Grants:APG/Proposals/2013-2014 round1/Wikimedia Serbia/Staff proposal assessment
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.
|Name of eligible entity||Wikimedia Serbia|
|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||88,343 EUR|
|Estimate of total amount proposed to the FDC for the upcoming year annual plan in US dollars||$119,334|
|Exchange rate used to calculate estimate in US dollars and date accessed (mm/dd/yy)||1.35081 US dollars to 1.00000 Euro (calculated 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|
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*||Not confirmed.||88,343 EUR||Not confirmed.|
|Overall budget||54,000 EUR||88,543 EUR||64%|
|Number of staff||1||2||100%|
Overview of staff assessment
What are the top strengths of the plan?
- In the early stages of positioning itself for impact on the global scale and as a regional collaborator
- Innovative small-scale projects that test new ideas
- Work is volunteer-led, and volunteer and staff commitment is strong
What are the top concerns with the plan?
- Current potential for impact is still on a small scale
- Plan is not cohesive in terms of strategy or program groupings
- The large number of activities in this plan and reliance on volunteers to manage the activities may lead to challenges in execution
To what extent does the plan address the strategic goals and priorities of the movement?
- WMRS expresses clear alignment between its programs and the movement priorities, and presents clear rationale for this alignment. Alignment with the strategic priorities is focused through impact on the online projects.
- WMRS’ programs are strongly aligned with the strategic priority Quality. This proposal is also aligned with the strategic priority Innovation. WMRS is piloting new projects on a small scale. Some work is innovative, low risk and has potential to be useful to other movement actors if successful. Some examples of its innovative programs include its work with Wiktionary across Serbian and Arabic languages, and its foundational work on collaboration within Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
- WMRS has a strategic plan and a communications strategy. However, WMRS’s current proposal lacks a coherent approach to programs. Within certain programs, it is not clear why some activities are grouped with others or are separately listed. For example, while innovative, the construction and use of a Wikicopter for aerial photographs of Belgrade is listed as a program of its own.
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?
- WMRS may be positioned as a leader within its region as its work develops. It has shown a willingness to share and learn from others in its region, to convene events involving other movement actors in the region, and to foster groups in that region that are still developing.
- It works with its volunteer community to draft its 2014 annual plan and to plan its activities.
- WMRS is currently transitioning from an all-volunteer entity to an entity led by staff. This will be an ongoing challenge for the entity (staff, board, volunteers) as it increases staff.
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?
- WMRS has a long and strong track record with executing its grants effectively and reporting responsibly on its activities (see, Grants:WM_RS). This has continued through the all-volunteer to staff transition.
- While staff and volunteer burnout is still a concern, WMRS has a dedicated and committed staff and community.
- WMRS expresses concerns around challenges with managing so many volunteer-led projects (especially with respect to planning and execution), but is reflecting on these challenges and finding ways to address them. At the same time, it is committed to supporting the work of volunteers.
- WMRS has a good track record with its education work (see, Grants:WM_RS/Wikipedia_in_Schools_2012-2013).
- It may be a significant challenge to understand the outcomes of some activities, and WMRS’ potential for impact may be limited.
- WMRS is proposing very rapid growth in both budget and activities, although in the Serbian context, we believe the increase in staff costs is justified. However, since this rapid growth is being planned with the onboarding of a new staff member, the scope of budget and plan may be overly ambitious.
- Given the number of activities planned, current challenges around staff and volunteer burnout may increase.
- WMRS is clear that it relies on the FDC for most of its resources and that developing sources of external funding will be challenging.
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.
- One community member expressed support for the Wikicopter.
- Another expressed support for the proposal overall.
- Another member suggested that WMRS and WMNL coordinate on its thematic projects around World War I and World War II.
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)||4.00||Programs in this plan address strategic priorities, including Quality. The rationale for this alignment is clear and strong in most cases; however, this plan is not unified by a cohesive strategy.|
|(B) TThe initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to movement strategic priorities, if executed well||3.50||WMRS may be positioned as a leader within its region as its work develops, but program impact is still at a small scale.|
|(C) The initiatives in the plan have the potential to lead to significant impact, given context and amount of funds proposed||3.00||Programs may lead to impact in a local context.|
|Ability to execute||(D) The entity has the resources, skills, and capacity (staff, volunteer, non-staff) for the plan to succeed||3.50||Community is active and the staff and board are committed; the plan is ambitious in taking on many activities.|
|(E) The entity has a record of success in similar initiatives||4.00||Building on past successes with similar initiatives, such as GLAM and education work.|
|(F) The entity's leadership is effective, committed, and relatively stable||3.50||Leadership is effective, committed, and stable; however, there is possibility of staff or volunteer burnout.|
|Efficient use of funds||(G) The funding requested is reasonable given the proposed initiatives||3.00||Budget is generally consistent with the initiatives. However, the budget requested is very large.|
|(H) The entity has a record of using funds efficiently and staying on budget||4.00||Good record of budgetary management, including properly recording over and under spending.|
|Quality of proposed measures of success||(I) Clear indicators of success are outlined in the plan||3.50||Indicators are clear, but address outputs rather than outcomes.|
|(J) A plan is in place to track the proposed metrics||3.00||Provides list of indicators to be tracked.|
|(K) The entity has a feasible plan in place to track the proposed metrics||3.00||While indicators are listed, there may be too many to track.|
|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||3.50||Some new ideas in this proposal, including Wikicopter and work on Wiktionary. These are inexpensive experiments, though impact is not yet proven.|
|(M) The entity is ready to share with the movement the lessons learned from the initiatives||4.50||WMRS is active within the movement and regularly reports back to the movement in Serbian and English. WMRS learns and shares with other movement groups and is considered a leader within its region.|
|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|