As a starting point we can say that any business model is good as long as it matches our vision and values. There are models that are more adequate or intuitive than others. For example we wouldn't want to base our income on a strategy to make people dependent on us. Instead we want to empower people and help them consolidate their activities along the lines of free knowledge.
We can identify three main forms of revenue generation:
- Public & private funding
Different activities can be sustained by one or a combination of these forms. For example the FTA was set up with public funding from the EC (until 2010). However right from the start tuition fees were paid by participating learners (i.e. as a Service). In 2011 the FTA ran on tuition fees and contributions from the partners. Since 2012 the FTA courses are sustained by tuition fees and to a limited extent donations.
Each of these revenue models we can work out in further detail.
Public and private funding
Though public and private funding are different sources, in both cases there's generally a project proposal submitted, evaluated by the the funding programme and if selected, contract negotiations take place. The FKI team has participated in EC projects and has coordinated two projects. We can be of help in at least three ways:
- develop a project proposal for submission to a relevant programme. When the specific needs and ideas match a particular funding line, it may be worth to develop a project driven by the FKI and partners. Community members are encouraged to propose activities in this direction.
- advise the involvement of partners of the FKI's network
- participate as partner in a project proposal The FKI can be a strategic partner to participate in projects that fit the Institute's mission and vision.
Services can be very different. Services can be provided through exchange for money, goods or other services or they can be provided as a gift. The FTA Community Platform is in fact a service that is provided by the FKI as a gift to the community. FTA courses are normally run as a service in exchange for a tuition fee.
Here's a list of services that can be offered and obtained through the FKI:
- Introductory workshops
- Online courses: programme and course modules at the FTA
- Mentoring and coaching
- Strategic consultancy
- Development and implementation
These services can be realised in different ways. Core team members, community members or the wider network of FKI partners can help out. The work can take place on-site or online. Being a distributed team, online collaboration tends to be the most desirable in many cases. Currently under construction is the Free Technology Guild, that promises participants to find each other more easily through the FTA community platform and work and learn on the job. People interested in building up the FTG please notify through the contact form.
Donations form a different model from the previous revenue models in that there is no immediate exchange taking place. A donation is a gift. People who share the mission and principles of the FKI, may decide to contribute, in particular by donating time or money. With the help of generous contributions, the FKI has been able to run various otherwise unfunded activities, amongst others the FTA Community Platform, but also participation in various educational and political fora. FKI handles the donations for both the Institute in general as for the FTA. See donations to FKI and donations to FTA.
People willing to make a monthly donation are invited to become an FKI True Fan. The True Fan programme (see Kevin Kelly) in a nutshell invites people to donate 10 Euro a month to become a True Fan. FKI True Fans help to guarantee the continuity of the Institute. If you commit to do this during at least one year, we can get you a special FKI present. Of course you can stop at any time you want. We also accept BitCoins, just drop us an email and we'll provide you with an address.
We can see Crowdfunding as a particular form of donations, to collectively fund a particular project. We think this can be very adequate for the development of new projects, prototypes etc that are needed by the community.