Grants talk:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Wiki Loves Monuments 2022-23 International Coordination and Prizes

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Feedback from the Northern and Western Europe (NWE) Regional Funding Committee on your proposal[edit]

Hello Ciell, Erinamukta, CEllen, KCVelaga, Ndahiro derrick, Romaine, Slaporte, Effeietsanders, M.hekmat, Jean-Frédéric, MahmoudHashemi, André Costa (WMSE), and LilyOfTheWest,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your General Support Fund proposal in the Northern and Western Europe region. We are pleased to have reviewed your application and have the following comments and questions:

  • The committee sees WLM as an important international event with a long track record of significant impact. We especially appreciate your central role in introducing newcomers to the Wikimedia movement. We are happy to support your work.
  • We have 3 questions about your budget:
    • Some committee members see the budget as high relative to the quality of the output. The WLM grant has more than doubled in size since last year, and it is not totally clear what the increased level of investment will yield. We wanted to give you the opportunity to share your perspective on what additional value you think will be created as a result of the increased funding.

There are three major expenses that have caused the increase in budget: part-time staff support, explicit budget for translations, and team meetings, which together take up EUR 33,000 (~53% of the total budget). Given the turnover in volunteer capacity over the past year and the increased emphasis on focusing on some of the challenges, some structural increase is probably unavoidable due to much needed staff support. Some of these expenses will be more incidental. There is increased investment in translations because we would like to widely distribute the DEI recommendations and spend on translating some key documentation WLM has (such as the organizers’ and newcomers’ guides). Language is a important issue to reach more communities, and we would like to bridge this gap. For further years, this budget may not be as high as it is for the current year, considering the fact that some key materials would already have been translated this year. However, we would like to allocate some specific translation budget every year, depending on the new material we are producing.
As already mentioned in the proposal, the staff support is again something we are exploring for the first time. Depending on how this works out in practice, we may increase/decrease or remove this budget component in further years. We aim to have an in-person coordinating meeting once every 2 years. As there are several new members on the team and we hope to add more, we believe this between the 2022 and 2023 competitions is a time that an in-person meeting will be particularly effective, especially if we are organizing strategy planning sessions. When we generally do the international team meeting, we also invite 4-5 national organizers that bring diverse voices and insights and/or thought leaders along with members of the international team. This is generally helpful for involving national organizers in the broader strategy.

    • Would it be beneficial to increase the amount of money for micro grants? Would a larger microgrant budget enable more communities and local groups to be supported in their participation in WLM?

We have first launched micro-grants in 2021, as we observed an interest for light-weight grants for teams having budgets below US$500 (rapid grants threshold). Of the EUR 4,000 allocated, only EUR 791 was used (3 countries were supported). Based on the previous year’s spend, we have adjusted this accordingly. Although it is hard to predict how many national teams will need these, the current budgeted amount should suffice, as a team budgeting more than US$500 should be able to apply for rapid grants. We're always happy to evaluate and revisit this conversation together.

    • Is 15 hours/week of staff time enough for your needs? Might more be needed?

This is the first time we are hiring for this position, and we expect to learn. We anticipate that this amount of hours will be a great help and we trust that there is plenty of work to fill this time and more. We estimate that with 15 hours/week on average, with the flexibility to increase/decrease workload through the year, we can get the most 'bang for the buck'. This workload will be highest most likely in June-August, and actually lower in September-November (when preparations come to fruition, and national organizers are the main power behind the efforts).

  • Some committee members were surprised that you plan to have staff members come from the existing staff of your fiscal sponsor. Our understanding is that WMAT is a relatively small organisation that is not overstaffed. Can you say more about why you did not prefer to hire someone into WMAT for this project? Will there be impact to either WMAT’s existing work or to the WLM project if existing staff handle both? WLM work could take as much as ~30h/week during the contest. Can you share the analysis that was done by WMAT and WLM leadership to make sure this staffing plan will be adequate, and why you believe it is preferable to hiring someone?

WMAT has a lot of experience with WLM, and it would be a great fit to tap into that. Hiring someone new would have been an option, but the employee in question has been tangentially involved with the coordination with the international team previously, and with the national competition. We believe this is an opportunity that would most likely be more beneficial than hiring someone new from outside. In addition, his current position allows him the flexibility through the year that will help us plan the work most efficiently.

  • You indicated that you will be working on establishing a strategy. Can you share your thinking about (1) what steps would be taken in the process to create a strategy, (2) who would be involved in it, and (3) how it will be established and implemented? We would like to see a meaningful participatory strategic process, and while this may be planned, it’s not totally clear from the proposal.

In our previous offsites we have been able to put together some initial strategic thoughts, and the outcomes of the DEI report (of which some initial observations can be found here) this year can be a helpful input. The process to arrive at this has not entirely crystallized yet, although there is general agreement that it needs to happen. We can give some initial thoughts about this though. The international teams' annual cycle has an intensive period in June-August preparing for the competition, and the national teams are busy Sept-Oct in running the competition. It is hard to run a strategic process simultaneously. However, we are always having conversations about many of these topics in parallel. Some general outlines for the strategic progress are:

  1. The recommendations and problems identified in the DEI report will be some of our key pointers when we think about our strategy, and any strategic direction or plan should ideally address some of these long-standing issues.
  2. Involved in the process will be the international team, the potential national teams and possibly some representatives from project communities.
  3. Regarding establishing and implementing, we will only be able to speak about the implementation after we have a strategic direction ready as it will greatly affect whether the implementation requires organizational, technical, or changes in other areas.
  • Is there any additional thinking you would want to share about how you will go about improving the quality of WLM organisation, both locally and globally, in 2022? How will you measure this?

The team acknowledges the need to expand the organization and bring sustainability at the international level along with the national teams. We would like to first address this issue within the international team, which will in turn enable us to better support the national teams. Bringing on a part-time project coordinator is one of the first steps in this regard, although it is a one-stop solution to improve the organization. This will help to off load some admin work volunteers, help them focus on things that are interesting to them. We are hoping this will make the team active overall. Additionally, we will be taking proactive efforts to recruit more volunteers to the international team. It is not necessary that tasks at international coordination level need to be done by the team only. We observed that volunteers in some cases are skeptical about signing up as a team member, but are happy to take up specific tasks. Having a well-defined open task list (such as on Phabricator) and a designated workboard manager can let other community members collaborate on the tasks. We believe this approach can help the organization be more active, along with improving coordination among national and international teams.

  • Evaluation and learning:
    • While a major part of your focus is improved quality of WLM organisation, there seems to be limited room to measure this effect. We think it would be useful for you to consider adding additional measures around the quality of organization, beyond the satisfaction rate of organizers. We would love to see meaningful learning report based on feedback from participants and from local organisers. It appears that organisers offered such feedback through the DEI process (even if the feedback was not really DEI-related). We think it would be worthwhile for WLM to establish channels specifically to allow more qualitative feedback of this nature. Can you share your thoughts about this?

In our response to the next question, we have detailed the metrics that we can use to measure. However, we acknowledge that metrics for participants and organizers, and our methods to track the same, need improvement. The surveys we mention below have been one such way, there are some known issues such as long surveys, delayed distribution and producing recommendations from surveys. We will work on that this year. The idea of establishing specific channels sounds good, however, we also want to be conservative about the number of channels we can collect feedback/suggestions from. In the past, we have tried office hours as well. An alternative could be to explore ways in which the already existing channels can be used for this purpose.

    • Can you share past benchmarks for the satisfaction rate of organizers so we can better interpret the 7/10 metric. Is this on part with the past benchmarks, or higher or lower? We appreciate your help understanding this.

We have changed this metric from the original request to include the Net Promoter score. Net Promoter Score is one of the metrics that we use to calculate satisfaction rate. According to the 2019’s organizers’ survey (page 29), the net promoter score for support received from the international team is -7 (the score is calculated as [promoter% - detractor%] * 100). Generally a score of 50 or above is considered good. For this iteration, our target would be to shift from a negative score to a positive score around 20-25.

    • Getting 40% of participants from so many cultures/languages/countries may not be realistic without language support. It appears there is no budget for translations. Can you share your thinking around translation? To get a strong participation rate, you may need emphasis on learning together with local organisers or full translation to and from national languages.

Historically (in 2019 and 2020), we have been able to get a 30-40% response rate for our participant survey. This is a very optimistic goal, but achievable. Historically, we have been able to source translations for these surveys from our volunteer community, because the survey results also serve the national teams indirectly. The survey response rates can be further increased with timely distribution of the survey. Previously, we used to send the survey out for all participants at the same time, irrespective of their campaign month. This can be improved by having a distribution process that sends out the survey in coordination with the campaign months of respective countries. In response to this suggestion, we would like to broaden the scope of this budget item to be more generally translations of documents that would benefit from wider distribution, to allow us to be more flexible when volunteer capacity is available. This would result in a total translation budget of 9,000. The budget requested has been changed to clarify (with no change to the requested total budget).

  • Can you share any additional thoughts you might have about strengthening your strategy towards recruitment of underrepresented regions?

We can possibly tap into the existing network of organizers with other campaigns, for example Wiki Loves Africa and Wikipedia Asian Month. There is a potential risk that most of these organizers have already saturated their volunteer time, but we can be using their connections to reach out to other volunteers in these regions.

  • Official national lists of monuments can be very colonial. How does the WLM International Organizing Team think about this with respect to supporting knowledge equity? How do you ensure that the central list can allow for decolonizing approaches?

Government sponsored lists can bring various problems and challenges, one of which may be that certain era's or types of heritage are over (and under) represented. Another challenge could be that the lists are too short to be effective, geographically unevenly distributed, etc. Our standing recommendation to national teams has been to identify alternative lists that could complement the official national list. Some countries have successfully done so, with lists for example by local governments or a national heritage organization. This would however not take care of any discrepancies caused by for example copyright (lack of Freedom of Panorama) or antiquity laws which can effectively create the same issue. We are revisiting this broader issue in light of the DEI study. There does not seem to be any silver bullet so far, and we will have to see what approaches turn out to be viable. In the end any solution will have to be endorsed and executed by the national teams, so this is not entirely in the control of the international team, and subject to resources available in the national teams. As the international team, we are very much aware of the concerns and have been (for example) looking into ways to support national teams joining forces with national partners that can raise the issue on a different level. We proceed with caution for not wanting to overstep.

  • Regarding community engagement: We know that WLM is generally well supported by the community. However, it does not look like there was a high level of engagement around this specific proposal. We saw that you did try to reach out, but did not get involvement. Are there ways to address this? Would it be possible, for example, to host office hours to make sure there is sufficient community feedback? Or maybe there is another strategy you could try?

It has historically been a challenge to get significant engagement around our grant requests. The priorities set in the grant request are often the result of various conversations online (in office hours, mailing lists and in some years a survey and/or retreat) and offline (e.g. conferences). This process will benefit from staff support, but in general the policy choices (that are not budget related) get more engagement than budget-focused matters.

  • Regarding the timeline, will starting in June allow enough time for countries to prepare? Given summer schedules, we wondered if it might make sense to start earlier?

WLM has been going strong for 12 years now: we advise new organizers to join earlier, but in general long-term participating countries will have things in place. We do offer support help, office hours and outreach all year round for those that are interested. Past experience taught us that most activity by the national teams (especially when recurring) does not start before June.

  • A suggestion: We note that your current plan does not include work to build global or regional partnerships (e.g. with UNESCO or Europeana). Perhaps this is something that could be considered for the future as you work on your long term strategic plan.

Historically, WLM has partnered with different actors on the international level. Among them are indeed UNESCO, Europeana and also Europa Nostra. We’ve lost touch with them a bit, but they have always been following and supporting us, by means of jury membership or just by sharing our results through social media. We are now in the very early stages of exploring a possible collaboration with WMSE’s Content Partnership Hub, where multiple organisations that advocate for heritage protection come together.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

On behalf of the NWE Regional Committee,

Marti (WMF) (talk) 03:33, 5 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Additional comments from Wikimedia Foundation Campaigns staff:

  • Having a paid coordinator to work with the team and grow it strategically makes a lot of sense.

Thank you so much, and we agree.

  • Perhaps some of the communications and other capacities which could really grow the presence of the campaign are underdeveloped. What could it look like to have a bit more strategic communication and outreach with partners or broader networks?

This question can be read in multiple ways. We are expanding our structural capacity through staff support and this may help free up capacity for various internal communication tasks. However, it sounds like you may be hinting at partnerships with external partners. As also mentioned above, we have a history of collaborating with international umbrella organizations, and we don't disagree that this is desirable. However, given limited resources and time and how much effort often has to be put into these collaborations, we typically only pursue these when an attractive opportunity arises. We found that historically, the most effective partnerships occur on a national level - which we still heartily encourage and where possible facilitate. This is also why partnerships with umbrella organizations were particularly effective in earlier years, because they allowed us to connect national teams with national partners. If there are specific partnership opportunities you have in mind, we always welcome the suggestions and conversations.

  • Have you planned sufficient time/resources to address the needs that the DEI report creates?

We expect that we will have the time to do so, with the help of the staff support. This frees up time that was previously spent by volunteers on administrative and behind the scenes work, that we could now spend on the actual outreach to and support of national organisers again.

Marti (WMF) (talk) 03:33, 5 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Hi @Marti (WMF), thank you so much for sharing the questions from the review team and the Campaigns staff with us. We will be responding to these questions next week: is there a hard deadline for this? Ciell (talk) 16:50, 6 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Hi Marti, hello Committee,

We'd like to thank you for your time in reviewing our grant request for the new year, and we hope that our answers to the questions will give you additional insight into the workings and objectives of the international team. If there are any further additional questions, we would of course be happy to answer them. Ciell (talk) 05:00, 14 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Round 2 2022 decision[edit]

Congratulations! The Northern and Western Europe Regional Funds Committee has recommended your proposal for funding!

The Wikimedia Foundation has approved the committee's recommendation to fund your proposal in full for $66,723.20 USD / 61,500.00 EUR

Comments regarding this decision:
The NWE Committee recommends full funding for the Wiki Loves Monuments International 2022-23 International Coordination and Prizes, with the following suggestions:

  • We recommend that you convert the DEI report and survey findings into action items, and also to have an action plan for the strategy.
  • We recommend that you develop a clear agenda for the meeting that includes defined outcomes about what you expect to come out of the meeting.

Next steps:

  1. You will be contacted to sign a grant agreement.
  2. If you have questions, you can contact the Regional Program Officer for the Northern and Western Europe Region.

Posted on behalf of the Northern and Western Europe (NWE) Funding Committee, --Marti (WMF) (talk) 17:21, 26 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Many, many thanks!! Ciell (talk) 18:31, 30 May 2022 (UTC)Reply

Extension request for the grant deadline[edit]

Hi,

The WLM-i team is wrapping up the activities from the 2022-2023 grant, but are still reaching out to a few winners in the special prize categories for (1) Previously un-photographed monuments, and (2) the Sub-Saharan region. The first one was relatively easy (bot query results), and for the second one we had a small jury from the region deciding on the prize winners. We are now in the process of reaching out to the winners and to adequately complete our WLM 2022 winners processes, it would be helpful to get an extension on the grant deadline for one month, to July 31st 2023. Would that be possible? Ciell (talk) 18:42, 29 June 2023 (UTC)Reply

Dear Ciell,
Your extension request has been approved. The grant end date is now amended from 30th June 2023 to 31st July 2023. Consequently, the new report due date was also amended, from 31st July 2023 to 31st August 2023, and the due date of the final learning conversation with the Program Officer was amended to 30th September 2023. ABruszik-WMF (talk) 09:23, 30 June 2023 (UTC)Reply