Grants:IdeaLab/Reimagining WMF grants/Outcomes/es

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Reimagining WMF grants

Outcomes

Summary

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Great idea to help make it much clearer for those that have great ideas or ambitions to have the opportunity to more easily apply for funding to fulfill those ambitions.
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Use of time and resource - how much time and resource would a user have to commit to get a grant filed and approved? As low as possible, ideally.
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From August 17 to September 7, 2015, Community Resources held a consultation about an idea for reimagining WMF grants. Based on what we heard from over 200 people during this consultation, WMF plans to move forward with a grants restructure, with the following modifications:

  1. Ofrecer apoyo a conferencias y apoyo a los viajes en lugar del amplio concepto de "Eventos". Vamos a seguir para ofrecer el programa de viajes y apoyar la participación actual junto con Wikimania Becas y agregar Apoyo a las Conferencias de proporcionar recursos específicos para los organizadores de la conferencia. Subvenciones para proyectos continuarán para financiar otras actividades fuera de línea, que pueden incluir eventos distintas de las conferencias.
  2. Conoce a la necesidad de la velocidad, la sencillez y la flexibilidad con bajo riesgo, Subvenciones rápidos de bajo costo. Estamos desarrollando el concepto microfunds en Rapid Subvenciones, que ofrecerá las decisiones de financiación rápida para solicitudes o experimentos que no necesitan extensa deliberación comunidad. Subvenciones rápidas se ofrecen durante todo el año, para permitir una mayor flexibilidad.
  3. Mantenga Subvenciones para proyectos simples.

Subvenciones para proyectos mantendrán la idea de un gasoducto de semillas para el crecimiento para ampliar los experimentos en los programas, pero nos aseguraremos de que los solicitantes no tienen que distinguir la semilla del crecimiento a sí mismos. Se aceptarán solicitudes trimestrales, pero vamos a mantener otros requisitos del programa flexible y hacen un proceso simple para las renovaciones.

  1. Piloto Proceso simple Subvenciones plan anual, con el apoyo más flexible. Vamos a pilotar el proceso simple de las Subvenciones del plan anual sin límite de dotación de personal, y hacer un proceso para solicitar aumentos de hasta el límite de la financiación a través del año.
  2. Centrarse en el apoyo. A medida que implementamos cambios, nos centraremos en aumentar el apoyo específicamente para los solicitantes. Nos centraremos en la mejora de los recursos de los encuestados han identificado como de alta prioridad: Conexiones a otros, recursos en línea en general, y las directrices presupuestarias. Tenemos la intención de orientar el apoyo a los becarios a las necesidades y temas específicos.

Key findings

  • Prioridades. Los encuestados en general priorizan lograr un impacto y simplicidad y velocidad en el proceso de postulación, incluso como algo más importante que la participación comunitaria. Las prioridades de los encuestados también se alinean bien con los principios de diseño descritos en la idea original de vías claras, el impacto y la simplicidad. (see Aspects of the grants process)
  • Support. Non-monetary support is important to respondents, and so is receiving the right kind of support. Connections, budget guidelines, and online resources are seen as most important, and the need for more targeted support is also emphasized. Respondents also described the need for better support during the application process and better tools and support for committees who are making decisions. Finally, collecting global metrics is a difficult part of the process that needs more support. (see Resources and information and Aspects of the grants process)
  • Avales y fortalezas. En general, muchos de los encuestados apoyan la idea, y al igual que los nuevos tipos de financiación y las formas de financiación podrían utilizarse. Por ejemplo, los participantes ya como las obras de apoyo de viaje camino, al igual que la idea de un proceso simple para las subvenciones de planes anuales, y me gustó la idea de un gasoducto para experimentar y crecer proyectos. Muchos de los encuestados encuentran las distinciones entre tipos de subvención fácil de entender y algunos piensan que el proceso podría reducir el tiempo y el trabajo requerido. (ver Fortalezas y preocupaciones)
  • Las preocupaciones y sugerencias. A pesar de muchas anotaciones generales, la mayoría de los encuestados expresan ambas preocupaciones grandes y pequeños sobre la nueva estructura, o tiene sugerencias sobre cómo se podría mejorar la idea. Para algunos encuestados, las distinciones entre tipos de subvención aún no son lo suficientemente claras (por ejemplo, semillas vs. crecimiento, proyectos frente a eventos, microfunds, investigación). A algunos les preocupa que los voluntarios podrían pasar demasiado tiempo aprendiendo acerca de la nueva estructura. A algunos les preocupa que los ciclos de aplicación rígidas no pueden dar voluntarios suficiente flexibilidad para aprovechar las oportunidades a lo largo del año o cuando se requiere una planificación limitada, y que los límites en el personal o la financiación podría hacer algunos tipos de subsidios menos eficaz. (see Strengths and concerns and Suggestions)

Next steps / implementation

Grants structure

En base a las votaciones se resume a continuación, vamos a seguir adelante con una nueva estructura para las subvenciones de la siguiente manera:

  1. Rapid Grants. To provide quick support for opportunities throughout the year. Up to $2000 for low-risk experiments and standard needs (meetups, etc) that don't need broad review to get started.
  2. Project Grants. To promote experiments and sustain ideas that work. Up to $100,000 for 12 months. There will be different guidelines and support systems for experiments and established projects, but one application process.
  3. Annual Plan Grants. To support organizations in developing and sustaining effective programs. Up to $100,000 for 12 months through a simple process, and full process for larger or unrestricted grants.
  4. Conference and Travel Support. To support organizers and travelers attending conferences. Travel, kits and guidance, funds and merchandise, to foster community connections and learning.

Reimagining WMF Grants - GrantsDiagram.png

Emphasis on support

To implement changes, we will first focus on the following priorities:

  • Applicant support: Supporting applicants with easier forms, instructions, interfaces, and human interactions during the application process.
  • Grantee support: Non-monetary support, including improving online resources targeted to specific topics and activities, and budget guidelines.
  • Global metrics support, simplifying reporting, and better tools and support for committees to make decisions will also be key focuses in implementation.

Timeline

We know that it is important to minimize disruption to communities and grantees as we implement changes, so we'll start by piloting new approaches in some areas while maintaining existing systems in the other areas. Eventually, we will move all grants over to the new structure. Most changes won't be noticeable until later in 2016.

Timeline for changes to WMF grants
1 October 2015 Open applications for Simple Process Annual Plan Grants pilot (applications due 1 November for grants starting 1 January)*
March 2016 Preliminary evaluation of Simple Process Annual Plan Grants based on first application phase
March - June 2016 Finalize changes to Full Process Annual Plan Grants based on simple process pilot and consultation feedback.
July 2016 Implement changes to Full Process Annual Plan Grants for round 1 2016/2017 applicants
July-September 2016 Transition Individual Engagement Grants + Project and Event Grants to Project Grants and Rapid Grants
March 2017 Evaluate Simple Process Annual Plan Grants pilot with data from first round of grant reports.
* Applications can be made on a rolling basis throughout the 2016 pilot.

Methods

We gathered feedback from respondents through three channels:

  1. IdeaLab. 34 people shared their thoughts on the Idea discussion page, and through endorsements on the idea page.
  2. Survey. 198 people shared their thoughts in a survey that included multiple choice questions as well as open ended questions about the Idea.
  3. Conversations. 13 people sent us thoughts by email or voice.

Pie chart summarizing the manner of response to the Reimagining WMF grants idea in particular (n=118).
Having multiple channels for this consultation, including alternatives to a public discussion page, was very useful. The survey allowed us to gather qualitative feedback from a diverse range of contributors, including participants from emerging communities. The survey also allowed us to collect specific information about how respondents prioritize or experience different aspects of the grants process, and may allow us to compare responses over time. We also performed a historical analysis to understand how a new program structure would have affected grants awarded in WMF fiscal year 2013-14. This new structure was applied to all grants programs, except the Annual Plan Grants program (i.e. Project and Event Grants, Individual Engagement Grants, Travel and Participation Support, and Wikimania Scholarships). The final results from this historical analysis are summarized as part of the Non-APG Grants Impact Analysis for Fiscal Year 2013-14.

Feedback about the idea

Overall, the idea received many more overall endorsements than overall rejections. We found about 40 general endorsements and 6 general rejections, but many people who endorsed the idea overall also had concerns about the idea and suggestions to offer.

  • Respondents identify about an equal number of specific strengths and concerns about the idea, and often disagree on key issues. We identified about 142 specific strengths, and about 139 specific concerns.
  • Respondents offer more than 100 suggestions about how to improve grants or improve the idea.
  • See our description of our methods to better understand the numbers in this section.

Strengths and concerns

It is important to us to look at what specific strengths and concerns about the idea were identified. We identified some of the most frequently mentioned strengths and concerns, which are summarized in this table below.

Strengths Concerns
The distinctions between grant types and options make things more clear. We found this strength about 41 times.

In general I find that the three groups of grants have names which correspond to the kind of supports the community/affiliates are seeking.


||The distinctions between grant types and options are not clear. We found this concern identified about 30 times.

Branding in this proposal is "three types of grants", but the kinds of projects including in those three categories do not naturally go together, and the kinds of funding offers in each of these categories are not intuitive.


The process will be simpler. This will make things easier for applicants and grantees. We found this strength about 39 times.

The new process separates out the more complex grants seeking restricted annual grants from the less complicated project and event type grants.

||Too much time and work required will be required from volunteers to learn this idea. We found this concern identified about 31 times.

While I like the grant types and differentiation, I think that it is an inefficient use of community volunteer time to learn about these different grants.


We like the types of funding offered and the ways funding can be used. We found this strength about 29 times.

Now has an option for small level grants for low-cost events and projects, rather than having to go through the full process for very small amounts of money.

|| We are not satisfied with the types of funding offered and the ways funding can be used. We found this concern identified about 20 times.

The new structure doesn't address, or worse, might make things tough for an organization in transition [such as from] 1 FTE to more employees.


We also identified some strengths and concerns that were less frequent, but still came up quite often. Concerns include complexity, inflexibility, concerns that the idea would not appropriately address risk. Some other strengths include around how the idea emphasizes impact, and how the idea would save volunteers time and work.

Suggestions

We received almost 100 specific suggestions about how to improve this idea or the grants experience in general! We've tried to group and summarize them here.

Needs

We tracked what respondents are saying about what they need, both to make grants better and to do their work on the Wikimedia projects. This is an important area to track as we move forward with implementing changes. We read about 21 comments about specific needs.

Alternative structures

A number of respondents identify alternative structures to the idea originally proposed. We received about 14 suggestions for alternative structures, which are summarized here.

Feedback about the grants experience

Overall survey findings show...

  • 55% rank the grants experience as above average or excellent.
    • Travel and Participation Support receives the highest satisfaction ratings overall, with about 63% of respondents describing their overall experience as above average or excellent.
    • People with experience with Annual Plan Grants are least satisfied, with only about 38% describing their experience as above average or excellent.
  • 51% of respondents find the grants process to be easy, while 23% found it difficult.
    • Easiest aspect of the process: Doing the paperwork to get funds once the grant is approved.
    • Most difficult aspect of the process: Making an application and collecting global metrics for a grant report.
  • Achieving impact, and speed and simplicity in the application process, are ranked as the highest priorities. These priorities are ranked more highly than community participation.
  • Connections to others, financial guidelines, and online program resources are ranked as the most important forms of non-monetary support, and satisfaction ratings indicate there's room to improve in meeting these needs.

Satisfaction

  • Across all programs, 55% of respondents describe their experience as above average or excellent, while 21% described their experience as below average or very poor. It is important to note that survey respondents included people whose grant applications did not receive funding.
  • Travel and Participation Support is working well. In line with our qualitative findings about the idea, survey respondents rank their satisfaction with the Travel and Participation Support program as above average (31.5%) or excellent (31.5%). Travel and Participation Support received the highest satisfaction ratings overall, with about 63% of respondents describing their overall experience as above average or excellent.
  • People with experience with Annual Plan Grants are less satisfied, with only about 38% describing their experience as above average or excellent. 36% described their experience as average, and 26% described their experience as below average or very poor.

Pie chart showing overall satisfaction with the grants experience.

Respondents are able to get the information they need about grants, but need more timely and useful feedback about grant proposals and reports. Reimagining WMF Grants - GrantsFeedback.png

Aspects of the grants process

Resources and information

Importance of general support funding

Got more feedback?

Let's keep the conversation going! Please share your thoughts about either this report or next steps & implementation on the discussion page.