FDC Portal/Jahresbericht zum Funds Dissemination Committee-Prozess 2012-2013

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Name des Berichts: "Jahresbericht zum Funds Dissemination Committee-Prozess"

September 2013

Zusammenfassung

Das Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC, Mittelverteilungsausschuss) wurde gegründet, um Empfehlungen auszusprechen, wie “die Mittel der Bewegung effektiv vergegeben werden sollen, um Wikimedias Vision, Mission und Strategie zu verwirklichen.” Das FDC prüft Anträge geeigneter Wikimedia-Gliederungen, um die Mittelvergabe allgemein zu unterstützen, “den Gesamtjahresplan einer Organisation, um die Missionsziele zu erreichen” abdeckend, was “sowohl laufende Ausgaben (Löhne, Bürokosten) und jegliche Programmkosten” einschließt, “die die Organisation auf sich nimmt, um ihre Ziele zu erreichen.” Dieser intensive Prozess soll dabei helfen sicherzustellen, das die finanziellen Mittel der Bewegung auf eine transparente Weise und “ohne ein Gewohnheitsrecht” verteilt werden. Der Stiftungsrat der Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) entscheidet dann über die Empfehlung des FDC. Der Prozess wurde im September 2012 aufgesetzt, so dass das FDC bisher zwei Runden Mittelvergabeempfehlungen im November 2012 und Mai 2013 ausführen konnte, die beide vom WMF Stiftungsrat vollständig übernommen wurden.

Erkenntnisse

  • Zusammengefasst wir der FDC-Prozess als zufriedenstellend, transparent und fair angesehen, obgleich mehrere Bereiche des Prozesses als verbesserungswürdig identifiziert wurden. Der Fortschritt in diesen Gebieten wird im abschließenden Abschnitt dieses Berichts festgestellt. Dennoch sind langfristige Auswirkungen des Erreichten und der Fortschritt für die Bewegungsweiten Ziele immer noch unbekannt. Zunehmend dreht sich die Diskussion darum, ob die Mittel für die effektivsten Programme ausgegeben werden und ob die Institutionalisierung von Einheiten eine effektive Verwendung von Ressourcen für die gesamte Bewegung ist. Das wird ein Gebiet sein, dass signifikante Beachtung im nächsten Jahr und eine Prüfung durch das FDC Advisory Board (FDC-Beirat) am Ende dieser zweijährigen Erprobungsphase erfordern wird.
  • Das FDC Jahresplanmittelvergabeprogramm passt nicht für alle Einheiten, auch wenn sie berechtigt sind, einen Antrag einzureichen. Manchen Einheiten wird geraten, das Projekt- und Veranstaltungsfinanzierungsprogramm (ehemals Wikimedia Foundation Finanzierungsprogramm) anstelle des FDC Jahresplanmittelvergabeprogramms zu wählen, da das Projekt- und Veranstaltungsfinanzierungsprogramm besser zu ihren Bedürfnissen und Kontexten passt, insbesondere wenn die Organisationen keine Vollzeitangestellten haben. Viele Einheiten schienen die Unterschiede zwischen den verschiedenen WMF-Finanzierungsprogrammen nicht zu kennen; deswegen ist mehr Anstrengung notwendig, um die Anforderungen, Erwartungen und Möglichkeiten aller WMF-Finanzierungsprogramm klar zu machen.
  • Angesichts der Höhe und der Natur der Finanzierungen, die durch diesen Prozess verteilt werden, ist der Antrags- und Prüfungsprozess angemessen zeitaufwändig. Gleichwohl sind einige Bewerber stark der Meinung, dass die Bewerbungsanforderungen zu hoch sind.
  • Konsequente persönliche Beratungen, die eine Konsens-basierte Methodik anwenden sind eine entscheidende Komponente eines erfolgreichen FDC-Prozesses. Trotz anfänglich stark unterschiedlicher Meinungen sind die Mitglieder sich in der Empfehlung absolut einig, nachdem Stärken, Schwächen und das Potenzial jeder Bewerbung intensiv diskutiert wurden.
  • Der FDC-Prozess stand vor der Herausforderung zu entscheiden, wie die größte Einheit der Bewegung, die Wikimedia Foundation daran teilnehmen sollte. Im ersten Jahr reichte die WMF Teile ihres Jahresplans und ihrer Finanzplanung als Antrag beim FDC um USD 4,5 Mio ein. Die WMF reichte einen Antrag für sein bestehendes Finanzjahr ein, so dass Plan und Finanzplan beraten wurden, während der Plan bereits umgesetzt wurde. Als der Antrag finanziert wurde, lief die Umsetzung des Plans bereits seit sechs Monaten. Während es als Erfolg angesehen wurde, das FDC in den Prozess einzubinden als Möglichkeit, die Stimme der Community und die Transparenz bei der Prüfung das Jahres- und Finanzplans zu stärken, wurde die Prüfung eines Teilplans weder vom FDC noch von der WMF als sinnvoll erachtet.
  • Im ersten Jahr des FDC-Prozesses wurden alle Systeme und Prozesse, die vom FDC-Rahmenwerk eingeführt wurden mit positiven Ergebnissen getestet. Das schließt eine Beschwerde an die Vertreter des WMF-FDC-Ausschusses und eine Anrufung der FDC-Ombudsperson zusätzlich zu einigen "besonderen Ereignissen" ein: eine ordnungspolitische Herausforderung bei WMUK, ein Führungskräfteaustausch bei WMFR, zwei Einheiten (WMHK und WMCZ), die ihre Antragsberechtung mangels Einhaltung der Anforderungen während des FDC-Prüfprozesses und einen ungültigen Antrag, der von WMCZ eingereicht wurde. Die Prozesse und Systeme, die vom Rahmenwerk entworfen wurden erwiesen sich als ausreichend für eine große Bandbreite von Szenarios und boten den Interessenvertretern Sicherheit bei Sachverhalten, die ansonsten äußerst herausfordernde Situationen gewesen wären.
  • Während diese besonderen Ereignisse die Prozesse und Systeme getestet haben, traten Fragen zu dem Thema auf, ob die FDC-Antragsteller bereit seien für einen Prozess wie den des FDC, mit so großen Geldsummen. Viele FDC-Einheiten sind im Prozess der Gestaltung guter organisatorischer Richtlinien und Verfahren (zum Beispiel für Interessenkonflikte) und sie erhalten manchmal finanzielle Unterstützung, bevor belastbare Kontrollrichtlinien zur Verfügung stehen.

Highlights in Zahlen aus dem ersten Jahr

  • Anzahl Einheiten, die Anträge einreichten: Insgesamt gingen 16 Anträge in Jahr 1 ein (2012-2013) von 15 antragsberechtigten Einheiten. Beachte: WMFR reichte in beiden Runden Anträge ein, erhielt eine "Brückenfinanzierung" für 6 Monate in der 2012-2013 Runde 1 und die Finanzierung für einen vollen 12-Monatsplan für die 2012-2013 Runde 2. Die Anzahl der Einheiten, die Anträge einreichten kann in den kommenden Jahren zunehmen, da mehr und mehr Einheiten antragsberechtigt werden.
  • Die meisten beantragenden Einheiten erhielten eine Finanzierung: 13 Anträge (12 Einheiten) wurden finanziert, während 3 abgelehnt wurden. Somit wurden für 81% der Einheiten, die einen Antrag einreichten, der Antrag finanziert.
  • Große Bandbreite von Anträgen: Die durchschnittliche Antragsgröße, ohne den Antrag der WMF, liegt bei USD 478.063. Der kleinste Antrag lag bei USD 14.065 und der größte Antrag bei USD 1.820.000.
  • Hoher Prozentzahl von Finanzierungsanträgen wurde stattgegeben: In beiden Runden wurde 79% der Finanzierungsanträge entsprochen. Ohne die Anträge, die keinerlei Finanzierung oder nur eine Brückenfinanzierung erhielten, wurde 89% der Finanzierungsanträge entsprochen. Blendet man die WMF aus, wurden 81% der Finanzierungsanträge bewilligt.
  • Community-Einbindung in die Antragsprüfung: 181 Kommentare von 97 Benutzern in der 2012-2013 Runde 1 und von 84 Benutzern in 2012-2013 Runde 2 wurden auf den Diskussionsseiten für beide Runden gepostet.
  • Gesamtkosten: Im Finanzjahr 2012-2013 wurden USD 9.173.409 an fünfzehn Einheiten ausgegeben, oder USD 4.714.409 ohne die WMF-Zuwendungen. USD 537.911 wurden für Unterstützung und Gemeinkosten so ausgegeben: USD 175.835 Personenkosten, USD 65.424 für persönliche Beratungen (Reise, Veranstaltungsort, Unterkunft), USD 2.466 Betriebsausgaben und USD 294.186 einmalige Kosten für die The Bridgespan Group-Konsultationsgebühren während der Schaffung des FDC-Prozesses.
2012-2013 Runde 1 Zuteilungen beantragt und bestätigt 2012-2013 Runde 2 Zuteilungen beantragt und bestätigt Viele Anträge erhielten große Beträge Einheiten, die eine Zuteilung erhielten, bekamen durchschnittlich >80% ihrer Anforderung

FDC Round 1 requests and allocations by entity, 2012-13.png

FDC Round 2 requests and allocations by entity, 2012-13.png

FDC $ requested vs % funded, 2012-13.png

FDC Year 1 Percent Allocation, 2012-13.png

$10.400.000 insgesamt beantragt; $8.500.000 bestätigt (82%) $1.200.000 insgesamt beantragt; $700.000 bestätigt (55%) Ohne WMF


Betrachtungen der WMF-Geschäftsführerin zum FDC-Prozess

Der Funds Disemination Committee-Prozess wurde im März 2012 in Gang gesetzt, nach einem Beschluss des WMF-Stiftungsrates, mit der Bitte an die WMF-Geschäftsführerin die Erstellung des Rahmenwerkes anzuleiten, das beinhalten sollte

  • Eine Beschreibung, wie das FDC funktionieren wird;
  • Ein Überleitungsplan, um es in Gang zu setzen mit einem Teilstart 2012-2013 und einem vollständigen Start 2013-2014;
  • Und einem Prozess für die Bewertung, Prüfung und Feinjustierung in mehreren Schlüsselphasen.

Das wurde geschafft. Im Juli 2012, nach den wichtigen Input des FDC-Beirats, Communitymitgliedern, die auf den Diskussionsseiten teilgenommen hatten und Angestellten der Wikimedia Foundation, stellten wir das Rahmenwerk zur Verfügung. Wir wussten bei der Schaffung des Rahmenwerks, dass es einen beträchtlichen Aufwand für die Community, die Angestellten und insbesondere die Gründungsmitglieder des FDC darstellen wird, einen “transparenten Bewerbungs- und Entscheidungsprozess” für die Zuweisung von Mitteln der Bewegung zu unterstützen und ein “Exzellenzzentrum in der Bewegung zu schaffen, um die Einheiten zu hohen Standards bei den Plänen, die sie entwickeln und bei der Umsetzung der Pläne zu bewegen”.

Das ist ein Bericht an den WMF-Stiftungsrat --und an die Bewegung insgesamt-- über die Reflektionen und dem Gelernten aus dem ersten vollständigen Jahr des FDC-Prozesses. Wie vom Rahmenwerk vorgesehen trifft sich der FDC-Beirat im nächsten Jahr, um der WMF-Geschäftsführerin basierend auf aktualisierten Begutachtungen und Erfahrungen Verbesserungen für den Prozess zu empfehlen. Am Ende der zweijährigen Testperiode des FDC-Prozesses, ungefähr Mitte August 2014, wird die WMF-Geschäftsführerin den Rat des Beirats in eine Empfehlung an den Stiftungsrat einfließen lassen, ob der FDC-Prozess weitergeführt werden soll oder nicht und wenn ja, in welcher Form.

Das erste Jahr des FDC-Prozesses hat in mehrerer Hinsicht meine Erwartungen weit übertroffen .

  • Entwurf als partizipativer, transparenter, community-basierter Mechanismus: Der FDC-Prozess ist einzigartig: es ist der partizipativste, offenste, transparenteste, umfassendste, Konsens-basierteste Mittelzuteilungsprozess, den ich kenne. Niemand sonst führt eine Mittelzuteilung auf diese Weise durch, bei der die meisten Aspekte der Beantragungs-, Prüfungs-, Empfehlungs- und Entscheidungsfindungsprozesse öffentlich stattfinden und offen für Kommentare von jedem sind. Unser Ziel war es einen Prozess zu entwerfen und auszuführen, der insgesamt mit den Werten der Bewegung übereinstimmt und ich bin beglückt, dass wir damit erfolgreich waren.
  • Tempo und Ausführung: Als wir das Rahmenwerk schufen wussten wir nicht, ob der FDC-Prozess tatsächlich ausführbar sein würde. Es war absolut möglich, dass das, was theoretisch anwendbar erschien, sich als nicht ausführbar erweisen würde. In bin froh, dass der Prozess während des Jahres im Zeitplan bleiben konnte und so erfolgreich sein Hauptziel erreichen konnte: Geld an Organisationen der Bewegung zu geben, derart, dass sie funktionieren können.
  • Strenge und Augenmaß bei der Prüfung: Als wir das FDC starteten, wussten wir nicht, ob die FDC-Mitglieder die Expertise und das Urteilsvermögen haben würden, gute Finanzierungsentscheidungen zu treffen. Ich bin sehr glücklich, dass ihre ersten Entscheidungen zeigten, dass sie das können. Das Gründungs-FDC umfasste sieben (mit zwei später gewählten) Communitymitfglieder aus der ganzen Welt, mit Erfahrung aus verschiedenen Wikimedia-Projekten und in Finanzen, Zuschüssen und Projektmanagement, mit zwei Ratsvertretern als Beobachtern im FDC; zusammen führten sie einen hochmotivierten und achtsam geprüften Prozess. Sie trafen außerdem einige schwierige Entscheidungen: sie empfahlen nicht die volle Höhe an alle Antragsteller auszugeben und sie lehnten drei Anträge auf Basis von Führungsherausforderungen wie auch wegen ungeeigneter Erfolgsmessmethoden bei früheren Zuwendungsverwendungsberichten, programmatischen Umsetzungen und Wirkungen.
  • Robustheit bei der Bewertung ‘außergewöhnlicher Ereignisse’ und Reaktion auf wichtige Beschwerden und Anrufungen: Als sie die Finanzierungsanträge durcharbeiteten, musste das FDC in mehreren Fällen entscheiden, wie Anträge von Einheiten behandelt werden sollten, die ernsthafte Schwierigkeiten in der Führung und Kontrolle hatten (die wir ‘außergewöhnliche Ereignisse’ nannten). WMUK hatte Ärger auf dem Gebiet der Kontrolle mit Interessenkonflikten. WMFR sah sich einem schwierigen Führungswechsel gegenüber. Zwei Einheiten, die gehofft hatten, antragsberechtigt zu ein, wurde als nicht antragsberechtigt eingestuft, da bestimmte Anforderungen nicht erfüllt wurden. In einigen dieser Fälle wurden die Beschwerde- und Anrufungsprozesse des FDC von den beantragenden Einheiten in Anspruch genommen, was zu Untersuchungen und Berichten durch die Ombudsperson führte und zu einer endgültigen Entscheidung durch die Vertreter des WMF Stiftungsrates, die Empfehlungen des FDC aufrechtzuerhalten, trotz des Einspruchs der Antragsteller. Ich war erfreut, wie ernsthaft das FDC die ‘außergewöhnlichen Ereignisse’ behandelte und ich war froh, dass die Beschwerden und Prüfprozesse getestet wurden und effektiv zu funktionieren schienen.

Ich möchte außerdem anmerken, dass die öffentlichen Berichte der Einheiten zu ihren Aktivitäten sich deutlich verbessert haben, seit der FDC-Prozess gestartet wurde. Vor dem Start des FDC berichteten viele Einheiten öffentlich nicht viel über ihre Aktivitäten und waren häufig nicht überprüfbar im Sinne des Chapter Agreements und des Grant Agreements. Siet dem Start des FDC-Prozesses hat die Offenheit und Transparenz in der gesamten Bewegung deutlich zugenommen. Ich glaube, dass das ein Ergebnis des FDC-Prozesses ist, aber auch wenn nicht, ist das das eine willkommene Änderung, die es wert ist, erwähnt zu werden.

Fazit: Ich bin erfreut über das erste Jahr des FDC. Trotzdem möchte ich anmerken, dass ich erhebliche Bedenken dazu habe, wie sich die Einheiten unserer Bewegung entwickeln. Ich merke das hier nicht an, weil es notwendigerweise Probleme mit dem FDC-Prozess selbst darstellt, sondern weil ich glaube, dass das FDC, wenn es sich weiterentwickelt, eine Schlüsselrolle dabei spielen wird, zu helfen, sie anzupacken und zu lösen.

  • Unverhältnismäßige Mittel und Einflüsse von Wikimedia Organisationen: Ich glaube, dass derzeit ein zu großer Anteil des Geldes der Bewegung von den Chaptern ausgegeben wird. Der Wert der Wikimedia-Projekte wird vor allem von den einzelnen Autoren geschaffen: Einzelpersonen schaffen den Mehrwert für die Leser, was dazu führt, dass diese Leser ihr Geld an die Bewegung spenden. Wir haben heute mehr als 40 Wikimedia-Organisationen, davon erhielten 12 im letzten Jahr Finanzierungen durch das FDC. Von den 5,65 Millionen US-Dollar die die WMF in diesem Jahr als Finanzierung ausgab, gingen 89% oder 5,04 Millionen US-Dollar an angegliederte Organisationen, wovon 4,71 Millionen US-Dollar (83% der gesamten Finanzierungen) an diese 12 Einheiten für deren Jahrespläne ging. Im bin nicht sicher, dass der zusätzlich Wert, der von den Einheiten der Bewegung wie den Chaptern geschaffen wurde, diese finanziellen Kosten rechtfertigt und ich frage mich, ob es nicht mehr Sinn für die Bewegung machen würde, einen größeren Teil des Geldes in die direkte finanzielle Unterstützung von Einzelpersonen zu stecken, die an den Projekten arbeiten.
  • Der FDC-Prozess wird von der Perspektive der Chapter dominiert: Ich bin außerdem besorgt, dass das FDC selbst --dwe wichtigste und mächtigste Finanzierungsmechanismus für unsere Bewegung-- nur wenige nicht Chapter-zugehörige Mitglieder hat: die Mehrheit seiner Mitglieder sind zusätzlich Präsidienmitglieder oder ehemalige Präsidienmitglieder von Chaptern. Es ist verständlich für mich, das Leute mit Chaptererfahrung aus dem selben Gründen für das FDC arbeiten, aus denen sie für die Chapter gearbeitet haben und es ist mir klar, dass die Erfahrungen und Expertise die sie in ihrer Chapter-bezogenen Arbeit gewonnen haben gut bei der FDC-Arbeit anwenden können. Ich verstehe auch, warum nicht in Chaptern arbeitende Wikimedianer (aus den selben Gründen, aus denen sie nicht in Chaptern arbeiten) es vorziehen, nichts mit dem FDC zu tun zu haben wollen. Aber ich bin beunruhigt, dass das FDC unausgewogen Chapter-zentriert besetzt ist und meine Bedenken haben sich eher verstärkt als abgenommen nach der FDC-Mitglieder-Wahl von 2013, die dazu führte, dass die zwei offenen Sitze von Präsidiumsmitgliedern von Chaptern besetzt wurden. Ich möchte mich klar ausdrücken: Ich bin überzeugt, dass alle FDC-Mitglieder das Interesse der Bewegung über ihre eigenen Interessen stellen, einschließlich der Interessen ihrer Chapter. Aber ich glaube auch, dass Leute, die mit Chapter-Organisationen (und anderen Wikimedia-Organisationen) zu tun haben eine spezielle Weltsicht haben, die in manchen Belangen von der von Wikimedianer verschieden ist, die entschieden haben, nichts mit etablierten zu tun haben wollen, und ich denke, dass ein gesunder Finanzierungszuteilungsprozess von verschiedenen Perspektiven profitieren würde. Ich glaube, dass ein FDC-Prozess, der von Finanzierungsbeantragern dominiert wird, so wie er jetzt konstruiert ist, keinen ausreichenden Schutz vor log-rolling, self-dealing und anderen Korruptionspraktiken bietet. Ich hatte gehofft, dass diese Risiken durch die Anwesenheit von nichtorganisierten FDC-Mitgliedern ausgeglichen würden, aber bis jetzt sprechen die Anzeichen dafür, dass deren Anzahl klein bleiben und sich mit der Zeit noch verringern wird und ich glaube nicht, dass es sinnvoll ist zu erwarten, dass eine Minderheit von unabhängigen Mitgliedern als einziger Sicherheitsmechanismus gegen Korruption funktionieren kann. Ich bemerke außerdem mit Sorge den Punkt, auf den der FDC-Beirat hingewiesen hat, dass die Communitymitglieder, die die größte Aufmerksamkeit für den Prozess aufbringen, Antragsteller sind und dass die Communitybeteiligung bei der Hinterfragung von Anträgen ansonsten gering ist. Ich würde zu schätzen wissen, wenn der FDC-Beirat einige Gedanken auf dieses Problem verwendet und in seinem Prüfbericht eine Empfehlung ausspricht, wie das gelöst werden kann.
  • Wachsende Institutionalisierung der Bewegung: Während der strategischen Planungsprozesses Anfang 2010 gab es nur drei Chapter mit Angestellten. Ende des ersten Jahres des FDC-Prozessesm gab es mindestens 15 Wikimediapartnerorganisationen mit Voll- oder Teilzeitangestellten und Büros (nicht alle nahmen am FDC-Prozess teil). Mit so einem hohen Anteil von Bewegungsressourcen, die --wie bereits weiter oben erwähnt-- in die ‘Institutionalisierung’ der Bewegung gesteckt werden, müssen wir uns fragen, ob die Vorteile die Kosten wert sind. Es ist möglich, dass eine wohlgeordnete Änderung zu etwas personeller Unterstützung Freiwilligenorganisationen helfen kann, kraftvoll und begeistert zu bleiben, aber die Risiken und Kosten bei der Schaffung von in Stein gehauenen Institutionen nehmen außerdem dramatisch zu und gleichzeitig treten manchmal schwierige Dynamiken zwischen Angestellten und Community auf, wie es in diesem Jahr von einigen FDC-Antragstellern berichtet wurde. Wir müssen uns selbst fragen, ob es phantasievollere und agilere Wege gibt, um unsere Bewegung so zu organisieren, dass sie unsere Arbeit besser unterstützt und wie der FDC-Prozess diesen Prozess des Denkens und Handelns unterstützen kann.
  • Hohe Kosten und unklare Ergebnisse: Im letzten Jahr gab die WMF 4,71 Millionen US-Dollar in FDC-Jahresplanzuweisungen aus, ohne die WMF (5,65 Millionen US-Dollar insgesamt) und es ist geplant, das in diesem Jahr bis zu 6 Millionen US-Dollar für FDC-Jahresplanzuwendungen anzuheben (8 Millionen US-Dollar insgesamt). Das ist viel Geld. Während die Programmprüfungs-, Programmentwurfs-, Finanzierung-Lernen-und-Prüfen-Teams der WMF das FDC dabei unterstützen werden, die Wirkung globaler Wikimedia-Programme zu verstehen, gibt es gegenwärtig keine großen Anzeichen, dass diese Ausgaben uns sonderlich helfen, die Wikimediamission zu erfüllen. Ich glaube, wir geben eine Menge Geld aus, mehr als die Ergebnisse, die wir sehen rechtfertigen. Ich bin betroffen von den Wachstumsraten, die von den Einheiten, die eine Finanzierung beim FDC angefordert haben, vorlegen wollen: Ich glaube, dass um die Größe der angefragten Finanzierung zu rechtfertigen, die beteiligten Einheiten in der Lage sein sollten, klar zu sagen, wie ihre Pläne einen wichtigen Beitrag dazu leisten sollen, der Wikimediabewegung zu helfen, seine Mission zu erfüllen.

Der WMF-Stiftungsbeirat hat bereits viele dieser Herausforderungen in seiner Anleitung für das FDC im April 2013 besprochen und es ist wichtig, dass der FDC-Prozess im nächsten Jahr auf den Beirat reagiert, indem konstruktive Lösungen für diese Herausforderungen angeboten werden. Wie der Beirat sagte: “Wir sind durch die Ressourcen, die uns zur Verfügung stehen privilegiert und wir sind den großzügigen Spendern der Wikimediabewegung dankbar. Mit Privilegien kommt Verpflichtung: Wir sind es unserer Community von Autoren, Lesern und Spendern schuldig, die Ressourcen so sorgfältig wie möglich zu nutzen, um die höchstmögliche Wirkung zu erreichen im Streben nach unserer Vision.”

Hintergrund

Der Finanzierungsprozess

FDC proposal process

As outlined in the proposal timeline, the Funds Dissemination Committee receives proposals twice each year from eligible entities for general support (unrestricted) funds allocations for Wikimedia movement-aligned work. In the first year of the FDC (2012-2013), two rounds of proposals were submitted. After each intensive review process, which includes public community review and staff assessments, the Committee considers each proposal over the course of a month, and meets to intensively deliberate on them in-person over 3-4 days. Once the committee reaches consensus, they publish their funding recommendations to the WMF Board and the community.

The FDC and the proposal process were designed to be highly participatory, community-engaging, transparent, and accountable. It is an unusual grants program with many unique features, such as a community review period in which the community is invited to share questions and feedback on proposals; a publicly-shared document on reflections and notes from the Committee and its deliberations; an ombudsperson who supports investigations and appeals to the process; and surveys after each round to solicit feedback, complaints, concerns, and satisfaction to create continuous improvements in future rounds.

FDC total applicants by round, 2012-13.png

The FDC applicants

Eligible Wikimedia-affiliated entities are able to submit proposals to the FDC for general funding to support their annual plans. In year one, all entities but one (the Wikimedia Foundation) were chapters. Fourteen out of the fifteen entities that submitted proposals are located in Europe, North America and Australia; only one entity is in the "global south" (Argentina). Many entities submitted proposals to the FDC for an annual plan grant or funds allocation with staff and office costs that support their programmatic work. In the first two rounds of the proposal process, entities had significant differences in size of geographical communities served, programmatic history, organizational budget, years of existence, activity levels of communities and of boards, and staffing.



The Committee

The inaugural Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) comprised seven members appointed by the WMF Board in September 2012 from seven countries (Bangladesh, India, Poland, Sweden, UK, Ukraine, USA) and with a variety of backgrounds within the movement. Each underwent a selection process that included on-wiki review and phone interviews, and were chosen for their experience in grantmaking, finance or program management, as well as their backgrounds as community members from different Wikimedia projects. In June 2013 they were joined by two newly elected members from Italy and France/Germany. The committee now consists of seven male and two female members. The FDC also works with two WMF Board representatives and an independent Ombudsperson and is supported full time by one WMF staff member, with significant support from two members of the Grantmaking team, and by others at WMF on the Legal, Finance, and Communications teams.

First year report on the FDC process

The purpose of this report is to document the state of the FDC process and the experiences of stakeholders, to highlight feedback received over the last year, to share trends and progress from entities receiving funds allocations, and to note changes made to date for improvements. The report is written for all stakeholders who participated in the process, for the Wikimedia community at large, and for the WMF Board of Trustees.

The content of this report was collected from surveys, reports, discussion pages, phone calls, and feedback shared at face-to-face discussions. In particular:

  • Many formal feedback channels collect feedback and document the experience of stakeholders to ensure the continuous improvements to the FDC process.
  • Two sets of surveys (a process survey and a cost-benefit survey) are conducted after each round of funding to solicit comments on stakeholder experience and feedback from stakeholders.
  • The ombudsperson also collects feedback after each round and publishes an annual report to highlight both positive and negative aspects of the process.
  • In addition, feedback is continuously collected by FDC staff at meetings, on site visits, on wiki, and at movement events like the Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania.

Feedback collected through these channels, as well as input solicited directly from stakeholders, form the basis of this report.

Future annual reports will be written by the Funds Dissemination Committee and will focus on learning from the previous year, including promising trends in movement entities' programs, progress and challenges, observations about movement investing to achieve mission goals of the movement, and recommendations for movement strategic priorities and goals.

If you have any feedback, which is not already addressed here, that you would like to share about the FDC's first year, please leave a comment on the discussion page.

Results from stakeholder surveys

FDC Process is useful to force the structures to explain their plans and programs. I hope that it will be, after time, a good way to be more efficient with our programs: expanding editors and content, usecase for future, lessons and sharing of experience...

FDC Process Survey, Respondent

After each round of FDC funding, the WMF Grantmaking Learning and Evaluation team conducts surveys with process stakeholders, which target entities, FDC members, FDC staff, the WMF Board representatives, FDC Advisory Group members, and members of the community. These surveys solicit information from those mostly closely involved with the process to identify pain points, cost-benefit information, and satisfaction with the FDC process. This feedback is then used by the FDC and the FDC staff to make improvements. A cumulative Year 1 report is published. Highlights from the report are summarized below:

Satisfaction rates for the FDC, based on two surveys following the two rounds of funding for 2012-13
  1. Over the first year of the FDC process, average satisfaction rates of the FDC process by those who responded to the survey are between "satisfied" and "very satisfied." This is the overall average across all parties (e.g., FDC Advisory Group, FDC Staff, WMF FDC Board Representatives, FDC applicants, Community Members, FDC). Overall, 85% of participants in the process are either satisfied or very satisfied, and 15% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. All of the members of the FDC and the FDC staff are either satisfied or very satisfied. 75% of Entities (12 of 16 respondents) are satisfied or very satisfied, and the same percentage is true of the FDC Advisory Group / WMF Board (3 out of 4 respondents). Lower levels of satisfaction come from entities that did not receive any funding or did not receive full funding. All parties agree that there is room for improvement in the process, and that certain changes are needed.
  2. As a mechanism for distributing movement funds, the FDC’s intensive proposal submission and review process is deemed appropriately time-consuming. This is particularly true given the amounts allocated and the nature of the funds allocations, which are unrestricted. In spite of this, the FDC should continue to seek ways to minimize difficulties in the process.
  3. Communication should be increased to ensure clarity and shared expectations for all involved, particularly in the areas on eligibility and proposal process and milestones. Since proposals are only accepted in English, language also continues to be a challenge since most involved with the proposal submission process are non-native English speakers. With this in mind, the FDC and the FDC staff could offer more communication channels to entities throughout the proposal development and review process; improve the FDC portal to make it more navigable; and provide more details on the different types of grants offered by WMF.
  4. The most contentious points of the process were eligibility, expectations during proposal review, and the complaints and appeals processes. These processes should be improved by clarifying protocols and procedures.

Reflections from stakeholder groups

FDC applicants

Roles of Key Participants in the FDC Process
FDC Applicants submit proposals to the FDC for annual plan grants
FDC members review proposals, recommend funds allocations to the WMF Board
WMF FDC Board Representatives observe process, advise on key issues, liaise with full WMF Board, receive and respond to complaints against the recommendations
FDC Advisory Group helped create FDC process, will advise the WMF Board next year on how to proceed
Ombudsperson receives and documents appeals, publishes independent annual report on FDC process
FDC Staff oversees process, provides FDC with inputs, works with applicants on proposals

In Year 1 (2012-2013), the majority of the 15 entities that submitted proposals to the FDC were satisfied with the process, though several entities that expressed strong dissatisfaction and suggestions for improvements. One survey respondent highlighted the opportunity that the FDC process presented to more widely share learning across the movement: “the FDC process will create greater convergence among the entities (part of it through copying each other, and as a backwash effect from the process and review itself).”

While many (69% of survey respondents) felt the application requirements were reasonable and achievable, not all agreed. One applicant noted it was easy for his/her entity because paid staff could support the proposal development: “I found the process smooth and easy, but I guess that is different for entities without paid staff.” Another applicant shared the opinion that the process should be simplified significantly: "It is only one year old and it is all ready out of hand. The more time it takes for grantees to participate in the FDC process, the less time they have to do their programmatic work."

Concerns around communications, particularly around language and expectations, arose as one of the major areas for improvement. One applicant wrote, “deadlines were communicated (albeit in a very legalese manner). Expectations were not communicated well. The requirements of the participants were unreasonable.” This applicant later noted, however, that they were generally able to resolve their issues through email. Another applicant noted the need for more communication, particularly given language issues: “I regret that there is not more dialogue (eg chat or skype) between the FDC and structures. The process of FDC is correct but probably forgets that participants are not native English speakers.” The FDC process is still ill-equipped to tackle the translation problem, and it is a key challenge.

Three entities did not receive funding from the FDC process, and many did not receive the full amounts they requested. One entity that did not receive funding submitted a formal complaint to the Board. Wikimedia Hong Kong wrote: "We believe the decision of the FDC is inappropriate. The decision is totally harmful for the development of WMHK, as well as the development of free culture in Hong Kong. The Wikimedia Foundation has the obligation to promote Wikimedia projects and free culture around the world. The rejection of funding makes the promotion of those projects in Hong Kong more difficult. The rejection of funding also makes the volunteers in WMHK think that their work is totally denied by the Wikimedia Foundation." The Board responded to the complaint, endorsing the FDC's recommendation and highlighting the concerns of the FDC with the proposal, including: "the effectiveness of the programs proposed in terms of both potential impact and budgetary implications, and the internal governance and organizational capacity of the WMHK chapter to administer such a large grant." The response also raised the FDC's concerns with WMHK's track record with three much smaller grants. The Board reiterated its desire to work towards the growth and development of the Hong Kong chapter and community, and asked them to consider a "more modest project grant that will help develop [WMHK's] capacity and impact, consistent with our movement’s mission and goals".

Another major concern from the applicants was around how--and whether--FDC funds and the process itself would enable entities to achieve impact and make gains in movement priorities. In some ways, it it has been a challenge to fundamentally change the way movement resources are distributed. In the past, many entities acted as payment-processors during global fundraising campaigns on the projects, and simply kept part of the funds processed out of their geography. Now, in order to receive funding, entities are assessed through the FDC process on their capacities to make impact helping the movement achieve its goals. This transition is a difficult one, as one applicant reflects: “I agree that the FDC process is producing greater movement-wide information about what it takes to achieve impact, but I worry that this is being used to mark chapters on their performance and popularity rather than actually giving them access to the funds that donors (in some cases, their own donors) have raised.” One applicant argued that the FDC process is not well designed to support impact on some movement goals: "'Encourage innovation' and 'Increase diversity' is the last thing a highly institutionalised process would do."

Entities are also concerned that they will not have sufficient funds to achieve impact in the way they've planned. One wrote that the FDC's recommendations are not based on "what it takes to achieve impact," citing the fact that the FDC allocated enough funding to Wikimedia Norge for one full time employee rather than two requested, although Wikimedia Norge noted that projects would only work if two staff were hired. However, at the second quarter mark, Round 1 FDC entity spending on staff is 40%, and entity spending on non-staff is 24% spent, so it's not clear that a lack of funds is hampering entity ability to generate impact.

Funds Dissemination Committee members

Committee members agree that in spite of the challenges they faced at many points in the process, the first year was a success that resulted in the WMF Board endorsing both rounds of the FDC's recommendations. It has been an exciting journey to build up an entirely volunteer-driven body, to allow it to evolve and grow while holding the high standards. At the same time, it has been challenging, since throughout the whole process they have aimed not to stifle the spontaneous and activist character of the movement. As volunteer members of the community themselves, they face a difficult balance.

Perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of the committee has been the success of the multi-day face-to-face deliberation process. The consensus-driven model allows all members of this diverse committee to share their opinions and deliberate until a final agreement is reached for all proposals. This process can be exhausting, as all members must also agree on the final recommendation text. However, it is a testament to the integrity of the process and the members of the committee that consensus has been achieved in both rounds, despite strong initial differences in opinions.

Members of the inaugural Funds Dissemination Committee

Members agree that the process as it was set out has achieved its goal, with one member remarking that funds were being allocated to entities’ “promising projects, [and] that will help Wikimedia maintain its standards and grow with quality.” While one member notes that “the process is enabling projects that will allow a bigger social impact,” others are waiting for more information about outcomes and impact from the grants, which will be seen in the next year.

Members are proud of the fact that FDC members and applicants alike rose to all the challenges faced in the first year. One member wrote that “FDC process is very new to the movement. There was lot of uncertainty and apprehension over the success of the process before. However, the results so far are very encouraging and the FDC process is also making sure accountability and responsibility is there in the movement activities.” Another agreed that process has been encouraging, given “there has been good involvement of stakeholders and FDC decisions have been respected.” One member shared a sense that "together we are making history of open social movement resource allocation."

Committee members echoed similar concerns as other stakeholder groups about expectations, communications, proposal templates, and the portal. One member wrote: “Expectations and deadlines for eligibility apparently weren't clear for some applicants. We can probably do better with real-time bidirectional feedback.” Another suggested “well defined and SMART goals for each application” were needed.

Some members also highlighted the issue about the pipeline to the FDC, noting that not all entities are ‘ready’ to apply to the FDC: “it seemed to me that most entities have taken for granted that they 'have to' approach FDC after execution of two earlier restricted grants.” To help with this problem, another also endorsed the need for better a “synchronization of all grants / funding programs of WMF" so that entities know which grants programs might best fit their needs.

WMF Board representatives to the FDC

The two WMF Board representatives have been very satisfied with the first year of the FDC process. They note that the FDC has "exceeded our wildest expectations for the first year." Since it was important for them to see the entire FDC run by volunteers, they were impressed with the ability of committee members to commit so much time to the process. They were pleased to observe "thoughtful discussions leading to a carefully thought out result." They noted, too, their satisfaction with the support role that the FDC staff played.

While the Board representatives have been impressed with the process this year, they are concerned by the high proportion of movement resources going to annual plan grants and urge the FDC and the movement to award funding commensurate to an entity’s ability to create impact. To do this, they encourage entities and the FDC to develop a culture of evaluation and assessment to help make good decisions about where resources should be invested for the most impact. They reiterate what they expressed in their Guidance to the FDC earlier this year: “Entities should get funding insofar as they can demonstrate that their activities are helping to achieve the mission, or that their activities plausibly may help. Proportionality is key: smaller grants can support what might be risky but exciting new work, but larger grants need to be based on a strong rationale, a solid track record of past and future performance and a clear focus on high impact work, rather than a menu of different approaches.”

In relation to this, in the coming year, the Board representatives noted that the FDC process will need to endeavor to improve the quality of the proposals, based on good feedback and learning. This challenge will need to be addressed both by the members of the FDC as well as the chapters themselves (e.g. establishing a peer review process).

As issues in compliance, governance, and executive leadership arose for several applicants, the Board representatives expressed their concern that some applicants may not be “ready” to manage large annual plans grants. The Board representatives were concerned by the number and range of “extraordinary events” that FDC applicants faced this year. This past year, Wikimedia UK faced conflict of interest issues, Wikimedia France experienced an executive transition, and Wikimedia Hong Kong and Wikimedia Czech Republic faced compliance issues. FDC grants require effective, transparent and strategic organizations who are able to manage large grants, paid staff, and implement good programs with significant impact. They recommend that the FDC encourage entities to establish “practices of good governance, transparency, and accountability. Effective leadership by entities - whether formally established or more informal in their organizational structure - ensures their finances are public and well managed, that their programs are focused, well-designed and reliable, that they are learning from their own histories and from others in the movement, that they are creating strong partnerships that will build content and community, and that their communications and relationships with each other and the rest of the community are respectful, professional and transparent.”

In spite of these concerns, the Board representatives are greatly appreciative of all the significant work that has gone into the process and celebrate the successes to date.

Funds Dissemination Advisory Group members

The Funds Dissemination Advisory Group plays an important role for the first two years of the FDC’s existence. The Advisory Group helped develop the FDC process, and now provides guidance and feedback to refine the process. The Group is comprised of interested community members, current FDC grantees, external grantmakers, and WMF Board members. After the creation of the Funds Dissemination Committee, two members of the Advisory Group joined the committee, and they therefore resigned from the Advisory Group.

Funds Dissemination Advisory Group

As a whole, the Advisory Group felt that the FDC Year 1 Process Review accurately covered the current state of the FDC process. They strongly emphasized a need for increased communication among applicants and FDC staff. The Advisory Group noted that communication is the most challenging aspect of the relationship, as new and inexperienced entities have a difficult time meeting the requirements. The Advisory Group therefore recommended that the FDC staff work more closely with applicants, particularly new applicants.

The Advisory Group noted concern around smaller entities facing the same rigorous review treatment as larger entities, even when smaller entities are usually all or mostly volunteer-run. They also noted that some entities may not be ready for annual plan grants with unrestricted funds. They recommended that the FDC staff steer smaller (and possibly less developed) entities to simpler Wikimedia grants programs, like the Project and Event grants program.

Another concern is the lack of overall community involvement. One member noted that only the applicants seemed to be paying significant attention to the process.

The Advisory Group noted many positive aspects of the FDC. First, it feels the FDC Framework has been useful and well-utilized as a foundational document for the process. In addition, the group was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the FDC’s work and decisions. Furthermore, despite a range of personalities, all viewpoints are respected and recommendations are agreed jointly. Finally, the group was also impressed with the maturity of responses from entities in the first round, including those that were not funded.

FDC Ombudsperson

The ombudsperson plays a unique and independent role in the FDC process. Her role is to receive and publicly document appeals; support complaints investigations as requested by the WMF board; and publish an annual report that identifies systemic problems. The inaugural ombudsperson’s annual report summarized key elements of feedback she received.

The ombudsperson agreed with the Year 1 (2012-2013) survey findings that the FDC process overall is generally satisfactory, transparent, and fair. In addition, she noted that through its first two rounds of funding recommendations, it was able to allocate funds in an efficient way in order to lead to impact. Her report notes that the FDC process could be improved by making it less “time consuming and complicated,” by tightening requirements, clarifying expectations and terminology, considering different contexts, and aligning the FDC proposal process better with entity's own internal planning.

The ombudsperson noted that the FDC portal needs improvements. The report urges the team to make the portal more user-friendly, and to reduce the number of comment pages.

The ombudsperson reported mixed feedback on the FDC proposal and reporting forms. She noted that the FDC forms are helpful to make comparisons between proposals to create a portfolio analysis, and they also help applicants to set goals. However, the forms do not help entities structure their annual plans, and wiki markup is not the best way to present some information in a proposal.

The report noted positive applicant interactions with the members of the FDC, who were viewed as friendly and efficient despite time differences. However, it was felt that there was not enough communication between the FDC and FDC staff and entities submitting proposals. The ombudsperson noted that entities requested for more feedback and contact from the FDC after the FDC recommendations are published. Finally, the report noted that applicants felt the staff assessment was too vague to provide actionable guidance and consequently demotivating during the proposal review process.

One of the greatest concerns highlighted in the report is the role of the community in the FDC review process. As others have pointed out, the current lack of community involvement is problematic. There is a lack of interest and knowledge about the process. Language contributes to this challenge. It was noted, too, that two weeks of community review was not enough time to submit feedback, but in Round 2 2012-2013 the community review period was extended to one month.

In terms of overhead costs, the report highlights the complaint from applicant volunteers and employees who lament the “excessive bureaucracy” and the months they are spending on the process. It was noted that the Project and Event grants program (formerly the Wikimedia Foundation grants program) has an easier proposal submission process and may be a better funding stream for entities seeking quicker grants.

One of the most important roles of the ombudsperson is to receive appeals about the FDC process, and four appeals were received this year. Appeals were submitted to the ombudsperson to highlight comments, concerns, and complaints by the community. In Year 1 (2012-2013), appeals comprised concerns about the composition of FDC membership, a question on whether funded activities would have impact, a concern about one entity’s staff assessment, and a retrospective disqualification of two applicants in 2012-2013 Round 2. The ombudsperson registered these appeals and in all cases responses were published.

FDC/WMF staff members

The FDC staff (that is, WMF staff who work closely on the FDC process, including Senior Director of Grantmaking, FDC Senior Program Officer, Grants Administrator, and Chief of Finance and Administration) is relatively satisfied with the process. One writes that it is an “extremely fair and transparent model of participatory grantmaking,” and a thoughtful process. They agree that the process has been well-designed and thought out, from the eligibility period through the many inputs during the review process, to the appeals and complaints process, to the WMF Board decision. One staff appreciated the rigor of the process, noting that “these funds do not belong to the FDC or any particular entity (including the WMF). They are the movement funds--and we all owe it to our donors and all our stakeholders to use the funds incredibly wisely.”

In terms of community input, staff agree that the voice of the community needs to be increased. At the same time, they appreciate the fact that the FDC process is a rare grantmaking process that solicits and values community input. One says: “the review process needs to hit the right balance of finding those who can reasonably provide input and increase the overall number of comments. It won't be helpful to have community input if the community members are not well attuned to the movement strategic goals, having an understanding of good and effective spending, etc.”

Staff agree that expectations need to be managed so that entities submitting proposals to the FDC for annual plan grants and funds allocations anticipate the workload involved. One staff mentions the importance of “aligning with chapters on how much work should be involved with getting unrestricted grants.”

Perhaps the greatest concerns for staff are around size, impact, and efficiency of use of funds. One staff writes that the FDC process is “increasing the voice of the community and encouraging discussion around impact, although we still have a long way to go.” Other staff believe the FDC process can help entities achieve more efficient use of movement funds in the long run, though the current rates of expenditure on program-related spending by Round 1 FDC entities is concerning. Overall, staff have significant concerns that the size of grants may not translate into commensurate impact for the movement, particularly when considered in relation to the support for the larger Wikimedia volunteer community of contributors.

Progress and learning from current FDC grants to date

While to date there is little information about outcomes or impact of FDC funds allocations, we can now begin to understand the progress of entities receiving funds allocations. Entities receiving funding from the FDC submit quarterly reports, and the first and the second set of quarterly progress are submitted by entities receiving funding in 2012-2013 Round 1. These quarterly progress reports allow the FDC and the community to understand how each entity is progressing with its FDC funds allocation, particularly in the areas of programs and finances.

Progress reports, which have varied in quality and in depth, allow entities to document their progress and challenges, and share learning with the movement more widely. Some entities transparently discuss progress, challenges, and learning with the wider movement, but not all are open with challenges and failures.

Expenditure rates are monitored through quarterly reports. After the first quarter, overall (excluding the WMF and WMFR), 15% of the FDC grants had been spent. After the second quarter, 36% had been spent. Many entities, though not all, have explained variances in their expenses. Spending on staff seems to be more or less on track, whereas spending in non-staff areas, including programs, lags further behind.

After the first two rounds of quarterly reports, several global level trends were observed:

  • Many entities are currently challenged by low volunteer participation in their activities, including micro-grants programs. Entities have noted that they struggle to find an effective balance between staff and volunteers in leading, coordinating and implementing activities.
  • Programmatically, entities are learning about building and sustaining successful Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) partnerships. Several entities are deepening or launching new phases of their education activities, including working with primary and secondary schools as well as universities. With non-FDC sources of funding, many entities are advocating for changing policies around content and licensing. And most FDC entities now have at least one program focusing on raising awareness around or addressing the gender gap on Wikipedia.
  • Fundraising is a challenge for many, yet entities should consider diversifying their funding if they plan to grow beyond the levels the FDC will support. As the Board noted in their Guidance to the FDC, entities "should seek to diversify their funding base in order to create a sustainable, scalable strategy for their own growth. This is a good way to help ensure we don’t accidentally fund organizations faster than their capabilities suggest they should be funded, because it means their growth will be partly constrained by their ability to persuade other entities their work is valuable." In addition, as more Wikimedia-affiliated entities become eligible for the FDC process, funds may become more competitive.
  • Many entities are growing their staff and pursuing different organizational structures. The larger movement may be able to learn from different experiences.
  • Entities can improve their ability to track program outcomes by following the contributions of participants over longer periods of time in order to understand changes in short-term and longer-term editing activity.
  • Many entities are continuing to collaborate with one another across programs, and some are providing mentorship to others.

In March 2014, FDC entities from Round 1 2012-2013 will submit impact reports. At that time, we will know more about the impact of FDC allocations and the extent to which these funds have enabled progress in meeting the Wikimedia movement's goals.

Summary of improvements to the FDC process

The FDC and FDC staff are working to address challenges from the first two rounds of funding. Many of the pain points and failures noted by stakeholders have been or are being addressed.

Proposal process:

  • For the year 2013-2014, the Letter of Intent (LOI) process was introduced as the first and mandatory step of the proposal process. LOIs are a basic, non-binding expression of interest from an entity in applying for FDC funds. The LOIs allow FDC staff to better reach out to interested entities before the proposal deadline.
  • Thanks in part to the introduction of the Letter of Intent process, communication among FDC staff and entities submitting LOIs has been much more intensive and proactive. Individual emails, telephone calls, and Skype meetings regular occurred among entities and FDC staff throughout the eligibility process in the current round to ensure all were aware of eligibility gaps and deadlines. In addition, six IRC office hours were held prior to the Round 1 2013-2014 proposal deadline to share information and answer questions about eligibility and the proposal process more generally.
  • All entities new to the process had one or more telephone or Skype conversations with FDC staff. These meetings with all new entities that submitted a Letters of Intent have been held prior to the proposal submission deadline to share expectations about the proposal process and ensure that the entities understand their options with different Wikimedia grants programs, and are making informed decisions about which kind of grant is most appropriate for their needs and contexts. In some cases, entities decided not to apply for annual plan grants from the FDC at this time.
  • The proposal form was modified after both rounds to be more straightforward and easy to use. Questions were clarified, definitions were added, and tables were simplified to make them easier to fill out.
  • The name of the program has changed to promote clarity about what the FDC funds. FDC grants and funds allocations are now referred to as FDC annual plan grants to reflect that the program funds the annual plans of eligible entities.
  • The details of the process for WMF’s proposal to the FDC, a significant outlier as a proposal from the largest movement entity, are currently being discussed by the FDC and WMF. The timeline for the proposal is being shifted from 2013-2014 Round 1 to 2013-2014 Round 2. WMF’s proposal being a part of the 2013-2014 Round 2 timeline will allow for a meaningful community review process that can influence WMF’s plan for the following year.

Review and deliberations

  • The FDC portal is being revised to make it more streamlined and user-friendly. These changes should improve all stakeholders' experiences on the portal and make information much easier to find. The FDC staff hopes these changes will improve the community review process by providing community members easier access to information about proposals.
  • The period of community review was expanded from two weeks to four weeks to ensure sufficient review time.
  • In 2012-2013 Round 2, there was more proactive outreach to community members to solicit their input during community review.

Reporting

  • The reporting forms have been improved after feedback from the first round of quarterly reports.
  • FDC staff put a review process in place for quarterly progress reports that includes feedback and questions on each report's discussion page and a summary of all progress reports submitted that includes expenditure rates and global trends to facilitate cross-movement learning.

Issues not yet resolved

In spite of the progress and resolution on some matters, some challenges cannot easily be addressed.

  • The most significant challenge remains that of analyzing the organizational and movement wide impact of these resources: entities need to have more rigorous and reflexive self-assessment and reporting, and the movement needs to understand the overall impact of these movement resources on growing global community and content on our sites. FDC applicants, the FDC itself and WMF/FDC staff have to work together on building the capacities to do this assessment well, and have to be thoughtful and transparent about whether this significantly high proportion of funding towards Wikimedia organizations is the best possible use of movement resources.
  • The Committee and the WMF are currently in discussions about how to the WMF should continue to participate in the process. Last year's WMF proposal was important in that WMF participated in the FDC process from the start, but was difficult for both the FDC and WMF because of its outlier status: its size of budget, its critical role in technical infrastructure, and the distinction then being made (now no longer applicable) of core vs. non-core funding. The likely outcome of the current discussions is that WMF will not participate in Round 1 of the 2013-14 process, but in Round 2. The move to the second round aligns much better with the WMF's annual planning process, and the FDC and WMF are working out the modalities. However, a conflict of interest issue remains around the WMF's participation in the FDC process: FDC staff -- WMF staff themselves -- conduct assessments of all proposals submitted. While the FDC staff attempted to provide an independent assessment of the WMF proposal, this issue has not yet been resolved, and is also under discussion by the FDC.
  • The issue of language has not been satisfactorily resolved. The FDC currently only accepts proposals in English, while many applicants and their communities are non-English speakers. This is a challenge for the entire movement.
  • Proposal and reporting forms were improved, but requests for non-wiki markup proposal forms are difficult to address since posting external documents instead of keeping information on wiki would not allow for easy community review.
  • The quarterly reporting template may need further improvements to solicit detailed information about their learning, progress, and challenges, and to ensure FDC entities can share their stories in a meaningful and engaging way. This form must also balance that need against the need to not create an excessive reporting burden for grantees, as cumbersome reporting structures can take away resources from programmatic work.
  • The complaints/appeals process still needs to be clarified, as the current structure is not intuitive: it is not universally clear that the Ombudsperson receives process complaints during the FDC process, up until the moment of the FDC recommendations, while the Board representatives receive complaints or appeals against the FDC recommendations by applying entities. Conversations are under way on this issue.
  • Finally, more feedback on proposals from FDC members themselves has been requested. Given the growing number of proposals, and as the process scales, this request will become more difficult to tackle.

Looking forward

In the coming year (2013-2014), the FDC process will largely continue to operate as it has for the first year (2012-2013), with the improvements noted above in place. Two rounds of funding will happen with the same process of proposal submission, proposal review, and face-to-face deliberations. Feedback will continue to be sought to allow for continuous improvement of the entire process.

At the end of the second year, the Funds Dissemination Advisory Group will play a special role. In (roughly) May 2014, the group will reconvene to assess how the FDC is meeting its original goals, whether funds allocations have had impact, and whether the benefits of the program outweigh the costs. The group will then advise the WMF Executive Director on how to proceed with the FDC process.