Grants talk:Simple/Applications/Wikimedia Eesti/2017

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Hello, Wikimedia Eesti colleagues:

Thank you for submitting your eligibility form on 24 October 2017. We've determined that you are eligible to apply for a Simple Annual Plan Grant based on your eligibility evaluation for your most recent grant application that reviews your past work, as well as the midpoint report for your current grant.

Some of this year's achievements at the midpoint include,

  • Wikimedia Eesti has made significant progress in the area of restructuring, and has included a detailed report in this area at the midpoint (see achievements below).
  • Wikimedia Eesti is on track to exceed its targets in the area of Competitions and Expeditions, including 477 articles created or improved.
  • Launch of the e-course on schedule, with most of the objectives for the education program still on track to be met in the second half of the year.

WMEE has recently submitted all requested grant reports to WMF, and is now in compliance with their agreements with WMF; therefore they are eligible to submit a grant application for 2017.

This failure to comply with reporting requirements for previous grants has been a barrier to receiving funds for their activities and for paying staff in the current year, and has prevented WMEE from receiving funds for new projects like Freedom of Panorama in a timely way. While this has been a significant setback during the current grant period, WMEE has made good progress in their efforts to redefine board roles and responsibilities across four key areas, implementing good financial systems, and focusing on improving the ways the board and staff can work together for the benefit of the organization. Despite this good measures, given WMEE’s failure to pay their employees for several months due to cashflow issues, we have serious concerns about this organization’s ability to continue to effectively manage staff. At the same time, reducing funding for staff may prevent the organization from making progress in its current restructuring efforts (e.g. the ongoing transition from a working board to a governance board would be interrupted). With its current application, WMEE is also preparing for the departure of its current Executive Director. This is likely to create a period of more instability while the new Executive Director is being hired and brought on board.

WMEE is proposing to replace its departing Executive Director in order to maintain its staff in 2017, and to continue to focus on restructuring during the upcoming year. They are planning to keep their budget at a similar level to last year's grant. WMEE has a large staff relative to the size of its volunteer community. They will continue to emphasize volunteer recruitment and their ability to contribute to the international movement in the upcoming year in order to bring impact that is at scale with the funding requested. To this end they have restructured their program plan for the upcoming year, to emphasize these areas.

We look forward to reviewing WMEE's application for 2017!

Best regards, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 02:06, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Questions from the Simple APG committee[edit]

From Anders[edit]

Thanks for your application. It is nice to see your plans evolving and getting more balanced and also to fosus on "the right" things. I wonder if you could elebarate a bit more on your personell situation. If I udnerstodd it corrects your ED is leaving, what is your plan to get a new on board. Also your have had som turmolis last two years in your operations, is these resolved now?Anders Wennersten (talk) 06:20, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

Hi Anders,
Unfortunately, we are indeed facing a change of ED, as Kaarel will be going on parental leave. We have a hiring plan in place; we will be engaging an outside HR consultant for the hiring process and if all goes well, we will have a candidate in place by the end of December, which would give Kaarel a few months for handing things over before his parental leave begins.
The past few years have indeed been rocky. We should be out of the rough seas, though, which I think is reflected quite well by the healthy state of our agenda: while it's not the longest planning document we have produced, it is definitely the one with the clearest vision to date. Which makes it even sadder to see Kaarel leave, even if he keeps up some of his efforts in an unofficial position. -Daniel Charms (talk) 12:09, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Thanks för your clear answer. Just what I hoped to hear.Anders Wennersten (talk) 14:34, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

From Nikola[edit]

Thanks for your application. I have no questions. I only want to comment that Estonian has one of the highest participation rates in the world - 85 people per million speakers write on Estonian Wikipedia. This is impressive. You are doing well. --Nikola (talk) 15:47, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind words. I can only wish that we could chalk this number up to our own activity -- I fear it has more to do with the small number of living Estonian speakers. At the same time, I do believe there is still room for improvement and the activities we have planned for the upcoming year should improve the number of active users on Wikipedia as well as other projects. -Daniel Charms (talk) 19:40, 16 November 2016 (UTC)

Committee assessment and decision[edit]

Committee recommendations
Funding recommendations:

The committee recommends the amount requested, or 62,251 Euro.

Strengths identified by the committee:
  • This organization has established expertise in program areas that are likely to lead to impact, including GLAM, education and advocacy. The committee appreciates their focus on small languages, like Estonian, that are not being supported by other groups, thus pursuing work valuable to the Movement.
  • WMEE is contributing in the area of international collaboration, including supporting the CEE regional group and being involved with Europeana.
  • This organization has provided a well-designed annual plan including SMART objectives and relevant metrics, with a relevant strategic plan. Some committee members found the division of program activities into local and international areas ineffective, since these program activities did not seem united by a similar theory of change.
  • WMEE has been responsive to feedback from the committee, and is also responsive to community needs and interests. The committee appreciates the emphasis on volunteer recruitment in this plan.
  • WMEE uses learning to improve their programs and the way their organization works. Given their challenges, the focus on restructuring is appropriate at this time.
Concerns identified by the committee:
  • The committee is concerned with a lack of clear outcomes in the restructuring process, and is concerned that WMEE needs to renew their focus in this area for another year. While the committee is glad to see progress in completing past due grant reports, this issue was only resolved just in time to submit this grant application.
  • The committee is concerned about ineffective staff management in the past, including unclear roles and responsibilities among staff and board. This included a long period of time where WMEE was unable to pay their staff due to cashflow issues.
  • WMEE’s longtime ED is departing the organization, and this will be a difficult transition for the board to manage. The committee is concerned with the relatively short timeframe WMEE has to search and recruit a candidate for this crucial role.
  • The committee is concerned that the targets presented are too low. Some committee members are concerned about a lack of focus on editor retention.
  • The committee is concerned that an increase in focus on international programs may be difficult for the organization to handle during a period of transition and restructuring.

--Nikola (talk) 12:08, 25 November 2016 (UTC)

Decision from WMF
Funding decision:

Thank you, WMEE, for your application and for your work during the application process.

WMF will fund this grant as recommended, in the amount of 62,251 Euro for twelve months; however, one minor budget adjustment will be needed. WMF cannot fund FKAGEU expenses through a restricted APG; therefore, you will need to draw on another funding source if you plan to make a contribution to FKAGEU in the coming year. We are supportive of your participation in FKAGEU in principle, so if you wish to draw money from another funding source to cover this expense and apply 1,000 EUR of your WMF grant money to another approved expense this arrangement would be acceptable. Without any additional funding sources, however, I am afraid a FKAGEU contribution cannot be arranged. We are available to discuss the reasons for this with you in more detail, but it is due to the restrictions on funding that we may spend for political and legislative activities, which you already have some experience with through your Freedom of Panorama work.

Apologies for posting this formal approval a bit late, since I was on holiday. I know Janice has been in touch with you in the mean time to arrange the details of your grant.

All the best in 2017. Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 21:47, 3 January 2017 (UTC)

Underspend to be deducted from next grant payment[edit]

Noting here that the underspend of 4207 EUR will be deducted from your next grant payment, for your 2-19 grant. Best, Winifred Olliff (WMF Program Officer) talk 22:40, 26 November 2018 (UTC)