Grants:APG/Proposals/2017-2018 round 1/Wikimedia Argentina/Staff proposal assessment

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Wikimedia Argentina 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

$232,000 $240,704 3.74%

Budget

$261,000 $240,704 -7.78%

Staff (FTE)

3.5 4 14.29%

Overview[edit]

This section summarizes the themes that emerged from the proposal, which are explained in the detailed narrative section of this assessment.

Themes[edit]

  • Better focus
  • Context aware
  • Regional impact (Latin America)
  • Wikipedian in Residence role
  • Lack of direct impact on the Wikimedia projects (education program)

Wikimedia Argentina has gone from having one of the least readable proposals in the FDC-APG process to one of the best, with true programs, SMART objectives that include relevant targets, and impressive alignment. WMAR excels at understanding their own context and this shows in their implementation which is functional and relevant in their operating environments. WMAR has built a staff team that work together effectively toward the organization’s priorities and provide relevant expertise to WMAR’s initiatives. WMAR is dedicated to fostering other groups and chapters in the Iberocoop region and may be well-equipped to do so. If they follow through on their plans, their contributions in this area will extend beyond what is normally expected for a chapter of their size. Within their programs, we see two areas for further reflection: the role that their "Wikipedian in Residence” holds differs from traditional roles developed in other part of the movements and should probably be thought about to clearly define its scope. WMAR's education program is focused on priorities that are not about generating direct improvement to the Wikimedia projects. This also somewhat differs from more traditional programs with educational institutions and might be worth exploring further to assess the exact added value that these programs bring to the movement.

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?

Argentina can be a difficult environment for running a nonprofit organization. Shifting political winds can affect the outcomes of even the best laid partnership plans. Inflation is rampant and currency changes are difficult to manage when an organization’s main source of income is from a foreign source. Encountering corruption can be a daily reality for many working in the nonprofit, for-profit, and government sectors. Many NGOs and government agencies alike are struggling financially. Wikimedia Argentina, while integrating these facts in their day to day work, have managed to develop a solid, stable and healthy organization.

There are some important opportunities in WMAR’s context and they are willing and able to assess these context-specific opportunities and take advantage of them to drive the success of their programs. For example, the concept of Memoria (or remembering human rights crimes) is very important in Argentine culture and civil society; therefore, WMAR is partnering with institutions in this space to bring content in this important area to the Wikimedia projects and to involve a wider coalition of contributors in Wikimedia work. When it becomes difficult to engage GLAMs at the top level, they work within those organizations to find and support individuals that are committed to GLAM work. So while Argentina can be a tough environment, the staff and volunteer teams at WMAR also have the skills and tools to make things work by thinking of creative and context-specific solutions that work for them.

Past performance[edit]

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

In the past, WMAR has struggled to create and implement clear plans, and to achieve results that are competitive with other organizations in the FDC process. This has changed substantially in the last twelve months. For example, WMAR's 2016 impact report and their 2017 progress report offer a much clearer picture of how their recent results may set them up for success in 2018.

Organizational effectiveness[edit]

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

This year, WMAR has presented a tightly focused plan aligned with the organization’s new strategy. This focus gives us more confidence that they have the capacity to execute on this plan. WMAR has built a staff team that collaborates closely and brings relevant expertise to WMAR’s main program priorities, including GLAM and education.

While WMAR is program-focused, they are simultaneously maintaining high standards in the areas of finance and governance, and this is all the more laudable considering that they are working in a very challenging operating environment. For example, the organization’s finances are a particular challenge to manage in a context of extreme inflation and fluctuations in exchange rates, yet WMAR has shown a good ability to manage their budgets year over year.

The board of WMAR is composed exclusively of long-time Wikimedians, which gives them a very thorough understanding of the movement at large. It would be interesting for them to see how they can open up to a more diverse board: for example, by looking for advisors or board members from the impressive range of their partnerships, to expand skills and broaden horizons.

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?

WMAR has put in place a new strategic plan for 2018-2020, which serves as the backbone of this year’s annual plan. Creating a new strategy was a positive step that has clearly enabled improvements to their annual plan for the upcoming year. This document provides some valuable background on how WMAR has prioritized their program areas in the current plan. It also includes a detailed explanation of the process for creating the plan, an explanation of how the plan aligns with the possible WMF strategic direction, and a set of long term strategic goals. While the strategic plan does not include risk assessment, this analysis is included for each program in the 2018 proposal.

WMAR’s strategic plan covers three areas, which are addressed in different ways by each of the programs included in this proposal. WMAR includes a matrix in the strategic plan that allows one to track the alignment of each of the three programs with the three strategic priorities identified.

One very interesting development in this plan is the inclusion of Regional Cooperation as a strategic priority! This shows that WMAR intends to follow through on their commitment to providing support to other Iberocoop groups over the next several years. This is an important aspect to consider when thinking about the different ways WMAR is contributing to the international movement, which are impressive for a chapter of their size.

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?

WMAR’s plan in 2018 includes three programs: education, culture, and community. Overall, WMAR’s targets for the coming year are significantly improved. We note that WMAR has chosen some relevant (and also ambitious) grantee-defined metrics that will highlight important aspects of their achievements in diversity and quality. This is especially important, as WMAR has been seeking to emphasize these aspects of their achievements over other metrics, like the quantity of pages affected by their programs.

While targets for their education program are somewhat low in terms of article quantity considering that this is such a significant organizational focus, their target for the percentage of articles deemed quality according to WMAR’s quality assessment matrix is ambitious at 70%. We are impressed with WMAR’s ongoing development of this quality assessment tool, which shows they are contributing significantly to the global conversation about how to measure results in terms of quality articles.

WMAR has a unique strategy for fostering GLAM partnerships, which focuses on supporting individuals that are embedded within institutions, through a traveling GLAM support staff person (called a “Wikipedian in Residence”, but not following what we think of as a traditional WiR model). This strategy takes into account the difficulty of establishing fruitful formal partnerships with institutions in Argentina, due to shifting political winds. It may indeed foster good results in the long term, since individual partners are very dedicated to doing Wikimedia work within their institutions. On the other hand, it makes relationships with institutions very dependent on one or a handful of individuals in some cases. It is likely that this work will lead to significant content donations or longer lasting partnerships in some cases, and not in others.

WMAR’s approach to taking advantage of culturally relevant and context-specific opportunities for collaboration, in both their education program and GLAM work, is likely to be successful in the long term, both in producing relevant results and in generating interest, funding, and other contributions from organizations outside of Wikimedia. Through this approach they may be able to engage both partners, individual contributors, and groups of contributors, in the work of movement building. This may allow them to make headway in areas like increasing the diversity of the contributor base and covering underrepresented topics on Wikimedia projects, where many other chapters struggle.

WMAR includes SMART objectives for each of their programs, and does an impressive job of keeping them high level. The programs presented here are true programs, and not simply lists of activities combined into program groupings. Even better, they explain to which strategic priority each of these objectives align.

Budget[edit]

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

WMAR’s expenses are weighted toward programs, especially because staff resources are largely program-oriented. Resources are weighted toward education, which may be the least aligned of the three programs with Wikimedia in the long term.

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 WMAR has launched a new strategic plan which is concise and offers relevant context. This plan includes long term targets, and there is a detailed explanation in the proposal about how each program relates to WMAR's strategic priorities. Furthermore, WMAR is doing risk assessments for each program in its proposal. This clarity is a welcome change in this year's proposal.

P2. Potential for impact at scale

Neither We see that WMAR is laying the groundwork to achieve more impact at scale, including building influence among networks of potential partners in Argentina that will help them operate both on a national scale, and supporting the Latin America region. It is not always clear what the impact of programs that scale in size, such as the Education program, actually have.

P3. Objectives and evaluation methods

Strength WMAR has improved greatly in this area, presenting a more concise plan with relevant objectives and metrics that will be possible to measure.

P4. Diversity

Major Strength WMAR is effective in partnering with organizations and local groups that have expertise in working with diverse communities; this approach is likely to lead to results in the long term. Furthermore, they have shown good progress in extending their influence geographically within Argentina and have made a substantial commitment to the Latin America region over the next three years, which has the potential to be a driver of diversity on an international scale.

Organizational effectiveness

O1. Past results

Neither It has been difficult to understand results from WMAR in the past, due to the complexity and lack of focus of their plan. This plan sets them up to deliver on promises and we are looking forward to results improving even further.

O2. Learning

Strength WMAR's improvement in reporting practices, as evidenced through their last reports (impact and progress), have shown a thoughtful approach to learning which has informed this proposal.

O3. Improving movement practices

Major Strength We are grateful to see that WMAR has demonstrated commitment to working on a regional scale, as evidenced in the inclusion of this work in their strategic plan. They have the potential to make a significant contribution to the international movement by working with other groups in the Latin America region.

O4. Community engagement

Strength Despite their ongoing challenges to find a good balance between online and offline communities, WMAR has good participation from community members across all of their programs.

O5. Capacity

Neither WMAR has a board and staff team with the dedication and expertise to carry out their work; at the same time, it does seem like the staff are taking on a lot and may be stretching themselves thin to implement this plan. The organization might also benefit from outside expertise on its board, now that the organization is well stabilized.

Budget

B1. Past budgeting and spending

Strength We see that WMAR has good capacity to plan and manage their finances, even in a challenging operating environment.

B2. Budget is focused on impact

Strength We think this plan is likely to result in impact that is proportionate to the funding requested. Staff resources are also largely directed to program areas with good potential for impact.

This staff proposal assessment is the work of FDC staff and is submitted by: Delphine (WMF) (talk) 01:34, 9 November 2017 (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.