Grants:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round1/Wikimedia Österreich/Staff proposal assessment

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Wikimedia Österreich received a funds allocation in the amount of €204,000 (equal to about US$279,000) in 2013-2014 Round 1. This funds allocation was recommended by the Funds Dissemination Committee on 15 November 2013 and approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 31 December 2013.

Applicants should read this document to familiarise themselves with the assessment criteria; however, it should be edited only by FDC-related staff. The staff will use the document to set out their objective assessment of each funding request from eligible entities – specifically, to determine the extent to which plans align with the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement, and the extent to which the entity is well-placed to execute those plans effectively. The staff will base this report on proposals from entities and input from the community and other stakeholders (including, where required, deeper due-diligence on the entity's previous track record within the Wikimedia movement). The staff will provide completed reports to the FDC, which will then make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees on funding allocations. See a note from FDC staff explaining the process is more detail here: FDC portal/Note on staff proposal assessments 2013-14 Round 1.


Methodology behind the 2013-2014 Round 1 FDC staff assessments

The FDC staff assessments provide a snapshot of the staff review of Annual Plan Grant (FDC) proposals, and identify both strengths and concerns with the work proposed.

  • We did this through both portfolio analysis - looking across proposals and calibrating across different organizations - as well as assessing the context of each individual organization and its proposal. We did our best to be as nuanced as possible. For example, we understand that an organization that is beginning to formalize structures and bring on staff may have far fewer resources for learning and evaluation processes than an organization with a longer history and full-time staff. At the same time, a larger organization is also likely to have complex program structures and processes, that reflect in its use of metrics and measures.
  • We significantly increased the inputs to the staff assessment process from last year. They include:
    • The proposals themselves, with the attached documents (strategic plans, annual plans, detailed budgets etc)
    • Past and current reports (FDC quarterly progress reports, grant reports etc)
    • A portfolio view of financials across proposals: FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/Financial_overview.
    • Internal financial, evaluation and compliance inputs from the WMF Finance, Programs, Legal and Grantmaking teams.
  • We used a few key principles for the assessment, across all proposals. These are not new, and are detailed in the narrative and scoring sections of the assessment. They include:
    • Impact on Wikimedia projects and the global movement. We looked for the rationale behind the work organizations do, aligning them to the Wikimedia strategic priorities and goals. We looked particularly for direct and indirect impact of this work on Wikimedia projects; for example, growth in contributors and content donation. Most importantly, we looked at whether the funds requested were justified in the context of current and potential impact of the proposed work.
    • Organizational strategy, leadership and governance. We looked for evidence that an organization had a good understanding of its own context, and the needs, opportunities and challenges of the communities it seeks to serve or partner with. We looked for board, staff and volunteer leadership that is committed, effective and engaged with these communities and practising movement values of openness and transparency.
    • Rates of growth and financial management. In this round, only two returning applicants asked for funds within the recommended maximum growth rate in movement resources (annual plan grants/FDC allocations) of 20%, which is itself a significant rate in many contexts. In addition, many organizations are underspending on previous grant allocations and/or have extensive reserves, which makes overall growth rates even higher. We appreciated organizations that were not spending for spending’s sake, and being careful and prudent about resources; we hope this continues. However, significant underspends (particularly on programs) across a number of organizations flag the challenges of budgeting, planning and program design. It may be that the most effective and impactful programs do not always need significant resources. We specifically looked at the nature of long-time underspends in the context of organizations with a history of overbudgetting and underspending.
    • Program design, learning and evaluation. We recognize that the Wikimedia movement at large is still developing a more nuanced understanding of how we measure our impact, as volunteers and as organizations. We looked at each organization’s self-defined metrics and measures for success, both qualitative and quantitative. We searched for indicators that went beyond process (or outputs) and looked at intended outcomes and specific goals or targets. We recognized, however, that many organizations are in the process of establishing baselines for their work, and incorporating learning into program design and re-design. We appreciated organizations that were open about these challenges and were honest and reflective about their own capacities and systems.

Note: We shared our nearly final draft assessments with all FDC applicants a day ahead of publishing them, so that organizations had some lead time for sharing these with their Board and staff. We then took all responses into consideration where possible, making factual changes and clarifying our statements where necessary. We encouraged organizations to note all substantive comments and concerns on the Discussion pages of these assessments.

Proposal overview

Name of eligible entity Wikimedia Österreich
Summary staff assessment [substantial concerns: none/some/many] Some concerns
Total amount proposed to the FDC for the upcoming year annual plan in currency requested 230,000 EUR
Estimate of total amount proposed to the FDC for the upcoming year annual plan in US dollars 310,686 USD
Exchange rate used to calculate estimate in US dollars and date accessed (mm/dd/yy) 1.35081 US dollars to 1.00000 Euro (calculated on 1 October 2013)
Date of proposal submission 1 October 2013
Adherence to proposal process [yes/no] Yes
Adherence to legal, regulatory, and policy regulations [yes/no] Yes
Adherence to US anti-terrorism laws [yes/no] Yes


Financial summary

A detailed summary of the financial information from all proposals is here: financial overview document. Movement resources are defined as what the entity received through FDC allocations or grants or what the entity retained via payment processing in the prior funding cycle.

Projected 2013 Proposed 2014 Proposed change (as a +/− %)
Movement resources* 170,547 EUR 230,000 EUR 35%
Overall budget 213,990 302,560 41%
Number of staff 2 2.5 25%

Annual plan

Overview of staff assessment

Strengths

What are the top strengths of the plan?

  • Builds on past work, and has clear focus on a limited number of programs
  • Adaptable and flexible approach around building joint volunteer-staff leadership
  • Stable, committed and effective board and staff

Concerns

What are the top concerns with the plan?

  • Not all programs have a strong focus on impact on Wikimedia projects
  • Potential impact may not be commensurate with movement resources requested

Strategic alignment

To what extent does the plan address the strategic goals and priorities of the movement?

  • WMAT’s programs may have potential for good alignment with the strategic priorities but rationale is not clearly articulated across this proposal.
  • WMAT’s Community Support program presents the best argument for alignment with Quality (through expert networks, for example, although this is not well-defined). There may be a strategic link between the Free Content Generation program and improving Quality; though again, this is not made explicit in the plan.
  • There is a focus on increasing the number of volunteers, while the potential impact of WMAT’s work on contributions to online projects is not clear.
  • WMAT has a detailed strategic plan that gives more context for this proposal.

Context of the entity and community

To what extent does the context of the entity (e.g., community participation, fundraising context, sociopolitical environment) enable or inhibit the entity's potential for impact? To what extent does the entity's experience enable or inhibit the entity's potential for impact?

  • WMAT works with German-speaking volunteers in Austria and in other regions, and has potential for impact on German-speaking communities outside of its direct geographic vicinity. On the other hand, many movement resources are already dedicated to organizations working with the German-speaking communities and WMAT’s role as a catalyst in the German language community is still being defined. Cooperation and complementarity between WMDE, WMCH and WMAT is not clear in this proposal.
  • WMAT is working on models for improving coordination between volunteers and paid staff in the context of projects like the Landtagsprojekt, and its learning in this area may be valuable to other entities in the movement.
  • WMAT is an experienced entity that has been entrusted with a large amount of movement resources in the past.
  • WMAT has shown improvement in its reports for its current grant, although it has a mixed track record with respect to the quality and timeliness of some past grant reports.

Feasibility and risks for the annual plan

How feasible is the annual plan? Specifically:

  • To what extent are the budget, staffing, availability of volunteers, and other resources realistic for achieving the anticipated outcomes?
  • Are the timelines realistic for the proposed initiatives and associated activities?
  • Are there acknowledged and/or unacknowledged risks in the proposal?

WMAT is proposing rapid growth in movement resources of 35% and the total amount proposed is 230,000 EUR (US$ 310,688). This rate is above the maximum increase of 20% recommended in the guardrails. However, WMAT reports that it has been on track with spending, and has also had used reserves to finance its current plan.

Feasibility

  • WMAT is building on its past work and consolidating learning by continuing work in areas in which it already has experience in order to focus on high-quality programs.
  • WMAT is thoughtful about not growing staff too quickly. It is executing this plan with two staff, with complementing skills of external and internal (Wikimedia) knowledge.
  • WMAT has stable, committed, and effective leadership, including staff and board, that enable the success of its plan.

Risks

  • The potential impact of programs is not high enough relative to the cost of this proposal, particularly in the Free Knowledge Awareness program.
  • The Community Support program includes a significant microgrants budget (about 22,000 EUR) and funds allocated for travel for volunteers and staff, with no clear outcomes related to the Wikimedia projects.
  • WMAT admits challenges around fundraising externally, and plans to increase its reliance on movement resources. It has had a recent success of receiving a grant of 50,000 EUR, although it is still exploring an effective plan for increasing external funds. It has a Funds Diversifying budget of 18,000 EUR.

Summary of expert opinions and/or community commentary

Summary of the opinions of subject-matter experts on the plan

None requested.

Summary of community commentary on the plan

  • For detailed comments from the community, the FDC and FDC staff, as well as responses from the organizations themselves, please visit the proposal form discussion page. The summary offers a brief overview of the questions or comments from community members, and is not an endorsement of the views expressed on the proposal form discussion page.
  • Community engagement with this proposal has been low.
  • One volunteer expressed concerns with the way WMAT represented the WikiCon 2012, stating that the event was organized by volunteers and not by WMAT alone.

Scores, comments and feedback

Scores provide only a preliminary assessment for consideration by the FDC. The rubric for scoring is below.

Dimensions Criteria Score (1–5) Comments and feedback
Potential for impact against strategic priorities (A) The plan addresses the Wikimedia movement strategic priorities of the Wikimedia movement (infrastructure, participation, quality, reach, and innovation) 3.50 Programs in this plan address strategic priorities, but the rationale presented is unclear and programs are not focused storngly enough on Wikimedia projects. WMAT has a strategic plan in place.
(B) TThe initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to movement strategic priorities, if executed well 3.00 There may be potential for impact in the German language community, but the role of WMAT is still being defined.
(C) The initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to significant impact, given context and amount of funds proposed 2.50 Programs may lead to some impact in a local context, but unlikely to lead to significant impact in context of Wikimedia projects with respect to the amount proposed.
Ability to execute (D) The entity has the resources, skills, and capacity (staff, volunteer, non-staff) for the plan to succeed 4.00 Relevant staff and volunteer capacity, including strong commitment from board and staff.
(E) The entity has a record of success in similar initiatives 4.00 The organization is building on past successes with similar initiatives rather than experimenting with new programs, and is learning from past successes and challenges.
(F) The entity's leadership is effective, committed, and relatively stable 4.00 WMAT is enabled by a committed, effective, and a stable board and staff.
Efficient use of funds (G) The funding requested is reasonable given the proposed initiatives 3.00 The budget is generally consistent with the initatives, but the overall amount may be too large with respect to impact on the Wikimedia proejcts.
(H) The entity has a record of using funds efficiently and staying on budget 4.00 The entity has a good record of budgetary management and is on track with respect to its current funds allocation.
Quality of proposed measures of success (I) Clear indicators of success are outlined in the plan 3.50 Programs in this plan address strategic priorities, but the rationale presented is not always clear. WMAT has a strategic plan in place.
(J) A plan is in place to track the proposed metrics 3.00 There may be potential for impact in the German language community, but the role of WMAT in the region is still being defined.
(K) The entity has a feasible plan in place to track the proposed metrics 2.50 Programs may lead to some impact in a local context, but unlikely to lead to significant impact in context of Wikimedia projects with respect to the amount proposed.
Potential to add knowledge and/or other benefits to the movement (L) The initiatives in the plan, if successful, could be helpful and/or productively adapted elsewhere in the movement 4.00 Relevant staff and volunteer capacity, including strong commitment from board and staff.
(M) The entity is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the initiatives 4.00 The organization is building and focusing current work on past successes with similar initiatives rather than experimenting with new programs, and is learning from past successes and challenges.

Scoring rubric

Dimensions Evaluation criteria 1 = Weak or no alignment with criterion 3 = Moderate alignment with criterion 5 = Strong alignment with criterion
Potential for impact against strategic priorities (A) The plan addresses the Wikimedia movement strategic priorities The plan will not directly address any strategic priorities The plan will partially address strategic priorities or other goals that are closely related to the strategic priorities The plan will directly address several strategic priorities
(B) The initiatives have the potential to lead to the strategic priorities, if executed well The initiatives have no clear connection to strategic priorities Some or all of the initiatives have an unclear relationship to strategic priorities The initiatives have been shown (by the entity or the movement) to lead to strategic priorities
(C) The initiatives have the potential to lead to significant impact, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives will have marginal impact in the local community and the broader Wikimedia community, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives proposed may have a significant impact in the local community, given context and amount of funds proposed The initiatives could have significant impact at scale, both in the entity's local community and in the broader movement, given context and amount of funds proposed
Ability to execute (D) The entity has the resources, skills, and capacity (staff, volunteer, non-staff) for the plan to succeed The entity has neither the number nor the amount of resources, skills, and capacity needed for success. The entity has some relevant staff and volunteer capacity, but may be under-resourced for some initiatives The entity is well-resourced with the relevant skills and capacity for success
(E) The entity has a record of success in similar initiatives The entity has had trouble succeeding in similar initiatives The entity has not engaged in similar initiatives in the past The entity has conducted similar initiatives in the past and has been successful in achieving desired results
(F) The entity's leadership is effective, committed, and relatively stable Leadership has been unstable (e.g., changing on an annual basis) Current leadership is committed to the entity; some concerns exist around stability or effectiveness of leadership Current and past leaders have demonstrated the ability to develop and execute on strategic plans; leadership team has been stable and transitions have been smooth
Efficient use of funds (G) The funding requested is reasonable given the proposed initiatives Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the plan contains significant over- or under-budgeting, and/or has not thoroughly accounted for costs Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the budget is generally consistent with the initiatives; some initiatives are likely to be over- or under-budgeted Based on FDC experience and relative to other proposals, the budget is reasonable, and rigorous cost projections have been presented
(H) The entity has a record of using funds efficiently and staying on budget The entity has a poor record of budgetary management: e.g., consistently and significantly below budget (such as 50% underspending), and drawing on organizational reserves due to overspending The entity has a middling record of budgetary management; e.g., generally on-budget for its biggest initiatives and cost items, properly recording any over- and under-spending, and with plans in place for improvements The entity has consistently strong record of financial management; e.g., consistently staying on or below budget (within ~5% of budget), and putting surplus funds towards the entity's and/or movement's goals
Quality of proposed measures of success (I) Clear indicators of success are outlined in the plan Initiatives have no associated indicators of success, or the proposed indicators are unrealistic and/or unmeasurable Each initiative has indicators of success, but at least some indicators are unrealistic or are not clearly connected to the initiative Each initiative has a realistic and carefully framed set of indicators of success associated with them, which are rigorous and time-bound
(J) A system is in place to track the proposed metrics The plan does not include methodology or timing for tracking and collecting metrics to measure progress against proposed indicators of success A proposal to track progress against indicators exists, but has flawed methodology or unrealistic timelines and initiatives The plan includes timing and tracking of proposed metrics, and additional initiatives (e.g., surveys, research) to track indicators
(K) The entity has a feasible system to track the proposed metrics No systems are in place to track metrics, or staff or volunteer capacity to manage metrics tracking There is some overall capacity (e.g., staff, volunteers) to track and monitor metrics, but the entity does not clearly have the relevant skills to do this High-quality systems, and the necessary skills and capacity to manage these systems, are in place
Potential to add knowledge and/or other benefits to the movement (L) The initiatives, if successful, could be helpful and/or productively adaptedelsewhere in the movement The initiatives would not be relevant to other movement groups Some initiatives may be relevant to other movement groups Many initiatives proposed are new or have seldom been tried elsewhere in the movement; if successful, other movement entities would benefit from doing similar initiatives
(M) The entity is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the initiatives The entity is isolated from other movement groups and rarely shares information; the entity's leaders and members seldom participate in movement-wide functions The entity is somewhat active within the movement, and is developing more relationships with other movement entities with which it could share lessons learned The entity has regular communication with other movement entities, is a regular participant in Wikimedia events, and has a track record of sharing with others

This form was created by: Winifred Olliff (Grants Administrator) talk 00:33, 9 November 2013 (UTC)