Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Wikimedia NL informal statement
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The statement below is based on an analysis made by the WMNL treasurer, which was presented and discussed with association members in our annual general meeting on March 24, and on later discussion among board members. We believe this is a fair representation of what was discussed at the annual general meeting.
This statement was also sent to the Board of Trustees. Please feel free to email the Wikimedia Nederland board with any additional questions you might have (see http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Nederland for contact details), or use the talk page.
Wikimedia Nederland informal statement on donation processing
The letter of the Board of Trustees of February 8, 2012 makes it clear that processing donations through Wikimedia project websites does not imply any entitlement to retention of, or control over, funds that are received in this way. It thus leaves little room for the notion that such donation processing is a path towards self-sustainability and growth of chapters. Nevertheless, we are convinced that processing donations in the Dutch geography still offers significant advantages to Wikimedia Nederland and to the movement as a whole.
These advantages are to be found mainly in the area of connecting with (potential) donors. A shared language and culture makes communication more effective, also for resolving practical issues; having a single entity that receives donations, lowers the barrier for one-time donors to become recurrent donors, or to make better use of tax facilities; direct communication with donors will offer more opportunities to 'activate' donors as active content contributors, volunteers, or members. This benefits the chapter and, most importantly, the movement.
To realize this potential through local donation processing requires investments in terms of both money and human resources, to be able to meet the demands that the Wikimedia Foundation will place on chapters that process donations. These demands are not fully clear yet, but will most surely include a proven high level of transparency, accountability and security. It is therefore not a given that Wikimedia Nederland aspires to do local donation processing, or do that already during the 2012/2013 season: this will depend on the balance between benefits and costs, and thus on further developments. Nevertheless, we strongly feel that this option should at least be kept open in the future.
In light of these considerations, we urge the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation to consider
- to not put in place a 'moratorium' on new donation-processing chapters until 2015, but to ensure that any well-argumented proposal from an established chapter to start, or resume, local donation processing, can be judged on its own merits;
- to offer the possibility for chapters that do not process donations to at least reach out to donors directly, for example by sending a (limited) number of emails to them through the WMF (who cannot share donors' personal data with chapters).