Fellowship of FSFE - FAQ


The Fellowship

What is the Fellowship?
The Fellowship is the primary way people can identify with and support the Free Software Foundation Europe. Fellows are FSFE's sustaining members that enable our financial autonomy and empower our work. Every Fellow is important to us, motivates us, supports us and gives us valuable feedback for our work. Although this is not a must, many Fellows decide to become part of our community, chat with other Fellows, blog about Free Software or even meet in local groups. Read more on the about FSFE's Fellowship page
I just would like to donate money to FSFE - how do I do that best?
If you would like to spend money to the FSFE but you do not have interest in community activities, still the most efficient and best way would be to join the Fellowship. This is, because you keep our administrative overhead as low as possible if you donate by joining the Fellowship. During the registration process, you will be asked if you are looking for contact to local Fellowship groups. Just leave this box unchecked and we will not bother you with any community news. In Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, your Fellowship donation will be tax decuctible just as any usual donation or a single donation to us.
How do I become a Fellow?
To become a Fellow you have to join FSFE's Fellowship. To join the Fellowship you can easily fill out our online form. You will then receive a mail with further instructions about payment methods and your registration process. Payment can be done monthly or yearly. As a last step, you pay whatever you have stated to contribute as your donation. That's it - welcome to the Fellowship!
Besides being part of FSFE's community - do I get something?
Yes. You get access to our system and can use our infrastructure. See inside the about page for an overview.

My Fellowship account

Can I change my username?

Changing your Fellowship username is actually possible; it will take some manual work (also from your side), depending on the amount of data you created in the Fellowship services.

Please note that this procedure has some disadvantages, notably:

  • You won't be able to access data on Fellowship services using the old username anymore, so you have to update your client-side software configuration, and possibly other public information (e.g. if you published your old username or email alias somewhere)
  • For some Fellowship services, it is not possible to preserve your old username data; e.g. the Fellowship jabber account data (contact list, etc) can't be preserved, so you will have to start over with a fresh account.

If you understood the above, and you are still interested, please let us know your desired new username, and follow these instructions:

  • If you created any protected pages in the Fellowship wiki (i.e. pages with access control rules that prevent other users from reading/writing their content), please back up these data, as you won't be able to access them when logged in with the new username
  • If you have a blog on blogs.fsfe.org, please:
    • log into your blog administration dashboard at https://blogs.fsfe.org/wp-login.php
    • back up attachments and other media files you uploaded on the blog:
    • go to "Media" and download the relevant content. You will have to import these contents manually in your new blog
    • back up your blog posts, comments, and articles:
      • go to "Tools -> Export" and create a WXR file (Wordpress eXtended RSS) to export your blog contents.
      • You will be able to import this file in your new blog as soon as it is created (just follow the instructions contained in the xml file created by the Export procedure).

When you have finished these tasks, please don't change anything else in your Fellowship account, write to fellowship@fsfe.org and we will deactivate the old username, migrate data in the relevant Fellowship services, activate the new username and send you further instructions.

Local Fellowship groups

What is a Fellowship group?
Fellowship groups are people that meet in real life in a certain area. These local meetings often consist of Fellows as well as non-Fellows. Fellowship groups undertake activities ranging from a comfortable beer to running a public awareness event, take part in a campaign or give and hear a talk during their meetings. One big point about these meetings is to get to know the people in your area that feel strong about software freedom and to interconnect each other. When you sign up for the Fellowship, you will be asked if you like to get in contact with a local group. If you do so, our Fellowship staff will get in contact with you and connect you with your local group - if there is one.
Is a Fellowship meeting only for Fellows?
Of course not. Fellowship meetings shall be public meetings and open for everyone interested in Free Software and the work of FSFE. In fact, it can be really interesting to gather people from different groups and to profit from synergy-effects.
Is there already a Fellowship Group in my area or can I start one?
A list of existing groups can be found on the Fellowship Wiki. If there is no existing group in your area, maybe you would like to start one? Please take a look at "Starting a Fellowship Group" for help and information about best practice of how to start a Fellowship group. Feel also free to contact our Fellowship team to get help and information.
How to name a local Fellowship group
There is not one name for all Fellowship groups, rather Fellowship groups can decide about their name on their own. Most groups call themself "Fellowship group $Cityname", "FSFE Fellowship group $Cityname" or "FSFE local group $Cityname". Please do not name yourself "FSFE $Cityname" as there might be confusion between the legal association of FSFE and your local group of supporters.

Fellowship communication

Is there any kind of online communication between Fellows?
Yes, we have various mailing lists and an IRC chat to offer online communication between Fellows. You find an overview of these services in a seperate page about how to Communicate with other Fellows".
How can I get in contact with other Fellows in my area?
The FSFE will not hand out any data of our Fellows. Still, you have plenty of possibilities to get in contact with other Fellows. First, you can have a look if there is already a Fellowship Group in your area. Usually, Fellowship groups share a common mailing list. Hence, if there is a Fellowshipgroup in your area, you can get in contact with them via their mailing list. See the communication page for a list of Fellowship Mailinglists.
If there is not a local group in your area, you might be able to contact your FSFE's country team. You can ask them who else is in your area or how you can get in contact with them. They know about the preferences of other Fellows and if they would like to be contacted or not. Have a look at the Country Teams page to find your country's contact information.
Alternatively you can ask the Fellowship team for information about Fellows in your area. And you can also send a mail to all Fellows that have agreed to be contacted (see next point).
How do I know about or invite to public FSFE community events?
FSFE aggregates and promotes community events by the Fellowship or supporters of FSFE. You can find some of them directly visible at FSFE's home page in the section "Events", and all of them in the Fellowship section as well as FSFE's events pages.
Well, by now, you have mainly three options:
  1. The most easiest option: write a mail to contact@fsfe.org with the subject "Announcement of a community event". In the body, please write the following
    • Date: XXYYZZ
    • Title: Title for your event
    • Description: Dedscription of your event. Please orientate in length and language at the other events, listed on FSFE's pages.
    • Link: a link that we can link to
    The fellowship team will then upload your event during 24 hours. If possible, we are happy to upload translations in other languages as well.
  2. You can save us a lot of time, if you directly download our event-xml-file, fill it out and rename the file afterwards: YYYYMMDD represents year-month-day and LC is the language code, depending on the language you are using to announce your event. English language code is EN, German DE, French FR and so on. As an example, the final file should have a name like 20150325-01.en.xml. Afterwards, just send it to contact@fsfe.org and watch is magically appear on our pages in the next 24 hours.
  3. Finally, you can ask our system hackers to get write access to our servers for yourself (using a SVN system). If you are interested in this, you better ask system-hackers directly how to implement your events on your own.
How can I send a mail to all Fellows in my area?
For special purposes, there is the possibility to send an email to all Fellows in your area or in another specific area. "Special purposes" are all kind of Fellowship activities like: finding Fellows to set up a new group, participate in a FSFE campaign, held a meeting and everything you plan to do collaborativly and you are looking for Fellows to join you.
To contact all Fellows in a specific area, please write an email (see Screenshot for more explanation) to the Fellowship team including:
  • Description: What is the purpose of the mail and what is the area you like to reach Fellows. Please provide us specific postal zip codes to define the area you are looking for.
  • Subject: Please give us a subject so we do not have to decide about the subject on our own.
  • Text: Obviously, your mail needs text that we shall send out. Actually, the text box is the part that we will send out.
  • Contact: We will send out the mail from our Fellowship-administrators account. If you would like to receive feedback, do not forget to deliver some contact details about you in your description!
Can I contact FSFE Fellows with some news or an event?
If your news or event is non-commercial and relates to Free Software, please send information about it to the Fellowship team. If it is appropriate, they will forward your information to Fellows.
Can I use the FSFE or Fellowship logo?
If you would like to use the FSFE logo, please see our spread the word page. The Fellowship logo (and variations of it) can be used in association with any Free Software related activity performed by FSFE Fellows, or to promote FSFE. It can also be incorperated into logos of local Fellowship groups if so desired. However, if you do not have a mandate by FSFE, we ask you not to create the impression that you speak officially for FSFE, or that FSFE has certified or endorsed you in any way.
Where can I get promotion material?
If you like to spread the word about FSFE, the Fellowship and Free Software, we happily offer you to order FSFE's official promotion material. Just look around what material you are specifically interested in, use the given form to order and get it delivered for no cost.

Fellowship activities

What are Fellowship activities?
Fellowship activities are various. Actually, each Fellowship group is different and has a different cultural background. So, there is not a list of general Fellowship activities. However, many Fellowshipgroups prefer the following activities every now and then:
  • Meetings: Formal or informal - every group of course has a meeting from time to time to actually form a group.
  • Setting up a booth: If there is a Free Software conference in your area, you can apply for setting up a FSFE booth at this conference. Being present as FSFE with a booth is a very important activity for spreading our word and is fun. Many Fellowship groups have done so successful in the past.
  • Public awareness: Try to do some activity that gets you into local press, public announcements of your meetings or give talks in the name of your group.
  • Participiation in FSFE campaigns: There are some FSFE campaigns, that heavily depend on participation, like our Document Freedom Day campaign, Ask your candidates or I love Free Software. See all campaigns at our campaigns page.
  • Anything else: be creative and feel encouraged!
Can I use Fellowship services for my project or event?
Yes, please do so. Fellows are encouraged to use FSFE' services to coordinate Fellowship and other Free Software related events. Of course you can also ask the Fellowship team if you are unsure about our services.
Can the Fellowship sponsor activities?
Yes. FSFE might be able to help you or your Fellowship group to cover travel, material or activity costs. Of course, we will only sponsor a Fellowship or FSFE related activity and not any kind of miscellaneous Free Software activity (although they are also important). To boost our community and the relationship between different groups, FSFE is also very likely to sponsor different kinds of visits and travels between local FSFE groups or their coordinators, respectively.
To get a sponsorship for your local activity, please use our Expense Request Form and fill out the following (see Screenshot for an example):
  • Who? Please use "Local Fellowship Group" here (should be default)
  • What? Please give us an idea what you are planning to do and for what you are planning/need to spend money
  • When? Please tell us a date when you are plannning your activity
  • Why? Please tell us why your event is important or contributes to FSFE mission
  • Estimate Please estimate how much money you need in total
  • Budget 1 Please choose "FELLOWSHIP local activities" here
  • All the rest Just leave the rest blank as it is
Now lean back and wait for your answer. Be aware, that it is unlikely to receive an answer over the weekend. If you did not receive an answer after one week, please contact the Fellowship team.
If your request gets approved, you will receive an email about this, including the Expense request number. After spending the money, you need this number for your reimbursement.To get reimbursement, please
  • print out the approved Expense request you received by email
  • collect all receipts about your expenses
  • fill out the Reimbursement Claim and print it out
  • In case you have been using different money then Euro for your expenses, please use this backwards currency converter to calculate your costs in Euro
Can I sell FSFE merchandise at an event?
In general: Yes. But you need training. And be aware, that it is a lot of administration to sell merchandise. If you are still interested in selling merchandise please contact the Fellowship team.

Fellowship card

What is the Fellowship card?
The Fellowship card is a so-called "smart card", it is used as a crypto-card and requires a smart card reader for your computer. Please read all information about the card on "The Fellowship Smartcard" page
Where do I get a Fellowship card?
When you sign up as a Fellow you can get a Fellowship card as a gift. If you lost it, you can contact the Fellowship team to order a new one.