Grants:APG/Proposals/2012-2013 round1/Wikimedia Foundation/Staff proposal assessment

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Wikimedia Foundation received a funds allocation in the amount of 4,459,000 in 2012-2013 Round 1. This funds allocation was recommended by the Funds Dissemination Committee on 15 November 2012 and approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 1 December 2012.

This staff proposal assessment for Wikimedia Foundation's proposal to the FDC for 2012-2013 Round 1 may be viewed in tab view or standard view. To discuss this aspect of the proposal to the FDC, please visit the discussion page.

Applicants should read this document to familiarise themselves with the assessment criteria; however, it should be edited only by FDC-related staff. The staff will use the document to set out their objective assessment of each funding request from eligible entities – specifically, to determine the extent to which plans align with the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement, and the extent to which the entity is well-placed to execute those plans effectively. The staff will base this report on proposals from entities and input from the community and other stakeholders (including, where required, deeper due-diligence on the entity's previous track record within the Wikimedia movement). The staff will provide completed reports to the FDC, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on funding allocations.

Proposal overview

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. [Responses]
Date of submission [mm/dd/yy] 10/01/12
Adherence to proposal process [yes/no] yes
Adherence to legal, regulatory, and policy regulations [yes/no] yes
Adherence to US anti-terrorism laws [yes/no] yes
Currency requested (e.g., EUR, GBP, INR) USD
Exchange rate used (currency requested to $US) and date accessed (mm/dd/yy) N/A
Total amount proposed to the FDC for the upcoming year annual plan [in $US] 4,459,000
Total amount proposed to the FDC for the upcoming year annual plan [in currency requested] 4,459,000
Summary staff assessment [substantial concerns: none/some/many] Minor or none

Annual plan

Table I: Financial summary

FDC funds allocated last year ($US) FDC funds proposed this year ($US) Change from what was allocated last year (as a +/− %) Proposed change in staff costs (USD and % increase or decrease)
N/A N/A N/A N/A

Strategic alignment

To what extent does the plan address the strategic goals and priorities of the movement (one to two paragraphs)?

WMF’s proposal is strongly aligned with the strategic priorities of “Increase participation” and “Increase content.”
The proposal focuses on "Increasing participation in the Global South" through Editor Engagement (implementation of results-driven features designed to attract and retain new Wikipedia editors), Global Education (teach students media skills, increase content, etc. in international locations, particularly in the global south) that "Improves content", Catalyst Projects (grow editorship in 3 catalyst regions) that "Increase reach and participation", and Grants and Fellowships that "Encourage innovation."

Context of the entity and community

  • To what extent does the context of the entity (e.g., community participation, fundraising context, sociopolitical environment) enable or inhibit the entity's potential for impact?
  • To what extent does the entity's experience or maturity enable or inhibit the entity's potential for impact?
The WMF has significant staff resources and other infrastructure at its disposal to implement the suggested programs. WMF has been expanding its programs and resources rapidly since 2007, and has grown from a staff of less than 10 to a staff of more than 120. While located in San Francisco, Wikimedia Foundation’s scope is international: unlike many affiliated entities, it does not focus on regional activities and its programs and activities are distributed globally. WMF is increasing its capabilities to serve as a movement leader and is gaining experience enabling more effective programming worldwide. Currently, WMF is also improving its metrics and evaluation activities.
Through its proposal to the FDC, WMF is seeking funding for its non-core operations, which are considered separately from the operations it defines as core; however, both core and non-core areas share staff, resources, and a building. The numbers for staffing presented in this proposal represent Wikimedia Foundation total staff expenses rather than staff expenses specific to the programs proposed.
Despite efforts to focus on key regions in the Global South, much of WMF still devotes significant resources to the Global North, where many of its donors and much of English Wikipedia’s active editor base is located. Along with mobile programs (classified as core), non-core activities that focus on the Global South are key elements of WMF’s strategy to increase the number of readers and editors.

Feasibility and risks for the annual plan

How feasible is the annual plan (one to four paragraphs)? Specifically:

  • To what extent are the budget, staffing, availability of volunteers, and other resources realistic for achieving the anticipated outcomes?
  • Are the timelines realistic for the proposed initiatives and associated activities?
  • Are there acknowledged and/or unacknowledged risks in the proposal?
Editor Engagement as it is currently structured is a newer area for Wikimedia Foundation. Wikimedia Foundation is experienced in implementing its Education programs successfully (though outside of the US results are untested), Wikimedia Foundation’s Catalyst Projects have achieved mixed or unclear results and present, as identified by WMF, a serious risk and challenge, and Wikimedia Foundation’s grants program needs improved measures for assessing impact in order to achieve more confidence in the effectiveness of the work it funds.
There are questions surrounding the strategic alignment of some of WMF’s initiatives as presented in this proposal. For example, how well is the Global Education initiative aligned with Wikimedia’s global priorities? There are also questions about metrics and goal-setting; it would be helpful to see more specific goals and objectives associated with these initiatives, along with a plan for evaluation, assessment, and learning.
The WMF has a significant reserve, which it requires to fund the first half of the fiscal year before revenue from the fundraiser. Total spending by the WMF towards the initiatives identified in the proposal is unclear since staff costs are not specified. It should be noted that WMF is only asking for funds to cover the cost of non-staff programmatic costs.
The fiscal year of request is currently in progress, and so the WMF is requesting funds that are currently being used. While Round 2 may be more appropriately aligned with WMF’s fiscal year, WMF has not indicated that it plans to apply in Round 2. There are questions about what costs should be included in WMF’s FDC proposal and WMF’s definition of core and non-core activities as approved by the Board of Trustees and about the movement conversations around narrowing of focus that may impact WMF’s proposal.

Summary of expert opinions and/or community commentary

  • Summary of the opinions of subject-matter experts on the plan
  • Summary of community commentary on the plan
See WMF's proposal talk page.

Table II: Scores, comments and feedback

Scores provide only a preliminary assessment for consideration by the FDC. The rubric for scoring is in table III.

Dimensions Criteria Score (1–5) Comments and feedback
Potential for impact against strategic priorities (A) The plan addresses the Wikimedia movement global targets 5 All initiative in the plan address strategic priority areas; several areas are addressed.
(B) The initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to the global targets, if executed well 5 All initiatives proposed (associated with this funding) are aligned with global targets.
(C) The initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to significant impact, given context and amount of funds proposed 4 This is a significant funds request; however, the initiatives proposed could have significant impact more broadly in the movement, indicating that these initiatives could be an effective use of funds if executed well
Ability to execute (D) The entity has the resources, skills, and capacity (staff, volunteer, non-staff) for the plan to succeed 5 WMF and the programs in question are well staffed with diverse capabilities.
(E) The entity has a record of success in similar initiatives 3 These initiatives have had mixed results.
(F) The entity's leadership is effective, committed, and relatively stable 4 There have been recent major changes in the leadership of each of these programs, though other aspects of leadership have been effective and stable, and the transition to new leadership has been executed effectively.
Efficient use of funds (G) The funding requested is reasonable given the proposed initiatives 3 There are still some questions around overbudgeting and staff costs in particular, but the entity's funding request is reasonable and within the guardrails as identified in the FDC framework.
(H) The entity has a record of using funds efficiently and staying on budget 4 There is a solid track record of effective fund use and reporting on funds
Quality of proposed measures of success (I) Clear indicators of success are outlined in the plan 3 There are open questions about the rigor of WMF's evaluation planning and metrics tracking.
(J) A plan is in place to track the proposed metrics 3 There are open questions about the rigor of WMF's evaluation planning and metrics tracking.
(K) The entity has a feasible plan in place to track the proposed metrics 4 There is sufficient staff capacity to successfully track metrics.
Potential to add knowledge and/or other benefits to the movement (L) The initiatives in the plan, if successful, could be helpful and/or productively replicated elsewhere in the movement 4 There is significant potential for many intiatives (e.g., Global Education) to be replicated elsewhere and to have greater impact in the movement.
(M) The entity is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the initiatives 5 WMF is a central movement actor, with significant collaborations with other entities.

Table III: Scoring rubric

Dimensions Evaluation criteria 1 = Weak or no alignment with criterion 3 = Moderate alignment with criterion 5 = Strong alignment with criterion
Potential for impact against strategic priorities (A) The plan addresses the Wikimedia movement global targets The plan will not directly address any global targets The plan will partially address global targets or other goals that are closely related to the global targets The plan will directly address several global targets
(B) The initiatives have the potential to lead to the targets, if executed well The initiatives have no clear connection to global targets Some or all of the initiatives have an unclear relationship to global targets The initiatives have been shown (by the entity or the movement) to lead to global targets
(C) The initiatives have the potential to lead to significant impact, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives will have marginal impact in the local community and the broader Wikimedia community, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives proposed may have a significant impact in the local community, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives could have significant impact at scale, both in the entity's local community and in the broader movement, given context and amount of funds proposed
Ability to execute (D) The entity has the resources, skills, and capacity (staff, volunteer, non-staff) for the plan to succeed The entity has neither the number nor the amount of resources, skills, and capacity needed for success. The entity has some relevant staff and volunteer capacity, but may be under-resourced for some initiatives The entity is well-resourced with the relevant skills and capacity for success
(E) The entity has a record of success in similar initiatives The entity has had trouble succeeding in similar initiatives The entity has not engaged in similar initiatives in the past The entity has conducted similar initiatives in the past and has been successful in achieving desired results
(F) The entity's leadership is effective, committed, and relatively stable Leadership has been unstable (e.g., changing on an annual basis) Current leadership is committed to the entity; some concerns exist around stability or effectiveness of leadership Current and past leaders have demonstrated the ability to develop and execute on strategic plans; leadership team has been stable and transitions have been smooth
Efficient use of funds (G) The funding requested is reasonable given the proposed initiatives Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the plan contains significant over- or under-budgeting, and/or has not thoroughly accounted for costs Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the budget is generally consistent with the initiatives; some initiatives are likely to be over- or under-budgeted Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the budget is reasonable, and rigorous cost projections have been presented
(H) The entity has a record of using funds efficiently and staying on budget The entity has a poor record of budgetary management: e.g., consistently and significantly below budget (such as 50% underspending), and drawing on organizational reserves due to overspending The entity has a middling record of budgetary management; e.g., generally on-budget for its biggest initiatives and cost items, properly recording any over- and under-spending, and with plans in place for improvements The entity has consistently strong record of financial management; e.g., consistently staying on or below budget (within ~5% of budget), and putting surplus funds towards the entity's and/or movement's goals
Quality of proposed measures of success (I) Clear indicators of success are outlined in the plan Initiatives have no associated indicators of success, or the proposed indicators are unrealistic and/or unmeasurable Each initiative has indicators of success, but at least some indicators are unrealistic or are not clearly connected to the initiative Each initiative has a realistic and carefully framed set of indicators of success associated with them, which are rigorous and time-bound
(J) A system is in place to track the proposed metrics The plan does not include methodology or timing for tracking and collecting metrics to measure progress against proposed indicators of success A proposal to track progress against indicators exists, but has flawed methodology or unrealistic timelines and initiatives The plan includes timing and tracking of proposed metrics, and additional initiatives (e.g., surveys, research) to track indicators
(K) The entity has a feasible system to track the proposed metrics No systems are in place to track metrics, or staff or volunteer capacity to manage metrics tracking There is some overall capacity (e.g., staff, volunteers) to track and monitor metrics, but the entity does not clearly have the relevant skills to do this High-quality systems, and the necessary skills and capacity to manage these systems, are in place
Potential to add knowledge and/or other benefits to the movement (L) The initiatives, if successful, could be helpful and/or productively replicated elsewhere in the movement The initiatives would not be relevant to other movement groups Some initiatives may be relevant to other movement groups Many initiatives proposed are new or have seldom been tried elsewhere in the movement; if successful, other movement entities would benefit from doing similar initiatives
(M) The entity is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the initiatives The entity is isolated from other movement groups and rarely shares information; the entity's leaders and members seldom participate in movement-wide functions The entity is somewhat active within the movement, and is developing more relationships with other movement entities with which it could share lessons learned The entity has regular communication with other movement entities, is a regular participant in Wikimedia events, and has a track record of sharing with others

This form was created by: Meerachary TBG (talk) 04:58, 26 October 2012 (UTC)