Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Survey Question

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Sebastian (and probably all of us) have wished we know more about donor/reader desires when it comes to how they expect and want the money to be spent. There's a big caveat around that, which we've discussed. (Basically, that reader and donor expectations and desires should not be the sole factor in our decision-making: we can't allow them to override our mission and values, and we need to also apply our own judgement.) But having said that, clearly it would be good to have information about what readers and donors want.

The next reader survey doesn't go into the field until next fiscal year, so it won't happen in time for us to conclude the "2012 and beyond" fundraising and funds dissemination conversation. But, we have an editor survey going into the field in a few weeks, and we'll get results from it back in January. Which means we could use it to ask this question.

Here's the question we asked in the last survey, and here's the result we got:

In April 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation asked editors what it should spent money on. The question was this: "How would you like the foundation to allocate funds for the following (out of $100)?"

Caveat: this data is of limited usefulness when it comes to supporting resource allocation. 1) We created a fixed list of options for respondents, and all fixed response sets are going to be inherently problematic because people's interpretations will be different, and the fixed set itself has an anchoring effect. 2) Many people would likely assume that the question "how would you like the foundation to allocate funds" refers to movement-wide funds allocation, but we can't know that for sure. 3) These are just editors' top-of-mind opinions, so in general they are going to be of limited utility.

That said, here are the responses we got:

Technical operations 28 dollars
Technical features development for new editors 15 dollars
Community work aimed at supporting healthy editing culture 12 dollars
Technical features development for experienced editors 12 dollars
community work for attracting/supporting new editors globally 11 dollars
community work for attracting/supporting new editors in the global south 8 dollars
grantmaking to chapters, individuals, etc. 7 dollars
support for chapters 7 dollars

(source: Wikipedia Editors survey, April 2011, page 30 of the PDF version)

I plan to ask this one again: it gave us some good information. But it's not a perfect question, and we do have a few days in which we could refine the question to get more useful data. I've posted it to meta: if you want to take a crack at refining/revising it to get a result that's more directly useful to the "2012 and beyond" question, please feel free. Mani is running the survey, and she needs to get the question locked down this week. So if you want to propose refinements, please do it within the next few days. I've asked Mani to only change the question if it will clearly result in more useful information, since there is also value in comparability over time, which we will sacrifice if we alter the question.

Thanks, Sue Gardner 17:47, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

The question, unless it is changed, will be this:

How would you like the Wikimedia Foundation to allocate funds for the following (out of $100)?

Technical operations
Technical features development for new editors
Community work aimed at supporting healthy editing culture
Technical features development for experienced editors
community work for attracting/supporting new editors globally
community work for attracting/supporting new editors in the global south
grantmaking to chapters, individuals, etc.
support for chapters

Please feel free to draft a better question(s), below. Thanks Sue Gardner 20:37, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Collaborative draft[edit]

How would you like Wikimedia to allocate funds for the following (out of $100)? -- Focusing on Wikimedia as a whole -- Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

  • Technical operations
I think "running the site" would be more comprehensible than "technical operations". --Tgr 05:32, 25 October 2011 (UTC).
  • Technical features development for new editors
  • Technical features development for experienced editors
  • Technical features development for readers - added. Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
could these previous "technical features" be a dropdown from a broader "technical features" (or even technical operations) as people mightn't be willing/interested to differentiate between servers and software. Most people will probably be thinking "money to keep the website running" and "money to make the website work better". Wittylama 05:11, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Community work for attracting/supporting editors globally - stroke "new" -- Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Community work for attracting/supporting editors in the global south - stroke "new" -- Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Community work for attracting/supporting editors in my country/region - added. Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
Could we somehow differentiate between the "attracting/supporting" aspect (i.e. new user retention projects) from the "location" aspect. People might be interested that the money is spent locally or in a developing country (but not care specifically what for). Wittylama 05:11, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Grantmaking to Wikipedians (groups and individuals) - left out chapters because we're now asking about Wikimedia as a whole Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC) - Wikipedians or Wikimedians? --Palnatoke 21:48, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Paid editorial staff - not because I want it to happen, but because I'm curious what our donors think. Effeietsanders 21:58, 24 October 2011 (UTC) We're not asking donors, afaik this is the editors survey. -- Arne (akl) 22:08, 24 October 2011 (UTC) -- then still it might be interesting to see if we end up at zero. Call it a negative control :) Effeietsanders 07:27, 25 October 2011 (UTC) TBH the idea of including this makes me nervous: I completely understand why it's valuable to ask, but I worry about unintended consequences. The last thing anybody needs is for editors --or media, for that matter-- to freak out thinking 'paid editorial staff' is under serious consideration by anyone. Well, maybe the last thing we need is for people to think we're considering ads. This is second-last :-) Sue Gardner 23:33, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Setting up and supporting experimental sister projects with high potential but low chance of success -- Effeietsanders 21:59, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the wording, but I agree it would be interesting to see what support there is for money to be spent on non-wikipedia projects. Wittylama 05:11, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Political advocacy - probably could be worded better, like the "paid editorial staff" option I'm curious about what people think on this matter. Wittylama 04:01, 26 October 2011 (UTC)
  • Community work aimed at supporting healthy editing culture - I think we don't need this anymore, since I stroke "new" in the remaining "community work" options

Feel free to improve these questions. Thanks, Arne -- Arne (akl) 21:30, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank you everyone for all your great suggestions. Manipande 17:05, 27 October 2011 (UTC)


Thank you, everyone, based on the input from everyone, I came up with this final question and list:

Q30. We are interested in your opinion on how the Wikimedia Foundation should spend money. If you donated 100 dollars to the Foundation, how would you like the foundation to allocate the money for the following? (Please ensure that all the responses add up to $100.)

[IT SHOULD BE CODED IN SUCH A WAY THAT RESPONDENTS SHOULD KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY IS LEFT AS THEY ALLOCATE FOR DIFFERENT CATEGORIES]]

[RANDOMIZE]

a. Technical operations (more operations staff, new caching servers, performance metrics, uptime)
b. Technical features development for EXPERIENCED editors
c. Technical features development for NEW editors
d. Technical features development for READERS
e. Community work aimed at attracting/supporting editors globally
f. Community work aimed at attracting/supporting editors in Global South
g. Community work aimed at attracting/supporting editors in my country
h. Grantmaking to chapters, Wikimedians
i. Support for other sister projects, not just Wikipedia
j. Other

There were several constraining factors that I took into account before coming up with the question and choices:

a. Trying to ensure some continuity from April 2011 survey.
b. Avoiding questions like "paid editorial staff" that might negatively impact subsequent responses since this is the survey of editors who have spent hours volunteering for Wikipedia.
c. Keeping choices as simple as possible to ensure that respondents can quickly grasp what we are asking, and it can be easily translated in other languages.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of the survey hereManipande 18:49, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

    • Apologies for being late to the party here. One comment: what's the difference between 'g. Community work aimed at attracting/supporting editors in my country' and 'Grantmaking to chapters', seeing as one of the main things chapters do is community work? Mike Peel 16:44, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
      • Manipande: could you perhaps elaborate why you chose to ignore/disregard the comments here and on the list and listed "grantmaking to chapters, wikimedians" anyway? I think many people agreed that this is basically misleading because it suggests that chapters and Wikimedians are doing something else than the other options. Effeietsanders 17:27, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
I think just saying groups can be interpreted differently by respondents. Do you have any suggestions on groups? May be chapter is the not the right example of group. Manipande 21:42, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I actually think that mentioning "grantmaking" seperate from the other options is the misleading part, not even so much chapters, groups or another word. The problem is that it is suggesting that these chapters, groups or whatever are not working towards technical features, community work etc. Leaving it out would probably be the easiest solution. Otherwise you would have to make it into a seperate question - first this question about what to spend it on, and then how to achieve that - through one big centralized international foundation or through a network of national/regional/whatever organizations. Effeietsanders 18:54, 3 November 2011 (UTC)