Grants:APG/FDC portal/Decision-making

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UPDATE: On 18 April 2013, the WMF Board of Trustees recorded this guidance to the FDC.


Summary of this Section
  • The FDC will strive to be a center of excellence in the movement by holding entities to high standards in the plans they develop and in the implementation of their plans. To this end, the FDC will use a detailed evaluation criteria to assess proposals' likely impact in helping the Wikimedia movement achieve its global priorities.
    1. The Wikimedia mission, including its vision and values;
    2. The total amount of funding provided by the WMF Board, as well as any special instructions given to it by the Board when the allocation was made;
    3. The five-year strategic plan, particularly the global priorities and targets;
    4. The plans submitted by eligible entities, and the community discussions of them;
    5. The ability of fund-seeking organizations to execute those plans responsibly;
    6. The likely impact of fund-seeking entities' plans against the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement;
    7. The FDC's individual and collective best judgment and understanding of the Wikimedia movement.
  • In the first few years of the FDC, a set of articulated funding guidelines have been established in addition to the basic evaluation criteria to support the transition into the new funds dissemination process. See below for details on these guidelines.
  • The process for evaluating funds proposals will be as follows:
    • Once entities have submitted their proposal, FDC staff will develop an objective report assessing proposals against evaluation criteria
    • The FDC will use these reports and their own research and judgement to develop a funds allocation recommendation
    • This recommendation will be sent to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees for a final decision

Overview of evaluation criteria[edit]

The FDC evaluates proposals from eligible entities based on their likely impact in supporting the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. Proposals are considered in relation to:

  1. The Wikimedia mission, including its vision and values;
  2. The total amount of funding provided by the WMF Board, as well as any special instructions given to it by the Board when the allocation was made;
  3. The five-year strategic plan, particularly the global priorities and targets;
  4. The plans submitted by eligible entities, and the community discussions of them;
  5. The ability of fund-seeking organizations to execute those plans responsibly;
  6. The likely impact of fund-seeking entities' plans against the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement;
  7. The FDC's individual and collective best judgment and understanding of the Wikimedia movement.

The FDC is responsible for making funding decisions on an annual basis; however, annual plans may include multi-year projects and initiatives. The FDC will evaluate requests for subsequent years with a bias toward providing sufficient funds to complete multi-year projects as originally proposed, assuming the fund-seeking entity is making sufficient progress on its multi-year projects as previously proposed (e.g., projects are on track to achieve their anticipated goals).

2012–14 funding guidelines[edit]

Almost all organizations face some degree of financial uncertainty. Even so, in creating the FDC, the Wikimedia Foundation wants to ensure that it doesn't significantly destabilize organizations or render them unable to plan appropriately. Therefore, supporting organizational stability will be an ongoing consideration in the FDC process as it evolves, and it will be particularly important during the FDC's first few years of operation. Therefore, during the first three years, the FDC will follow a set of articulated guidelines to support the transition into the new funds dissemination process. After three years, based on the FDC's experience, the guidelines may be revised, or simply allowed to lapse.

  • In Year 1, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 100% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.
  • In Year 2, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 80% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.
  • In Year 3, the FDC will target dissemination amounts to eligible entities between 80% and 120% of what the entity received through grants or retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.

These amounts are not targets; rather, they are guidelines to help eligible entities plan over the next few years and adjust to the new funding environment. Eligible entities may request more or less than these target amounts. The FDC will give a higher level of scrutiny to requests in excess of these guidelines and to requests from eligible entities whose year-to-date actual spending is significantly less than their year-to-date budgeted spending.

Changes to the Wikimedia funding environment – such as significant shortfalls in the annual fundraiser or other financial challenges – that constitute extenuating circumstances may result in short notice changes to the target ranges for FDC allocations.

FDC recommendation process to the Board[edit]

Once entities have submitted their completed proposals, the FDC staff will develop an objective report assessing each entities' ability to execute their plans well, and the plans' likely impact against the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. Each proposal will be assessed against each of these criteria on a scoring rubric. Staff will summarize their objective findings on the FDC recommendation table.

This objective report may involve requesting input from subject-matter experts. In extremely unusual circumstances, input may be private, but in most cases this input will be requested publicly and responses will be posted on Meta.

Taking the staff evaluation into consideration, the FDC will deliberate and prepare a single slate of recommended funds allocations to the WMF Board. FDC staff will join this conversation to provide input and clarification as necessary. These joint recommendations must be approved by a majority of attending members before being sent to the Board of Trustees. A majority or quorum will constitute five voting FDC members. Once the FDC has developed their recommendations, FDC staff will help the FDC draft a letter to the Board of Trustees summarizing the FDC recommendations and the major considerations underlying them.

In the first round of funding, the FDC's slate of recommendations will take into account that funds should be reserved for the second round of funding. The sum of the two slates (Round 1 and Round 2) may not exceed the total budget allocated to the FDC. If the sum of the two slates (Round 1 and Round 2) is less than the total budget allocated to the FDC, any remaining funds will be automatically transferred to the WMF reserve.

For each fund-seeker, the FDC will provide basic feedback explaining the recommended allocation, assessing the entity's performance, and outlining ways to strengthen future funding proposals. This will be posted on each proposal.

Board decision-making and funds release[edit]

The Board may choose to approve all, part, or none of the FDC's slate of recommendations, and may modify individual recommendations by increasing or decreasing the amount to be allocated. Once the Board has approved final allocations, the WMF will release funds consistent with the Board's decisions.

  • For non-payment processing entities, WMF will transfer funds to the entity contingent on a signed, current grant agreement with the WMF
  • For payment processing chapters, the FDC will make a recommendation to the WMF Board about how much the chapter should retain from the annual fundraiser. The balance of these funds raised will be expected to be transferred by the dates set out in the respective fundraising agreement with each chapter.
  • The deadlines for funds to be transferred are 30 days after the publication of the Board's decisions (January 15 for Round 1, and June 15 for Round 2) or 30 days after the grant agreement is signed, whichever is latest. Funds not transferred within 120 days of the publication of the Board's decision may be returned to the WMF reserves.

Helpful links[edit]