These are principles for fundraising and funds dissemination, and criteria for organizations that handle donor data and process donor information. They were originally drafted by the WMF, and apply to the raising and dissemination of all funds under the Wikimedia umbrella.
- Consistency with mission, vision and values
- All Wikimedia fundraising activities must be conducted in a manner that's consistent with our overall mission, vision and values. They must not create unnecessary legal exposure for the projects, or otherwise unduly interfere with our ability to achieve our mission.
- Minimal cost and minimal disruption
- All Wikimedia fundraising activities must aim to raise money from donors effectively - minimizing administrative costs, causing minimal disruption and annoyance for users of the projects, and avoiding slowing the "donate now" flow.
- All Wikimedia fundraising activities must be truthful with prospective donors. We need to tell people what we intend to use their money for, before they donate. And we need to report in a timely fashion on how it was actually spent.
- All Wikimedia fundraising activities must ensure funds received are safe from fraud or misuse as determined by existing third-party standards for appropriate financial controls, and must adhere to relevant laws and regulations.
- Our movement is international in scope, and our fundraising practices must support the easiest possible transfer of money internationally in support of the movement's priorities.
- We prefer a fundraising model in which we are supported primarily via the many-small-donors model, because this is the model that best supports our independence.
- We do not need to adhere to a single monolithic model for fundraising: multiple donation streams are fine.
- Sustainable donor relations
- We must safeguard donor privacy in all fundraising interactions, and support effective communication with donors.
- Good faith
- The Wikimedia movement assumes that all movement participants are acting in good faith, with regards to each other's actions and intentions.
- Maximal participation
- Consistent with the principles of empowerment underlying Wikimedia’s success, we should empower individuals and groups world-wide to constructively contribute to direct messaging, public outreach, and other activities that drive the success of Wikimedia’s fundraising efforts.
- Protect the core
- Core activities that ensure the continuity of the projects need to be funded first.
- Assess impact
- Funds should be distributed in ways that support mission work, agnostic with regard to where the money was raised.
- Promote transparency and stability
- Decisions about funds distribution must be made transparently, in accordance with published guidelines and processes. The model must enable each entity to carry out financial planning to support efforts to be sustainable.
- Support decentralized activity
- Funds must be distributed in ways that support decentralized programmatic activities for furthering our mission.
- Promote responsibility and accountability
- Funds must be distributed in ways that enable the Wikimedia movement to confidently assure donors that their donations will be safeguarded appropriately, and that spending will be in line with our mission and with the messages used to attract donors.
- Be collaborative and open
- Funds must be distributed in ways that are collaborative and open, and which respect the diverse and international nature of the Wikimedia movement.
The WMF is committed to developing a community-led Funds Dissemination Committee to make movement-wide decisions about how to allocate funds to major programs. It is also committed to a staff-led grants program to provide funds to individual projects.
Criteria for payment processing
Originally from the August 2011 Board letter regarding fundraising accountability
The WMF is deeply committed to decentralized pursuit of our mission and to supporting the long-term sustainability of chapters and other movement partners. Because of its role as operator of the websites, it has to be satisfied that any organization directly receiving donor funds will treat them with an appropriately high level of care and transparency.
An organization can directly receive donor funds as a payment processor if the following criteria are met:
- Sufficient money is raised by the movement annually in the organization's geography to merit the logistical effort.
- The organization offers tax deductibility or other incentives to local donors.
- There are no major regulatory issues limiting international flows of funds out of the country.
- The organization's current financial resources are not enough to fund proposed program work.
- The organization has a strong track record of transparency and efficiency, allowing the WMF to confidently assure donors that donations to the organization will be safeguarded, and used in line with our transparency principles and the messages used to attract donors.
- The organization is living up to current fundraising agreements and reporting deadlines.
- The donation process clearly discloses information about the organization.