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

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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.



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

FDC or PEG funding

$41,154.22 $75,000.00 82%


$41,154.22 $76,200.00 85%


0.5 1.5 200%

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.


  • Programs are well-aligned with movement strategic priorities
  • Past results are a good indicator of future impact and evaluation capacity
  • Strong movement leadership


  • Staffing increase from 0.5 to 1.5 FTE is significant for a small organization
  • Programs are not grouped in a logical way or clearly prioritized
  • Difficult work environment

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:


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

  • There are good opportunities for growth in the Ukrainian context. Wikimedia Ukraine has the opportunity to reach people not currently benefiting from Wikimedia projects.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine can take better advantage of opportunities to work with female contributors on their projects of focus.
  • There are significant opportunities for digitization in the Ukrainian context.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine is driven by a strong community of volunteers who independently run projects.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine’s operating context also presents serious challenges, given the political situation in Ukraine.

Past performance[edit]

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

  • Wikimedia Ukraine has a history of delivering quality content through their activities. Their main activities have included competitions, photo activities, wiki workshops, education, and regional cooperation.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has experience with online competitions delivering significant results, including work with Wiki Loves Earth and other photo competitions.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has done some innovative work in the area of digitizing sound content.

Organizational effectiveness[edit]

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

  • Wikimedia Ukraine has a strong culture of learning, and adapting organizational approaches and programs based on that learning. For example, they have been improving their contests year after year.
  • The organization currently has a 0.5 FTE who is doing PR work to help with outreach. They plan to transition this role into a fulltime project manager and add a half time office manager who will do administrative work. Wikimedia Ukraine has experience managing multiple staff people, as they had a temporary staff person help with Wiki Loves Earth coordination. At the same time, managing multiple ongoing staff people is a significant change for the board.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has underspent on some of their grants in the past, perhaps due to inconsistent budgeting. However this is not a significant concern.

Strategy and programs[edit]

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


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

  • Wikimedia Ukraine is currently undergoing a strategic planning process. We note one areas of the strategy addresses technological innovation, which we do not see evidence of in their 2016 plan beyond a few mentions of work related to gadgets.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine will benefit from some focus and prioritization around activities in the coming year.


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?

  • It’s unclear why activities are grouped together into programs (e.g. GLAM and education), and it seems like the number of programs will be a challenge to manage effectively, both in terms of implementation and monitoring.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has been a leader in the Central and Eastern European region.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has included needs assessments with each program that they have put forward, which capture the potential of each program along with the organization’s capacity alongside the external environment.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine’s plan has a strong focus on content. Wikimedia Ukraine is continuing their strong content-focused work with photo competitions as well as their partnerships work.


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

  • Wikimedia Ukraine is requesting a significant increase in their grant to $75K, which may make sense for an organization at this stage of growth. It is notable that while Wikimedia Ukraine is increasing their staff significantly, staff costs in the Ukraine are low and so the bulk of their budget increase should correspond to an increase in other program and operational expenses.
  • Annual Plan Grant funding will make up most of Wikimedia Ukraine’s budget, as fundraising is difficult in the Ukrainian contest.
  • Wikimedia Ukraine has received 12 project grants from Wikimedia Foundation since 2010, totaling $132,674 USD. Since 2012, the organization has received four annual grants through the Project and Event Grants program. Some grants have received extensions due to extenuating circumstances, including the conflict in Ukraine.
  • $31,800 is budgeted for contests/prizes. Wikimedia Ukraine will want to monitor these expenses to ensure they are leading to strong outcomes. However, the organization tends to generate impressive results from these contests.

Summary of expert opinions (if applicable)[edit]

This section will summarize any expert opinions or other research.

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 WMUA has a sufficient strategic plan in place for an organization of its size, and each of its programs are strongly aligned with this strategy and with movement priorities. Rationale for strategic alignment is clearly explained.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Strength WMUA is planning programs that build on its previous work. Targets set are ambitious and also realistic based on past performance, which corresponds to the amount requested.

P3. Objectives and evaluation methods

Neither WMUA has a strong record for effectively measuring the results of its work, especially for an organization of its size. At the same time, this very ambitious and unfocused plan leads to concerns about feasibility in the area of evluation as well as overall capacity.

P4. Diversity

Neither WMUA has begun to work on the gender gap, and we encourage them to deepen their focus in that area in the years ahead. In addition they are working directly with emerging communities and working to expand the diversity of content on Wikimedia projects.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

Major strength While new to the APG process, WMUA is a high-performing organization, especially considering the size of funding they've received to date. WMUA has built significant momentum to grow its programs and funding, while also significantly growing its results.

O2. Learning

Strength WMUA learns from its work and approaches and adapts programs accordingly (e.g. contests). They have routinely recorded their learning.

O3. Improving movement practices

Major strength WMUA plays a central role in the CEE region. They organized the 2014 CEE meeting and were instrumental in supporting CEE 2015. The organization was also a driving force in organizing the CEE Spring content contest. WMUA started and coordinates the Wiki Loves Earth international photo competition. In WLE, WMUA has has mentored smaller or less experienced groups in their participation. This year, WMUA has integrated volunteers from other communities in the international coordination team. WMUA has demonstrated remarkable attention to bringing other communities along in their programs, and sharing their experiences. This is particularly impressive considering they do not have a full time paid staff. We hope that the organization continues to lead the movement in these areas.

O4. Community engagement

Strength WMUA is a community-focused organization with strong engagement from an active core of community volunteers, who are also deeply involved in planning the organization's activities.

O5. Capacity

Concern WMUA is proposing to grow its staff from one half time employee to one full time and one half time employee.WMUA has managed one permanent and one temporary employee in the past, but expanding permanent staff and increasing staff hours could detract from the overall feasibility of this plan, which is complex and ambitious.


B1. Past budgeting and spending

Neither WMUA is still improving its ability to budget effectively, and has had some challenges meeting past grant requirements and reporting deadlines. At the same time, WMUA is a frugal, volunteer-driven organization and funds have led to strong results.

B2. Budget is focused on impact

Strength Costs are well-aligned with impact, although we note large amounts of funding for events and prizes for contests.

This staff proposal assessment is the work of FDC staff and is submitted by: Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 20:22, 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.


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.