Grants:APG/Proposals/2016-2017 round 1/Wikimedia Israel/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) A narrative assessment; (2) An assessment that scores each applicant according to specific criteria in program design, organizational effectiveness, and budgeting.

Overview[edit]

Summary[edit]

Current (projected)

Upcoming (proposed)

Proposed change (as a +/- percentage)

FDC or other relevant funding

$220,118 $226,980 +3.12%

Budget

$258,757 $350,605 +35.5%

Staff (FTE)

4.85 5 +3%

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]

  • We appreciate WMIL’s thoughtful education work with potential for national scale.
  • WMIL’s progress in Arabic and MediaWiki are huge achievements.
  • WMIL is a volunteer-centered organization with a learning culture.

Concerns[edit]

  • WMIL’s focus on Ladino Wikipedia may have minimal impact.
  • 2017 achievements may not be commensurate with budget increase, since Arabic work may take time to develop before we see results.

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?

  • Israel is linguistically and culturally diverse, with two official languages. While WMIL has focused on Hebrew-language Wikimedia projects in past years, they are now growing their focus on Arabic Wikipedia as well. WMIL has close ties to the community of Hebrew contributors. Hebrew Wikipedia is rich in content, especially for a language with nine million speakers worldwide.
  • WMIL is located in Tel Aviv, which is a hub for software development. After they hosted the Wikimedia Hackathon in Jerusalem, they were able to leverage this event to build stronger relationships with MediaWiki developers throughout the country.
  • Education is highly valued in Israel, and students have several options and tracks for pursuing secondary and tertiary education. WMIL’s ties to the educational sector are deep and network-based, with potential for scale at the national level, and these include partnerships with nationally recognized experts in the field of education. In turn, WMIL is developing a national reputation as an expert in this field.
  • Beyond opening avenues for new reach, WMIL’s work with Arabic communities presents new opportunities for partnerships and funding, and they have received significant external funding to support this work (as well as other aspects of their education work) in the current and upcoming years.

Past performance[edit]

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

  • WMIL’s qualitative achievements are impressive, and quantitative results have improved over previous years. In 2016, WMIL seems to be on track to exceed 2015 achievements in global metrics, except in the fields of uploaded media in Commons and active editors involved. WMIL’s achievement of 13,075 articles created or improved and 1,226 new editors involved by mid-2016 is impressive.
  • In 2016, WMIL started gaining traction in Arabic work. Beyond securing external funding for this work, dedicated volunteers drove this achievement forward throughout the year. This is a significant accomplishment, as making headway with Arabic speakers has been a huge challenge in the past. WMIL is doing foundational work in this area, and it may take time to generate significant results.
  • After the Hackathon, WMIL took advantage of momentum in its technical community to increase the engagement of technical volunteers with WMIL, and work with its community of MediaWiki developers is flourishing. WMIL’s Wiktionary work has also been very successful in 2016, when they were able to grow their small contributor community and attract the interest of a prestigious partner. In 2016, WMIL also saw the growth of the WikiWomen group, which has been meeting regularly at WMIL’s offices in Tel Aviv.

Organizational effectiveness[edit]

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

  • WMIL is an organization with a strong learning culture, which is present among their staff, board, and key volunteers, and they are constantly improving and adapting their programs and approaches to match what they have learned. This level of reflection is demonstrated in this year’s plan and in the increasing quality of their education work.
  • WMIL is a volunteer-centered organization that is deeply supportive of its volunteers and maintains a personal touch in its community support work, in order to develop a pipeline of leaders and key contributors.
  • WMIL has intentionally nurtured a more diverse board that includes a mix of established Wikipedians and newer contributors with expertise that can support the organization. The board also appoints advisors with strong ties to their fields of action, for example, the presence of female board members with expertise in areas like education and gender-focused work will enable success in these important areas.
  • Staff resources are focused in the area of education, where there is significant expertise, which makes good sense considering WMIL’s strategic focus on the potential of their education work. Staff work well together as a team, and have opportunities to grow and develop with the organization.
  • They are tracking in-kind donations and increasing their capacity for fundraising. While their 2017 target may be ambitious, considering some guaranteed fundraising sources it may be possible for them to achieve it.

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?

  • WMIL has a sound strategy that is based on community feedback, and contains an analysis of risks and opportunities, although there are no long term targets included in their strategic plan, which may make it difficult to track progress. WMIL’s plan emphasizes diversity, knowledge, and public awareness.
  • Despite the organization’s focus and achievements in this area, education is not emphasized specifically in WMIL’s long term goals, nor is work with sister projects, although both are called out in the SWOT analysis and survey findings. Community support is strongly emphasized, and is also a focus area of the 2017 plan.
  • WMIL’s strategy covers the organization’s vision through 2017, and WMIL will be in the process of developing a new strategic plan during 2017. WMIL may have an opportunity to take strategic planning and implementation to the next level, now that the organization has developed significant capacity and expertise.

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?

  • WMIL has a focus on diversity through its Wikiwomen group as well as the integration of Arabic language into its education initiatives, and is including a focus on gender-related content gaps as part of its educational photography project. However, WMIL does not track gender diversity through any of its metrics.
  • WMIL’s staff resources are focused in the area of education, where WMIL has celebrated success partnering with prestigious networks and institutes with strong pedagogical expertise, such as the national ORT network, the Center for Educational Technology (CET) and Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (HIC), which will enable their work in the coming year. Their education work in 2017 emphasizes quality and, notably, includes a new quality assessment tool to help measure the quality of the work generated through its education programs.
  • WMIL’s education work has the potential to scale on several levels, due to the extensive networks and influence of their partners, due to innovative approaches such as online training courses for teachers developed with CET, and due to the recognition of Wikipedia in accredited training courses for teachers.
  • WMIL’s community support work has a bold focus on editor retention, and includes support for Wikipedia contributors and Wiktionary contributors, as well as MediaWiki developers. While the Hebrew Wiktionary community is small, WMIL is partnering the the Academy of Hebrew Language, which should lead to quality results. On the other hand, WMIL’s work with Ladino is unlikely to generate impact at scale, due to the small size of this project and community of speakers.
  • We appreciate WMIL’s emphasis on measuring online outcomes, including article quality and contributor retention, which have both been emphasized in WMIL’s grantee-defined metrics. We also like WMIL’s approach to measuring volunteer leadership, although we do not think that measuring the number of partners engaged will adequately measure the depth of WMIL’s partnership work.

Budget[edit]

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

  • WMIL has not met revenue targets in the past, which has required them to significantly alter their spending in 2016. They are gaining traction in the area of external fundraising, including a significant grant for Arabic language work, which may explain their ambitious target for 2017.
  • WMIL is requesting a $6,000 grant increase for 2017, although they plan to row their budget using other revenue sources. Despite a 35% planned budget increase, targets for 2017 have not increased commensurately, which may be because work on funded programs such as Arabic education work will need more time before significant results are achieved, and so 2017 results may not match the scale of this budget increase.
  • WMIL’s budget is weighted toward staff, and staff are focused on education program work, which has potential for impact on a national scale. Non-staff expenses are also weighted toward education ($48,000).
  • WMIL does not keep reserves although they sometimes carry forward a surplus from one year to the next. In 2015, WMIL’s expenses were greater than revenues, as reported in their financial statement.
  • We appreciate that WMIL tracks the value of in-kind donations.

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

Neither WMIL has a strategic plan in place that extends through the upcoming year, and is working on developing a new strategic plan. The strategic plan does not align perfectly with WMIL's 2017 program plan or developing expertise, but there will be opportunity for improvement now that WMIL is well-placed to improve in this area.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Strength WMIL's education program definitely has the potential to scale within Israel and maximize outreach in the country. Its declination into Arabic, while maybe not yielding results right away, is a good way to work on adapting the program and test it to scale. Innovative approaches such as the project at university level with HIC are interesting beyond Israel's borders. Strengthened ties with the developer's community could benefit the Wikimedia projects and the movement as a whole.

P3. Objectives and evaluation methods

Strength WMIL has developed some highly relevant and interesting metrics, especially in the form of their quality assessment tool. This will enable WMIL to better tell the story of the value of the work created through the education program. They are measuring outcomes and including baselines as well as targets.

P4. Diversity

Strength WMIL is supporting the WikiWomen initiative and specifically targeting gender-related content gaps through its contests and education program work. WMIL is now gaining traction in their work with Arabic-speaking contributors, which is a major achievement. They have very diverse expertise and skills on their board.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

Strength WMIL is improving in its progress against global metric targets and past global metrics achievements, and also boasts significant qualitative successes. WMIL is gaining traction in working with developers and Arabic communities. Articles created or improved exceeded 13,000 at the 2016 midpoint.

O2. Learning

Major strength WMIL has a strong culture of learning, among its staff, board, and volunteers. In the field of education, they are testing new methods and reporting results internally and to the wider community. There is clear evidence that WMIL is applying learning to improve its programs, especially in the area of education.

O3. Improving movement practices

Strength WMIL recently hosted the movement-wide Hackathon and is a leader among chapters in engaging volunteer developers. WMIL has strong relationships with other APG chapters, despite the geographical distance that separates them. Board members and staff are active participants in cross-chapter efforts.

O4. Community engagement

Strength WMIL has been working closely with its community. Wikimedia communities actively monitor and support WMIL's outputs from their education programs. WMIL has managed to support a small but now active Wikisource community. It has also increased its ties with the developer community as well as with Wikiwomen, offering space for them to meet regularly.

O5. Capacity

Strength WMIL effectively leverages volunteers to improve its organizational capacity, including ways for staff and volunteers to collaborate and communicate. WMIL's stable and dedicated board is actively working toward more diversity and sustainability, and has an effective relationship with staff. WMIL's staffing structure works well and is aligned with impact.

Budget

B1. Past budgeting and spending

Neither WMIL does not have a history of meeting past fundraising targets, which has resulted in adjustments to overall spending. In 2015 expenses exceeded revenues. Past increases in grant amounts have not consistently led to commensurate results, but results are improving in 2016.

B2. Budget is focused on impact

Strength In their 2017 plan, WMIL will invest appropriately in education, which is a high potential area for impact. Their Arabic Education program might take some time to show online impact. They seem likely to meet their ambitious 2017 revenue targets and are requesting a moderate increase in APG funding. Quantitative achievements are improving and qualitative achievements are significant.

This staff proposal assessment is the work of FDC staff and is submitted by: Delphine (WMF) (talk) 21:40, 8 November 2016 (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.

O2. Learning

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

O3. 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.

O4. Community engagement

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

O5. 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.