Version 1

Prepared by the SPN Research and Innovation Subcommittee of the Steering Committee

Document Lead: Aaron Choate, last updated May 13, 2020

Assumptions

  • Grants and other fundraising will play a role in providing support for some of the work of the SPN. This framework covers the instances where the teams involved decide to raise funds to support their work. Those projects that do not require external funding are covered elsewhere in the R&I framework document.
  • A framework needs to be in place to allow each of the affected subcommittees to efficiently impact fundraising and project-based activities
  • A process needs to be in place to allow stakeholders from the community to propose or provide guidance to proposed fundraising efforts and projects while preserving the capacity of the community to build their requests in the competitive environment that exists in today’s libraries & archives funding ecosystem

Goal

Ensure that a framework and process are in place such that grant-seeking, fundraising, and other project-based activities best support the work of the SPN collective as we conclude year one activities.

Who:  As the steering committee determines the amount of focus the SPN community will have on searching for funding in year two, we will need to decide how to appropriately find a person or persons who can focus on overseeing and tracking that activity.  This could be a paid staff position in the future.  However, as SPN is built with an explicit structure around working groups to ensure the capacity of its members to participate in its work, the assumption here will be that a small working group, reporting to the executive and research & innovation steering subcommittees would be formed to implement any fund-raising workflows deemed necessary by the organization.  This group would focus on pipeline tracking and assist in compiling necessary documentation in support of requests, but would not necessarily write the requests for funding themselves.

Definitions

Fundraising framework

The structure that we build around fund-seeking and project-based activities to help define how SPN and its partners coordinate those activities and support their work

Fundraising pipeline

The process that SPN partners use to track the evaluation, writing and submission of grants or fundraising activities when it is determined that SPN will be a primary partner on an effort.

Executive committee

While the final governance model and legal status of the SPN  is yet to be determined, this document refers to an executive committee as a likely body which would have a prime role in governance of the organization.

Inputs

Committee/working group activities

As the core of the work of the SPN, any committee or working group may, in the course of their work, identify a good topic for a grant request or a funding opportunity.

Research & Innovation hub conversations

As the core of the conversation in support of research orbiting the SPN, the hub will be a logical place to find partners for grants and a place to openly share in honing ideas for engaging in research. See the Incubation of Ideas (Appendix 1 and the Research and Innovation Continuum (Appendix 2).

Inquiries from community partners

The SPN community will be a logical stakeholder representative group as organizations work to meet our software preservation needs.  The SPN organization will most likely receive inquiries from community partners as they work to build their project teams and support for their projects.

Determining the level of participation

Lead

SPN is the originating organization in support of a research initiative sparked by the work within one of its committees or working groups.  While SPN may not be a legal entity and the actual grants may be submitted in its name by a host or partner institution, the effort will be governed by the SPN community.

Requirements to move forward:

  • the idea has originated within a group or subgroup of the organization
  • the idea must support the research agenda, support the education/outreach goals of the org or infrastructural/staffing needs of the org
  • a group within SPN has agreed to author the grant
  • a group of SPN partners have agreed to work under the organizing structure of the SPN to accomplish the goals of the grant
  • if the grant has been reviewed by the appropriate committees / working groups
  • the steering committee agrees to support the grant

Affiliated

SPN is being listed as a project partner by an affiliated organization.  While SPN may not be a legal entity, the participation of the SPN members or SPN supported staff is governed by the SPN community.  The SPN or SPN’s host or partner institution is going to receive a portion of a grant’s funds in order to support the work described in its workplan.

This category could also apply to any community projects that choose to include the work of SPN working groups or subcommittees as dedicated stakeholder groups > %5 FTE regardless of whether they are being listed as funded or matching commitments.

  • the idea must support the research agenda, support the education/outreach goals of the org or infrastructural/staffing needs of the org
  • if the grant has been reviewed by the appropriate committees / working groups
  • the “executive” committee agrees to support the grant

Supportive

SPN is being asked to support the goals of an affiliated grant, but will not be receiving funding, or expected to contribute to the goals of the project other than to participate in a low-impact advisory capacity.  (<5% FTE)

  • the idea must support the research agenda, support the education/outreach goals of the org or infrastructural/staffing needs of the org
  • Requests can be reviewed by the steering committee and approved with a simple majority vote if need be and signed-off by the executive director as the representative of the SPN organization

Participating in authorship or soliciting input

Based on the level of involvement, we will need to track the development of the request differently:

Lead

  • we manage the pipeline
  • we manage the drafting
  • we track the committee input
  • we track the signoffs in the committees
  • we manage the submission
  • we manage the project planning
  • we manage the logistics platform
  • we manage the project support
  • we establish requirements for individual grants (e.g., data management plans, communication plans)

Affiliated

  • we do not manage the pipeline
  • we do not manage the drafting
  • we track the committee input
  • we track the signoffs in the committees
  • we do not manage the submission
  • we offer project planning support
  • we offer the logistics platform
  • we offer the project support
  • we offer suggested components for individual grants (e.g., data management plans, communication plans)

Supportive

  • we do not manage the pipeline
  • we do not manage the drafting
  • we do not track the committee input
  • we track the signoff in the steering committee
  • we do not manage the submission
  • we do not manage project planning
  • we do not manage the logistics platform
  • we do not the project support
  • we do not establish requirements for individual grants (e.g., data management plans, communication plans)

Track funding and project requests

All levels of request should have a means of tracking so that affected members can see the priorities and work of the organization whether the funds are received or not.  The amount of tracking will be determined by the quantity of grants and level of involvement in grants.

Assuming, at least initially, that grant seeking activities will be limited, it is likely that coordination can be accomplished using simple spreadsheet and document management methods.

How many is too many?  We don’t want to put a cumbersome process in place, requiring “tools” that require constant updating if there won’t be many requests to track.  However, we could easily reach a limit in a distributed org where tracking could require more structure than is defined here.  If a project management tool is adopted to support other work in the organization, that same tool could likely be configured to track the components of the grant pipeline as the team works to build out the funding requests

Ensuring outcomes

While the grants team would not necessarily be directly responsible for accomplishing the work of any given grant, they are responsible for ensuring that SPN feels that a grant is meeting its goals.  No matter which level of involvement we have chosen, we will establish metrics that any grant we support will be assessed.

Potential Issues to discuss as we proceed into implementation

We don’t want this process to “get in the way”, but we will need to be firm with organizations re: appropriate inclusion and lead times for response.  We’re trying to be open with our community and that will require that we have time to keep people appraised / get input.

We need to be as open as possible, but the fact is that this organization is made up of many organizations who will be in competition for a limited set of opportunities.  What is fair to require re: openness in that context?

Preferred citation:

SPN Steering Committee. SPN Research and Innovation Framework: Fundraising and Project Framework . Software Preservation Network. https://www.softwarepreservationnetwork.org/spn-research-innovation-framework-fundraising-and-project-framework/