of the proposal is that hundreds if not thousands of volunteer hours are saved from sorting, organizing and examining boring receipts and invoices in the quest to fulfill German bureaucratic standards. It is an un-gratifying job for both the artists (dreamers) (who have to organize all their receipts correctly and properly this year if they want a refund) and finance (who has to check everything himself in order to not be liable for any mistakes made throughout the whole process).
There will simply be NO RECEIPT HANDLING CONCERNING ART GRANTS with this proposal. The Artists gets their money, and does what they want with it. Finance and Kiez Burn e.V doesn't see the money at all and so has nothing to process.
Dreamers get their money before the event. Currently they have to put the funds up beforehand, and then we refund them afterwards. This way the Dreamer can use the donations to directly fund the project, relieving a financial burden.
Also the Role of Dream Guide should become significantly more enjoyable as they should end up spending more time assisting Dreamers to make their dream come true rather than argue over little details contained within their Dream Agreement (the rules and regulations of the Dreams Platform and process).
Artists can easily expand their campaign outside of the Kiez Burn microverse and get extra funding from external sources (other communities, personal friends etc). This is actually a very valuable skill that can help them fulfill other projects outside of Kiez Burn.
Finally, organizing ourselves as a camping event is a very clean (meaning it is certain) 7% VAT application in the eyes of the Finanzamt. What we do traditionally is a very grey area in terms of applying for the 7% VAT as a "Cultural Event" (The German law book recognizes "Theater and other performance Art as 7%, every other form of art is questionable, and can be 19% or 7% depending on which Officer/judge is looking at the case. Music festivals and events are 19% explicitly as the other reference. They decide what they think we are, and we can only argue so far with them. More information on this topic will follow in April after our Taxes have been investigated, which will be too late for this proposal)
In the event we also fund Benjamin's Large Art proposal, having 3 or so large Artist invoices in the bookeeping would actually make us eligible for the "Cultural Event" status, which would incur a 7% VAT on ticket sales. It is the messiness of the Dreams Refund process that puts our event's status into question (for the Finanzamt 'Art' = "Paying an Artist for Art", and does not equal "refunding random hippies for their interpretation of art". Info from the Steuerberater)
What are the disadvantages of this proposal (relative to the current situation and/or counter-proposals)
There is a risk that participants will not put their money where there mouth is. That when it comes to individually paying for Projects (which was about 15€ per ticket holder in 2019), they could not overcome the emotional barrier and actually make the payment independently. I believe that this would be a strong reflection of our community, and is a social experiment that could be worth undertaking to discover how much our beloved burners are actually willing to pay for the Art we love so much.
Large Art projects could have a much harder time than smaller art projects. But that is actually a current problem with the Dreams Platform as it stands, and a reason for the Art Grant Committee proposal by @Benjamin Langholz. In actual fact, the idea of putting some money towards his proposal (~5k€ as an example), and having it directed to professional artists that could charge kiez burn a Single Invoice, would be a perfect hand-in-hand solution to this problem, as the overhead of work for Finance would be minimal, and Benjamin has offered to oversee the remainder of the process.
The system could get gamed. Dreamers might lie, or accept money and not use it, or not bring their projects at all, and that couldn't be traced or tracked back. At the moment they could simply send in fake receipts if they want to game the system, so there is little extra protection by adding our bureaucracy to the equation. The only advantage KB offers is that if they don't come, we'll probably notice (not guaranteed) and only issue a partial refund (Korg dependent). The question is, how much do we trust our own people? Is distrust a good reason not to experiment with this method?
Paypal Money Pool does have a 'goal' function, but the money goes directly into the pool. It is a very simple process of refunding if the Dream doesn't work out for any reason, but it is done at the trust of the Dreamer.
GOfundMe doesn't have a minimum Goal function, but Kickstarter does. Kickstarter has higher fees (5%), but would be a safer option for the donating participants, as the project only get's the money when they reach their minimum.
Generally Trust/security are the major issues with this proposal. And open a much larger range of questions. How much trust can we give each other as a larger network? What would be the potential consequences of breaching this trust? If we don't trust each other enough to fund our projects in this way, why do we do it under the safety blanket of Kiez Burn? (By which I mean, trust would be an integral value any community I would want to be a part of)
Thank you kindly for your time in reading this. Please comment with your feedback on the topic. This is still in INFORMATION GATHERING STAGE, and so is not a full proposal yet.
I am SEEKING ADVICE, so if your opinions do not help me to make a better decision, then please re-frame them so that they do.
Once I have received some input and confirmed the legal ramifications from the Steuerberater and a Lawyer, the proposal can be adjusted or scrapped accordingly.
Decision Write here when you think a decision can be taken or should be taken. You could set a deadline if other important leads/areas are dependent on a decision here. Or you could take the open-ended view that you will take a decision when all have had the chance to give advice. When a decision was reached, write on top of the thread: A decision has been made Who made the decision: Your name When was the decision made: Date Decision Summary: Short version of what you have decided