Report on the professionalization grant by Wikimedia Netherlands
Original project goal
In 2010, Wikimedia Netherlands applied to the Wikimedia Foundation for a professionalization grant of EUR 142,500 (= 175.275 USD) for the period July 2010 – July 2012.
This grant would be sufficient to help WMNL through the first two years by enabling it to set up an office and staff, grow further, request external funding for future projects, raise funds more professionally and successfully, and effectively become self-sustaining. In the long run, this would lead to more projects and activities, a stronger presence in the Netherlands and a more sustainable organization.
Two-thirds of this grant would be used to help build up the organization in the first year, the remaining one-third for the second year. After this, the chapter should be fully self-sustaining. This maturation should be reached through development of funding opportunities both from community donations and from governmental and non-governmental grants. Activities specified in the grant focused on:
- Community Support
- Free Cultural Heritage
- Public Libraries
- Wiki Loves Monuments
The results to be achieved with the aid of the professionalization grant were defined as follows:
- Wikimedia Nederland has an active office with at least four (part time) staff members (3 FTE)
- Wikimedia Nederland has become financially self-sustainable at 75% of the budget
- At least one program has been (partially) funded through external funds
- At least five of the six programs are considered successful
- The annual report and financial statements over 2010 and 2011 are approved by the General Assemblee and published
In an email dated 2010-6-30 Erik Moeller responded to the request on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation:
- Wikimedia Nederland would be allotted a grant of $90,000 (appr 75.000€) out of the revenue sharing obligation
- the grant would cover a two year period;
- Wikimedia Nederland would provide an interim report and a final report to WMF regarding the progress of its professionalization and its cultural partnership programs;
- Wikimedia Nederland would be eligible to participate in next year's grants process.
Because of a number of developments, the original grant request no longer provides an adequate framework for reporting:
- the grant awarded was 50% of the original request but no amended activity or deliverables programme was requested or submitted;
- One of the main objectives to be achieved through the professionalization grant was to make WMNL financially self-sustaining. This, however, had to be abandoned in light of the 2011 resolution of WMF Board on fundraising which meant that WMNL no longer would be in charge of the annual fundraiser in the Netherlands.
This means that it is difficult to hold up the results achieved so far to the goals and results outlined in the grant proposal. However, more general conclusions can be drawn.
The professionalization grant had two main lines of work:
- further development of the cooperation between WMNL and the cultural heritage sector and establishing this on a firm footing
- professionalization of governance, office and logistics of WMNL, in particular establishing and staffing a support office.
By and large, more progress was made in the first category (cooperation with the cultural heritage sector) than in the second. WMNL developed partnerships with Dutch museums and archives, successfully negotiated the donation of media collections, and prepared the establishment of a Wikipedian in residence with a group of museums. The recurring activity Wiki loves Monuments is a national success and was upscaled to the international level. Furthermore, WMNL became an active partner in European cooperation projects such as EUROPEANA. All in all, over the reporting period WMNL made its presence felt in the field of cultural heritage and developed into a respected cooperation partner for institutions working in this field.
The professionalization of the organization as such was delayed. This was partly due to changes in the composition of the Board and a temporary vacancy of the Presidency, and partly to a general uncertainty as to how to proceed with the professionalization process. As a result there was little progress in this field until mid-2011. However, as of 2011 WMNL has office space in Utrecht (the most central city of the country) and a free-lance staff member for communication and media work. The process picked up speed in 2012, when the Board was reinforced with new members working in the sphere of education and culture. The search for a director was completed successfully in May 2012 and is expected to provide a boost to further professionalization.
In the following paragraphs the activities undertaken and results achieved are described in more detail
There has been an increase in community donations of 40% which is much higher than originally expected. WMNL participated succesfully in the 2010/2011 fundraiser of Wikimedia. The (gross) total raised amount over the actual fundraiser was some 330.000 euro. WMNL did not participate as payment processor in the 2011/2012 fundraiser.
Wikimedia Nederland has successfully become financially self-sustainable at 50% of the budget as stated above (year 1). Wikimedia Nederland has successfully become financially self-sustainable at 75% of the budget as stated above (year 2).
Because the establishment of a professionally staffed office was delayed, major steps to cultivate new donors and commercial sponsorships could not yet be taken, and there were no grants acquired for special activities. For the same reason, the planned improvement to payment methods and contact management did not take place. Wikimedia Nederland did achieve tax deductibility status as of 1 January 2010.
Description of actual activities
Over the reporting period several activities were launched focusing on supporting the Wikimedia and Wikipedia community.
- We enabled an „open space“ for the volunteers in our office in Utrecht on "WikiSaturdays" to let them exchange ideas, work together on joint projects and share knowledge and experiences. Volunteers come together at the WMNL office and collaborate on Wikimedia related subjects.
- With our fund for small activities we supported the writers contest of Wikipedia in Dutch and a small Wikipedia Ten event in Belgium in January.
- Since August 2010 (on a monthly or bimonthly basis) the Stamtafels in Utrecht are non-content related meetings where volunteers can get to know each other better.
- In January 2011 a Hackaton in Amsterdam produced some interesting software tools. Some other planned workshops did not happen because of low interest from the community.
- On 13 & 14 January 2011, a Wikipedia bootcamp was organized in cooperation with the Images for the Future consortium and the Amsterdam Museum. During a kick-off event on the 13th at the Kennisland (Images for the Future Consortium partner) offices in Amsterdam presentations where given on Wikimedia and CHIs, Possible copyright issues when collaborating, and effects of collaboration between CHIs and Wikimedia. On the 14th of January we organized a workshop during the whole day with some 15 participants from the cultural heritage sector.
- On November 5th 2011 the Wikimedia Conferentie Nederland took place with 120-140 participants.
- Wiki loves Monuments is a photo scavenger hunt contest which initially ran from September 1 – 30, 2010. The 60.000 national monuments in the Netherlands were the subject for these photos. The photo-contest yielded more than 12.000 images from over 200 participants from all over the country. Following this success, WMNL members travelled to other countries to explain the concept. As a result, in September 2011 the photo competition took place in 18 European countries, resulting in approximately 175,000 photographs by 5500 users (over 4000 of whom were new users) for Wikimedia Commons.
- The success of WikiLovesMonuments shows what can be achieved by dedicated volunteers. It has proven to be a model that can be successfully applied in other countries, illustrating the importance of international cooperation and exchange between chapters.
Free Cultural Heritage
- WMNL facilitated several media collection donations for use on Wikipedia from important museums and archives. Nationaal Archief and Spaarnestad donated more than 1000 relevant press photos from the ANEFO collection for use on Wikipedia. These photos are from politicians and historically relevant events after World War II which currently lack an image. The Amsterdam Museum in January 2011 released her digitized collection under a free license as a birthday present to Wikipedia.
- There was a joint convention with the Amsterdam Museum in January 2011 around Wikipedia Ten, with a Wikipedia editing course for cultural heritage collaborators.
- Discussions started with the Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics) about a Wikipedian in Residence which lead to eventual success in 2012
- volunteers and board members contacted a substantial number of cultural heritage institutions, and also attended Wikimedia movement based arrangements such as the GLAMconferece in London (November 2010) and a similar event in Paris (December 2010).
- GLAMcamp Amsterdam (GLAmsterdam for short) was held December 2-4 2011 and hosted several presentations on Friday to a mixed public of Wikipedians and representatives from various cultural institutions.
‘Wiki loves Bieb’ is a cooperation project with public libraries in the province of Zeeland. Amongst others, the booklet "Wikipedia i skolan" by Lennart Guldbrandsson was translated from Swedish to Dutch and a brochure drafted for cultural institutions. A meeting with volunteers was organized in the library of Vlissingen in October 2010 for former and current employees of the Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, to let them get acquainted with Wikipedia and editing the project. This in the light of the cooperation with the local maritime musuem MuZEEum. In October 2010 we organised a convention for library volunteers in Vlissingen.
WMNL intensified and updated its external communication activities:
- A new design was made for the chapter website, to replace the Wiki layout for external visitors.
- a bimonthly news letter was set up. The content is aimed not only at members but at everyone who is interested in our projects and free knowledge.
- Social media such as Facebook, and Twitter are used frequently.
- We also send out press releases when it the occasion calls for it. There was substantial media attention around Wiki loves monuments, e.g. Computer Idee, the library collaboration, and some newspapers also took over our press release on the 10 millionth file on Wikimedia Commons in May 2011.
What lessons were learned that could help others succeed in similar projects?
Concerning planning and program delivery
In the case of this particular grant request, the granted amount was significantly less than requested. While we adjusted our total budget accordingly, there was no concrete revision of goals and milestones, resulting in an overly ambitious program. Ambitious goals can be a driving force but they can also become an obstacle: when progress is consistently slower than planned, it may lead to a perception of failure, regardless of how much is actually achieved.
More frequent formal and informal reporting moments could have helped in keeping focus on progress in relation to planning, and encourage adjusting the plans instead of continuously and successfully trying to make up for lost time.
For activities with concrete milestones, a single person should be tasked with guarding this timeline and monitoring progress.
Plan to professionalize WMNL and hire staff were approved by the membership as early as 2009. This mandate given to the Board was the basis of the professionalization grant requested by WMNL. However, concrete steps such as renting office space and hiring staff were not taken until 2011.
Retrospectively, it is apparent that a clearer division of tasks and responsibilities within the Board would have been necessary to ensure that the process of professionalization could get underway. Calling in expert help could also have stimulated the process.
The process of developing a strategy towards the future should have started earlier as this could have given guidance and a concrete framework for the professionalization process. More emphasis should have been placed on organizing regular board meetings and investing time in a process for board members to get acquainted with each other and the organization.
What impact did the project have on WMF mission goals of Increased Reach, Increased Quality, Increased Credibility, Increased and Diversified Participation?
As indicated before, WMNL has managed to establish itself as a respected presence in the field of cultural heritage and is much sought after as cooperation partner.
Activities such as Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Bieb introduced new groups to the Wikipedia/Commons phenomenon and the concept of freely available knowledge.
Wikipedia page views, number of articles as well as edit trends have shown a steady increase over the past two years and the media continue to be interested in news related to Wikipedia, indicating that Wikipedia has become firmly ingrained in Dutch society.
Measures of success
List of submitted activity reports
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- May - July 2010
List of submitted financial reports
The annual report and financial statements over 2010 and 2011 were approved by the General Assembly on 2 April 2011 and 24 March 2012.
Detail of expenditures
The table below details actual expenditures for the second half of the year 2010, the year 2011 and the combined total for the period 2010-07-01 to 2011-12-31 versus the figures in the Professionalization grant.
|all amounts in €||Grant||Total||2011||2010|
|Office rent, service costs etc||11400||7500||7500||0|
|Miscellaneous office supplies||3000||1031||964||67|
|Office costs total||39200||31911||25964||5947|
|Staff costs total||126500||31188||26257||4931|
|misc. travel and meeting costs||5000||7054||5713||1341|
|General costs total||6500||7054||5713||1341|
|Direct program costs||'||'||'||'|
|Small community projects||1000||339||279||60|
|Program free cultural heritage||30000||31870||31870||0|
|Program community support||1500||4856||4856||0|
|Wiki Loves Monuments||5000||8473||7982||491|
|Design & print costs||5000||1374||1374||0|
|Direct program costs total||57500||51516||49741||1775|
Added detail, as per questions on talk page
Wikimedia sites are available in over 250 languages. Wikimedia Netherlands gives a financial contribution to the "translation rallies" of Stichting Open Progress and translatewiki.net. The aim is to increase the availability of MediaWiki in more languages. MediaWiki is the software that Wikipedia runs on. The concept is that there is a competition for active translators to translate as many messages in a short period. During such a Translation Rally, which lasts a week, tens of thousands of contributions by dozens of active volunteers are collected.
Program free culture heritage
The activities have been reported above. In total € 25,353 has been spent on organizing GLAMcamp Amsterdam, half of which on a freelance event organizer.
Amount underspent in US Dollars
The grant amount agreed to in total was $ 95.000 or € 73.548. In the period July First 2010 - December 31, 2011 in total € 121.669 has been spent. The differences has been spent out of Wikimedia Nederland reserves. Wikimedia Nederland has spent more than the allocated grant, so underspending is zero US Dollars.
Will you be requesting re-allocation of remaining grant funding?
No, there isn’t any remaing grant funding.
Please link to related grant proposals here: Grants:WM_NL/Professionalization