The Open Media Foundation and Denver Open Media believe in the equal right for everyone to have a voice in their community. We believe that the more diverse the discourse of a society, the better informed we are and better able to make good decisions. We believe no organization or individual should have the right to determine which ideas do and do not have an opportunity to be heard.
This belief permeates our policies as a Media organization in our viewer-driven programming model, our zero-censorship policy, and more. It also permeates our pricing structure. We literally receive dozens of requests each month to provide pro-bono production services, provide free access to our studios and equipment, or to help an organization get their important message out to the community through our channels, the web, and other means. No matter how much we agree with the significance of the message, it contradicts our mission to provide any service to one organization that we cannot offer to all. Thus, we keep our prices as minimal as possible (for nonprofit production services and equipment use, that's on average less than half of what a comparable commercial production facility would charge) and we offer those rates to all our clients, billing a minimal rate for every service provided.
Traditional communications firms have a culture of helping each other out, loaning equipment, and supporting pet-projects. It's ironic but true that the majority of the requests we receive for donated time and equipment actually come from some of the most privileged members of our community... People accustomed to a culture where the privileged "scratch each other's backs." While we admire the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that instills among those communities, we also feel it is a barrier to social and economic mobility, and see it as incompatible with our drive to treat everyone the same. To make exceptions to these policies, or even to repay a favor, works directly against the future we are trying to build, where everyone has the same opportunity to make a difference.
We know it is important to donate time and give back to the causes we believe in, and so we work to cooperate and support partners and friends in an open, inclusive, and fair way. We encourage volunteerism among our staff and members, though the time they give is not done on behalf of DOM/OMF. As an organization, we organize our pro-bono services into open grant applications so that all organizations and individuals have the same opportunity to receive such services.
Its hard to say "no" to our friends and to organizations we support, but we hope this helps explain our motivation. We're a young organization, trying to do things in new ways, and making our share of mistakes along the way. If you have guidance or suggestions as to how we continue to serve our community, please be in touch.