Grants:APG/Ombudsperson annual report - 2013-2014
This is the annual report of the Ombudsperson for the Annual Plan Grants (FDC), summarizing feedback and recommendations received during 2013-14. In this report I refer to the most often indicated negative aspects or the ones that have successfully improved in the last year.
Please continue to share your feedback, thoughts, and suggestions: Grants:APG/FDC portal/Comments.
Feedback on APG/FDC process
- Better definition and criterias should be given to clarify what the alignment of the plan to the Wikimedia movement's strategic goals mean, so that entities can better define its strategic direction and present a strong proposal.
- It should be made clear what is required and expected of large vs small entities.
- There should be a set of global metrics and indicators that every applicant should use in their proposals and reporting (given and self-defined) so that the outcomes of the programs can more closely be aligned with the Wikimedia mission and strategic goals.
- An idea to implement this could be a pre-application with applying entities, with a focus on aligning goals with innovation, program development and budget planning.
Communication and feedback
- Communication between grantees and FDC must add and improve, including instant feedback during the process (FDC participating in proposal development, capacity building and managing expectations). Similar thoughts occured in 2012-13: Ombudsperson annual report - 2012-2013.
- Real-life meetings or videoconferences could be used to discuss proposals.
- While community comments are generally well received/desirable during the proposal review period, they can be problematic when coming from those unfamiliar with the FDC process.
- Complex language in the application might make it difficult for translations into local languages and consequently make it difficult to have more community engagement.
- The "guardrails" system limited the increase or decrease in funding over the previous year.
- Most returning entities seemed to have missed or disregarded information about guardrails on funding increases.
- The guardrails are considered artificial constraints, since they do not have as their basis quantitative studies of what growth rates are best for organisations.
- The growth or progress of each organization should be considered separately, with the organization itself presenting long-term growth plans, with a focus on planned and sustainable growth.
Recommendations and cuts
- Recommendations sometimens have dubious explanations, such as "unhealthy growth" and they lack frame of reference for terms such as "large" or "poor".
- Recommendations should be more detailed and not so vague, since it is not clear what applicants should have done differently in order to receive the full funding amount (what facts result in what cuts).
- Some criticism concern the cuts done to budgets, since proposals are not being awarded the entire funding amount. This has not been perceived as encouragment, and may lead to unnecessarily inflated budgets in the future, so that the entity can support the predicted cut.
Comparison with Ombudsperson annual report - 2012-2013
Time spending: average (self-reported) time per applicant
- 2013: 68 hours (round 1 + 2)
- 2014: 92 hours (round 1)
The forms have mainly been left out of the feedback this year, although there seems to be a good feeling about the templates and standards being used.
The portal has had a great alteration (simplification) and has mainly been left out of the comments this year. Since it is still a work in progress there are still some weak points, for example: finding out which entity got how much money for what proposals in a given year is considered difficult.
There were no existing complaints at: Grants:APG/Complaints about the FDC process.
Sources of feedback
For more detailed information please refer to the links listed bellow, these are the sources of feedback:
- Process improvement survey from Round 1;
- Advisory Group recommendations;
- Feedback from WMDE;
- Feedback from Wikimedia Conference;
- Thoughts from FDC members as individuals;
- General comments on the Portal Comments page;
- Appeals to the Board on the recommendations of the FDC;
- E-mails directed to the Ombudsperson.