Grants:APG/Proposals/2015-2016 round1/Wikimedia Serbia/Staff proposal assessment

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The staff proposal assessment is one of the inputs into the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) proposal review process, and is reviewed by the FDC in preparation for and during the in-person deliberations each round. The purpose of the staff proposal assessment is to offer the FDC an overview of the expert opinions of the FDC staff team about this annual plan grant proposal, and includes (1) An overview about all applications in the current round; (2) A narrative assessment; (3) An assessment that ranks each applicant according to specific criteria in program design, organizational effectiveness, and budgeting.

Overview for all assessments[edit]

High quality of proposals and annual plans[edit]

Proposals in this round have significantly improved in quality. Proposals are accompanied by detailed strategic plans, and some strategic plans include ways to monitor long term progress over time. With a few exceptions, proposals have been more focused and organized into 2-3 programs with common objectives. Most proposals have been more clearly focused on program work and have included less of an emphasis on operational details. Organizations have included logic models and other clear explanations (e.g. needs assessments and community surveys) to demonstrate why their work is needed and how proposed activities are likely to lead to results.

We appreciate the significant effort that has gone into these proposals, and also believe that the high quality of these proposals will aid the Funds Dissemination Committee in their understanding of each organization’s planned work. Furthermore, quality proposals with clear objectives will provide a strong foundation for each organization’s evaluation of their results in the coming year.

Better targets and effective storytelling[edit]

The inclusion of global metrics targets for each proposal has enabled a better understanding of the entire portfolio of Annual Plan Grant proposals in Round 1, and should help show the impact of Annual Plan Grant organizations as a group in a few key areas.

We know global metrics don’t tell the entire story of an organization’s impact. Organizations have included program-specific metrics that measure results that are specific to their work. We see organizations thinking about ways to understand the quality of the content contributed through their work, as well as ways the content is used by contributors (e.g. use rates for media), or readers (e.g. pageviews). Organizations are doing important work that is not yet reflected in global metrics, such as work in the areas of policy advocacy, building the MediaWiki community, and attempts to address community health. Organizations are striving to find good ways to show their achievements in these areas, and to link these achievements to online impact. We appreciate the different ways organizations are working to show the impact of their programs through metrics that are specific to their contexts, and we know this work will continue to be important moving forward.

Beyond the metrics, organizations are improving in their abilities to effectively tell stories and document lessons learned, both in terms of organizational learning and program learning. We have seen significant improvement from last year, with several organizations becoming systematic in the way they document and share their stories. We appreciate where organizations have highlighted important aspects of their work through effective storytelling.

Community health[edit]

This year, several organizations are using the lens of community health to structure their work with online contributors. Wikimedia Nederland is doing innovative work around training Arbitration Committee members and administrators. Amical Wikimedia, Wikimedia Nederland, and Wikimedia Israel are addressing online conflicts in their communities. We encourage them to share what they learn about this developing approach with the broader movement and Wikimedia Foundation, as we all stand to gain from these experiences.

Beyond this work, we have seen many organizations implement community surveys to gain a better understanding of the communities they work with and their specific characteristics and challenges. We see movement organizations as clear leaders in this area, since most have direct relationships with their communities and are well-equipped to address challenges that are specific to the geographies and languages they work with. We appreciate that learning how to address challenges in specific Wikimedia communities may be used to improve our understanding of community health in the broader Wikimedia context, which is one reason we see this work as so important.

Many organizations are looking beyond Wikipedia and Commons communities, to focus on other projects. Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia CH are both focusing on Wikidata this year, and Wikimedia Israel and Wikimedia Serbia are continuing their strong work on Wiktionary. A number of organizations are focusing on other projects like Wikisource and Wikivoyage, which may offer significant opportunities for improving content and increasing participation and reach.

Policy and legal work[edit]

Organizations are focusing on policy areas like copyright reform in a consistent and coordinated way. Wikimedia organizations already have a track record of participating in policy discussions. Some organizations, like Wikimedia Sverige, are seen by others as policy experts in their regions.

However, organizations do not yet have a strong track record with influencing policy, as it remains a nascent area of work. Plans focus on processes and mechanics of policy works rather than identifying specific and achievable policy goals.

Outside of policy work, organizations are also working on supporting contributors with legal expertise (e.g. Wikimedia CH and its work on copyright guidance for users on Commons).

In general, we see this policy work as well-aligned with Wikimedia Foundation’s strategies in these areas. We encourage organizations to continue to articulate how these policy goals benefit Wikimedia projects. We acknowledge that it is challenging to measure the outcomes of this work, and encourage further discussion.

Technology work[edit]

Organizations are continuing to request funding for technical work, with a focus on technology tools. In general, we have seen an improvement in plans for technology work and have seen these projects proposed on a smaller scale. Some organizations already have expertise in these areas, while others are working to build more expertise. Beyond Wikimedia Deutschland’s software development plans, Wikimedia Sverige is working with its community to address bug reporting, and Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia CH are building relevant tools to expand the use of Wikipedia (text-to-speech, Kiwix and Wikimini). Wikimedia UK is also continuing work on VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and QRpedia. Wikimedia Israel is working on ways to support technical contributors to MediaWiki, and Wikimedia Ukraine is planning to support the development of gadgets relevant to its community.

Coordination among organizations[edit]

Organizations are continuing to coordinate with one another to improve movement practices and accomplish shared goals. Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Österreich, Wikimedia Ukraine, and Amical stand out as high performers in documenting learning and improving movement practices, and Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Argentina, and Wikimedia Sverige, are making important contributions too.

Wikimedia Argentina and Wikimedia Ukraine are taking leadership roles in regional collaborations like Iberocoop and the CEE regional group. Organizations are collaborating across languages (e.g. Amical and Wikimedia Sverige), as well as within languages (e.g. DACH). A number of organizations are supporting international program groups and convenings, including Wikimedia Ukraine (Wiki Loves Earth), Wikimedia Nederland (GLAM conference), Wikimedia Österreich (Wikisource conference), Wikimedia Israel (Hackathon). Organizations in Europe are coordinating around EU advocacy issues.

Beyond technology tools, organizations like Wikimedia Österreich, Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Israel are working on tools for advocacy work and education work that can benefit the broader movement. Organizations are also engaging actively with the Community Engagement team at Wikimedia Foundation to coordinate with Wikimedia Foundation on movement learning.

Quality of budgets[edit]

Budgets in this round varied in quality. Some organizations are still struggling to include an appropriate amount of detail in their budget. We believe more conversation is necessary to agree on the level of detail needed in these budgets, and to establish shared norms for good practices in budgeting and financial reporting. WMF plans to provide more in-depth guidance for budgets in the future.

Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Nederland have performed consistently in the area of making quality budgets and offering transparent financial reporting, and we’ve also seen significant improvement from smaller organizations like Amical and Wikimedia Serbia. Several organizations included staff time and costs for each program. This is a good practice, which can help organizations demonstrate how staff are contributing to different program areas, and tracking this closely will also help organizations understand how their resources are being allocated.

In some cases, however, we received budgets that included line large line items without sufficient detail for understanding the costs. This means that we could not draw strong conclusions about how budgets were weighted toward impact in many cases.

Finally, we noticed large amounts allocated to travel expenses, printing and promotional materials, and it is sometimes difficult to link these significant expenses to commensurate impact. Where expenses are significant, we would like to see clearer links to impact.

Pilot: one restricted grant request[edit]

The FDC makes general support grants to support programmatic and operational costs. For the first time, the FDC has received a request for a restricted grant, from Wikimedia Deutschland. We are piloting this approach to specifically support Wikimedia Deutschland’s software development focus. In a restricted grant, funds are allocated to specific line items in an organization’s budget.

Overview[edit]

Summary[edit]

Current (projected) Upcoming (proposed) Proposed change (as a +/- percentage)

FDC or PEG funding

$110,787.98 $126,201.38 14%

Budget

$99,839.31 $127,816.75 28%

Staff

3 4 33%

Overview of strengths and concerns[edit]

This section summarizes the strengths and concerns identified by staff, which are explained in the detailed narrative section of this assessment.

Strengths[edit]

  • Community and volunteer engagement
  • Improved strategy focused on programs
  • Getting Wikipedia in the national educational curriculum is a significant achievement

Concerns[edit]

  • Targets are low while staff growth is high
  • Staff growth and significant budget growth present capacity concerns
  • Plan is unfocused, not strategic enough

Staff proposal assessment narrative[edit]

This section takes an in-depth look at this organization's past performance and current plans.

Context and effectiveness[edit]

This section takes a close look at this organization's context. Here are some questions we will consider:

Environment[edit]

How does this organization's environment (including its local context and its community) enable this plan to succeed and have impact?

  • Wikimedia Serbia is a community-driven organization, engaging effectively engaging with their small community of volunteers, who are actively involved in running their projects and planning their activities.
  • Wikimedia Serbia has significant opportunities to collaborate with high profile education and GLAM partners in Serbia, and has leveraged this to get Wikipedia included as part of the national curriculum.
  • Since Wikimedia Serbia works with an emerging community, they are well-placed to reach people on the projects that are not yet well-served.
  • At the same time, Wikimedia Serbia is not taking significant advantage of opportunities to work on the gender gap or with contributors from minority groups in Serbia.

Past performance[edit]

Will this organization's past performance with program implementation enable this plan to succeed?

  • Wikimedia Serbia helped to ensure that Wikipedia was integrated in the national curriculum for high school students in Serbia, which will result in a significant number of students being exposed to Wikipedia in schools.
  • Wikimedia Serbia achieved 2,646 articles created or improved and 1,279 media files used in articles by mid-2015. While Wikimedia Serbia’s budget is relatively modest, these results are relatively low for an organization with 3 full-time staff.
  • Not all media-related programs are generating relevant content that is used on the Wikimedia projects.

Organizational effectiveness[edit]

Will this organization's overall effectiveness enable this plan to succeed?

  • Wikimedia Serbia’s volunteer board is highly engaged and effective.
  • We have concerns about the size of Wikimedia Serbia’s staff (current 3.0 FTE, with funds requested to increase to 4.0 FTE), with respect to the outcomes they are targeting. It is difficult to draw connections between results achieved to date and staff increases.
  • Wikimedia Serbia’s unfocused plan raises concerns about capacity, as it will likely be very difficult for Wikimedia Serbia to execute on and measure this large number of programs. At the same time, Wikimedia Serbia’s strong engagement with their volunteer community is a good indicator of capacity.
  • Wikimedia Serbia has been doing effective communications work since bringing on staff with expertise in this area, including several blog posts on Femwiki, Wiki Photo School and the Wikimedia Serbia education program’s professional development for teachers.

Strategy and programs[edit]

This section takes a close look at this organization's programs. Here are some questions we will consider:

Strategy[edit]

Does this organization have a high-quality strategic plan in place, and are programs well-aligned with this strategic plan?

  • Wikimedia Serbia has proposed a large number of programs in this unfocused plan, and some are more likely to have significant impact than others.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is planning to achieve 5,060 media files used and 5,310 articles in 2016. Given past performance, it seems likely that Wikimedia Serbia will achieve their target for articles. Their target for media files in use may be high as they have achieved 1,321 by mid-2015, but based on past performance appears achievable.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is continuing strong work in their education program, which is supported by a group of dedicated volunteers and a growing group of ambassadors. This program has led to the inclusion of Wikipedia in the national curriculum, and Wikimedia Serbia has been successful in engaging some dedicated educators in their work. At the same time, the education program could be more focused. Wikimedia Serbia is taking on a lot of activity in areas around Serbia, and it is not clear this expansion will lead to deeper results.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is planning several projects related to preserving Serbia’s cultural heritage, but the value of this work in a Wikimedia context is not always clear. It is unclear why particular content areas are being targeted, and how media contributed will be used.

Programs[edit]

Do proposed programs have specific, measurable, time-bound objectives with clear targets, and are program activities and results logically linked? Are there specific programs with a high potential for impact?

  • Wikimedia Serbia has proposed a large number of programs in this unfocused plan, and some are more likely to have significant impact than others.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is planning to achieve 5,060 media files used and 5,310 articles in 2016. Given past performance, it seems likely that Wikimedia Serbia will achieve their target for articles. Their target for media files in use may be high as they have achieved 1,321 by mid-2015, but based on past performance appears achievable.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is continuing strong work in their education program, which is supported by a group of dedicated volunteers and a growing group of ambassadors. This program has led to the inclusion of Wikipedia in the national curriculum, and Wikimedia Serbia has been successful in engaging some dedicated educators in their work. At the same time, the education program could be more focused. Wikimedia Serbia is taking on a lot of activity in areas around Serbia, and it is not clear this expansion will lead to deeper results.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is planning several projects related to preserving Serbia’s cultural heritage, but the value of this work in a Wikimedia context is not always clear. It is unclear why particular content areas are being targeted, and how media contributed will be used.

Budget[edit]

Is this plan and budget focused on the programs with the highest potential for online impact?

  • Wikimedia Serbia is expanding their budget very significantly from $99,839 to $127,816, or by 28%. Along with this, Wikimedia Serbia is requesting to increase their Annual Plan Grant grant form $110,787.98 to $126,201.38, or a 14% increase.
  • We are concerned that Wikimedia Serbia is expanding from 3.0 FTE to 4.0 staff, a significant increase. This concern comes from because we do not see outcomes increasing at a corresponding rate.
  • Wikimedia Serbia is improving in their ability to budget more consistently and effectively, and is developing good systems to track outcomes against costs. We hope Wikimedia Serbia will use these skills to more effectively prioritize activities in the future.

Summary of expert opinions (if applicable)[edit]

This section will summarize any expert opinions or other research.

N/A

Staff proposal assessment framework[edit]

This framework assesses annual plan grant proposals across the three dimensions of (1) Program design, (2) Organizational effectiveness, and (3) Budgeting. To complete the assessment, we identify whether each criterion is a strength or a concern:

  • Major strength
  • Strength
  • Neither a strength nor a concern
  • Concern
  • Major concern
Criterion Assessment Description

Program design

P1. Strategy

Strength WMRS's improved strategic plan now includes programs as well as organizational strategy and is sufficient for an organization of its size. Some of its programs are strongly aligned with this strategy and with movement priorities, while the alignment of several programs is less clear.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Neither Most of WMRS's programs do not aim for impact at scale, although its education work has potential for scale at the national level and leverages existing standards within their education system. While we have some concerns that targets are low with respect to the number of staff WMRS is requesting, the budget is reasonable.

P3. Objectives and evaluation methods

Neither WMRS is still focusing on outputs rather than outcomes, which will not help us understand the impact of its programs. WMRS's unfocused plan will be a big challenge to track. At the same time, we know WMRS has effective systems in place to track key metrics for its programs internally.

P4. Diversity

Neither WMRS is no longer focusing on gender work or diversity. At the same time, they are working directly with emerging communities in Serbia and expanding the diversity of content on Wikimedia projects.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

Neither WMRS has not yet shown strong results in terms of online outcomes. In terms of qualitative achievements, however, WMRS has been able to integrate Wikipedia into the national curriculum for high school students, which is a significant achievement.

O2. Learning

Neither WMRS is doing a good job with documenting learning through blog posts, although WMRS can grow in applying learning to improve its programs.

O3. Improving movement practices

Neither Despite significant staff resources, WMRS has stepped back from taking a leadership role in regional CEE work.

O4. Community engagement

Major strength WMRS is a community-focused organization, with strong engagement from its small group of core volunteers. WMRS's board is actively and directly engaged with the community, and the community drives WMRS's planning processes. Community-led programs like the successful ambassador program and Wiktionary work are good evidence of this engagement.

O5. Capacity

Neither WMRS's highly active volunteer board is a good indicator of capacity. At the same time this unfocused plan may not be feasible to implement. Also, WMRS has a very unusual staffing structure (4 staff reporting directly to the board) and it is unclear how well this structure will work as staff expands significantly.

Budget

B1. Past budgeting and spending

Neither WMRS has improved its ability to budget significantly. Past spending and staff growth has not led to commensurate impact.

B2. Budget is focused on impact

Neither Staff growth (from 3 to 4 FTE) is not commensurate with planned impact.

This staff proposal assessment is the work of FDC staff and is submitted by: KLove (WMF) (talk) 21:09, 9 November 2015 (UTC)

Staff proposal assessment framework[edit]

  • Major strength. This is something the organization does very well, and this is a strong indicator of future success.
  • Strength. This is something that the organization does well, and this could indicate future success.
  • Neither a strength nor a concern. This is something that does not indicate future success or make funding the application a risk, or aspects of this criterion conflict.
  • Concern. This is something that the organization does not do well, and this could make funding the application a risk.
  • Major concern. This is an area where the organization is not strong, and this could make funding the application a serious risk.
Criterion Description

Program design

P1. Strategy

The organization has a quality strategic plan in place, programs are aligned with this strategy, and this strategy is aligned with online impact.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Programs could lead to significant online impact at scale, and corresponding to the amount of funds requested.

P3. Evaluation methods

Programs include a plan for measuring results and ensuring learning, and employ effective evaluation tools and systems. Programs include SMART objectives, targets, and logic models.

P4. Diversity

Programs will expand the participation in and reach of the Wikimedia movement, especially in parts of the world or among groups that are not currently well-served.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

This organization has had success with similar programs or approaches in the past, and has effectively measured and documented the results of its past work.

O3. Learning

This organization is addressing risks and challenges effectively, is learning from and documenting its experiences, and is applying learning to improve its programs.

O4. Improving movement practices

This organization effectively shares learning about its work with the broader movement and beyond, and helps others in the movement achieve more impact.

O5. Community engagement

This organization effectively engages communities and volunteers in the planning and implementation of its work.

O6. Capacity

This organization has the resources and ability (for example, leadership, expertise, staff, experience managing funds) to do the plan proposed.

Budget

B1. Past budgeting and spending

This organization has a history of budgeting realistically and managing funds effectively in the past.

B2. Budget is focused on programmatic impact

Based on past performance and current plans, funds are allocated to programs and activities with corresponding potential for programmatic impact.