What can we afford financially as a co-op?

We manage the voluntary dues for co-op members using OpenCollective.

Today’s balance - €781.69 EUR
Estimated annual budget - €617.29 EUR

This isn’t much money. I’m also terrible at finance stuff. We need to work out how much surplus we can afford to spend on stuff such as hiring a paid mod (Black, Asian, minority ethnic candidates preferred) and perhaps some tech services from my tech co-op.

I obviously won’t be able to be involved in any discussions or votes about hiring my Autonomic to work on tech stuff as it would be a conflict of interest.

We won’t actually be able to officially “hire” anyone as we don’t have a legal structure. They will have to submit expense claims on OpenCollective and then we reimburse them. They would have to take care of their own tax etc as a freelancer.


Paid mod/advisor role

For example if we had a paid mod role. We could use half our budget of €617.29 which is about €300 (rounded slightly down for ease). That’s only €25 per month. That’s really only two paid hours per month at €12.50 euros per hour.

I just hope that would be enough for someone to actually be able to get stuff done.


What is the budget based on? Projected expenses for the year/expenses from previous years? I think it will be difficult to make decisions without knowing what the budget already covers. If we used €300 to pay a mod as you suggested, would that leave us unable to pay server costs or something? (Disclaimer: I have no idea how much a server costs to run/maintain, that’s just an example.)

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Sorry I am terrible at finance stuff and I don’t know how to use OpenCollective at all.

That’s fair! I don’t have an OpenCollective account. When I have time I’ll try to make one and take a look.

We get more than we use right now, but we are saving very slowly.


This is the balance sheet I guess?

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Do we have a cashflow spreadsheet/document of when income and expenditure occurs throughout the year? If not, I this would help us work out where we are in any given month and what’s available, and answer notreallyremus question.

If we don’t have one, and if people would find it useful, I could draft one based on say income & expenditure in 2019?

(sorry, edited this to make it clear that my offer is a suggestion - but needs feedback)


That would be amazing. I’m so bad at that stuff honestly. You can export the .csv data here: https://opencollective.com/sunbeam-city/transactions

ok, will try and do this over the next few days, health permitting


Just so people know, I am working on this and hope to have figures for you tomorrow :slight_smile:

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These are the figures for the periods:
Feb 2019 to Jan 2020 - these are the actual figures
Feb 2020 to Jan 2021 - these are a proposed budget/cashflow

I hope the images look ok for you all. If they don’t, I could upload them to my Scribd account and link to them that way.

Please read the notes under each before asking any questions, as hopefully I’ve answered most there.

The TL;DR version:
a) This isn’t set it stone, it’s a projection only.
b) We could afford to pay someone like Marcia X as a one-off and then have a small monthly budget for a regular consultant, as well as covering hosting and domain costs. If kawaiipunk’s Co-op do take over the server management, we will need to relook at figures to include a payment to them.
c) If membership/donations go down, then obviously we would have to look at things again.
d) if you do have questions I haven’t already answered, do ask them! (I’m just trying to use my limited spoons carefully).
e) I’ve been doing bookkeeping for a while, but am not actually qualified, so usual caveats :slight_smile:


Could the concept of a Stipend be helpful here? I am also not awesome at finance stuff, but I know IWW has some stipended positions.

Sorry about the odd link, but that page had the best answer.

OTOH, maybe we shouldn’t half-ass this, as being an advisor could be a lot of difficult work. I was just thinking it could take care of the tax question.

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Adding this in the hope it will make our financial situation clearer:

From the most basic level, the 2nd Sheet shows that as of 27th Feb we have £816 in the OpenCollective amount. Under the section labelled ‘OpenCollective Figures’, I’ve show the Opening Balance at the beginning of each month, the projected income and expenditure for that month, and the closing balance at the end of the month. It shows what we can currently afford each month, and what is left over to carry over to the next month.

Thanks for putting this together, it’s really helpful! :slight_smile: It looks like we’re in a reasonable position to pay a consultant, which is great.

I don’t know how much hiring kawaiipunk’s coop would cost, but it doesn’t look as though there would be enough left over to pay more than about €12/month which I wouldn’t expect to be nearly enough. (I assume that would be intended to be an ongoing thing rather than a one off?) Either way we’ll need to look at if/how we can manage both of these things.


Yes, we would definitely need to look at increasing our income. Kawaiipunk’s co-op is willing to do it for free to start with, but I wouldn’t want that to continue for too long.

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