Grants:APG/FDC recommendations/2017-2018 Round 1

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Funds Dissemination Committee recommendation to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees for 2017-2018 round 1 applications.

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The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) met in Madrid, Spain, on 17–20 November 2017. It assessed the Annual Plan Grant (APG) proposals and related documents, submitted in round 1 of the 2017–2018 APG program, providing recommendations on funding allocations to the WMF Board of Trustees. The FDC recommendations for each application are given below. Additionally, the FDC has provided some comments on some general themes of discussions that emerged during the review.

Funding recommendations[edit]

The individual recommendations are given below. Each funding recommendation is in the requested currency, with indicative amounts in US dollars for comparison purposes only. Calculations and references to these grants should always be in the requested currency, and not in the illustrative US dollars.

Applicant Amount requested Total proposed annual budget Amount recommended Indicative recommendation
in USD (approx)
% of request recommended Change in allocation
from last year
Amical Wikimedia 62,400 EUR 75,000 EUR 62,400 EUR 74,146 USD 100% + 27.35%
Wiki Education Foundation 750,000 USD 2,823,819 USD 400,000 USD 400,000 USD 53% +292.17% **
Wikimedia Argentina* 240,704 USD 275,299 USD 240,704 USD 240,704 USD 100% +3.74%
Wikimedia CH 300,000 CHF 1,077,600 CHF 150,000 CHF 155,750 USD 50% -48.98%
Wikimedia Czech Republic 2,988,525 CZK 2,998,025 CZK 2,988,525 CZK 136,038 USD 100% + 67.59%
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. 0 EUR 8,331,000 EUR 0 EUR 0 USD n.a.
Wikimedia Israel 1,075,000 ILS 1,644,220 ILS 1,075,000 ILS 299,398 USD 100% + 25%
Wikimedia Nederland 340,000 EUR 458,688 EUR 340,000 EUR 403,998 USD 100% 0%
Wikimedia Serbia 99,500 EUR 99,500 EUR 99,500 EUR 118,229 USD 100% + 5.63%
Wikimedia UK* 335,000 GBP 751,793 GBP 335,000 GBP 432,274 USD 100% + 12.61%
Total ~ 2,766,340 USD ~ 2,260,540 USD
* One or more member of the FDC recused from deliberations regarding this applicant: see below.
** Organisation's previous grant from the Wikimedia Foundation was from the Simple-APG process for a five-month period.
This round's application from WMDE is in a different format compared to past years, and therefore not directly comparable.

The overall funds available for movement entities through the APG program (FDC and Simple APG) in the year 2017-2018 is USD 5,675,000. Approximately 2,766,340 USD was requested in this round, and 2,260,540 USD has been recommended, leaving approximately 3,414,460 USD available for round 2 and for the Simple APG process. The FDC makes recommendations in different currencies, so these total amounts in US dollars are approximations based on the exchange rates used at the time of proposal submission in each respective round.

For Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Österreich a two-year funding was approved during 2016-2017 round 1, respectively for 2,950,000 SEK and 265,000 EUR, and therefore they did not submit an application in the current round. Those grants are accounted for out of the 2016-2017 budget, therefore not affecting the funds available during the current year.

Feedback[edit]

General remarks[edit]

The FDC thanks all applicants for their hard work in creating these proposals, and for the detailed progress and impact reporting provided throughout the year. It is clear when an applicant has taken the time to review their plans in the light of previous feedback, and has adjusted their proposal, budget, and goals accordingly.

The new movement strategic direction formed the context for our deliberations. In particular, the FDC acknowledges that in the future we need to be prepared to support groups with novel approaches and structures in order to improve knowledge equity.

The Wikimedia Foundation is strongly encouraged to enhance resourcing for long term affiliate support and capacity development

The FDC notes the strong correlation between the effectiveness of the activities of affiliates, and the allocation of WMF staff resources providing direct support to those affiliates. The FDC reiterates its recommendation to the WMF to proactively invest in its own affiliate capacity support teams. The affiliates are an important vector for the movement to achieve outcomes in support of the movement strategic direction in a way that is relevant to local contexts.

Affiliate leadership, international relationships, and specialisations[edit]

The FDC values that many applicants are becoming global movement leaders in specialized areas. Both program diversity and program specialization are valid models for program design. In either case, they should be grounded in the context of the individual organisation's strategy. We encourage affiliates to highlight collaborations and partnerships within the movement as they become increasingly important in a global context.

Link between strategy, programs, metrics, and goals[edit]

Now that the movement is deciding how to implement the new strategic direction, the FDC encourages future applicants to think about aligning their programs with this overall strategy.

The FDC encourages applicants to implement "grantee defined metrics" that usefully inform decision making within the organisation itself. In this application round there are good examples of organisations creating contextually appropriate ways to gauge their own success. On the other hand there are also metrics which seem unconnected to the organisation's own stated goals, or are developed without considering methodology.

Amical Wikimedia[edit]

Amount requested: 62,400 € (EUR) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: 62,400 € (EUR)

The FDC recommends approving Amical Wikimedia's funding request.

Amical has become more sustainable, and continues to deliver effective, high-impact activities for good value. As an entity in receipt of movement funds, Amical needs to work more to recognise its responsibility to share its expertise with other groups. It should also recognise that the context for different countries or groups does not allow its model to be exactly replicated.

The continued unwillingness to engage with FDC reporting because this is not perceived to be useful to Amical misses the point. Choosing not to report on the metrics that Amical itself has defined is an example of a missed opportunity to support movement-wide activities and collaboration. We know by talking to many affiliates and global community members that affiliates do benefit from reading about each other's approaches.

It is reasonable when you are receipt of funds to see this as a reciprocal relationship and Amical is not yet engaging in ways that can benefit other movement entities. Amical may not value quantitative metrics and may not wish to use SMART goals, but its reporting does not sufficiently "reflect an ecosystem" (as suggested in the annual grant proposal) in ways that can be understood by other Wikimedia groups, including the FDC.

The FDC is looking forward to seeing the impact of the Wikimedia Hackathon and how it will complement community engagement, which was mentioned as good practice in the staff assessment. We hope to see more focus brought to the planned work on diversity, bringing a clearer sense of what has been successfully tested during this grant period. We expect that by connecting more with other individuals and entities within the movement, Amical can retain a lean and responsive structure but also increase benefits to itself and others.

Wiki Education Foundation[edit]

Amount requested: $750,000 (USD) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: $400,000 (USD)

The FDC recommends funding Wiki Education Foundation with $400,000.

The FDC feels that the classroom program has value and makes a contribution to the improvement of the English Wikipedia. The FDC also sees its funding allocation as a special funding situation to allow the Wiki Education Foundation to optimize their matching grant.

The current application does not demonstrate to the FDC that the Wiki Education Foundation has a strategy behind what it does, why it does it, and what impact it wants to have. In addition, the FDC does not see a consistency between the narrative provided in its application and the Wiki Education Foundation's activities, metrics and targets. We strongly encourage the Wiki Education Foundation to develop a strategy that is aligned with the Wikimedia Movement's Strategic Direction not only to guide its programs but to assist in fundraising efforts.

The FDC expects the Wiki Education Foundation to address the issues of a lack of a movement aligned strategy, a high cost financial model, and a lack of intentionality in their work on knowledge equity and identifying content gaps. The FDC is not inclined to continue to fund the Wiki Education Foundation if these issues are not addressed.

We encourage the Wiki Education Foundation to review its financial model and structure. It is the opinion of the FDC that the current model is expensive and may not be sustainable. In addition, some type of financial support from participating colleges and universities seems appropriate.

The FDC recognises Wiki Education Foundation does have engagement with diverse voices working on the English Wikipedia in North America. We encourage the Wiki Education Foundation to expand their focus of content gaps and diversity beyond gender. The Wiki Education Foundation should look at the work of Wikimedia Israel with the Arabic community and Wikimedia UK on diverse content and contributors as other models of engagement with diverse communities.

Wikimedia Argentina[edit]

Amount requested: $240,704 (USD) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: $240,704 (USD)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia Argentina's funding request.

WMAR's annual plan shows great improvement over past plans in terms of clarity, focus, cohesion and strategic programming. The plan includes not just the need, relevance, implementing pathway and metrics for each program, but also the links between different programs.

Once again, WMAR's annual plan shows a strong awareness of the context within which it works and accounts for both opportunities and challenges. We appreciate WMAR's effort to develop context-specific programming, including its plans to work with thematic communities and communities of interest.

In this plan, WMAR has revised the targets for its education program downwards. While this lowers the potential for impact in the short term, the plan provides a credible rationale for doing so. In this, WMAR demonstrates an ability to learn from past implementation challenges, to develop a stronger education program in the long term.

Despite the significant improvements in WMAR's annual planning process, we again found the grantee-defined metrics difficult to understand. We are not clear how cultural diversity, or underlying aspects of the gender gap such as "confidence" and "empowerment" will be measured. We are concerned, once again, that these metrics may take a disproportionate amount of time to measure, document, and update.

The FDC commends WMAR on integrating an important movement-wide issue - the gender gap - as a strategic priority that cuts across all of its programs. Geographical diversification was one of the FDC's recommendations for WMAR in the previous funding round. We are pleased to note that WMAR is creating a regional focus within Argentina for some of its activities and engaging with affiliates in other countries.

We look forward to seeing WMAR progress further along its chosen path.

Wikimedia CH[edit]

Amount requested: 300,000 CHF (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: 150,000 CHF

The FDC recommends funding Wikimedia CH with a total amount of CHF 150,000.

The FDC believes that this amount allows Wikimedia CH to continue their activities and improve their programs, so they can deliver more impact in the future. At the same time, the Committee believes that this allocation, smaller than their original request, will encourage the affiliate to reevaluate the budgeting of some of their activities.

The FDC has identified that WMCH has not showed a level of structure and consistency in its strategy that is expected for a chapter of its size and organisational maturity. In this proposal, as in the past, Wikimedia CH has presented many unconnected projects without a common strategy that justifies their existence and supports their successful implementation. The activities listed in each program area frequently seem either vague (e.g. "Participate at an international event") or strangely precise (e.g. "Migration of WebDAV for the GLAMwiki toolset to the new data centre") without clear indication of their purpose or complexity. The FDC is concerned with WMCH's lack of evaluation of past projects in a satisfactory way.

Considering all these issues, the FDC questions the capacity of WMCH to deliver the proposed projects successfully and generate adequate value for the movement. One example is the persistence of technology development projects, considering that similar activities have not achieved consistent documented results in the past. The FDC expects WMCH to evaluate their capacity to implement projects and generate more impact, focusing on those projects where the affiliate has clear advantages, opportunities or experience.

Finally, the FDC would like to see WMCH reflect on its own role within Wikimedia. While supporting the local community is important, the FDC recognises that WMCH has unique opportunities that can benefit the entire movement, such as through their access to international organisations. We encourage WMCH to pursue such opportunities.

Wikimedia Czech Republic[edit]

Amount requested: 2,988,525 Kč (CZK) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: 2,988,525 Kč (CZK)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia Czech Republic's funding request.

Wikimedia Czech Republic re-enters into the FDC process with a well-developed application. The presented set of well-aligned programs is based on the organisation's track record, volunteer base, skills, partnerships, and responsiveness to community expectations.

The proposal builds on the successful activities which have been developed over several years, like media acquisition. Their traditional focus on Wikimedia Commons photography is designed as a series of complementary projects, well-integrated with the work on other projects (Wikidata, Wikipedia), and the community. This work has been both engaging the volunteers and providing strong results, which are difficult to obtain without institutional support.

Good programmatic design and relevant grantee-defined metrics are likely to result in strong impact that can be measured. In particular, "number of objects" used in media acquisition is both well-tailored to the particular objectives described, and useful for the chapter to achieve desired results. Nevertheless, some metrics should be revisited due to the questionable link to the intended outcome or ability to collect information (for example, "number of downloads").

The FDC appreciates the continuation of the activities of WMCZ in education and institutional collaboration, which remain focused on bringing in and onboarding new editors. Composition of this program, including work with different audiences like pupils, university students and seniors, is well-aligned with the intended outcomes. Editor retention activities like training and Wikiclubs are a logical extension of this program and deserve more emphasis in the future strategic plan. The FDC applauds the Seniors Write Wikipedia project which is directed at the potentially most important gap in the local context (where Age Gap seems to be wider than Gender Gap).

Wikidata and tech programs are rooted in both local needs and enthusiasm of the communities, and WMCZ has seized these opportunities. In the current year, the chapter started the work to complement Media acquisition by using an existing Wikimedia Commons app in need of further development, and a pre-hackathon in Prague coordinated with the main event in Vienna. The FDC awaits the results of this local approach to software development.

The FDC appreciates the innovative work of WMCZ on Commons and Wikidata, and with elderly editors, and finds them promising sources of lessons for the region and for the movement.

Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.[edit]

Amount requested: 0 € (EUR) (Proposal, - )
Recommended allocation: 0 € (EUR)

Wikimedia Deutschland e.V. has published its annual plan on a different timetable, as agreed with the FDC. The FDC will therefore provide feedback to Wikimedia Deutschland separately.

Wikimedia Israel[edit]

Amount requested: ₪ 1,075,000 (NIS) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: ₪ 1,075,000 (NIS)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia Israel's funding request.

Wikimedia Israel has consistently demonstrated excellent results over many years, and has again presented a strong and thoughtful application. This is an organisation that both seeks out and takes advantage of favourable circumstances that present themselves and modifies their plans appropriately to incorporate new opportunities. This has led to healthy growth of programs and capacity over time.

In this application, Wikimedia Israel has brought salaries in line with national standards. This should have a positive effect on employee retention. It is noted that activities and results continued to be maintained throughout the staff changes of the past year.

The Funds Dissemination Committee notes the proactive and innovative diversification of programs to take advantage of the local context, with focuses on seniors and women. The education program is stable and continues expansion, emphasizing the strong connections with government institutions. There is important expansion into Arabic schools, which expands both the educational and Arabic language programs.

The plan includes continuing and expanding support for Arabic language and a new focus on GLAM programs, which represent significant opportunities for growth and diversity.

Wikimedia Nederland[edit]

Amount requested: 340,000 € (EUR) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: 340,000 € (EUR)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia Nederland's funding request.

The FDC appreciates that Wikimedia Nederland is a stable and mature organisation. Over the last years, its capacity to deliver has grown and it is likely to achieve what it is aiming to accomplish.

Wikimedia Nederland is consistently showing an ability to adapt and improve its practices and programs. In this regard, it is good that, recognizing the insufficient results in the education program, there is a plan to shift to a different model, based on internships.

The FDC appreciates Wikimedia Nederland's approach to diversity, including "Nederland and the world", and the pilot activities with immigrant communities.

The focus on retention and community health is especially appropriate in the context of a chapter operating in the Netherlands, with an existing and sizeable community of contributors to the Dutch language projects. The potential for impact is high, and the FDC appreciates the thoughtful risk assessment.

Wikimedia Serbia[edit]

Amount requested: 99,500 € (EUR) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: 99,500 € (EUR)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia Serbia's funding request.

This year's annual plan reflects significant positive changes in comparison with last year's proposal. Wikimedia Serbia has improved the clarity of its proposal, even while also decreasing its overall budget.

We appreciate that WMRS has developed a strategic plan. Developing and improving a program plan aligned to the strategy and focusing on relevant and successful activities, instead of having a long activity list, is a positive point in this proposal. The FDC is interested to see how this strategic plan continues to evolve and be implemented.

WMRS has three main programs: education, GLAM and community support. The education program is nicely segmented with short, medium, and long-term impact projects. The GLAM program focuses not just on free content, but also on partnerships and long term cooperation as a pathway to sustainability. The community support program is clear, identifying three types of volunteers, and defining different activities for each group.

WMRS has redefined one of its grantee-defined metrics, choosing number of partnerships instead of number of events, and has set ambitious targets for this metric across the three different programs proposed. The FDC encourages WMRS to think about how the chosen metrics could be even better defined to measure and evaluate outcomes, not only activities.

In past recommendations, the FDC remarked the management structure would be vulnerable to changes in Board leadership. This has been resolved as WMRS has redefined job descriptions in order to better serve the organisation's needs, reflecting effective resourcing and stability. This is an important step for Wikimedia Serbia to achieve the goals it has proposed.

The FDC recognises the hard work Wikimedia Serbia has been doing in terms of considering the recommendations and support given by WMF staff. Finally, the FDC encourages WMRS to consider how to share its expertise within the movement.

Wikimedia UK[edit]

Amount requested: £335,000 (GBP) (Proposal, Discussion, WMF staff assessment)
Recommended allocation: £335,000 (GBP)

The FDC recommends approving Wikimedia UK's funding request.

The FDC recognises not only this excellent annual plan, but also the diligent effort of the chapter over the last two years.WMUK now has a solid track record of program achievements and good governance practices. The FDC was impressed by the combination of WMUK's thoughtfully innovative activities, strong and stable leadership, and volunteer-centric approach to all its work. The organisation successfully strikes the balance between consistency and diversity, and between stability and innovation.

The FDC noted the clear, comprehensive, and thoughtful connection among all layers of the organisation's planning. This enables WMUK's metrics and goals (at the granular level), and strategy (at the macro level), to be genuinely useful in making informed decisions. We noted that the chapter has conscientiously reviewed its budgets and annual plan, incorporating needs assessments, in response to previous feedback. We also noted how well-integrated the spirit of volunteerism is within the organisation. It places community and volunteer leadership at the centre of its work, investing in training and leveraging peer networks.

WMUK is a role model in our movement for how an affiliate can diversify its activities, and also become a specialist in a program area. The chapter's activities relating to regional and minority languages (including through the Celtic Knot and Welsh programs) have placed it in an excellent position to be a catalyst for change at national and international levels simultaneously by successfully leveraging the advantages of their local context. It is demonstrating proactive leadership commensurate with its maturity.

Process[edit]

The proposals for this round were submitted on 1 October 2017. In preparation for their deliberations, the FDC reviewed the community commentary on each proposal as well as the responses from applicants on the discussion pages of the proposal forms and the staff proposal assessments. The FDC received a number of additional inputs, including staff assessments and analysis on impact and finances from FDC staff. This round, the FDC reviewed the past performance of each organisation based on the 2015-16 impact reports as well as the data grantees shared through their progress reports in 2017. Before the face-to-face meeting, the FDC held a call on 5 November 2017 to discuss each member's initial assessment of all proposals. After the call, but prior to the meeting, the FDC members shared an initial allocation in dollars for each proposal as a point for beginning their discussions.

At the in-person deliberations, FDC staff presented an overview of their findings and summarized financial and programmatic themes. After these brief presentations, the FDC followed up with points of clarification and questions, before delving into discussions of each proposal in significant depth. Strengths, concerns, and general themes were recorded for all proposals, to assist later in writing the recommendation text. At the end of these initial discussions, FDC members prepared an individual and anonymous second allocation for each organisation. Prior to beginning the next round of discussions about each proposal, the spread of member allocations was shown, with some basic analysis of the spread to understand the range of agreement or disagreement among the allocated amounts. From there, and following more extensive discussion, the group attained consensus for each allocation using the gradients of agreement tool. The committee next prepared a brief written summary of its analysis of each proposal, including significant factors and observations made during the decision-making process. To learn more about the FDC deliberation process, please read our blogpost from 2015.

About the FDC[edit]

The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) for the Wikimedia movement is a committee of community members that makes recommendations to the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) about how to allocate funds to movement organisations. The FDC was established in 2012. Now in its sixth iteration, the committee comprises nine volunteer members:

  • Chair: Bishakha Datta (Bishdatta)
  • Vice Chair: Liam Wyatt (Wittylama)
  • Secretary: Katherine Bavage (Leela0808) [recused from deliberations regarding Wikimedia UK]
  • Michał Buczyński (Aegis Maelstrom)
  • Garfield Byrd (Gtbiv)
  • Anne Clin (Risker)
  • Candelaria Laspeñas (Cande_laspe) [recused from deliberations regarding Wikimedia Argentina]
  • Lorenzo Losa (Laurentius)
  • Osmar Valdebenito (B1mbo) [recused from deliberations regarding Wikimedia Argentina]

The WMF Board representatives to the FDC this round are Dariusz Jemielniak and Nataliia Tymkiv. The Ombudsperson to the APG process is Kirill Lokshin.

The FDC was supported by WMF staff throughout the deliberations. These staff included: Delphine Menard, Winifred Olliff, Morgan Jue, and Lauren Miranda. WMF staff present at the deliberations offered analysis, helped facilitate, took notes, and responded to any additional queries by the FDC, but did not participate in deliberations about specific proposals.