Talk:2011-12 Fundraising and Funds Dissemination process/Funds Dissemination Criteria Table

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column "track record of wikimedia participation"[edit]

to avoid volunteers who spent many hours of their free time contributing wikipedia discuss and even make them stop to contribute because the feel like "somebody else sells their work" or "profits from their work", i would find a column "track record of wikimedia participation" helpful. a willingness to contribute free time for a couple of years (maybe 3 to 5) before getting money calms down such discussions quickly. --ThurnerRupert 05:40, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Rupert. So -- you're proposing that there be a column that lists "track record of Wikimedia participation" as a criterion. So that if somebody feels that all funding requests should be evaluated based on whether the requestor has a track record of Wikimedia participation, they would check that column? (I just want to make sure I'm understanding you.) Thanks Sue Gardner 05:54, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, some clarification would help. If Sue's interpretation is correct, this seems to me like something that would be essential for operating support; but maybe more discretionary for restricted program funding. (For example, an organization individual might be paid to accomplish a finite and clearly defined task that would move things forward; in such a case their track record within the movement would not be very relevant.) It might be that in 80% of cases with restricted funds, it IS desirable to have a demonstrated track record in the movement, but in the other 20% of cases it doesn't matter. This leaves a little confusion: "to check or not to check?" Sue, can you clarify how you see this chart capturing a nuance like that? -Pete F 16:22, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
exactly, it is ment like this. you e.g. might want to tick no for individuals or organisations seeking less than 100k, this then means the one giving the money is free to require it. above you might want to tick yes, required. for chapters you might want to tick yes in any case. --ThurnerRupert 18:47, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

column "track record of financial independence"[edit]

to avoid discussions like currently happening with the indian trust, i would love to see an additional column: track record of financial independence. financial independence means: the individual or organization was living financially independent of the wikimedia foundation / wikimedia movement for e.g. 10 years (i.e. no money in whatever form). --ThurnerRupert 05:40, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

And so here, you're proposing that if somebody feels that all funding requests should be evaluated based on whether the requestor has 10 years of existence without having received any money from the Wikimedia movement, they would check that column? This one's a little unclear to me. Let's say an individual was requesting money, what would "10 years of financial independence" mean for an individual? Would a chapter need a 10-year track record of operating without money before it could receive funding? Do you imagine this as a one-time requirement, or would the clock reset whenever funding was received? Thanks Sue Gardner 05:54, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
individuals are brought up by their parents and usually do not run bankrupt or commit fraud, so it should be easy to fulfill. one might think as well that this applies only starting with a certain sum, say 100k or one (good) yearly salary in a country. for chapters the situation is imo different. especially in the infancy or poor state, giving them a little more money than they need, and giving them easy, is essential to avoid fundraising or sponsoring activities which would not be considered helpful by the movement as a whole. personally i find regulating this with money better than making a rule which always leads to discussion. we had such unhelpful ideas at wmch in two stages: (1) in the beginning, and (2) when we were put into a grant mode for a month or so. wmcz is a recent example as well, and there were a number of other discussions in other chapters, but i cannot recall the exact date and details. should the clock be reset? no idea ... i'd say if volunteers are attracted any solution is good. --ThurnerRupert 07:01, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

column "current/future financial independence"[edit]

to avoid discussions like currently happening with the indian trust, i would love to see an additional column: current financial independence. financial independence means: the individual or organization can live financially independent of the wikimedia foundation / wikimedia movement currently. e.g. 51 % of the income stems from somewhere else, or (not and!), has a track record of financial independence (this is to avoid a problem happening with e.g. european union financing: voluntary organisation may function with little money, and getting one grant surpasses easily 50% of the budget, but does not risk their financial independence). --ThurnerRupert 05:40, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

And here you're proposing that if somebody feels like all funding requests should be evaluated based on current financial independence, then they would check that column, right? It seems to me that only external organizations could pass that screen, though -- like, the Wikimedia Foundation would not, and the Wikimedia chapters would not. Maybe I misreading something here though -- if so, let me know. Thanks Rupert Sue Gardner 05:54, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
it would be great that movement money does not create financial dependency, as well in future. "future" cannot be applied to a full extent for individuals i guess, otherwise no employees or full time contractors would be possible. the main goal here as well is to keep the most valuable asset of the wikimedia movement, the voluntary contributor, happy. --ThurnerRupert 07:25, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Operational funds and programmatic activities[edit]

Would chapters seeking grants for both purposes make two rows in the table? --Ainali 09:55, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Jan. I think for the purposes of this table, it makes sense to treat them separately. So when we're thinking about a request for operating funds, we might imagine that fairly stringent criteria would apply (and therefore there would be more checkmarks). And when we're thinking about a request for a restricted grant for a programmatic activity, less stringent criteria might apply (and therefore fewer checkmarks). And so, if a chapter turned out in the end to apply for a grant for both purposes, then the criteria/checkmarks for both would apply. Does that make sense? Sue Gardner 10:04, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I should clarify too: I don't think that this table will be how those decisions will be made -- i.e., what criteria apply to what type of funding. This exercise may not work very well, particularly if only a few people participate in it. But if the outcome seems reasonable, I would love to be able to use it IRL. Thanks Sue Gardner 10:04, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, it do make sense to me :) Thanks! --Ainali 16:42, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

how to fill the table[edit]

The vice-chair of WMItalia uses to say there is not a worse instrument than MediaWiki to do such job: Sue do you want everibody to add a line with his/her marks? thanks--Xaura 16:50, 13 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Hi Xaura. Yeah, I think your vice-chair is right about tables: they are frightening. Sebastian has redone the syntax, and now I think it's much more understandable how it works -- thanks Sebastian. So Xaura, what you should do please is add your checks where you think they're appropriate. You don't need to represent the chapter's official view: it's fine to just give your personal opinion. Thanks :-) Sue Gardner 12:45, 14 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Not to discount Sebastian's tweaks, which I think were a clear improvement, but uh..I did a pretty major overhaul of the setup. Accepting barnstars, if you're feeling generous. :p -Pete F 06:27, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
LOL Pete. But I do have a button for you, when I see you next :-) I saw David Shankbone's photo of you at OWS by the way: you will have to tell me what it was like :-) Thanks Sue Gardner 11:44, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Rupert's input[edit]

I am okay with Rupert's input being added to the table by the way, if people think it'll be helpful. Does anyone want to discuss it? Sue Gardner 13:25, 14 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

You mean the additional columns, right? I have no problem with that, but it might be worthwhile to explicitly ask the people who have already responded to fill those columns in, since otherwise the data would be skewed a bit by their not having considered them. -Pete F 06:24, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, the additional columns. By the way, maybe I should explicitly say here: I designed the table, and ultimately I want to use it as fodder for my thinking about the funds dissemination issue. But I don't have any objections to people here helping it iterate and evolve, especially if there input helps make it more usable/understandable for others. If someone has an idea, they should talk about it here and implement it if it seems likely to be useful. Upshot: I don't feel like I'm the gatekeeper or owner of the page. If there's good-enough consensus to do something, I don't want to impede it, and people shouldn't feel like they need to wait for my input :-) Thanks Sue Gardner 11:43, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Payment processing[edit]

I'm not sure I understand what role payment processing has as regards funds dissmenination and the critera that are listed. What's the purpose of that section specifically? sebmol ? 15:51, 14 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Each row of the table represents a different form of funds dissemination, and the purpose is to see what level or type of criteria would seem appropriate to people here, for each form. I would assume, for example, that someone applying for a 5K grant would need to demonstrate a much lower level of financial controls and regulatory compliance and so forth, relative to someone wanting to payment process. Because with a 5K grant, there is a maximum of 5K at risk, whereas with a payment processor, the stakes are much higher. (A theoretically-unlimited amount of money, but also access to donor information, a tighter brand integration and therefore higher reputational risk for the movement as a whole, tighter legal integration with the Wikimedia Foundation with lack-of-legal-compliance on the part of the payment processor therefore potentially endangering the Foundation, etc.) Also, if a chapter is payment-processing, it is processing not just funds that will be spent on its own activities: it is also acting in a position of trust for the movement as a whole, processing funds that are designated to be transferred to the Wikimedia Foundation for global site operations. So that's why it's there: to surface the criteria that people here think are appropriate for payment processors. Does that make sense? And thanks for your help with the table Sebastian -- it's easier to understand now :-) Sue Gardner 16:10, 14 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
So, if I understand it correctly, the label "payment processing" is tied not to just being a direct recipient of fundraising donations in a particular jurisdiction but also to spending (part of) that money themselves? I mean, it's not entirely out of the question that someone would act solely as a payment processor, transfer everything, and spent essentially nothing themselves, right? If I remember correctly, WMCH did basically just that a few years back. sebmol ? 16:20, 14 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know, but I'm not sure it matters -- do you think it matters? It seems to me like 'payment processing' is the highest position of trust, since the money coming in is potentially unlimited, and the processor has access to private information and so forth. So to me, any payment processing would have the highest requirement for compliance, regardless of whether the processor was retaining cash or not. If you think it matter though, I don't have any objection to relabelling that section to clearly say it applies to 'payment processing regardless of whether the cash is retained,' since the 'cash retention' aspect could be considered to be covered elsewhere in the table. Hope that makes sense :-) Sue Gardner 11:48, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
So, sorry for the basic question, but it really would help me understand what's going on here better -- what exactly is meant by "payment processing"? Based on the discussion above, my guess is that it's generally permission -- and maybe technical infrastructure? -- to solicit funds directly from individual donors, and maybe organizational funders like private foundations or government programs, using the Wikimedia trademark. It sounds like it's a binary -- either the permission is there, or it's not. I'm sure there's some kind of framework for continued permission, like remaining ChapCom approved or something like that.
Can either of you discuss that a bit? Better yet, is there a canonical definition somewhere of what "payment processing" means in the Wikimedia movement, that could be linked from the chart? -Pete F 23:19, 21 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Oh gosh, Pete, I'm sorry to see this so late: yes, this is an important question, and I can give a definition. Payment processing is literally that: the processing of donations, as part of the annual Wikimedia fundraising campaign. Some background on its relevance to us: The Wikimedia Foundation does most of the payment processing for the Wikimedia movement, but not all of it. Last year 12 chapters payment-processed, which meant that about USD 4 million (about 15% of the total money raised) went directly to chapter organizations. This year in Haifa, the Board of Trustees raised a warning flag about that, and asked me to make sure that no chapters ended up payment-processing in 2011, unless they met a defined set of criteria, which were intended mainly to stand in as markers of maturity/responsibility/dependability. This was the source of the upset in Haifa: chapters which had expected to be allowed to payment-process in 2011, were suddenly being told they would not, or might not, be allowed to payment process. This year, three chapters are payment-processing, and it is an open question what will happen in future years.
Payment processing, as we use the terms, means acting as the direct recipient of funds that come in from donors during the annual fundraising campaign. (When you see the phrase payment processing used in Wikimedia conversations, you should always assume there's a silent "as part of the annual fundraising campaign" appended.) When chapters payment process, it means that the Wikimedia Foundation has pointed donors who've clicked on the fundraising banners, towards the chapter website to have the donation processed. It is a role with special responsibilities and obligations. The payment processor needs to appropriately safeguard donor privacy and the security of their data. They need to ensure the money is safeguarded and appropriately accounted for at every step, which requires accountants, treasurers, audit committees and good governance. They need to ensure that the marketing used to secure the money is accurate and responsible, and that donors are appropriately informed about what happens to their money after the fact. They need to ensure that the money is used for a purpose that's consistent with their mission, vision, goals, values and so forth, and consistent with what donors were told would happen.They need good legal support to ensure they're complying with fundraising law, privacy law, regulations governing non-profit organizations, and other relevant law, in their geographies. They need mechanisms for testing compliance, and the ability to fix problems when they occur. Etc. That's the gist. Think of payment processing as a bit like being a bank, or PayPal.
Last year, chapters that acted as payment processors committed to sending 50% of the money they brought in, to the Wikimedia Foundation. But it could have been 10% or 100% --- it doesn't matter, for the purposes of the question of whether chapters should payment process. The point is that if you payment process, you are being held in a special position of serious trust, because you are acting as custodian of all the money, regardless of whether it is later planned to be disseminated elsewhere.
And finally, just for the sake of precision -- there are lots of roles in the annual campaign that can be, and often are, decoupled from payment processing. They include: writing appeal letters and other marketing-type work. Translating and localizing text for the campaign. Answering donor complaints and questions. Etc. And, there are lots of fundraising roles outside of the annual campaign, that can also be decoupled from payment processing. They include applying for grants, collecting membership dues, soliciting major donors, having donor parties, etc. etc.
Let me know if this helps; I've written it quickly, so it may not be very coherent :-) Thanks. Sue Gardner 22:37, 30 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Tremendously helpful, Sue. With that, I think I'm about ready to try filling in your chart, assuming it's not too late to be useful. A little clarification on columns 6 and 7 might help, but I think I have a good enough idea to take a crack at it. Would you mind if I copy (and maybe edit) your description into a page like Payment processing to help future chapters people understand the history around this issue? -Pete F 19:28, 1 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, Pete -- I think a page like that would be helpful. Please feel free to use my text however you like --- as raw material to be radically revamped, or whatever you like :-) And yes, please fill in the chart! Thanks Sue Gardner 19:46, 1 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Alternative to table[edit]

Given the difficulty of actually editing it (only 2 ppl have managed to so far), I would like to suggest an alternative to the table. This would just be a simple petition-like list, with subsections for each of the possible options. Then, everyone can just sign down on the options they agree with, maybe with a sentence of explanation. This would create a longer page or pages, but I feel it would also encourage much greater (and possibly deeper) participation.--Pharos 20:05, 15 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Honestly, for me -- a table will the most useful output. I am a visually-oriented person, so for me the ability to see patterns/clustering at-a-glance is really helpful -- that's why I designed it this way. But I do agree that it's hard to edit. I find tables tough at the best of times, and I'm not sure I'd be able to accurately insert the checkmarks where I want them to go. What if we made a petition-like list, as you say, for the people who don't want to edit the table itself, and then some wiki-facile person transferred that input into the table format? I'm sure there is someone here who could do it without too much pain.
If you want to make the petition Pharos, feel free to go ahead and do it -- I don't have any objections, although I would like to see the input transferred afterwards. Thanks Sue Gardner 11:40, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Just clarifying: this isn't binding, it's a consultation[edit]

Geoff mentioned to me the other day that he hopes people here aren't going to make the assumption that this table will be binding. He said that because there are some conditions, or criteria, that the Wikimedia Foundation could not waive even if it wanted to. He is of course correct in saying that. So for example: if everybody here unanimously agreed that "demonstrating compliance with local laws governing your type of organization" should not be a criterion for determining whether an organization could payment process, that would not mean that the Wikimedia Foundation wouldn't require compliance all the same, because that compliance is an example of the type of condition that the Wikimedia Foundation could not waive. I think that is probably understood by everyone here, but because Geoff raised it, I wanted to just make it explicit.

I don't expect anyone here to necessarily know what's legally required, though. The purpose of this table as I see it, is a kind of straw poll. I am making it, to be honest, in part because I can't always tell how people are responding to the various criteria we are currently using. The Wikimedia Foundation currently asks payment processors and grantees to adhere to certain criteria and standards. Some people seem to believe that's an obvious part of the Wikimedia Foundation's role, and have no problem with it. Other people though, sometimes seem irked or resentful about it, like 'it is none of the Wikimedia Foundation's business whether we [do x].' So one purpose of this table is to surface everyone's views, as a kind of straw poll. If there turns out to be a big gap between what the Wikimedia Foundation thinks and what everybody else believes, we would talk about that gap. If there is lack-of-consensus all over the place, with multiple players and groups in disagreement, then we would talk about that. Thanks. Sue Gardner 12:03, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Context please?[edit]

So, I now understand the overall goal of this exercise, but I have a few specific questions. I believe these are areas where others might be confused as well, as I assume they draw off of prior discussions. I wonder if Sue, or anybody with a clear understanding, could add a few links for context, because I don't know what exactly is meant by "payment processing", or by several of the items in the legend (specifically, items 6 and 7). I added a link to the strategic plan summary to item 11; that's the sort of linking that I think would be helpful. -Pete F 14:01, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Disseminating large amounts of money to individuals?[edit]

I find it a bit odd that there's rows for 'individual seeking more than US$500K' in this table, and to a somewhat lesser degree also 'individual seeking US$100-500K'. I can't see reasons why individuals would be asking Wikimedia for that level of funds to be awarded to themselves; that's the level where things should really be going through either a Wikimedia organisation (either foundation or chapter), or another organisation, rather than being entrusted to an individual. Can anyone suggest examples where this might be applicable? Mike Peel 14:02, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I can't :-) If nobody else can, you could probably just delete them; they're probably not necessary. Thanks Mike Sue Gardner 15:18, 16 November 2011 (UTC)[reply]