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Grants:APG/Proposals/2016-2017 round 1/Wikimedia UK/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.



Current (projected)

Upcoming (proposed)

Proposed change (as a +/- percentage)

FDC or other relevant funding

$363,529 $406,398 +11.79%


$797,167 $847,794 +6.35%

Staff (FTE)

8.6 9.2 +7%

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.


  • WMUK has a high quality strategic plan.
  • WMUK describes a sophisticated approach to partnerships work.
  • WMUK has a diversity of genders and expertise on its board.


  • WMUK has not yet fully developed its potential to do diversity-focused work.
  • The volunteer support program may not lead to online impact.

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?

  • Recent political events in the UK around the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU may affect WMUK’s operating environment, especially in the area of advocacy, where WMUK plans to be more active in 2017. It is difficult to assess the long term effects of this change, but in the short term this may provide WMUK with additional opportunities to be active or influential. WMUK’s continues to be active in the FKAGEU.
  • WMUK has had difficulty generating significant impact on English Wikipedia, which is a massive project with the potential to touch more than a billion speakers. English Wikipedia is a community with entrenched norms and specific standards for content and behavior, and can be an intimidating environment for new contributors, or those who don’t conform to a typical Wikipedian profile. This can sometimes make diversity-focused work or work focused on new contributors more challenging.
  • At the same time, their location in the UK positions them to have an impact on other language projects, such as Welsh, and their location in a large and diverse metropolis like London may offer opportunities to work with minority communities.
  • WMUK has access to some of the world’s renowned repositories of knowledge, and has opportunities to deepen and develop these relationships. The reputation of these organizations is such that successful partnership work may even have a ripple effect beyond the UK’s borders.
  • Wikimedia UK has significant opportunities for institutional fundraising which they have not taken advantage of in past years. This is improving in the current year, with a target of $63,000 for institutional fundraising.

Past performance[edit]

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

  • In its last progress report, WMUK used a table to clearly show its progress on all metrics, with clear baselines. This makes it easier to assess WMUK’s current progress.
  • By mid-2016, WMUK has already overachieved their target for articles created or improved, with 44,282 articles by the midpoint, and 5,238 new articles added. This is an important improvement over past results and an impressive achievement within the APG portfolio overall. They have also exceeded their target for images in use, with 2016 images in use by the midpoint.
  • WMUK has achieved notable success working with active contributors, staff, and institutions in Scotland and Wales, and has appropriately emphasized this work in their plan for the upcoming year. We are glad to see this shift, which seems to recognize these programs as one of the chapter’s strengths.
  • WMUK is achieving some promising results in different aspects of community engagement that they are tracking. For example, they are on track to meet targets in volunteer hours and on leading activity units attributable to women. While they have only achieved 32 leading volunteers of 260 targeted, it is encouraging to see them tracking results in this area.

Organizational effectiveness[edit]

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

  • WMUK has made great strides in building a diverse and capable board, and now has stable executive leadership in place. While more time may be needed to evaluate the effects of WMUK’s restructuring efforts, the new strategy is encouraging evidence that it is going well. WMUK has a committed and diverse board including an improved gender balance and good balance of movement and external expertise.
  • WMUK continues to maintain a large staff at 8.6 FTE in 2016, and growing to 9.2 FTE in 2017. WMUK’s staff brings important expertise in several program areas, and several staff members have deep roots in the community, including Wales.
  • WMUK is making progress in the area of volunteer involvement, including defining volunteer roles and launching a new portal for volunteers. WMUK is also tracking volunteer hours, which enables them to understand how volunteers contribute to specific programs and their organization overall.
  • WMUK has developed a framework to prioritize partnerships according to a formal set of criteria, which assists the organization in balancing incoming requests with the limited resources they have to pursue new partnerships successfully.

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?

  • We appreciate that WMUK has a new strategic plan in place, which is an improvement over previous strategies. This plan covers four years from 2016 to 2019 and includes clear statements of values, operating principles, and long term outcomes. In this plan WMUK clarifies the relationship of its programs and projects to these long term goals and includes measurable targets in each of these areas. The plan also includes an assessment of context and resources (financial, staff, board) needed to achieve these goals. Based on the quality of this plan and WMUK’s capacity, it seems likely that the organization will be able to monitor their progress against this plan over time. WMUK’s plan outlines Community, Partnerships, and Advocacy as areas of program focus.
  • The quality of WMUK’s strategic planning has not been consistent over its years of involvement in the FDC process, but the new plan represents a significant achievement and positive change in direction. The quality of this plan may be evidence of WMUK’s dedication to governance over the past several years.
  • This strategy seems well-implemented in the 2017 annual plan, where strategic alignment is clear in each program area, and priorities are effectively communicated.


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?

  • WMUK’s strongest program area is their partnerships work, which is included as part of the Diverse content and contributors program. Partnerships is an area where WMUK already holds expertise and where good opportunities are present in the UK. In this plan WMUK is building on a strong foundation of relationships and expertise, to deepen their approach to partnerships through a new focus on diversity of content. WMUK is growing sophisticated in terms of their offerings to partners, with a renewed emphasis on Wikidata. This approach cuts across programs, since WMUK is also working with their partners toward more openness in the field of knowledge as part of the promoting open knowledge program.
  • In terms of contributor diversity, Wikimedia UK is partnering with local organizations that have expertise working with target groups, such as the Kurdish Cultural Centre, and Middle Eastern Women. We are interested to see where these partnerships takes WMUK, and what they learn from these experiences.
  • It was difficult, however, to connect a common theory of change for some of the program activities included in the diverse content and contributors program, since focus on diverse content through partnerships and focus on a diverse group of contributors seem to require related but different approaches.
  • In advocacy, we see that some activities often associated with content-focused GLAM work, such as Wikipedian in Residence programs and partnerships, are reimagined as a way to drive more openness in the field of knowledge. This is a challenging area to measure effectively, and it is not clear that the metrics provided will offer good information about the real impact of this work. Travel to movement events is included in this program area, although it does not seem closely related to advocacy work.
  • In education, the emphasis on volunteers (included in the first high-level goal for this program) is encouraging; however, links between the targets set and activities planned are not always clear.


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

  • WMUK is requesting the largest grant of any organization in Round 1 of the FDC process this year, at $406,000 for 2017. They are also requesting the largest increase at $43,000. APG funding makes up 48% of its planned revenue in 2017, provided they are successful in meeting fundraising targets. WMUK derives most non-FDC income from donations and gift aid, but WMUK is also increasing its focus on institutional fundraising in 2017, with a target for institutional fundraising of about $63,000 for 2017.
  • While WMUK has had irregular spending patterns in past years, WMUK has improved their ability to spend on target, spending $775,000 of $786,000 budgeted in 2015, with an underspend that aligns with their revenue achievement. They are projecting a similar result in the current year.
  • WMUK’s programs budget is weighted toward diverse content and contributors, which is likely to align with WMUK’s potential for impact in the area of partnerships. WMUK has budgeted about $95,000 in program expenses for promoting open knowledge, but it is not possible to understand how these funds are directly linked to impact with the level of budget detail provided. Some line items are large and inscrutable, such as £17,650 allocated to “External Relations & Advocacy.”
  • WMUK now tracks in-kind donations and includes donations with values over £1,000 pounds in its revenue. This is a good practice that helps to emphasize the value WMUK is adding to the movement. In 2017, WMUK expects about $75,000 in such donations.
  • WMUK holds about $224,000 in operating reserves, which will cover staff costs for nearly 6 months in the event of an emergency.

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




Program design

P1. Strategy

Strength We are impressed with the quality and depth of WMUK's strategic plan, which will serve as a strong foundation for WMUK's work until 2019. While WMUK has not been a consistent performer in this area in past years, we are encouraged by this new direction. We congratulate WMUK on their achievement in this area, and look forward to celebrating the fruits of this work in years to come.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Neither WMUK is developing more scalable approaches, although at this level of funding we would like to see more. Content released through partnerships is likely to be useful globally. They are developing their advocacy work, and participating in FKAGEU. Work on Welsh has produced results on an impressive scale.

P3. Objectives and evaluation methods

Strength WMUK has included SMART objectives and a table summarizing quantitative targets (with baselines) for each program. Targets are relevant and focused on outcomes. Their grantee-defined metric for volunteer hours will be interesting to track.

P4. Diversity

Neither WMUK includes gender diversity as an emphasis in its community programs, its strategy, and throughout the proposal. At the same time, specific plans to address gender diversity are not included, nor are there specific targets in this area.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

Strength While they did not meet targets across most areas in 2015, 2016 performance has improved significantly. WMUK is on track to meet most of its targets and to significantly exceed its 2015 achievements. Standards are high for a budget of this size, but improvements like 44,000 articles achieved are significant.

O2. Learning

Strength WMUK has shown its ability to move beyond effective documentation to applying learning to refine its programs and approaches. Evidence of this is in its sophisticated approach to partnerships, and the development of its new strategic plan.

O3. Improving movement practices

Strength WMUK models several good practices in program and organizational areas, and is eager to share knowledge of these practices with the international movement. They continue to participate actively in the international community of program leaders, and are contributing to FKAGEU.

O4. Community engagement

Neither WMUK is making good progress in this area and it is encouraging to see them continuing to emphasize, measure, and develop volunteer engagement.

O5. Capacity

Strength WMUK has emerged from a period of crisis and transition with strong governance systems, a diverse and competent governing body, a good collection of staff expertise, and a quality strategy to guide the way. Coupled with their work in the area of volunteer engagement, we believe this will enable them to implement their current plan.


B1. Past budgeting and spending

Neither WMUK has received large grants through the FDC process since 2013, and results in 2013, 2014, and 2015, have not been commensurate with impact. Yet, results in 2016 are significantly improved. Although WMUK has a longer-term history of irregular budgeting and spending, budgeting has been accurate in 2015 and 2016.

B2. Budget is focused on impact

Neither WMUK's budget may be appropriately weighted to impact in areas like partnerships and advocacy, although this may be difficult to assess without more details. We see improvements in 2016 results and in the 2017 plan that may predict outcomes that are more commensurate with funding, although these results are not guaranteed.

This staff proposal assessment is the work of FDC staff and is submitted by: Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:28, 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.



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.


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.