Talk:Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Final Board resolutions

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You can use this page to discuss the two resolutions, or ask questions.

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Evaluations over the next 3 years[edit]

From Tango, on foundation-l: "My question about what you intend to do over the next 3 years wasn't answered. There is no point waiting three years and then re-evaluating the situation if you haven't made sure you've been gathering all the right information during those 3 years and that you are clear on what the questions you are actually trying to answer are."

The idea of a broad-based FDC that oversees much of the allocation and grantmaking of our movement is something I am glad we are trying out. It is unusual - I don't know of any other modern organizations that manage their global priorities and direction this way. And becoming a large-scale grantmaker is something new to most of us, including the WMF, though the Foundation has related experience. I hope to see one or two modern models of grantmaking that we can look to as this plan is developed; a vision for how the work of the Committee might grow over the next few years to support all movement program work; and models for assessment and evaluation, both of individual projects and of the system as a whole. SJ talk  22:34, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I was referring to fundraising and the three year wait before other chapters can be considered. --Tango (talk) 22:43, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually its not "three years before other chapters can be considered", its three years before we look at the situation, that does not automatically mean considering other chapters. One of the things that we have to do in the next months is determine the "evaluation criteria" which we need to look at when evaluating this. Time simply has not allowed us to do this (with everyone involved yet). I can imagine that these criteria focus on the success of the FDC and the costs/benefit of PP by chapters. What criteria do you suggest? Jan-Bart (talk) 07:12, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I can't tell you how to answer the questions until you tell me what questions you want to answer. As far as I'm concerned, we've already done a very detailed evaluation and the conclusion is very obvious to me that all chapters that want to and that meet a few basic criteria should fundraise on the WMF sites. You have decided otherwise and want to wait 3 years and think again. Unless you can tell me why you decided that, I can't help you. Presumably you decided that because you feel there are certain important things that you don't know at the moment and would like to spend the next 3 years finding out. What are those things? If you tell me, I can make suggestions on how to find them out. --Tango (talk) 12:14, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

There have been a few clear statements of "important things we don't know at the moment but can estimate". For example,

  • The WMF published a staff memo on perceived costs of distributed donor/payment processing.
  • WM-DE published a study on perceived benefits of distributed processing in Germany, hinting that they feel the analysis may apply elsewhere.

Neither of these two analyses seem neutral to me; each focused on either costs or benefits of local fundraising, but did not seriously try to compare the two. Each side, to my surprise, feels that the right answer is demonstrated by most large multinational charities. The authors of the WMF memo suggest that most such organizations centralize donation processing. The authors of the German letter suggest that most such organizations decentralize it. Likely both views are too simplistic; clearer background would resolve this confusion. SJ talk  06:50, 10 April 2012 (UTC)


Why just the four chapters?[edit]

How and why were the four chapters that can continue to receive donations via the Wikimedia projects selected? Why are other the chapters not being allowed to fundraise via the projects? Does this situation change if they can demonstrate that they are able to meet the same standards as the four named chapters?

(With the first question, I anticipate a potential answer being 'they were the ones that were allowed to fundraise via the projects in 2011' - but that's an answer that would dodge, rather than answer, the question I'm asking here.) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:38, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

The chapters that processed donors last year managed it well, and it is easy for them to continue to do so, addressing concerns about extra overhead. And one of the concerns about leaving the question of who processes donations unsettled, is that this and related processes for review/consideration can be a distraction for the WMF and for applying chapters. Settling the question unambiguously addressed that perceived concern. Since this unambiguity was one of the primary goals of the decision, the situation would not change if additional chapters meet the same standards.
That said, meeting the minimum criteria for processing donations was why those chapters were allowed to do so in 2011; if more chapters come to meet those criteria over time, that would likely be relevant to future discussions of how we organize fundraising and funds dissemination. SJ talk  22:34, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
But the chapters that processed donations in 2010 managed it very well. And the same applies to those that participated in 2009. The criteria for those participating in 2011 were never set out clearly (it was consistently an arbitrary process). I'm sure that there are chapters apart from the 'big four' that could meet the standards if they were clearly set out.
I know that it is easier for the WMF to set out a clear cut between those chapters that can or cannot receive donations via the Wikimedia projects. I know it's easier to specify individual chapters, rather than setting out generic requirements that any chapter could meet. But I can't help but feel that this approach is ethically and strategically wrong. Particularly the moratorium that they can't participate until 2015.
So I return to my original questions. Surely 'participation in 2011' can't be an answer to my first question. Surely 'to cut down on discussion' can't be an answer to my second question. And surely 'no' can't be an answer to my third question. There needs to be more explanation (or discussion) here... Mike Peel (talk) 22:54, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Couple of points here. First of all the four chapters still have to meet the criteria set out in the "Haifa Letter". Those criteria contain some vagueness but they are a good benchmark for now. If any of the four chapters do not meet these criteria, that would mean that they would not Payment process. Secondly: it is not a dodge to simply answer: these are the four chapters, because these chapters did meet those criteria. And thirdly: no the situation does not change until the 2016 fundraiser if more chapters meet these criteria... Our intend is to focus on making the dissemination of funds through the FDC a success (and see what we can do with donor relations with regards to non-payment processing countries. Jan-Bart (talk) 07:17, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be suggesting that the four chapters were chosen because they met the criteria and the other chapters didn't. That is simply not the case. The WMF wanted no chapters to fundraise, but had already signed fundraising agreements with some of them (extremely foolishly - no-one has given me an explanation for why you were signing agreements at the same time as discussing whether chapters should be fundraising at all, despite me asking repeatedly). As I understand it, the chapters that fundraised were simply the ones that refused to allow the WMF to go back on the agreements they had signed. There was nothing to do with meeting criteria. Can you tell me, for example, what the difference is between WMUK and WMNL? Why was WMUK allowed to fundraise (and is still allowed to fundraise) while WMNL wasn't (and isn't)? --Tango (talk) 12:19, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

Tango - your summary and understanding are incorrect. The WMF wanted chapters that met the stated guidelines to fundraise, but was worried that most did not -- even those which could meet most of them that year if they organized themselves better. So it encouraged chapters that felt they could manage with operational grants to do so, even if in theory they could have met all guidelines with a few months of work.

The WMF staff responsible for signing fundraising agreements were not involved with the decision - driven primarily and quickly by the Audit Committee - to tighten accountability requirements. As soon as concerns were raised by that committee, no further agreements were signed; but a few already had been. Some of the four chapters that eventually signed agreements had not done so until after Haifa (Wikimedia France, for instance), but clearly met the criteria laid out, and already had a solid fundraising history.

WMUK as you know was a controversial fundraiser, because it had legal trouble regarding its status, which lasted for some time and was not communicated to the WMF. This contributed to the general concerns of the Audit Committee about encouraging distributed fundraising by early-stage regional organizations. The UK chapter managed to clear this up and to confirm its charitable status before the fundraiser, however, and the WMF had already signed a fundraising agreement with them pending that confirmation; the agreement was of course honored.

The UK is a strong candidate for local fundraising for reasons covered by some of the criteria: the UK government has implemented particularly strong tax-deduction laws such as Gift Aid, which make donating to a local charity much more economical and attractive to UK citizens. Most countries (such as the Netherlands) do not have such generous laws. SJ talk  06:50, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

That may have been the WMF board's intention, but you delegated the actual decision making to Sue and she made it very clear that her desire was for no chapters (or perhaps just WMDE) to fundraise. I don't know the situation with WMFR, so there may have been a special case there. Your understanding of the situation with WMUK is inaccurate, as so often seems to be the case with the WMF Board's understanding of what is happening with WMUK - perhaps you should try asking WMUK for information rather than relying on rumours spread by your staff? No information relevant to whether WMUK met the criteria to fundraise was kept from the WMF. --Tango (talk) 11:23, 10 April 2012 (UTC)