Site visits reports
In 2017, we performed a number of site visits for simple APG and APG-FDC. Here are, when available, the public summaries of those site visits.
Purpose of a site visit
Reports are a good tool to outline the work of an affiliate, but may not give WMF staff a complete understanding of your organization and your programs. The purpose of a site visit is to help WMF understand your programs, organization, and context, spend time with key staff, board members, and community members, and allow partners and community members to interact with WMF. Site visits can be beneficial for grantees, WMF, your partners, and your community, so plan your agenda with these different stakeholders in mind. Some of the goals of a site visit include:
- develop a strong understanding of the organization's context
- build a relationship between the grantee partner and the FDC staff
- understand how the FDC staff can support the grantee partner better
- receive updates from grantee partner on programmatic activities and organizational progress
- understand organizational strategies, ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ and document learning for the wider movement
- conduct a financial review
- share FDC plans, vision, and any updates; answer questions about the FDC process
- understand the needs for capacity building and technical assistance where applicable
- receive feedback on FDC process and forms
- meet with community members and the entity’s partners (as possible and appropriate)
- attend any community activities, if timing aligns
FDC staff, when possible joined by FDC members, meets with grantee partner staff and as many Board members as possible, especially those responsible for leading the chapter’s strategies, decision-making, and program design and implementation. If possible, we would love to meet some of the community members.
FDC member role at a site visit
FDC members will join some site visits, particularly to larger entities, as possible, with schedule and budget permitting. Visits to smaller entities are less likely to have FDC members join to prevent overloading the grantee. In general, an FDC member would anticipate joining no more than one site visit a year to ensure that the opportunities and budget are maximized.
- To ask questions that will aid the FDC's understanding of the organisation
- To gain a deeper insight into the organisation than is set out in the proposals
- To provide an FDC member's viewpoint of the deliberations and understanding of the organisation
- To share the FDC's specific viewpoints of the organisation, and also general viewpoints of all entities, with the organisation.
- To report on the site visit to the rest of the FDC (either in conjunction with the FDC staff report, or as an independent report).
- Potential learning outputs: member facilitating a call to share learning with other members, member drafting a blog post, member creating reflections as part of a larger report
Areas of interest in a site visit
Below are some of the questions the FDC staff are interested in answering during the visit. We are happy to let the grantee partner arrange the time together to maximize learning opportunities through a series of meetings.
- Organizational context: What is the environment in which the entity operates?
- Organizational structure: What is the history and structure, and how are decisions made?
- Staffing: How many people does the organization have on board, and what are their roles? What are the plans for staffing in the future?
- Community: What are the language, thematic or other Wikimedia communities that are served by this entity?
- Partnerships/movement building: Who does the entity partner with and how does it engage in the larger Wikimedia movement?
- Program design and implementation: What are the programs and priority areas of work?
- Impact: What have been the areas of greatest impact online and offline?
- Strategy: How does the organization set strategy? Is there a strategic plan? How are programs designed under these strategies?
- Monitoring, evaluation and learning: How does the chapter define success and failure and what is the culture of learning for them?
- Finances: What is the current financial situation and what are the fundraising opportunities for this entity?
- Plans for the future: What are the long-term goals for growing the Wikimedia communities served by this entity?
- Questions & feedback: What are the entity’s questions, and what would they like us to know about their experience in the FDC process?
Possible questions for site visits
- Organisational context: what is the context in which the chapter operates, what is its current SWOT mapping (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats/challenges)? What is the community like, and how does it operate?
- Community: What is the chapters’ membership like? How are members engaged? What is the relationship like with the non-member community? How do they deal with challenges? How do they leverage community interest? What prevents community members from becoming members? Does the chapter have volunteers? How frequent are face-to-face meetings and online meetings conducted with members/community?
- Organisational structure: What is the history of the chapter? How does the chapter assess community needs, and thereby how are decisions made (eg FDC proposal development and annual plan development)? What are recent changes in form and structure? What are the plans for the future? Who are the leaders and how to they make decisions? What is the relationship like between the staff and the board?
- Partnerships/movement building: What kinds of partnerships does it currently have or seek to have: Academic, GLAM, cross-chapter, cross-language, other non-profits, other movements? What role does the chapter see itself playing in the larger Wikimedia movement?
- Program design and implementation: What programs are they most proud of? Which are they most excited about in the future? How are programs designed? How are they prioritized (in terms of money and staff+volunteer time)? What strategies have worked, which haven't, and why? What does innovation, replication, adaptation mean for the chapter and its community? What kinds of activities in the language/thematic communities are being led by the chapters and which are being led by community less involved in the chapter? What do they see as the right balance between off wiki and on wiki activities, and how do they intend to support both?
- Program impact: What programs have had the most impact online? Which have had the most impact offline? How has this impacted the organization's strategy?
- GLAM questions: To what degree do GLAM partners feel part of the Wikimedia community? To what degree do our partners feel like they need the chapters or volunteers to mediate or guide their partnership in the community? How do they share what they do with the broader professional communities that they belong to? What professional and/or public communities do they want to share with? Do they have a sense of purpose/mission/vision of the Wikimedia community? How do they articulate its alignment? How do they feel about the technical support for their partnerships and what else might be needed? How do they feel about their capacity requirements to partner with us? Which volunteers and chapter staff do the GLAMs interact with most?
- Monitoring, evaluation and learning: How does it understand success and failure? What lessons is it willing to share with us (and what are constraints to sharing more)? How does it assess its progress and re-design programs based on what it learns? How are metrics created and how are targets set? How does it understand qualitative and quantitative metrics? Who does it see as role-models or who does it learn from (within the movement or elsewhere)?
- Plans for the future: What is its fundraising/diversification strategy (if it has one)? What are the long-term plans in terms of growth of finances, programs, community, content...? What does sustainability mean in terms of programs or activities? What is the long-term vision?
- Finances: how are the finances being managed? What are its accountability and governance practices related to this? [This component of the visit will be led by the WMF Finance colleague. In general, if all WMF staff can attend, that is ideal.] A financial review will also be conducted, including:
- Verification of the completeness of the grantee financial report
- adherence to the grant agreement, use of funds for charitable purposes
- accountability for equipment and other fixed assets purchased with grant funding
- separation of duties, and
- internal controls and review of the grantee’s procedures for ensuring compliance with anti-terrorist and anti-money laundering laws.