The Quick Guide to Writing Budget Requests for Mozilla Reps

Mozilla Reps
Mozilla Reps (Photo credit: Benny Chandra)

Thanks to an idea Mozilla Rep Emma Irwin raised in a North America Regional Meeting a couple of weeks ago, I was inspired to write a quick and dirty guide for writing budget requests for Mozilla Reps all over the globe.

The budget request form is pretty straight-forward, but there information you can include right off the bat to improve the chances of your request being approved. Hopefully, by the time a rep has finished reading this blog post, he/she will be more informed and optimistic about making budget requests.

Before You Make The Request

  1. Before you start to make your request, make sure you’ve created an event at the Mozilla Reps Portal. Fill out all needed information, and it is recommended that you don’t skip the “Additional Info" field. This is a space where you can place justification why the event is great and worthy of support.
  2. Be sure to read the common Questions asked by budget reviewers and be sure to have as much answers for your budget request.

Writing The Request

  1. Remember, like anything related to finance, transparency is key. Place a breakdown of your budget requests as much as possible.
  2. If you look at the subsection called “Costs Per Service,” this is the place where you list one by one the costs. It is a good practice to avoid lumping costs together.
  3. In a field called “Service”, indicate what you are getting. An example would be travel expenses, lodging expenses, venue costs for an event, food and refreshments, and the like.
  4. In the “Cost" field, indicate the amount in US Dollars. There are plenty of currency conversions sites at your disposal.

After Submitting the Request

  1. Go to the bugzilla page of the budget request (usually it looks like https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=XXXXXX) and see if everything is in order.
  2. At this point, it is highly recommended that you place supporting information in the “Additional Comments" field of the bugzilla page. Some information could include a more detailed description of the event and reasons you think the event is worth supporting.
  3. Still in the Additional Comments field, it would also be a good idea to include links to websites that are relevant to your requests.
  4. It is also very recommended that you indicate the success metrics of your event. Metrics is a good way to show that you’re event will contribute to what the Mozilla Reps is aiming to accomplish. I’ll delve more details on metrics later.
  5. Finally, write something about what you’ll be doing at the event.

Update: Thanks to Brian King for suggesting an additional section about post-event activities.

After the Event

  1. Be sure to collect and save receipts for the costs you have incurred in your event— these will be needed as attachments to your budget request bug to process reimbursements.
  2. It would take around 2-3 weeks for payments to be processed, so be patient. If this is an issue for you, don’t hesitate to talk to your Mozilla Reps mentor.
  3. When you’re finished with a blog post or uploading photos or videos of your event, it is highly recommended that you post that in the bugzilla budget request page and the event page at the Mozilla Reps portal. It’s a good time to check if your blog is included in the Mozilla Reps Planet
  4. Remember the metrics you’ve provided in your request? It would be a very good idea to follow through on them and save them as some sort of documentation. Don’t worry if you missed some of your intended success metrics— but at least you will know what worked and what didn’t for your next event.
  5. It is also recommended that you let your Mentor know about your activity and have a quick chat about it. Let your Mentor know about what worked and what challenged you faced, and in turn, ask for advice and what the potential next steps would be.

Sample Metrics

While this list is not definitive, this is a list of possible metrics that you can include in your request, with what you think are reasonable estimates:

  • Event registrations & attendance
  • "Get Involved" sign-ups
  • ReMo Applications filed
  • Successful ReMo applicants
  • Local Media coverage: Television & radio coverage, articles on print and online
  • Shares on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.)
  • Comments on website/blog
  • Progress on localization efforts

Examples

Here’s an example that gives an overview of the event and describes it in good detail:

Event X is the most widely-attended FOSS event in my city. It attract about 1,000 Open Source professionals and students, and it is usually headlined by a popular speaker. Last year, Mr. X was the primary keynote, along with Ms Y. and Mr. Z. It is covered by local media on both television and print, and it is an event techies look forward to. The website of the event is http://www.eventx.org

Here’s an example that outlines your activities in the event:

Our group will be on the booth and we will give away swag to people passing by. We’ll also talk to people and entertain questions about Mozilla and the Mozilla Reps program. We’ll also run contests where people will do at the booth.

Here’s an example statement describing what you will do at the event, and stating the metrics you are considering:

Event X will have 200 people in attendance, with a few local bloggers attending. An estimated 10 blog posts will be written and attendees will have the chance to participate in a talk I will be facilitating, where I will invite people to get involved in Mozilla. I estimate 5 people will be signing up at the “Get Involved” page at the Mozilla site.

Finally, here’s an example write-up after the event:

Event X was a success! I wrote a blog post at http://myblog.com/eventx and photos are uploaded in my Flickr album Event X. There were around 300 people who attended, and there are around 3 blog posts about the event. It was a very pleasant surprise that 50 people tweeted about the event and the tweets were generally positive. As of this update, I am aware that there is only one person who signed up at the Get Involved page at the Mozilla site (the person I talked to in the booth).


Conclusion

Making a budget request shouldn’t be stressful and actually easy if you take the time to put in the right details and be pro-active in answering potential questions from your mentor or a reviewer.

Now go plan your awesome event and make a budget request without fear! :D

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