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Impact of Grants

2017-2018 Grants Impact project




This project aims to answer the question “What is the impact of grants awarded by WMF?”, for grants awarded by WMF in fiscal years 2014-2015, 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Checkout the detailed list of grants program and fiscal years to know what was included. [1]

This project goes beyond past efforts by covering not only short term outputs - e.g. content creation and curation, or editor engagement - but also longer term outcomes.

At the end of this project, Community Resources hope the following will be true:

  • Readers, editors, partners, and donors will understand the impact of Wikimedia grants and grantees in a multi-dimensional way, understand that their impact spans the transactional to transformational.
  • Community Resources will have a way to continually monitor and update their understanding of “impact” as grant programs grow and change over time.

A detailed project plan will be kept up to date throughout the project.



This project is a qualitative inquiry into the longer-term outcomes of WMF grants. It will utilize thematic coding of grant reports to identify potential outcomes, and then utilize structured interviews to build out case studies that illustrate each outcome.

Why "potential outcomes"? Community Resources' reporting structure emphasizes short-term outputs, due in part to the short reporting time window (of 30-60 days), and due to the historical emphasis put on metrics. As such, longer-term outcomes are not always reported on. This project will use contextual clues and deduction to identify potential outcomes, which will have to be verified by the grantee. Given these limitations, this project does not capture the universe of all outcomes, or make claims such as "X% of grants reported Y outcome" or "X grant was more impactful than Y grant".

This project is not an impact evaluation. For example, this means it does not aim to prove that a particular activity always leads to a particular outcome. It does not aim to prove causality in every case study, meaning that related or associated effects are acceptable.

Grant included in this project
This is the list of grant programs and fiscal years that are included. Only grants that are complete with their reports accepted were included.

Project & Event Grants - Final reports only

Individual Engagement Grants - Final reports only. “Completed projects” section was not included, as these were grants before 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Full Annual Plan Grant (APG) Program

Rapid grants

Project grants

Conference grants

Simple Annual Plan Grants


  1. Each grant program is on a slightly different cycle (e.g. fiscal versus calendar cycles), so this project will analyze grant reports that were submitted in this 3 year time frame. This means that grants from previous and future fiscal years might be included.