On Think Tanks is supported by multiple sources and through at least two vehicles. We are working to consolidate our funding structure and offer a clearer picture of our finances; unfortunately, like many, mainly voluntary efforts, it has evolved in a rather complex manner.
In order to polish our Transparify levels this page will provide an as up-to-date as possible description of our funding.
Our fiscal hosts
First we must clarify that there is no organisation called On Think Tanks. It emerged as a blog of Enrique Mendizabal and then became a project of OTT Consulting Ltd (formerly Mendizabal Ltd). +
On Think Tanks has two main fiscal hosts -i.e. organisations that receive and manage funds for OTT activities: OTT Consulting Ltd and Universidad del Pacífico.
OTT Consulting Ltd is a small, UK-based, consultancy set up by Enrique Mendizabal (OTT’s founder) to undertake consultancy work. Through it, Enrique supported all OTT’s activities between 2010 and 2015. This involved both taking advantage of consultancy projects to deliver activities for OTT (e.g. On Think Tanks Data Visualisation Competition or On Think Tanks Exchange) or using profits to cover travel costs, website development and research assistants -all of which contributed to generating contend for On Think Tanks.
Currently, OTT Consulting Ltd is the management vehicle for the On Think Tanks School fees which, after deducting direct Paypal and bank charges, are earmarked for the School. OTT Consulting Ltd is also managing a new OTT initiative: the Open Think Tank Directory, which started in July 2016. And from early 2017 it has taken on the management of advisory work that On Think Tanks collaborators deliver for think tanks and their funders across the world. OTT Consulting will always report on this work.
Universidad del Pacífico is the fiscal host for a generous fund from the Hewlett Foundation, which has supported OTT since 2015. OTT’s communications, core roles within the On Think Tanks School and other ongoing activities are covered by these funds.
Finally, On Think Tanks team members contribute towards it, too, through volunteering part of their own time. On Think Tanks provides a platform on top of which its members can develop new projects and initiative.
Not all funds from OTT Consulting are employed directly on OTT related activities and it is hard to assess the contribution they make to OTT. We recognise this is not a good-enough answer so we will share all the work in OTT Consulting and who funds its activities.
However, as an illustration, recent funding (which comes in multiple currencies) that feeds into OTT’s strategy via OTT Consulting includes projects from (we attempt to mention the entire chain of actors):
- The Think Tank Initiative via CADEP in Paraguay to support ILAIPP and its members to develop their funding models. This project involves training, developing strategies and tactics, testing them, and producing learning materials for the network and for the general public. It runs until mid-2018 and the total budget is CAD85,700.
- The Think Tank Fund to develop an Open Think Tank Directory (with funds that were left over from the On Think Tanks Exchange). The funds provided by the Think Tank Fund are USD27,800.
- Fees from participants of the On Think Tanks School’s short and long courses which are shared with the facilitators on a 80:20 ratio with OTTS. In 2016, OTT raised USD5,250 to be used in the OTTS in 2017.
- Fees from participants and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs through foraus to organise a School of Thinktankers in Geneva. OTT is not receiving anything for this; instead, foraus is managing the budget directly.
The Hewlett Foundation funds, channeled through Universidad del Pacífico, are easier to track:
- For the period 2015-2016, On Think Tanks has received USD230,000
- For the period 2017-2018, On Think Tanks will receive USD380,000
It is worth stressing and recognising that much of what On Think Tanks has been able to do since its foundation ins 2010 has been down to voluntary work and contributions from key institutions and individuals, including:
- Soapbox -this website was developed by them;
- Jeff Knezovich and Nick Scott -who helped developed the first versions of the site; and Jeff in particular for leading OTT’s communications ad honorem;
- On Think Tanks’ regional editors -whose work is not remunerated except for small support of travel and research;
- Vanesa Weyrauch and Leandro Echt -whose involvement in the launch of the On Think Tanks School is a testament of their commitment to its vision and who dedicate far more time than our current budget is able to cover; and
- Many others, including the hundreds of contributors who produce most of the content shared by OTT.
For 2017, funding to OTT has included:
Grant and project funding provided to OTT and managed by Universidad del Pacífico:
- Hewlett Foundation grant: £159,217
- Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) £14,341 (Intended to develop the Open Think Tank Directory Latin America)
Grant and project funding provided to OTT and managed by OTT Consulting Ltd:
- Foundation Open Society Institute (FOSI) grant: £ 7,560 (Intended to support the participation of four think tank leaders in the 2018 OTT Conference)
- OTT Consulting Ltd project funding: £ 100,967
Income generated by OTT School: £ 14,341
Total overhead generated by OTT Consulting Ltd and allocated to OTT: £13,544
OTT Consulting Ltd financial contribution to OTT: £ 28,244
We also received some in-kind help, including technical and communications support from Soapbox.
If you have any question about our funding please get in touch.