Grants talk:APG/Proposals/2012-2013 round1/Wikimedia UK/Proposal form

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Wikimedia UK received a funds allocation in the amount of 536,336 in 2012-2013 Round 1. This funds allocation was recommended by the Funds Dissemination Committee on 15 November 2012 and approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 1 December 2012.


Please note that the proposals are now closed to community response. Thanks to all for your engagement with the Community Review process, and for your questions. FDC members, FDC staff, and entity representatives will still be communicating on these discussion pages over the next few weeks, but entities will not be responding to questions from anyone other than the FDC or FDC Staff.


This page should be used to discuss the entity’s submitted proposal. This includes asking questions about the content of the proposal form, asking for clarifications on this proposal, and discussing any other issues relating to the proposal itself.

To discuss other components of this proposal please refer to the discussion links below.

  • This proposal has not yet been created.
  • This proposal form has not yet been created.
  • Staff proposal assessments have not yet been published for this round.
  • FDC recommendation discussion page: discuss the recommendation that the FDC gives to the Board regarding all requests.
  • Board decision discussion page: discuss the board's decision.
  • An impact report has not yet been submitted for this funds allocation.



I apologise for some of the formatting being a bit rough. The FDC form is a bit of a brute and would not easily be coaxed into submission. I hope those interested will follow the links in the narrative to our substantive documents that explain the background. Thanks in advance for your interest.Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 09:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Clarifying questions from the FDC staff[edit]

Hi WMUK -- thanks for submitting the proposal. The FDC staff would like to ask a few questions to get further clarity on your proposal. We'll continue to do so over the next weeks while we review the proposals that have been submitted.

First, a few pieces of information that we are trying to collect / confirm from each entity:

  • Please confirm the following amounts (in USD):
    • Current year budget (spending) $541,134
    • Proposed year budget $1,365,242
    • Current year grants received $398,485 (amount retained from the fundraiser, roughly, when translated from GBP to USD)
    • Proposed year funds requested $919,868
  • Please provide your chapter’s cash reserve position
    • How much do you have in your reserves now?

£85,000 reserved until September 2013 Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

    • How much do you expect to have by the start of the planning year period?

£238,200 best current estimate (including the above 'reserves'). Slightly above Charity Commission recommended minimum but not a generous amount.Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:07, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Please explain here how WMUK defines "cash reserve". Thanks, Wolliff (talk) 22:09, 23 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Spending and revenues. Can you explain why projected spending is greater than projected revenues for current year? Are reserves being drawn down?

We drew some funds from reserves to pay for our fundraising and membership development post.

  • Key initiatives.
    • Please talk more about the small grants program which seeks to improve content -- how will this work? Who will be receiving grants, and how will this result in improved content?

The small grants programme improves content by giving community members the resources they need to purchase a work of reference, visit an important location to research or take photos, or be present at a conference to learn and share information. This is then fed into their editing and creation of articles. The grants will be given to editors or in exceptional circumstances could involve potential editors but the success criteria will include their record as wikimedians.

    • Can you talk more about the initiative of "extending our reach to under represented groups"? How best will you identify and engage these groups?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Meerachary TBG (talk)

There are three groups that we have identified as being important targets . Women, BEM groups and the LGBT community. We are working with girlgeeks to develop links with potential female editors and have held special events such as our collaboration with the Royal Society over Ada Lovelace day. This year (2012) we are participating for the first time in the UK Black History Month and hope this will lead to flourishing links.

There is interest in work in the UK's LGBT community. There were international discussions at Wikimania. We intend to follow these up.

Initial response[edit]

Hi Meera. If you refer to "Table 1" and "Table 3: details", you should be able to see the following (some small inaccuracies may exist because we have worked in GBP):
  • This WMUK financial year began on 1 February 2012 and will end on 31 January 2013. As of 1 October 2012, we were 8 months into our financial year.
  • The spending budget for the whole of this financial year was set at $1,038,269 during the planning that took place prior to the start of this financial year.
  • For the reasons outlined, at this point in time, we have revised down our projection to indicate a spend of only $877,038 during the full financial year.
  • Up to 1 October 2012, the first 8 months or 2/3 of this financial year, we have actually spent $457,000 (i.e. 52% of $877,038 - this is not 67% as our spending profile is end-of-year loaded))
  • Up to 1 October 2012, we would have expected to have spent approximately $540,000 (i.e. 52% of $1,038,269), but we spent less for the reasons outlined.
  • The variance in Table 3 is the variance to date between the actual spend-to-date of $457,000 and the expected spend-to-date of $540,000. The reasons outlined included a late start for the employment of new staff and a late start for the Euopeana Project (which now creates an additional commitment into our next financial year).
This part of the form was confusing because the figure of $541,134 had the hidden comment "Year to date planned spending (in $US)" but displays under a heading of "Current fiscal year planned budget", although it is in a section titled "Year-to-date progress". As you can see, it was taken to be the amount we expected to have spent by 1 October 2012, bearing in mind our spending profile which indicates a spend of 52% in the first 8 months. I hope that clears up any misconception about our planned, expected, and actual spends for the first 8 months of our financial year 1 Feb 2012 to 31 Jan 2013. Perhaps you could clarify whether the figures for which you are asking confirmation refer to last financial year? (e.g. last year's fundraiser was in our previous financial year), this current financial year? (1 Feb 2012 to 31 Jan 2013) or to our next financial year? - as we seem to have a difference in when our accounting periods begin. Thanks in advance, --RexxS (talk) 17:58, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Post script: it may make things clearer if you understand that WMUK has received nothing in grants so far during our current financial year (1 Feb 2012 to 31 Jan 2013). The figure you quote as "Current year grants received $398,485 (amount retained from the fundraiser, roughly, when translated from GBP to USD)" clearly cannot be accurate as we are not participating in the fundraiser in the current financial year. --RexxS (talk) 18:15, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks RexxS -- that explanation does make sense on the spending side. The numbers we were looking for were for the current year-in-progress (for you, 1 Feb 2012 - 31 Jan 2013) so the numbers you provided make sense. (We'll make the form clearer in the future -- what we wanted in the "current fiscal year planned budget" part of the table was your original budget, and then the "year-to-date actuals" would reflect the revisions down in projected spending that you explained below the table.) It looks like some of the delayed projects and hires that contributed to this downward-revised budget are being pushed to 2013 fiscal year. Do you have plans in place to make these projects happen, to overcome the challenges you faced this year? Thanks for your responses. Meerachary TBG (talk) 03:28, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Meera. We actually hired our Office Manager (Richard) first, to get the location up and running. As I understand it, the plan was to add further staff soon after at the same time as the Chief Exec was appointed to manage them all. We were then advised that it would be better to appoint the Chief Exec before any further staff to allow him a hand in building the team. That was good advice, but led to the other staff appointments taking place later in our financial year than intended, yielding that underspend. Now that we have Jon in place to advise us on managing an expansion of staff, I do not expect us to run into the same problem again. The Europeana project is a different challenge to plan for. We are firmly committed to cooperative projects with other chapters and we will carry on supporting that project as long as it runs. However, the budget and planning becomes a shared responsibility of several chapters, so there will sometimes be delays beyond our control which can move our spending into the following financial year. I suspect that in future we will want to earmark some of each year's underspend to cover our commitments that slip in that manner. I don't anticipate it causing a problem as long as we recognise that some of our "apparent reserves" at year end are actually already-committed spend. I'm sure John Byrne, our Treasurer, will keep us on the right track. --RexxS (talk) 14:47, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
In response to the Post script. Understood that nothing has been raised in your current fiscal year (2/2012-1/2013) -- the $398,485 (which was taken from your 2011 financial statements) was meant to be what was retained in 2011 largely for use in 2012 (given that the fundraiser has the highest yield in Oct - January). Does the number make sense in that context? What we are trying to get at is the amount of funds retained that are being applied to the current WMUK fiscal year budget. What is the best number to use in that case? Thanks again for your responsiveness! Meerachary TBG (talk) 18:07, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Pardon my refactoring, Meera, but it's all too easy to miss questions posed "inside" other comments (even if correctly threaded). I don't have on hand the figure you're looking for, so I'll ping the office to see if somebody can get the accurate number for you. I would have expected more than $400K to be carried across from 31 Jan 2012 to 1 Feb 2012, but I might be wrong about that. Sorry for the slow response, one of us will hopefully get back to you here on Monday. --RexxS (talk) 20:52, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm pretty confused. Can the question be asked more clearly? We have had significant funds raised in the current year, which may account for the misunderstanding. About $300K from approximate memory. Johnbod (talk) 23:41, 26 October 2012 (UTC)
Meera asked (in the initial questions) for confirmation of four figures, one of which was "Current year grants received $398,485 (amount retained from the fundraiser, roughly, when translated from GBP to USD)". I explained that the 2011 fundraiser fell into our previous financial year and that we had not received any *grants* during this financial year. I believe that Meera is now asking if that figure would be a reasonable amount to represent what was retained from the fundraiser and carried into this financial year? I speculated that we may have carried forward more than that (as it was the principal source of our income in the last 12 months), but I don't know where that figure would be recorded and was hoping that you or Richard would know. --RexxS (talk) 00:07, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
John has now told me that we had GBP 880,000 in the bank at the end of January 2012 (the end of our last financial year - and effectively all coming from the fundraiser), but GBP 510,000 was then paid to WMF. So I think a reasonable figure for the amount retained from the 2011 fundraiser and used to finance our 2012 budget would therefore be close to GBP 370,000 or $595,000. I hope that's the figure you were looking for. --RexxS (talk) 15:28, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Question about volunteer participation[edit]

Hello WMUK, These are some general questions that I am asking to all the EEs regarding volunteer participation. All the entities have stated in their proposals that low turnover of volunteers in both online and offline activities have been a major obstacle for them. Most of them have also expressed concerns that reducing number of volunteers is a threat to their organizational effectiveness and to the movement as a whole. I feel we need to have short term, midterm and long term plans to tackle this problem.

Does your organization have -

  1. Any short term plan to recruit new volunteers for both online and off line activities?
  2. Any midterm plan to train, motivate and convert them into regular contributors?
  3. Any long term plan to retain them and continue the growth?

If you already have any such plans, please mention them and elaborate how your plan/s is (are) going to achieve the goal of recruiting new volunteers, converting them into regular contributors and retain the volunteers as well as maintain the growth? - Ali Haidar Khan (Tonmoy) (talk) 17:44, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Hello Ali,
The simple answer is yes! - Recruiting online and off line volunteers is fundamental to all we do. We have one year, three, year and five year targets, all subject to revenue of course. The full details are in our 2013 draft plan - see especially section 2.2 - and our draft 3 and 5 year plans especially part 3.1 and 3.2.
Thanks for asking - let me know if you need more detail. Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 13:03, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Problems at WMUK[edit]

I have been troubled by the recent problems I've read about at WMUK. For a summary, see:

I worry that WMUK, far from enhancing Wikimedia's activities in the U.K., is embarrassing and impeding Wikimedia globally. I lack confidence that WMUK can be a good steward of the funds they raise on their own in the U.K., let alone funds the Wikimedia Foundation might send them. I personally don't want to see any of the money I've given the Foundation used to subsidize what looks like a rogue outfit prone to self-dealing.

I am open to reversing my position upon the publication of a searching and fearless outside audit of the organization's finances and operations by a respected, neutral third party from outside the Wikimedia/WMUK world.

A Wikimedia Foundation grant to WMUK now would damage the Foundation's own credibility and hinder its own fundraising (starting with my own donations).
--A. B. (talkcontribsglobal count) 12:38, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

  • Frankly, this is very wild talk. It should be noted that the controversies around Wikimedia UK in recent months do not involve misappropriation of our funds. Some have suggested that relatively small amounts were expended by WMUK in ways that are not appropriate in terms of Wikimedia community norms, but these issues remain very much a matter for debate within the community, and it has not been seriously suggested that such expenditure was improper or illegal. Payments made by WMUK are peripheral to the issues, where they are relevant at all. Our financial procedures have been the subject of two seperate reviews just recently, by our auditors UHY, and by Garfield Byrd, Chief of Finance and Administration of the Wikimedia Foundation, who spent October 8-10 conducting it in our London office. These have been generally favourable as to our financial controls, while pointing to a number of issues where improvements were needed. We hope to make the two reports public shortly, and are agreeing a plan and timetable for the implementation of the recommendations.
We have already announced with WMF the joint commissioning of an independent expert report, which will produce an authoritative account of the recent controversial events, and examine WMUK's handling of them, as well as looking at our internal policies relating to governance and assessing them in the light of applicable law, regulatory guidance, and best practice in the non-profit sector. The scope of the report has been agreed between ourselves and WMF, and when the arrangements with the expert are complete, which should be in a few days, a further announcement will give more details. You may also be interested in the most recent statement by the WMUK board.
It is also worth noting that the money requested from the FDC represents well under half of the expected income from the UK for this year's WMF fundraiser, so if you care to think of it that way, it is not your dollars we are seeking, but some of our pounds.
I hope this helps. (WMUK Trustee, own opinion) Johnbod (talk) 23:03, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
  • By the way, the WMUK board has a lot of healthy behind the scenes debate and the board has a diverse range of viewpoints represented. On our home wiki Water cooler you can see how we are trying to have more of our governance related board debates in public, so that members can see we do not take our collective decisions as trustees lightly and to ensure we understand the views from members that want to participate. Having trustees with a wide spectrum of views makes us robust, flexible and highly aware that we need to keep measuring our decisions against the chapter Values and Mission. As an example, I am happy to pick up on John's "some of our pounds" point above, I recognize this is probably some quick rhetoric, or may be my poor interpretation of his words rather than a strongly held viewpoint of John's, but I do not accept this as a rationale. I have never had the view that fund raiser monies can be thought of as being "owned" by the UK chapter just because they may be donated by someone living in the UK or because we work hard to ensure the fund raiser is a success. I see all the money from donations as being the Wikimedia movement's to make best use of, and the UK chapter is a convenient way to help make good things happen, but not the only way (WMUK Trustee, own opinion). :-) Cheers -- (talk) 04:45, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think of it that way, nor do I see how what I said can be interpreted to suggest I do, but I was picking up on his language. Johnbod (talk) 11:44, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks John, I'm happy we see the world from the same viewpoint. :-) -- (talk) 12:26, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Ludicrously overstaffed, gargantuan budget[edit]

WMF should zero out all the chapters starting with problem child WMUK and figure out a new way to spend its millions in a way that actually develops the encyclopedia. Where is our WYSIWYG editing software?!?! 24.20.128.148 20:39, 16 October 2012 (UTC) —User:Carrite on En-WP.

Coming apparently, but nothing to do with WMUK. Thank you for your query. Johnbod (talk) 22:44, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
This is a rather Spartan view of parenting - stick the problem child on a rock and let it die? Whatever happened to nurturing? It worked for my kids. Sore nipples alone would have done for them on this basis. Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 11:10, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
The Spartans had rather progressive and effective ideas on how best to nurture young men, so let's not rush to defame their long gone society. You may be relieved to know that I'm not planning on recreating anything along these lines a LGBT friendly proposal for the Chapter... :-) -- (talk) 12:34, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
Why on earth would I care the least bit about that? —Tim /// 24.20.128.148 19:43, 17 October 2012 (UTC)
@Jon. You can buy a lot of nurturing for a million bucks... The problem with WMUK is too much money too soon for too few with too little oversight. Blow it up, start over. 24.20.128.148 19:46, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

It's pretty clear that there were some growing pains this year. For outsiders who haven't looked in great detail at the controversies, I think it's natural for them to be skeptical. I don't think it's a good idea to throw the baby out with the bathwater, or in this case more like, throwing out the teenager with the occasional family misunderstanding. For the skeptics, I'd emphasize looking at what the chapter has done with GLAMs and cooperation with other chapters and Wiki groups. Can the Brits promise not to get too upset by the skeptics? And to prove them wrong with next year's performance?

(An outsider) Smallbones (talk) 01:26, 19 October 2012 (UTC)


Quantitative goals[edit]

I love quantitative goals (e.g "membership will increase by 10%+"). It looks like your 5-year plan (with the included 3 year plan) has almost enough quantitative goals to satisfy me, but the incomplete 1 year plan at [1] has almost none. Will it have even more than the 5 year plan? BTW, how much do you expect membership to increase? Smallbones (talk) 01:26, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

I love them too especially if they combine realism with ambition. This has been a very busy year where we have been trying out a lot of things as a new organisation with staff joining every so often, projects starting up, and masses to do. The spread of our activities has been very good. Some have worked well, others need reviewing. I will be putting clear targets against all our activities, and starting cost benefit analysis of our programmes.
With regard to your specific question we reached 300 members at last year's AGM but it has slipped back a little owing to glitches in our client management system. We have a curious system where people are allowed a six month grace period - this is surely insane - as of today we have 250 paid up members with renewals coming in every day. I would expect this to grow back to the 330 mark and would hope that by the next AGM in June we have exceeded this.
Serious point though I want more volunteers, whether they make the membership pledge or not. We have two newbies coming in this afternoon who want to edit with a little support. I am not going to press them for their fivers.(yet!) Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 10:45, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

My concerns[edit]

I would like to share two concerns that I have raised with WMUK that I do not feel have been resolved.

First, is staff costs. WMUK's plan (and general accounting practice) has staff costs completely separate from everything else. No attempt is made to allocate the staff costs to the things staff are actually doing. This makes it impossible to know the true cost of anything and, therefore, impossible to know if it is value for money. Jon Davies (CE) has consistently refused to implement any kind of monitoring of what staff are spending their time on. I don't think that money can be granted to an organisation for spending on staff unless that organisation will be able to accurately report on how that money was spent, which WMUK is not currently able to do. Secondly, I think the plan is far too ambitious. WMUK has a lot of problems it needs to sort out over the next year. The independent review will take up a lot of time (although that should mostly be this fiscal year) and then the report will need to be carefully considered, discussed within the chapter, with members, with the WMF, with the wider community, etc. Decisions will need to be made about which recommendations to accept and how to implement them. Then they will actually need to be implemented. The chapter also needs to spend a lot of time on the five year plan, which has pretty much completely stalled at the moment because everyone has been too busy to do anything about it. Doing all of these things properly will take up a lot of time. There simply won't be time to do everything in this plan as well. They have reduced some of the planned spending from the initial budget, but they haven't actually removed anything they are planning on doing - they just plan on doing it all cheaper. That will either result in things being done badly or going over budget. (Unless the initial budget was just massively inflated.) I think WMUK has a lot of potential, but it needs to spend the next year focusing on getting its house in order, not on expanding its programme work. --Tango (talk) 17:53, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

The truth is we don't actually know what the programme will be until we see the FDC settlement. At that point I will offer the board suggestions and final measures. One of the key drivers of activities is staff resources. This helps organise events and activities that draw and develop our volunteer community. Friday's Ada Lovelace event is a good example. Sixty people editing and volunteers on hand to make it all work.
I am certainly not against assessing staff tine against projects but this needs to be done in a sensible manner that is manageable. I have managed staff groups ranging from 1 to 9,000 and seen just about every sort of time sheet in the world. The staff of WMUK are working well, flexibly and to great effect. I am very proud of them. They get in early, leave late, go to events in the evenings and weekends and love what they do. If I start asking them to do 35 hour a week timesheets two things will most likely happen; firstly they will start realising that they are part of the oppressed masses and might start calculating their time off in lieu - mine was 15 hours last week - (should I have stopped working on Wednesday?), secondly they will waste huge amounts of time. I have been in now for four hours and have done about nine different things, not all of which are easy to label.
I think a happy medium is to do an assessment, regularly re-visited of percentage time spent on major areas of work. This is something for the staff team to work on. We have an admin support coming soon and this will help a lot.
Finally it is very difficult to come to good cost benefit analysis when much of what we do has 'soft' outcomes and only proxy indicators will let us know if we are being successful. Train the Trainers we can measure the number of people trained but the real benefit will be seen in terms of how many training sessions they deliver and to how many people and how many edits and pages those people produce and for how long..... Enough - activity number 10 starts in 30 seconds. (This message took 20 minutes with interruptions)Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 11:04, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Questions about current cash position and monthly spending patterns[edit]

Please clarify WMUK's cash position and usual monthly expenditures.

  1. What is WMUK's current cash position (as of 30 September 2012)? In other words, what is the total balance in all of WMUK's accounts (including operating reserves and cash for WMUK's programs and operations)?
  2. What are WMUK's typical monthly expenditures? We would like a sense of about how much money WMUK spends in an ordinary month during the current fiscal year.

Let us know if the questions above require any additional clarification. Thank you, Wolliff (talk) 21:29, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for asking Wolliff. I'm Wikimedia UK's Office Manager, so I deal with the day-to-day 'operational level' finances. To answer your questions:
  1. On 30 September, we had £315,968, spread between two current accounts and one 12 month bond, with two more twelve-month bonds in the process of being opened. These will hold no more than £85,000 each, and will be held with different banks, so that we remain covered by the UK Government Financial Services Compensation Scheme. There is also a small amount (less than £2500) spread between staff debit cards, petty cash, and in our PayPal account. Please let me know if you need any clarification or a further breakdown.
  2. Our monthly expenditure was £16,016 in February 2012, at the start of the year, and is planned to be £64,424 in October 2012. This large change is because of the growth that the Chapter has undergone, and is primarily due to new staff hires, and an expanding education outreach program. Our budget (and spend to date in each budget line) is viewable publicly here, which includes, in Row 37, a breakdown of our total spend in each month. Again, if you'd like a more thorough breakdown, or explanations of any high/low spends, please let me know. I'm more than happy to help. Richard Symonds (WMUK) (talk) 11:14, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Ratio salary/non salary cost[edit]

In this year budget you intend to spend 517 KUSD on salaries in a total budget or around 1365 KUSD (ie 38% of your cost is related to salary. Could you elobarate what the other type of costs (?office space, travel?) is intended to be spend on?.Anders Wennersten (talk) 07:45, 24 October 2012 (UTC)

Isn't that available at wmuk:2013_Activity_Plan#Office_rent down? -- KTC (talk) 10:14, 24 October 2012 (UTC)
Anders, KTC is right it is all there in fine detail. If you want even more detail email richard.symonds(_AT_)wikimedia.org.uk. We make all our expenditure and payments public Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 08:56, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Issues with Wikimedia employee salaries, costs and Wikimedia UK[edit]

For those interested here was a discussion (now archived) I started on the Wikimedia Forum last year. Nirvana2013 (talk) 10:16, 30 March 2013 (UTC)