Grants:IdeaLab/Reimagining WMF grants/Visioning

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Reimagining WMF Grants

Visioning

This is a space for exploring broader questions about grants, related to the Reimagining Grants idea. While we need direct feedback about our idea through this consultation, we also welcome feedback on these broader questions that may help us with long-term planning for grants.

Discussion resources:

The following WMF employee is active on this page:

Questions[edit]

If you had an idea that needed funding, what would motivate you to apply for a grant from the Wikimedia Foundation to support your idea? What would prevent you from applying, or make you hesitate?[edit]

  • Please note: My comments here are the essence of diverse input from several members of WMDE staff and with no claim to being exhaustive. In general, we think that the WMF grants processes are exemplary. They have developed very well over the previous years and we really value all the time and effort the committee and staff members put into these processes. We have experienced a lot of support, high responsiveness and fruitful exchange in the course of the previous years and are thankful for the trustful collaboration. What would motivate us even more to apply:
    • A sense that there is general openness to supporting innovation, creativity and ideas from chapters and users around the world. An overall grant structure that allows for a healthy balance of innovation and accountability.
    • Cross-organization grants that support movement relevant programs/projects and encourage partnerships.
    • More and open exchange about proposal drafts and proposals before the deliberations between grantmakers and grantees. We acknowledge the FDC members are volunteers and that this is challenging, but it would be nice to be able to verbally respond to questions and concerns, for example before the decision is made on a proposal or a report is assessed.
    • A make-over of the architecture of the APG sites on Meta. Stuff is really hard to find. ;)
    • Multi-year funding opportunities with clarity about the process and expectations.
    • Make us hesitate applying:
      • A highly prescribed program that my idea does not fit into.
      • Last minute changes to application and report forms.
      • Immature tools. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:41, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I would be motivated by a belief that one or two responsible people (motivated, experienced wikipedians, basically, but ones who could be trusted with the foundation's money) was going to review my proposal, make a judgment call on whether it was a good goal and a reasonable means to achieve it, and quickly hand over the money. I would be de-motivated by a sense that there was a serious bureaucratic shitstorm to be waded through. A large committee of nonprofit-types who are only marginal wikipedians would make it look like a waste of time. Even a large committee of serious wikipedians would still look bad. I'm probably highly unlikely to apply for a WMF grant in the first place though, so maybe my opinion doesn't matter. Dingsuntil (talk) 21:20, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
  • (your response here)

How can grants or other resources from Wikimedia Foundation better support your Wikimedia-related goals?[edit]

  • WMDE has had the fortune to grow with the help of APG funds and over the years has evolved into a large organization with many partnerships. At this stage, we are less interested in funding for smaller local projects (as we raise these funds locally), but more in support for multi-partner, longer-term initiatives that have an impact on the movement overall. WMF Grants or resources should be designed to encourage systemic thinking, shared visioning and collaborating with partners in and outside of the movement.
What generally also helps us is the regular self-reflection throughout the grant process. Even though we do not share all approaches to metrics and processes, they provide us with essential insights into the expectations of other movement players and with a foundation to build upon. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk)
  • (your response here)

Other than funding, what types of support from the Wikimedia Foundation would be most useful to you?[edit]

  • These are not necessarily types of support, but are conditions at WMF that would help to build trust and make it easy to work with WMF: more predictability, transparency, stability. Also leadership; in a sense that clear conditions and environments are designed to support the people and entities in the movement to do the best work they can. We would encourage WMF to not think entirely in terms of monetary and non-monetary support, going one-way from WMF to movement organisations, but instead to view the movement as a larger learning community, with learning and support going in multiple directions. Flexibility and comfort into different avenues in its movement goals, including increased trust and even better collaboration. Enabling and supporting these processes could be the leadership role of the WMF. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:41, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
  • (your response here)

How can the Wikimedia Foundation support technology work happening elsewhere in the movement? How should we scale that support for successful projects?[edit]

  • We interpret this question broader than for only technology work, but rather would like to see a support mechanism for movement relevant projects that covers technology and other work such as capacity building, collaboration across organizations, etc., with clear criteria and priorities based on community and movement needs. Think collaboration not as an end but as a means. Encourage grantees to think more about partnerships and collaboration. The focus here should be on innovation and address priorities that have been identified by WMF/the community. The current programs do not really seem to be a home for collaboration: They do not encourage people to work together, but artificially build a competitive system. Cross-organization projects provide new opportunities and synergies and their funding should be further explored and supported in the future.
The annual plan grants with their fixed yearly goals and smart objectives are hardly applicable for software development projects that require agile planning and flexible responses to change. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:41, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
  • (your response here)

Do you have ideas about how to better recruit, retain, and engage qualified committee members to review Wikimedia Foundation grants?[edit]

  • We acknowledge that it is a huge amount of work for each committee member, and they have to deal with stuff other than the cool things that they passionately do as their “regular” work around the projects. Involving committee and community members into the design of the process and criteria of grantmaking helped us in the past to achieve more participation and acceptance of our supporting structures.
Creating incentives and creating small working packages for committee members.
Creating moments of exchange between committee members and grantees to let them witness what their work (and the money they recommend to grant) actually makes possible. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:41, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
  • (your response here)

What are your ideas for involving community members more in reviewing Wikimedia Foundation grant proposals?[edit]

  • Offer translations and have them reviewed by “movement literate” native speakers.
Ask concrete questions or provide a clearer structure/criteria for community review to make it easier and less time-consuming to provide specific feedback.
Work together with the applying organizations to find ways to encourage their local communities to participate.
Create processes where grantmakers and grantees (e. g. community) jointly develop and adapt the process. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:41, 7 September 2015 (UTC)
  • (your response here)

Thank you[edit]

@Nicole Ebber (WMDE):. Thank you for your thoughtful comments here on this page. We didn't get a lot of comments here on the visioning page, but I wanted to let you know that we appreciated your engagement in these discussions, and your insights into these important questions. Cheers, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:58, 15 September 2015 (UTC)