Grants:Thomas de Souza Buckup - WM Movement/Flow Funding Pilot Project
This WMF grant had a fiscal sponsor. Wikimedia Foundation administered the grant on behalf of the Flow Funders.
- Legal name of organization or individual requesting this grant
- NA / resources will be transfered directly from the WMF to selected projects
- Project lead name
- Thomas de Souza Buckup (talk) / Wikimedia volunteer
- Full project name
- Flow Funding Pilot Project
- Amount requested
- up to US$20,000
- Provisional target start date
- November 19, 2012
- Provisional completion date
- July 20, 2013
Parameters for success 
According to Asaf's suggestions, the project below now includes:
- a smaller scale plan (only pilot project phase, not the roll out phase)
- an updated timeline (8 months, starting in November 19th)
- the explicit recognition that funds will be disbursed directly by WMF (the flow funders never handle any money), within the constraints of US law (i.e. we won't be able to fund people or groups on the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals list).
- the requirement of flow funders to draft a cover letter (WMF will provide a template) with the basic details of the recipient who will receive the funds (who, how much) and a clear impact statement (from the flow funder's perspective)
- a minimum amount of $500 for flow funding. I.e., at most, a flow funder could fund four different efforts out of their $2,000 budget.
- a requirement of:
- one report from each funded individual/group/entity from their own perspective
- one report from each flow funder on how they spent their budget (i.e. one report, even if four different activities were funded), and what impact was achieved in the different activities
- one report from TSB analyzing the incoming reports and once all funded activities are over, as well as an interim report six months after the first disbursement of flow funding
Wikimedia context 
Over the past several years, the Wikimedia community has been engaged in a discussion about how to most effectively disseminate funds across the movement.
During the Wikimedia Conference 2012 in Berlin, the WMF Board of Trustees decided to create a Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC). The WMF Executive Director in consultation with an Advisory Group and supported by The Bridgespan Group developed a set of recommendations based on the following design principles for the dissemination of funds:
- Support pursuit of the WMF mission
- Be open and transparent
- Promote decentralization and diversity
- Foster innovation while supporting stability and healthy growth
- Ensure fiduciary responsibility and meet regulatory requirements
- Enable simple, user-friendly processes with clear deadlines and expectations
- Maintain clear roles and responsibilities for the decision-making process
- Drive to continual improvement and higher standards
In alignment with the above principles and in complement to the FDC and other existing grant approaches, a project was discussed on Meta to test an innovative model of fund allocation called “Flow Funding”, where individuals are entrusted with decision-making power to fund initiatives aligned with the organization’s strategic goals.
Flow funding model 
According to the Flow Funding website, a Flow Fund Circle can be created when a non-profit organization, instead of donating funds through the usual, more traditional channels, invites a group of individuals (Flow Funders) to allocate these funds to initiatives and organizations of their choice. By doing so, Flow Funders create a form of philanthropy that is proactive, intuitive, effective, open to new possibilities, and benefiting the funders as well as the recipients. The core values of flow funding are: generosity, trust, discernment and community.
Flow funders are invited to contribute a designated amount to individuals and non-profit groups of their choice in the name of the organization. Flow funders cannot use the funds for any personal use, including travel, nor contribute to their own or their family's projects. Periodically, Flow Funders report back and share their stories with each other.
By choosing flow funders with different experiences, flow funding can give an organization the opportunity to outreach to a number of new beneficiaries. Flow Funding builds a sense of connection and community that grows through trust. It is a model for a more democratic form of philanthropy, which allows participants an opportunity to decide how money is distributed to the projects and endeavors that they believe in.
Project goal and measures of success 
The Flow Funding Pilot Project was designed to assess if and how a Flow Funding model can contribute towards building a stronger community of Wikimedia volunteers while leveraging the growth of the Wikimedia Movement. As suggested by the WMF Global Development Officer, three critical aspects would have to be assessed in the Pilot Project with respect to the Flow Funding model within a Wikimedia context:
Assess supply of reviewers to collaborate and work in a decentralized way 
Around 150 Wikimania Scholarship recipients and Grants Advisory Committee members have been surveyed to gauge their interest in acting as flow funders. Out of this total, 16 candidates showed interest in participating in a Flow Funding Pilot Project. This initial group of volunteers, composed of 37.5% female and 50% global south candidates, could be supported with training activities to identify, review, fund, monitor and report back on local initiatives.
The commitment and development of flow funder candidates would be assessed throughout the Pilot Project by monitoring:
- Participation in meetings, edits on Meta and announcements on mailing list
- Contribution to the identification and reviewing of grassroots initiatives
- Allocation of funds to and reporting back on grassroots initiatives
Assess demand from fund-seekers not served in the current option set 
In the pilot project each flow funder would be entrusted with autonomous decision-making power to allocate financial resources to initiatives that show potential for impact within the global movement's priorities and targets. The funding criteria would accommodate a wide range of grassroots initiatives identified by flow funders, while excluding flow funders’ own projects or that of a relative.
The quantity, quality and impact of initiatives identified and supported by flow funders would be assessed during the Pilot Project by monitoring:
- Number of projects selected to receive funds
- Efficiency of the proposed use of funds
- Community and chapter members' feedback on initiatives’ outcomes
- Knowledge contributed to the Wikimedia movement
- Impact within the global movement's priorities and targets
Assess potential problems of gaming the system 
In order to increase accountability and knowledge sharing, each flow funder candidate would openly report back on her/his flow funding experience and on funded initiatives’ impact. Funds would be directly transferred from the Wikimedia Foundation to initiatives identified by flow funders. Transactions would be transparent and accessible to the Wikimedia community to appraise and comment.
The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with a decentralized funding model would be monitored throughout the pilot project by:
- SWOT analysis of the Flow Funding model within the Wikimedia Movement
Project list of activities 
The pilot project phase (8 months) will test the flow funding model and develop experience to support a subsequent decision-making and prioritization stage. During this phase, flow funders will collaborate on Meta and share announcements on a mailing list open to the community to read. Monthly online meetings will be scheduled on IRC.
Each flow funder is expected to draft a cover letter (WMF will provide a template) with the basic details of the recipient who will receive the funds (who, how much) and a clear impact statement (from the flow funder's perspective).
Flow funders' and "funded individuals/groups/entities will report separately on how the money was spent and what impact was achieved.
Budget breakdown 
- Flow funding resources: 10 candidates allocating up to USD 2,000 to Wikimedia projects
- Project Total: up to US$20,000
The flow funding minimum amount is $500. I.e., at most, a flow funder could fund four different efforts out of a $2,000 budget. Funds will be disbursed directly by WMF (the flow funders never handle any money), within the constraints of US law (i.e. we won't be able to fund people or groups on the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals list).
Non-financial requirements 
The WMF Global Development team would give guidance to and assume oversight for the Pilot Project and the Rollout planning phase, leveraging contacts within the WMF.
In the context of a limited budget, day-to-day activities will be orchestrated by TSB with the support of the Global Development team, including:
- Facilitating and supporting flow funder candidates;
- Collecting input from candidates and the community during the project;
- Addressing challenges that arise during the course of the project;
- Analyzing the incoming reports;
- Preparing findings and recommendations once all funded activities are over, as well as an interim report six months after the first disbursement of flow funding.
Team members 
- TSB (talk) 19:47, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
- Daffy123 (talk) --Daffy123 (talk) 20:36, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
- IbrahimPsy111 (talk) 21:16, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
- Solstag (talk) 03:23, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
- Thuvack (talk) 07:47, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
- Islahaddow (talk) 12:10, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
- Ilario (talk) 20:40, 24 August 2012 (UTC)
- Lpagola (talk) 19:11, 25 August 2012 (UTC)