Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2012-2013 round1/Wikimedia Foundation/Proposal form

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Wikimedia Foundation received a funds allocation in the amount of 4,459,000 in 2012-2013 Round 1. This funds allocation was recommended by the Funds Dissemination Committee on 15 November 2012 and approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 1 December 2012.


Please note that the proposals are now closed to community response. Thanks to all for your engagement with the Community Review process, and for your questions. FDC members, FDC staff, and entity representatives will still be communicating on these discussion pages over the next few weeks, but entities will not be responding to questions from anyone other than the FDC or FDC Staff.


This page should be used to discuss the entity’s submitted proposal. This includes asking questions about the content of the proposal form, asking for clarifications on this proposal, and discussing any other issues relating to the proposal itself.

To discuss other components of this proposal please refer to the discussion links below.

  • This proposal has not yet been created.
  • This proposal form has not yet been created.
  • Staff proposal assessments have not yet been published for this round.
  • FDC recommendation discussion page: discuss the recommendation that the FDC gives to the Board regarding all requests.
  • Board decision discussion page: discuss the board's decision.
  • An impact report has not yet been submitted for this funds allocation.




Narrowing focus?[edit]

Hello. I see that Sue is writing a proposal for the WMF board about narrowing the WMF's focus at User:Sue Gardner/Narrowing focus, which specifically mentions a number of the key initiatives and objectives included in this FDC application (particularly 'Catalyst Projects' and 'Grants & Fellowships'). How would this general refocusing affect the activities and outcomes described in this FDC application? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 17:30, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Great question. The timing of FDC process and the next board meeting certainly complicates things a bit. We submitted WMF's application to the FDC based on the last board action, which was the approval of the FY 2012-13 annual plan. Sue's proposal is, at this point, simply a recommendation to the board and we could not assume that the board would accept it when submitting our application to the FDC. We did note in our application that Sue was taking this proposal to the board (in the narrative below Table 10). We stated that we would apply any funds awarded to these projects by the FDC to our operating reserve if the board adopts all or part of Sue's recommendations. --Lgruwell (talk) 21:23, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I note that the outcome of Sue's recommendations will be known before the FDC recommendation is made. Is there an intention to put forward a revised version of this proposal to take into account the change of direction, or will the revisions to the plans take place after the FDC recommendation is made? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:25, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, we will most likely know the board's decision regarding Sue's recommendation (unless they decided to delay taking action for some reason) before the FDC makes its recommendations. My understanding is that we are not allowed to change our submitted proposal midway through the FDC process, though. That's why we have a contingency of putting any awarded funds into WMF's operating reserve, if the board enacts any of Sue's recommendations. --Lgruwell (talk) 03:39, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Is there any estimate of how the budget would change if Sue's recommendations are adopted? I presume at this point only the Fellowships part would be affected (as the catalysts would continue to cost money even in the form of outside grants), right? --Bence (talk) 14:12, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. We have to be careful not to try to predict or preempt the board's decision, though. We will definitely communicate the budget implications of the board's action once we know it. --Lgruwell (talk) 18:43, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Proposal related answers[edit]

Just out of curiosity and for comparison's sake, it might have been more interesting to answer some of the questions limiting the scope to the current proposal (I know that the form's questions are not necessarily formulated in this way), e.g.:

  • How many volunteers are involved in the E2, catalysts, GEP and grants programme?
Thank you for the question, Bence. The answer is a complicated one since each program engages with volunteers in very different ways. The Global Education Program staff is a global team that generally supports the work of the program everywhere it exists. For example, the materials they produce (part of something called the Bookshelf Project) are used globally to support the program. They focus their work, though, in the United States, Canada, Egypt and Brazil, so I think it makes the most sense to give you the number of students that they engage in those programs. In the 2012 Fall semester, the Global Education Program has engaged with approximately 2,300 students. They expect to engage with more than 2,300 students again in the Winter\Spring semester. There will be some overlap between the two semesters, but they expect to directly engage with over 5,000 students in FY 2012-13. Grants and Fellowships also has a very heavy volunteer component. Twenty-nine community volunteers actually make up the Grants Advisory Committee, which itself also gives grants largely to volunteers. Most of the fellowships themselves are also directed at engaging more volunteer editors, mostly through research and experiments (the Tea House would be an example of this). The E3 team's work is designed to benefit every volunteer who edits Wikipedia by making it a more socially rewarding or friendly experience. In the experiments they design and test, they actively work with volunteers to advise them on their approach. There are typically 20+ volunteers actively involved in the design of the experiments, in the form of offering advice and feedback to the team. Then, tens of thousands of volunteers are typically engaged when the experiment is actually tested. --Lgruwell (talk) 20:05, 22 October 2012 (UTC)


  • What are the key risks, challenges, opportunities facing these programmes? (The Global South and the catalyst programme's are mentioned in the SWOT part; although Sue's narrowing focus proposal seems to include a reappraisal of some of the answers here.)
In terms of opportunities, the growth of Internet access in the Global South (largely via mobile) represents one of our greatest opportunities as a movement and specifically for most of these programs. We are now able to connect with a large number of potential readers who were previously on the other side of the digital divide. We see this as the strategic path toward reaching our ambitious goal of 1 billion readers. It is also deeply aligned with our larger philanthropic mission. The E3 team regularly discovers smaller but effective opportunities for improving editor retention. Their goal is to find 15 interventions this year that will have a positive impact on editor retention. With change that is positive for new editors, there is always a risk that our veteran editors will not respond positively to the changes. Our challenge is often balancing the opinions of existing and potential editors. Other times, E3 finds changes that are positive (or negative) for both groups. The greatest challenge of the Global Education Program is responding to the demand for the program with a very small global staff. They have had to be very strategic about building a program that scales and one that others can implement on their own. There are some risks that come with this approach that we did not face when the program was smaller and our staff was able to take a more hands-on approach. The demand for the program also represents a great opportunity to engage a lot of students who are making a very positive impact on Wikipedia. --Lgruwell (talk) 00:27, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
  • How are the staff expenses distributed along the 4 initiatives (Table 8)? (Table 9 seems to answer this indirectly).
Here are the staff-related expenses for each of the four programs proposed in our application to the FDC:
E3 - $1,038,000; Global Education Program - $391,000; Catalyst Projects - $548,000; and Grants & Fellowship - $324,000.
This includes salaries and wages; payroll taxes; employee benefits, which cover medical, dental and vision insurance; 401K retirement matching; costs for staff wellness; payroll fees; and Workers Comp insurance. --Lgruwell (talk) 23:38, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

I believe for future rounds the proposal form template needs to achieve clarity on whether it wants comprehensive detail on the organisation (which imho might be construed a bit intrusive), or on the amount requested from the FDC.--Bence (talk) 18:34, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

That's a great suggestion, Bence! Perhaps there should be a Section One about the entity as a whole and a Section Two that is about the projects seeking funding. --Lgruwell (talk) 23:58, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that would work as well. Thank you for collecting the answers to specific questions! --Bence (talk) 12:04, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Clarifying questions from the FDC staff[edit]

First, a few pieces of information that we are trying to collect / confirm from each entity:

  • Please confirm the following amounts (in USD):
    • Current year budget (spending) $42,000,000
    • Proposed year budget $42,070,000
    • Current year grants received (or retained through payment processing) $5,269,671 (note -- this is the total transferred from other payment processing chapters -- if there are other funds to be included here, please clarify here)
    • Proposed year funds requested $4,459,000
      In FY2011-12, the Wikimedia Foundation spent $27.2 million. Our budget for FY 2012-13 is $42,070,000, which includes $11.4 million in funding for the FDC. As of September 30, 2012, we had raised $3,963,000 toward our current year's budget. This represents funds raised between the dates of July 1, 2012 and September 30, 2012. The bulk of the $3.9 million raised so far in FY 2012-13 has come from two sources: a $1.8 million grant from the Stanton Foundation and a $1 million grant from Sloan Foundation. The amount received by WMF from payment-processing chapters in FY 2011-12 was $5,269,671. We are requesting $4,459,000 from the FDC for our current fiscal year (FY2012-13). --Lgruwell (talk) 23:13, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Please provide your entity’s cash reserve position
    • How much do you have in your reserves now?
      The Wikimedia Foundation began FY 2012-13 with a reserve of $27.7 million. We plan to grow the reserve to $31.7 million by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2013). --Lgruwell (talk) 23:35, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
      Please explain here how WMF defines "cash reserve". Thank you, Wolliff (talk) 21:43, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
      It represents the amount of money the foundation has in the bank at the end of the fiscal year. It is essentially our savings account that gives us the cash flow we need to implement our seasonal fundraising strategy and the ability to respond to any emergencies that may arise that require unplanned resources. --Lgruwell (talk) 16:58, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
    • How much do you expect to have by the start of the planning year period?
      We started the FY2012-13 with a reserve of $27.7 million. Note: We are applying for funds to support our work for the current fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.--Lgruwell (talk) 23:42, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Staffing. The duration of the new staff listed is "N/A" -- are these permanent hires or temporary hires? If temporary, for what duration?
    Yes, these are new permanent positions. --Lgruwell (talk) 01:01, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Programs. What are the implications of the lessons learned from the first iteration of the Education Program in India on the planned expansion of the Global Education Program? Have you identified partnerships and other approaches that can help prevent some of the challenges that were experienced in the past?
    The Wikipedia Education Program team spends a lot of time reflecting on learnings and has implemented the lessons-learned from the India Education Program pilot in every program that came after it. You can see an example of that in action though this comparison of the Pune Pilot with what we did in spring 2012 in Cairo for that pilot. The Cairo Pilot final report has more information on the outcomes of that program and what worked well. The most significant difference is that we made the Cairo Pilot a community-driven effort, and we focused a lot of attention on translation classes. We think it is critical to document our learnings and share them across countries so that volunteers leading education programs around the world can learn from each other's experiences, especially when things do not go as planned. --Lgruwell (talk) 18:32, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Reserve strategy. What are the plans for building this reserve, and what will the reserve be used for over time?
    The Wikimedia Foundation has consistently maintained a healthy operating reserve to ensure that Wikipedia and its sister projects can be well-maintained and supported, even during times of economic uncertainty. Further, our fundraising model requires us to have a large reserve to meet our cash-flow needs throughout the year. We raise the large majority of our funds during the months of November and December. Our cash flow reaches a low point in October, just before the fundraiser begins. By having a strong reserve, we are able to implement a largely seasonal fundraising strategy. We plan to grow our operating reserve by $4 million in FY 2012-13. This will give us 9 months of operating expenses in the reserve at the beginning of FY 2013-14. --Lgruwell (talk) 00:38, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Please respond to these questions here on the talk page, and let me know if you have any questions about these questions! Thanks in advance for your responses, and looking forward to continuing to engage on this proposal!

Meerachary TBG (talk) 23:42, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Current fiscal year/annual plan vs. future fiscal year/annual plan[edit]

Some confusion has arisen in terms of the WMF data because WMF's proposal for the FDC process is for the current fiscal year, as noted elsewhere on this page. Can you specify the reason for this, and how WMF hopes to adjust its FDC proposal timing with the fiscal year timing? --ASengupta (WMF) (talk) 16:02, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes. The WIkimedia Foundation is on a midyear fiscal year. Our Fiscal Year begins on July 1st every year and ends on June 30th. Our current fiscal year runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Our annual planning process begins in the winter/spring of each year – after our annual online fundraiser concludes. The WIkimedia Foundation Board of Directors typically reviews and approves our annual plan and budget in June of each year. We do not have a lot of time between the point at which our board approves an annual plan and the point at which we have to start implementing it. It is critical to us that the plan we put forward for FDC review is one that has been vetted and approved by our Board of Directors and is not simply staff projections. That is why we are applying for funding to the FDC for our current plan that is already underway. The board could decide to change WMF's planning timeline to align better with the timing of the FDC process – either for the entire organization or just for "non-core" programs. As of now, I do not know of any plans to do so, though. --Lgruwell (talk) 21:40, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Request to staff: Could you please add me as an official contact for Wikimedia Foundation (in addition to Sue) for this application? Thank you! --Lgruwell (talk) 23:12, 26 October 2012 (UTC)

Question about volunteer participation[edit]

Hello WMF,
These are some general questions that I am asking to all the EEs. All the entities have stated in their proposals that low turnover of volunteers in both online and offline activities have been a major obstacle for them. Most of them have also expressed concerns that reducing number of volunteers is a threat to their organizational effectiveness and to the movement as a whole. I feel we need to have short term, midterm and long term plans to tackle this problem.

Does your organization have -

  1. Any short term plan to recruit new volunteers for both online and off line activities?
  2. Any midterm plan to train, motivate and convert them into regular contributors?
  3. Any long term plan to retain them and continue the growth?

If you already have any such plans, please mention them and elaborate how your plan/s is (are) going to achieve the goal of recruiting new volunteers, converting them into regular contributors and retain the volunteers as well as maintain the growth? - Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (talk) 18:35, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Thank you, Ali, for asking this very important question that gets at the core our what we see as our greatest challenge as an organization and as a part of a movement. Attracting and retaining volunteer editors is the top overarching goal of the Wikimedia Foundation, and almost everything we do is focused on this end. It is also a core part of our five-year strategic plan. We are approaching the challenge in several ways: 1) Programs designed to recruit and train new editors (examples: Global Education Project, the Catalyst Projects, the Grants Program, and the FDC itself); 2) Improvements to our technology that make editing Wikipedia more user-friendly (the Visual Editor, which we plan to fully release next summer, will make editing significantly less technically daunting for potential editors); and 3) Ways of making participation in our community more socially rewarding (Wiki Love is one example and much of the work of the E2 and E3 teams addresses this as well). All of this work is aimed at recruiting more volunteer editors around the world. We believe that the technical and social improvements we are developing will help us to retain editors once they are on the wiki. The work of recruiting and retaining editors is a critical part of not only our mission, but also that of the Wikimedia movement in general and we anticipate this being a main focus long into the future. --Lgruwell (talk) 03:28, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

New staffing[edit]

It was my understanding that WM had 5 staff, thousands of active volunteers, and millions of users. Normally most of the functions of a non-profit organization can be performed by volunteers, including within an office or laboratory environment. While I appreciate WM in helping to bring the World out of the great recession by giving 120 people jobs, the economy is picking up and I would recommend not adding any new staff this year, and not replacing any staff that leave due to attrition, with a stated goal of reducing total staff to less than 10. In particular there have been complaints that the percentage of donations received that goes to buying servers and paying for electricity (are we using solar panels for electricity?) was less than it could be. Some non-profits spend 80% of their funding on their stated purpose, some 20%. I would recommend that WM reach for the upper end of the scale. Apteva (talk) 15:57, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

What does the paid staff do? Are those tasks best performed by paid staff? If so, then paid staff may be justified. Rickyrab (talk) 17:00, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
For a very basic overview of who is on staff now, by department, check out Staff and contractors on wikimediafoundation.org. The Strategic Plan gives a basic idea of why the Board of Trustees and the Foundation have worked to grow like this, in order to meet the goals of the plan. There are also yearly reports which cover staff activities on a very high level. I'd be happy to go into more detail about each department, but would rather give them a chance to speak up if you have specific questions. (I work in Engineering & Product Development, on features for editors, BTW). Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 18:47, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
We agree with Apteva that the Wikimedia Foundation should be on the upper end of the efficiency scale. Charity Navigator provides independent reviews of non-profit organizations in the United States and looks at (among other things) the ratio of funds spent on programs verses overhead and administration. The Wikimedia Foundation has a four star rating on Charity Navigator (its highest rating), which puts us among the top ten percent of U.S.-based nonprofit organizations. We definitely want to maximize the amount of funds spent on programs to increase the number of editors to grow our content, improve our technology, and expand access to our projects. At the same time, we recognize the importance of keeping our house in order – making sure that our finances are properly managed, protecting and defending ourselves from legal risk, etc. There is definitely a good balance to be struck here, but we agree with you, Apteva, that we should always aim to be on the higher end of the scale you mentioned. The good news is that, according to Charity Navigator, we are already near the top. --Lgruwell (talk) 21:56, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, I admit I set high standards. But why set anything but high standards. I was reacting, though to a news report. 24.62.156.219 16:01, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Apteva, what most non-profits "normally" do doesn't exactly apply to Wiki. And that Wiki staff of 5 has grown. By 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation's employee number had grown to 65, which is absurdly impressive for the 6th most popular website in the world, compared to google with its 33,000 employees. While on wikimediafoundation.org, check out Jobs for more insight as to what they have in mind. It's clear, to me at least, that Wikipedia doesn't burn through cash unnecessarily and has the education and interest of its users as its priority. Victoriasays (talk) 21:20, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Membership[edit]

"We don’t have members"? That's funny, I always thought of myself as a de facto member through the act of editing and through my occasional donations. So what, exactly, is a "member"? Rickyrab (talk) 16:46, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, many editors think of themselves as Wikipedians, but of the three categories, staff, volunteers, and members, all three of which are highly typical of any non-profit organization, editors would fall into the "volunteer" group. And we also have board members, just like a corporation. A membership organization, though, like the Sierra Club or the NRA uses its "member count" as a measure of self importance. Readers is what makes WM important. Apteva (talk) 17:59, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
If WM wanted to, they could create a "Wikipedia/Wikimedia member" group that to maintain membership each member would need to contribute say $20 or more per year, and then be able to say that they have "members". I would only support this if membership counting was totally automated, for example through pay pal donations. Apteva (talk) 18:16, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
In the early days of the Wikimedia Foundation, there was discussion of exactly such a membership organization. For legal and organizational reasons (which I do not know the full details of), the membership model never came to pass. There's discussion about this on meta somewhere. :) Philippe (WMF) (talk) 20:02, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
I think Philippe and Apteva answered the question well. In short, the Wikimedia Foundation does not have a formal membership program. We have a large community that includes editors, donors, other "non-editing" volunteers, and readers. We do not have a dues system or any "card-carrying members" though. As Philippe stated, this is just not a model we opted to adopt. That being said, we are glad you consider yourself a member, Rickyrab! --Lgruwell (talk) 21:33, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Clarifying the Editor Engagement (E3) portion of the proposal[edit]

Hi all,

Encouraged by Erik and others, I wanted to clarify the Editor Engagement (E3) portion of the proposal. Short version: I think the rough cost through fiscal year 2012-13 is going to be closer to $900k than $1.2m as originally projected. The latter figure was more precise when the first version of the team's budget was developed several months ago. The reasons for this are primarily:

  • Changes in staffing. We've had one team member depart and won't be hiring to fill that position. We've also consolidated engineering management under Terry Chay, who splits his time between us and the rest of features engineering.
  • We've delayed or indefinitely held off on a few open positions that were originally budgeted for. For example: the original budget included a community relations position (similar to the role Oliver Keyes fulfills for editor engagement projects like Article Feedback Tool and Page Curation), but Maryana Pinchuk and I been filling that role for E3.
  • In the past we've had more ambitious plans for "community convenings", which we're unlikely to implement now, since the focus has shifted to product/engineering interventions. Potentially holding these real-life meetups around the world was the type of "boots on the ground" outreach that we've reoriented away from, per Sue's recommendations for narrowing focus.
  • Other minor things: for instance, we may not be spending as much on contractors (for research and other purposes).

We'll likely make up for the underspend in other areas, so I'm not asking that the proposal be officially changed, but I hope this clarifies things. Steven Walling (WMF) • talk 22:26, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

User rebates and prizes[edit]

Some of the millions of dollars should be set aside for user prizes or sweepstakes. Even a $10 gift card will encourage writing. I just got a $10 gift card for test driving the Dodge Dart. Auchansa (talk) 04:09, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

We certainly need to get better about appreciating our hard-working editors! One effort in this direction is WikiLove, where editors can give each other barnstars, virtual kittens, etc. I am not sure if your gift card idea has ever been debated in the community, but it is an interesting one. Thank you for sharing your idea, Auchansa. --Lgruwell (talk) 22:23, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

And if local regulations Rights USA, are in conflict with the idea of ​​the functioning of Wikimedia Commons?[edit]

Wydaje mi się ze przepisy Prawa Stanowego USA, na które powołuje się strona przy omawianiu Funduszy Wikimedia Commons, są zaprzeczeniem oficjalnej międzynarodowej idei funkcjonowania Wikimedia Commons? A mianowicie, aktualnie na szczeblu państwowym pojawiła się kwestia wykładni specyficznego Prawa Stanowego USA, w sprawie udostępniania między innymi na serwerach USA drastycznych zdjęć po katastrofie Smoleńskiej. Np. cytuję za 'Onet PL':- "Do tej pory nie zostały zamknięte strony domen niemieckich i amerykańskich, ponieważ służby tych państw w odpowiedzi poinformowały nas, że nie mogą zablokować tych stron z uwagi na ograniczenia prawne obowiązujące w ich krajach. ( Z dnia 16-10-2012 20:00 wiadomości: Reakcja ABW ws. drastycznych zdjęć ofiar katastrofy smoleńskiej (ABW,PAP/Pog,JS)). Mając na uwadze taką konkretną sytuacje-zakładam że informacja w polskich mediach jest prawdziwa, moim zdaniem dyskusja uwarunkowana lokalnym folklorem prawnym USA jest bezprzedmiotowa! --Alians PL (talk) 13:34, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Please provide an English Translation (even if from Google Translate) of your comment. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 14:22, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
this is what google says it says:

It seems to me that the provisions of the U.S. state law, which refers to the discussion page of the Funds Wikimedia Commons, is the negation of the idea of ​​the functioning of the international official Wikimedia Commons? Namely, currently at the state level need to consider the interpretation of a specific U.S. state law, on the provision of, inter alia, on the U.S. servers dramatic images Smolensk disaster. For example, I quote from 'Onet UK': - "It has not been closed domain the German and American, because the service of these countries in response informed us that they can not block these sites, due to legal restrictions in force in their countries. (Z on 16-10-2012 20:00 posts: reaction ABW ws. drastic images of victims of the Smolensk plane crash (ABW, PAP / Pog, JS)). Bearing in mind the specific situation-I assume that the information in the Polish media is true, I think talk determined by local folklore U.S. law is pointless! (Alians PL) Apteva (talk) 16:09, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks. Can you be specific about how this comment is related to the proposal?--Arjunaraoc (talk) 16:02, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
Hi Alians. I apologize for not answering your question. I'm afraid I don't understand what you are asking. Maybe something is lost in translation, or maybe I don't have a good grasp of the subject of your question. Please feel free to try again, if you'd like. ( I have a native Polish speaker helping me, so we might be able to answer a more direct question.) --Lgruwell (talk) 03:53, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Meritum: Sorry. I believe in our integrity, but the lack of control plane creates a legal vacuum for the crooks. --Alians PL (talk) 8:21, 22 October 2012 (UTC - manually)

Missing data[edit]

In the program secion you only have the activities related to the FDC grant, but in most other places you have figures and fact for all WMF. For example you propase to add staff in engineering with 30 which is the bulk of the increase in personell costs, but the engineering activites are not described antywhere. For all other applicants we get the full view on operations here so I woukld like you to supplement your list of acivities with those releted to teh parts financed through core activites funding.Anders Wennersten (talk) 06:03, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

My Bad. The others do only in that section takes up activites inside the FDC budget as you do. But others have in their genearal section given a description what the entity do, which coplued the the budgteted income make it posdible to udnertand somewhat of the oterh activites. Perhaps you could inlucde a generla secion like this descibing in short generla parts what WMF do och how the acivites being propsed to be done by FDC funding fits in? (and that the income parts is clarified as I suggest below)?Anders Wennersten (talk) 07:57, 18 October 2012 (UTC)
My understanding is that we cannot make edits to the proposal we submitted at this point. However, I think I can point you to some parts of the proposal that will give you the information you are looking for. We put most of the information about the four programs in Table 4 and in the narrative directly below the table. The narrative includes the overall budget for each program. We gave an overview of WMF's core work in our answers in the section "Reflections on past activities and innovations." Specific information about WMF's overall plan can be found in our FY 2012-13 Annual Plan. Lastly, our five-year strategic plan offers a map of our long-term priorities. --Lgruwell (talk) 04:13, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Problematic/wrong set of data[edit]

You state in your balance sheet

  • Individual donors $35,041,000
  • Foundation and Major Gifts

But this is really related to the globbal WMF. You should here really see yourself as one consuming entity with income, consisting of FDC funsing and core acitivities fundings and only present those figures. The difference between the global part and your consuming part and capital reserve should not be part of this propsal as I see it. Could you please comment on this?Anders Wennersten (talk) 06:18, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the question, Anders. The Wikimedia Foundation is in the fortunate position of having primarily "general support" revenue. That means most of the revenue we receive can be used for any purpose. All of the funding in "Individual Donors" category are funds that can be used for general support. Some of the revenue raised from foundations and major gifts are designated for specific programs. For example, we received a $3.6 million grant from the Stanton Foundation over two years for our technology plan, specifically the visual editor. We account for funds raised from the community from the online fundraiser and those raised from Foundations and Major Gifts separately for that reason.

In FY2012-13, we plan to raise $46.1 million in revenue. We plan to spend $42.1 and put $4 million into our operating reserve, which will give us the ability to cover 9 months of anticipated spending as we enter FY 2013-14. --Lgruwell (talk) 23:04, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes I udnerstand this but the 46,1 is by the board divided inte three parts, whereof you at SF will only get access to 30,2 + possibly 4,4 and these figures are in this proposal is the relevant to present, not the 46 and 42. You should not here include the money going to the other chapters.Anders Wennersten (talk) 04:37, 19 October 2012 (UTC)
I have now lokked further and on p 54 and 55 in WMF plan for 2013 The total cost last year was 27,2 MUSD whereof 26,2 related to Core and 0,6 to others (0,4 unaccounted for). This years total budget is 34,7 MUSD whreof 30,2 to core and 4,4 to FDC financed activites. This increase of 7,5 MUSD correpsonds nicely to the increase in personell cost in the proposal table of 7,3 MUSD. But it also means that the activites in this proposal represents a growth from 0,6 MUSD to 4,4 MUSD, an 733% increase. I do would like you to clarify these figures and refine what is in this propsal and take off complety the income and capital reservations figures that really realtes to the global WMF.Anders Wennersten (talk) 09:16, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Here is some clarification on the numbers you are referring to on pages 54 and 55 of the FY 2012-13 annual plan, which is admittedly a very complicated table! Your questions relate to FY2011-12 spending. "Core" and "Non-Core" are new budget categories, first instituted in FY2012-13. (There is an explanation on how these categories are defined on page 61 of the FY2012-13 annual plan.) For the purposes of the table on page 55 of the annual plan, nearly all of FY 2011-12 spending was put in the Core category, except for two budget items: $1 million for the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and $.6 million in funds from the Stanton Foundation for the Public Policy Initiative. Here's a breakdown of the math: $26.2 million in "Core" spending plus $1 million in GAC spending equals $27.2 million in spending in FY 2011-12. The $.6 million from the Stanton Foundation was accounted for separately because it was a restricted grant for a program outside of the WMF budget. Total spending in FY 2011-12 was $27.8 when you combine both restricted and unrestricted spending. The $.4 million that you are referring to as unaccounted for is the difference between the $1 million for the GAC and $.6 million in restricted funds for the Public Policy Initiative.

In FY2011-12, WMF spent $26.2 million on Core activities. In FY 2012-13, we have budgeted to spend $30.2 million on Core activities. This is an increase of $4 million from FY2011-12 to FY 2012-13, which represents 15 percent growth in spending on Core activities.--Lgruwell (talk) 20:58, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Thannks. I agree on 30,2 on core but to this you also propose 4,4 from FDC giving a total of 34,6 as budget~giving an increase of around 8. And it is these figures I see correct to us in your tables inthis proposal, not the 46 or 42 you use now.Anders Wennersten (talk) 04:34, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

WMF as a group and as a mother company[edit]

WMF could be sen as a group consisting of a mother company and several local companies (chapters). If seen like this the Group has a budgeted income of 46, whereof 4 is going to capital reserves, 30,2 to core (in the mothercompany) and 11,4 going to FDC which will go to local compaines and in one part to the mother company. The mothercompany then will have an income from core of 30,2 and is proposing to get a further 4,4 from FDC, giving the mother company a total of 34,6 comaped with 27,2 last year an increase of 27% (+7,5 MUSD). For this propsal then, it will be the mothercompany accounting that would be relavnt for FDC not the groups (To request money from FDC at the same time including all FDC costs as Spending meke it incoherent. So what I want in order to give figures camparable to the ones from chapter, is that you base it on a mothercompany arroach Ie the income is 30,2 from core and 4,4 from FDC).Anders Wennersten (talk) 06:14, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

On the spending side, I think what you have described is fair. I also think the 27 percent increase in spending is accurate when you combine core and proposed non-core spending, but keep proposed FDC grants to chapters separate. On the revenue side, $46.1 million is a very relevant number for us, because that is the number our fundraising team is ultimately responsible for raising in FY 2012-13 for WMF and the movement as a whole. When completing our FDC application, we used the overall revenue plan and budget as approved by our board when asked for numbers for the the entity as a whole, such as in table 1. We are seeking programatic funding from the FDC, meaning we are proposing to use the FDC funds for four specific programs. We provided specific information about the four programs when asked about programatic activities. --Lgruwell (talk) 16:54, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Global Education Program Funds Allocation breakup[edit]

Can you share the breakup of Global Education Program Funds for the previous year and for the proposed year? --Arjunaraoc (talk) 15:37, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

Here is the budget breakdown for the Global Education Program for FY 2012-13: Staff related expenses - $391,000; Outside contract services - $161,000; Volunteer development and meetings - $96,000; and Travel - $70,000.
Here is the budget breakdown for the Global Education Program for FY 2011-12: Staff related expenses - $247,000; Grants - $52,000; Outside contract services - $166,000; Volunteer development and meetings - $135,000; and Travel - $83,000.
(Staff related expenses includes salaries and wages; payroll taxes; employee benefits, which cover medical, dental and vision insurance; 401K retirement matching; costs for staff wellness; payroll fees; and Workers Comp insurance.) --Lgruwell (talk) 00:20, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. Can you share Geographical breakup of funds as well?. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 16:02, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
The Global Education Program is a global team, based in San Francisco and supporting the program everywhere it exists. Some of that support comes in the form of guidance and teaching materials (called the Bookshelf Project) that can be used by anyone, anywhere who wants to have students edit Wikipedia in the classroom. The staff also more directly supports the program in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Egypt. The emphasis in Brazil and Egypt is meant to align with the goals of the Catalyst Projects and to help grow the number of editors in the Global South as defined in our strategic plan. This program originated as the Public Policy Initiative, which was a pilot project fully funded by the Stanton Foundation focused on public policy classes at U.S. universities. At the end of that program, the Global Education Program was launched in the fall of 2011. We continue to support the program in the United States and Canada as a way of supporting the professors engaged in the Public Policy Initiative. This continued work in the United States was supported by a small grant also from the Stanton Foundation. The global nature of the team's work makes a geographical breakup difficult, since nearly every team member has a global focus. I hope, though, that this answer gives you a better sense of how the team prioritizes its time and resources. --Lgruwell (talk) 20:53, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
These questions are raised in several India based forums and informal discussions. It does not reflect well on WMF organisation of Finances, if geogaphic categorisation of the expenses and allocation of portion of central team expenses to a particular geography is not available. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 14:18, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Equivalent financial amount from the current year?[edit]

Hello. I'm trying to understand how much growth there will be in the four key initiatives that are described, and funds requested for, here. How much are those items budgeted for in the WMF's current financial year? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 14:04, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Here are the FY 2012-13 budgets for the four programs in our proposal:
E3- $1,204,000; Wikipedia Education Program - $718,000; Catalyst Programs – $1,302,000; and Grants and Fellowships – $1,235,000. --Lgruwell (talk) 02:14, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Ah, my apologies, I misunderstood the relevant financial year (see below). I'm actually after the numbers for the WMF's 2011-12 financial year. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 08:34, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Here are the FY 2011-12 expenses for each program (these are unaudited actuals):
Wikipedia Education Program - $683,583; Catalyst Programs - $990,066; Grants and Fellowships - $1,297,892; E3 was a new program launched in the end of FY 2011-12, so it is difficult to produce a number for comparison. While some of the work lived in the Community Department previously, much of E3's work began at the very end of FY 2011-12. --Lgruwell (talk) 23:51, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Catalyst programs[edit]

Hello. With regards the catalyst programs, I have a couple of general questions about the scope and duration of the projects. What are the long-term plans with the catalyst programs that are being proposed - will they continue to grow in future years in the areas that they are established, or is the intention to transform them into local chapters or partnerships once activity in those areas has been catalysed? Also, will the work related to the Portuguese Wikipedia relate solely to Brazil, or does it also relate to other geographical areas where Portuguese is spoken? In particular, is Wikimedia Portugal involved in this work? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:34, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

The Catalyst projects are aimed at the overarching target defined in our five-year strategic plan of increasing the percentage of Global South Editors to 37 percent by 2015. In that plan, we defined Brazil, India, and the MENA (Middle East - North Africa) region as key areas for editor growth in the Global South. The Catalyst projects were designed with a 3-4-year scope, with various exit proposals pending the successes of the respective programs and the capacities of partnering organizations in the geographies. As can be seen in the Catalyst Strategic Plan, there are a variety of options:[1]
  1. Local chapters take on governance and management of programs.
  2. Community groups take on governance and management of programs that don't require long-term staffing.
  3. Community groups partner with third-party NGOs or create new organizations that take on the leadership and management requiring long-term staffing.
For the Brazil Program, all the outreach-type work (e.g., Education Program) is done specifically in Brazil, but often with support from Portuguese editors from around the world. For example, there was an online ambassador helping Brazilian classrooms from Portugal, an attempt to strengthen the Portuguese Wikipedia as well as to gain experience to conduct an education program in Portugal. A lot of the work done is within the scope of the Portuguese Wikipedia, in which case volunteers on the project -- regardless of location -- are active in contributing.
[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Global_Development/Catalyst_Program_Strategy#Sustaining_catalyst_programs

--Lgruwell (talk) 20:30, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Timetable for funds[edit]

The timetable for funds currently being requested is "07/01/12-06/30/13" (which I assume is 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013). Does that mean that this funding request is to cover expenditure already incurred? Also, does this mean that the WMF is intending to request funds from Round 2 for the period 07/01/13-06/30/14? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:46, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, that's correct: Our FY 2012-13 runs from 1 July 2012 - 30 June 2013. We would use a grant from the FDC to cover expenses with these four programs encumbered during the current fiscal year. We are three and a half months into FY 2012-13, so some of the expenses associated with these programs have already been incurred. No, at this point, we do not intend to apply for funding from the FDC in Round II. --Lgruwell (talk) 01:56, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Would that mean that WMF would apply in round 1 of FY 2013-14, again asking for some funds that will have been partially spent by the time of the application? --Bence (talk) 14:09, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, most likely. Unfortunately, our mid-year fiscal year does not correlate very well with the FDC timeframe. Our board typically approves our annual plan in June, so we cannot submit a proposal to the FDC until that happens each year. --Lgruwell (talk) 16:22, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Measurable goals[edit]

Hi, I like the fact that you make specific milestones. However, measures of success are not clear to me. You declare close monitoring, but the purpose of goal measures is also a clear external control of success. I'm wondering if for some of the initiatives you have such more SMART goals in mind? For instance, you write that you are "monitoring the number of articles that students write and edit, and the number of students who participate in the initiative". That's great. But what result will be a tremendous success, what will be somewhat ok, and what will be below expectations? Etc. Pundit (talk) 16:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for the question, Pundit. WMF's goals take shape at several levels. Ultimately, we are aligned around the five overarching goals defined in our five-year strategic plan. All of our work is in some way related to reaching these very ambitious five targets by 2015: 1) Increase the total number of people served to 1 billion; 2) Increase the number of WIkipedia articles we offer to 50 million; 3) Ensure information is high quality by increasing the percentage of material reviewed to be of high or very high quality by 25 percent; 4) Encourage readers to become contributors by increasing the total editors per month who made >5 edits to 200,000; and 5) Support healthy diversity in the editing community by doubling the percentage of female editors to 25 percent and increasing the percentage of Global South editors to 37 percent. (These goals are actually for the entire Wikimedia movement, not just WMF.) If we were able to achieve these goals by 2015, it would be considered a tremendous success. Most importantly, these goals help to give us focus and offer guidance on how we should be utilizing our resources and prioritizing our work. At the next level, each program has smaller goals that align with these larger overarching goals. Every year, each staff member also sets individual performance goals that relate to the programmatic goals. The metrics are a mix of very quantifiable measures (such as growth in traffic to the mobile site or the number of new editors engaged by a particular program) and qualitative ones (such as increasing Wikipedia's credibility). Even in the case of the more qualitative work, we look for "things we can count" as a way of providing some quantitative data to track our progress. --Lgruwell (talk) 19:07, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I am well aware of the ambitious plans set by the WMF and keep fingers crossed for their success, but that's not what I meant. I'm only asking about the SMART goals for the initiatives in the funding application. I believe that the projects requiring significant funding should have precise, measurable, time-bound, realistic, and relevant goals set for each initiative, so that EVERYBODY in the movement can make their own judgment in evaluating if they have been fulfilled. Please, note that I don't expect bells and whistles. If you write that a goal should be measured by "monitoring the number of articles that students write and edit, and the number of students who participate in the initiative", just be explicit and write how many articles do you expect to be created within the project time frame, so that you'll consider it a success. It does not have to be unrealistically high. But clearly you have some hope, a dream, a number in your mind, because otherwise you would not bother to start the initiative, and you would not choose this measure. You need to be specific. If your goal is not met it will not mean your failure, it will only mean that the initiative did not meet the expectations. Yet we need to know exactly what the expectations are, so that the Board, making the final decision, makes an informed bet. Pundit (talk) 21:42, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I think some of what you are looking for can be found in column four of table four of our proposal. Thank you. --Lgruwell (talk) 02:22, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Again, thanks, but I'm not entirely sure if milestones (which are usually meant to serve as checkpoints on the way, to see if everything is going fine) should be confused with success measurement. The difference is clear even on the example of the first initiative. You've selected the following milestones:
By June 2013, conduct a minimum of 15 product and community experiments designed to directly increase new editor engagement and retention.
Support editor engagement work with infrastructure and analytic support necessary to have a results-driven approach to feature development.
Immediately productize the most successful experiments.'
And as milestones they look fine to me. However, clearly the success of an initiative cannot be measured by the fact that you will have conducted 15 experiments, provided "support", and "productized". As milestones, these are useful, since if it is clear that if you do not provide infrastructure, or if you fail to implement any of the successful experiments, of if you do not conduct the promised 15 of them, we will know that something is going wrong. But as success measures these are overly vague. With an exception of a 15 experiments goal (which, in itself, is concrete enough, but clearly just having 15 experiments done is not a goal that justifies funding, it is the powerful outcomes of this exercise and the impact it is going to make, that matters), you do not provide any hard indicators of checking if this initiative is worth the money or not. Again, this may not be as crucial with small budgets, but on this scale it is vital to propose measures of success that are SMART (please, click, perhaps the misunderstanding comes from my using the management lingo). When applying for funding, you're making a promise. You say that you hope that (a), (b), and (c) will happen, in concrete measures. What is this promise here? Please, help me understand why these initiatives are important and how will they make real impact. Don't be unrealistic, even modest expectations are fine, but the community should be able to judge by concrete measures, if this was a success, or not. Also, proposing measures is important from the point of view of evaluation (sometimes from the measures it is clear that the applicant does not really have a clue why they want to do something or why it is important, and sometimes it is clear that even in the best case scenario, that is 100% achieving the goals, it is just not worth the money), as well as for you (preparing them helps make better projects). Would it be possible for you to seriously work on this part that is missing? Thanks. Pundit (talk) 06:28, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, «we can't manage what we don't measure». We have to measure something if we want to know that it is getting better or worse. The ultimate goals of WMF are clear, and they include figures for 2015:
  • Increase the total number of people served to 1 billion
  • Increase the number of Wikipedia articles we offer to 50 million
  • Ensure information is high quality by increasing the percentage of material reviewed to be of high or very high quality by 25 percent
  • Encourage readers to become contributors by increasing the number of total editors per month who made >5 edits to 200,000
  • Support healthy diversity in the editing community by doubling the percentage of female editors to 25 percent and increasing the percentage of Global South editors to 37 percent
In my opinion there are enough figures in the WMF Proposal form --Perohanych (talk) 09:22, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. These strategic goals till 2015 are clear to me as well. I only ask for goals for the proposed project (lasting, as you know, one year, so clearly with a much shorter and more modest time horizon, but yet with quite a major budget. Applying for half of this money from venture capital would require extremely well defined targets. I don't expect the business standards to be applicable also because it is not a commercial endeavor, but some measurable goals for the application are needed, at least in my view). Pundit (talk) 10:13, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree here with Pundit. Long term goals should be broke down into measurable short term plans which ensures you have link between your short term plans/activities and long term goals; otherwise it will be a case, when you know the place where you want to go but don't know the path. If I say that - 'our 5 year goal is to increase the readership to 1 billion, then we should have 1 years plans that say we are doing this & this activities during this one year and we expect that these activities are expected to help increase the readership by 'this' amount'. And particularly in the FDC, we want to see and evaluate the expected outcomes (measurable) of the activities for a particular time period (a year in this case) that are funded by FDC allocations. For example, in E3 program - we expect such measures of success that say 'target of these products & community experiments are to increase new editor engagement by 'this amount'. - Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (talk) 07:06, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Questions about current cash position and monthly spending patterns[edit]

Please clarify WMF's cash position and usual monthly expenditures.

  1. What is WMF's current cash position (as of 30 September 2012)? In other words, what is the total balance in all of WMF's accounts (including operating reserves and cash for WMF's programs and operations)?
The Wikimedia Foundation's cash position on September 30, 2012 was $22,041,185. --Lgruwell (talk) 22:43, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
  1. What are WMF's typical monthly expenditures? We would like a sense of about how much money WMF spends in an ordinary month during the current fiscal year.
For the first three months of FY 2012-13, our average monthly spending was approximately $2,465,000. --Lgruwell (talk) 22:43, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Let us know if the questions above require any additional clarification. Thank you, Wolliff (talk) 21:29, 23 October 2012 (UTC)