Recommendation G (principles): Allocate resources for capacity and sustainability
We are aware that resources aren’t always allocated directly into programme activity. For a sustainable movement, we also need to consider allocating resources for:
- Growing capacity of the recipient to receive resources (‘absorption capacity’).
- Developing fundraising capacities (resources to generate future resources, sustainability).
We want to help local groups, entities, and even individuals in receiving resources more effectively when it is wanted. This could go further, into helping local groups and entities operate sustainably - notably through multi-year and unrestricted funding processes. We can achieve this by growing capacity of resource recipients. Receiving funds can be hard and we need to invest in their absorption capacity to support this and provide other avenues for support. This must be prioritised for new and emerging groups/people, especially in the Global South.
Wikimedia groups aim for sustainability, as such there should be resources available for the development of local fundraising capacities. Access to and cooperation with donor data is crucial for financial sustainability, stakeholder management, and volunteer recruitment.
This does not necessarily imply that these entities must eventually become financially self-sustaining – we understand that in some contexts, there may be a need to fund an entity on a permanent basis as it’s not possible to achieve full sustainability.
- In many places we don’t have the decentralized capacity to absorb the investments/resources and need to allocate resources to build it.
- We are happy to do this even if it is costing more in the short term.
In terms of absorption capacity: Local structures often do not have the required capacity to handle resources, even if they are able to deliver programme activities with the resources. We allocate small amounts of money to small or emerging groups, expecting them to grow their own capacity to receive larger resources in the future. Instead, there should be help provided to help them develop capacity to receive larger, more ambitious, resources.
In terms of fundraising capacities: growing fundraising capacities, sharing donor data, will empower local entities, and potentially also grow revenues. It prevents “putting all our eggs in the same basket”, diversifying revenues. It also allows cooperation and engagement with people who have already shown their appreciation for the Wikimedia projects.
From community conversations:
- Hindi community - “There should be some structure in grantmaking that helps potential proposers and the current grantees to scale up the successful project - it can be in the form of funds, staff assistance.” There should be staff “proactively contacting grant seekers and assisting them in getting the bigger funded grants.” “Only 2-3% of the bigger grants such as project grant and conference grants are seen coming from emerging communities.”
- Wikimedia community near Manila: “Less capable requesting parties (whose similar or different applications were rejected), a capacity building program must be proposed”.
- WMAT - “we believe that even if not every affiliate / local group raises funds, we need to work together more closely to work on our donor relations. Currently the WMF does not share any information about local affiliates, their work and events with donors, so we are missing out on important opportunities for sustainable donor relations.”
Local structures will have means to acquire and operate local grants (and raise other funds).
Everyone who seeks resources – especially those who don’t feel they can receive large amounts of resources.
If the capacity building is not done in a mindful and targeted way, it may preserve existing structure, and entrench inequalities. It could help already privileged entities, and harm equity development and developing full potential of the movement.
Very mindfully focus on building capacities of the previously marginalised Wikimedia communities.
- It focuses on growing emerging entities within the movement (possibly even everyone beyond the few currently most privileged ones).
- It will require closer collaboration between the assumed global entity and the decentralized structures on fundraising.
Potentially with the recommendations of the Hubs – there could be local synergies there.
It directly addresses the question Q7 Sustainability:
- In what ways should allocated resources guarantee future resources (sustainability)?
- How can we integrate capacity building (for sustainability) with resource allocation?
- If we focus on the financial aspect: How do we use existing funds to create future funds? What are the contextual variations that we need to consider for this process and will this process be different for emerging and non-emerging communities?
It also forms part of the answer to Q1 How can resource allocation support structures that empower different actors within the free knowledge movement long-term?, since resource capacity addresses empowerment and a long-term perspective.
- Revenue Streams (for the proposed fundraising model)
- Capacity building (for building ‘absorption capacity’)
We are also considering a decentralised fundraising model: investing in a number of decentralised structures to build up and increase the capacity to raise, spend and account for funds, with a consideration to do this in a thoughtful way that promotes equity between the Global North and the Global South. The goal would be to increase global revenue by being able to operate at a very local, targeted level. To achieve this, we will have active and autonomous entities that raise funds to support free knowledge around the globe. This also requires sharing global donor data with decentralised entities (donor data as a resource to be allocated).
Having specific entities that do fundraising at a local level, taking into account the local context, language, culture, etc, will lead to a more targeted approach that could yield higher results with smaller efforts. This in turn would increase the global revenue, which would mean more funds will be available for emerging regions or projects, experimentation and programs.