I was part of the team that drafted and developed the Per Diem Budget Review Guide for Mozilla Reps in the recently concluded ReMo Camp in Berlin and I’m happy to share our recommendation for review of the ReMo community.
But let me first answer the basic questions about this system.
What is the Per Diem Budget Review Guide?
It’s essentially a tool for budget reviewers (Mentors and Council Members) to easily determine if a budget request is right for the location of the community event.
While the name has the terms “Per Diem,” it is not a traditional per diem system where Reps only get a certain per diem amount, regardless of the expenses included in the event.
Why have this system?
Budget requests are a challenging aspect of Mozilla Reps, to say the least. Making and reviewing budget requests is quite taxing for both the requestor and reviewer.
If the system works, it will save people a lot of stress and actually make budget reviews faster.
Who can use this?
Reps, Mentors, and Council Members can use this. It can serve as a first-pass review for incoming budget requests so Reps can make adjustments based on the review.
With the basic questions answered, let me illustrate how the Per Diem Budget Request System is used.
The key formula for this is
(A * n) + B
A = 50% of the value of the foreign Per Diem rates found at the US Department of State website
n = number of days spent for the event proper
B = lowest possible (and reasonable) transportation fare (plane, train, bus); this may be zero
Let’s try this in an example scenario.
Alice the Mozilla Rep from Jarakta Indonesia and she is going to Bangalore, India for a Mozilla community event for three days (3) days and two (2) nights.
Alice will go to the US Department of State website and look for her destination country (India), then look for the specific city (Bangalore):
Since she will be staying there in a hotel overnight, she will use the value found at the column “Maximum Per Diem Rate” which is $474.
She then takes that value and divides it by 2:
474 / 2 = $237
The obtained value of $237 becomes A.
Since Alice will be traveling by plane to India, she will refer to a travel fare site like momondo.com to look for good rates. Ideally, making this query is around 2 months before travel time.
Alice chooses a reasonably priced fare. In this case, she selects the flight costing $662. This becomes the value of B in our formula.
She will then do a screenshot of the price and attach this in her budget request later.
To compute for the amount of budget she will request, we plug in our values into the formula (A * n) + B:
A = $237
n = 3 (for 3 days)
B = $662
The total is $1,373.
The budget request will include round-trip air fare, hotel stay for 2 nights, plus all meals and incidental expenses (public transportation, for example) for all the three days in Bangalore.
Let’s have another example, this time for a local community event.
Bob is a Mozilla Rep in Belgium and he is going to FOSFEM in February. Since he is a local, he will not need to fly in for the community event. He will be in the event for two (2) days, and staying in a hotel for the evening.
Bob visits the US Department of State website and looks for Brussels, Belgium:
Bob looks at the column “Maximum Per Diem Rate” and takes the value $375 and divides it by two. Thus, A = $187.5.
Since he will not be taking the plane/train/bus to the venue, his value for B will be zero.
So plugging in the formula (A * n) + B:
A = 187.5
n = 2
B = 0
Bob’s budget request should be around $375.
For the final example, let’s take a local Rep who will do a one-day event.
Charlie is a Mozilla Rep in Sao Paolo, Brazil and he will speak at a local event about Firefox OS.
He refers to the US Department of State website and looks for Sao Paolo, Brazil:
Since Charlie is not going to stay in a hotel, he will refer to the column “M & IE Rate” for Sao Paolo, which is $145 and divides it by 2. His value for A is $72.50.
Computing for the value using the formula (A * n) + B:
A = $72.5
n = 1
B = 0
Charlie’s budget request should be $72.50 for meals and incidental expenses for the day.
Hopefully, this post explained the Per Diem Budget Review Guide very well and the examples provided clarity on the steps.
This system will be pilot-tested in the coming months and the system may still change depending on the outcome of the test.
Feedback would be very much appreciated.