Talk:Fundraising/2020-21 Report

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Thank you for reading the report. We are happy to share information about fundraising at the Wikimedia Foundation and look forward to your feedback. We will respond to comments and questions to the best of our ability. In some cases, we may not be able to provide all data requested for a number of possible reasons, including the privacy and protection of our users and donors, security considerations, data limitations, and the team's capacity. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by TSkaff (WMF) (talk)


Questions about report[edit]

@TSkaff (WMF): Thank you for posting the report. A few things:
  • This is a perennial request, but can we get a list of donation amount by country?
  • The chart and the text say different amounts for the major gifts: The pie chart says $18.3M, the text says $18.4.
  • Could the team post:
    • ...the full text of the emails sent to donors?
    • ...the amount of emails sent?
    • ...a list of all banners used? Perhaps with the performance of each?
    • ...a breakdown of the "Other" category, used in the pie chart?
    • ...the stats from the "Did you enjoy this email?" survey?
Thanks. --Yair rand (talk) 21:24, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(This is also the second consecutive year with drastic decreases in Africa ($236,004 -> $145,880 -> $61,999) and increases in Asia ($2.9M -> $4.6M -> $7.8M). Might be worthwhile to say something about that.) --Yair rand (talk) 21:32, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your questions. We have seen them and will get back to you in the next week. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:42, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear Yair,
Thank you for reading the report. A few responses below to your questions:
  • We do not have public data to publish on the country breakdown of donations. The explanation was originally given in the 2015 Fundraising report and is due to privacy, security and other legal reasons.  
  • Thank you for flagging! This turned out to be a rounding error in the pie chart and has now been fixed.
  • You can find an example of a fundraising email we recently sent here. Please note that this is an example and as we are constantly testing different variants, not every donor will have seen this specific email. We cannot reasonably share performances and statistics, we do not have the capacity to share this publicly. We do publish example banners as well as the banners that are predominantly used during a campaign, prior to the campaign here.
  • The biggest portion of the donations in the “Other” category come from the Wikipedia sidebar, followed by portal banners on www.wikipedia.org, and donations made on the Wikimedia Foundation page. This category also includes donations from the Wikimedia Foundation’s “Ways to Give” page, Wikipedia app, social media platforms, anonymous gifts, spontaneous (e.g., visiting donate.wikimedia.org directly), as well as offline donations.
  • The reader satisfaction rating was a new feature added to our Thank You email campaign last fiscal year. Over 57K recipients responded to our reader satisfaction rating feature. Reader satisfaction was measured on a spectrum of emojis.The colour, expression and order of the emojis represent negative to positive reader satisfaction. 96% of our respondents selected a (light or dark) green smiley face, indicating a high rate of positive feedback.
While we run fundraising campaigns each year in most of our fundraising countries, we do adjust campaign schedules for a variety of reasons including local scheduling optimization, accommodating Wikimedia community banner campaigns, and team capacity. Some countries did not receive a full fundraising campaign in FY20-21 (often campaigns straddle two fiscal years) which led to revenue differences year to year. This year was also the first year running a campaign in India, which led to an increase in revenue in the region. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:40, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions with regard to Endowment aspect of report[edit]

Thanks, @TSkaff (WMF):.
  1. You say, "We raised $18.9 million USD to the Wikimedia Endowment in the past year and reached $102.5 million USD."
  2. Will any part of the $18.9 million raised for the Endowment appear in the audited WMF financial statements, either as revenue, as an asset or as an expense?
  3. I believe that as in past years, the WMF also used part of its ordinary donations revenue to make a $5M grant to the Endowment. (If I recall correctly, there was a board decision to that effect.) Is that $5M grant in addition to the $18.9M?
  4. Will these $5M appear in both the support and expense sections of the audited financial statements?
  5. Where can people see audited accounts for the Endowment fund?
  6. The report says, "Chapter Gifts include reader gifts made through Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia Switzerland." Does the "Chapter Gifts" category include anything else?
In addition, I'd like to second the questions Yair asked above. Thanks, --Andreas JN466 19:06, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your questions. We have seen them and will get back to you in the next week. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:42, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear Andreas,
Thank you for reading the report. Please find responses to your questions:
1. In fiscal year 2020-2021, we received direct donations to the Endowment totalling $18.9 million. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation made a $5 million grant, bringing the total new additions to the Endowment to $23.9 million. Investment performance accounts for the remaining funds that brought the total fund value to $102.5 million at the close of the fiscal year.
2. We have previously answered this on the 2019 Form 990 talk page and it has been added to the Form 990 FAQs.
3. This is answered in question 1 above.
4.  We have answered this previously here.
5. Tides publishes its audited financial statements on their site, but they do not break out the individual funds in their reporting. Once the Endowment has been established as its own 501(c)(3) organization, we will update the FAQs on how the reporting works.
6. No
JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:43, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you, Julia. So you're saying the missing $15.7 million is made up of the investment performance of the fund that stood at $62.9 million at the start of the financial year and reached $90 million around January? That is equivalent to an annual ROI of around 20%, which I believe is quite exceptional (usually 7% to 10% is considered "good"). Am I correct?
Answer 2 means (please correct me if I am wrong) that the $18.9 million raised for the Endowment are pass-through donations that will not be included in the audited WMF financial statements, either as revenue, asset or expense.
Answer 4 means (please correct me if I am wrong) that the $5 million paid to the Endowment will be included in the audited financial statements under Support and Revenue, and will also be included among Expenses, under Awards and Grants.
As for Answer 5, the arrangement strikes me as lacking in transparency. I hope this will improve rather than remain the same with the new organisation. Thanks for clarifying 6 (I guess this part of the report would be more clearly worded as "Chapter gifts are reader gifts ..."), and indeed thanks for all your answers, as always. Best regards, --Andreas JN466 13:00, 12 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The S&P 500 is up 19,9 % year-to-date as of today, so it's not particularly difficult to get such a surplus now. Performance needs to be measured in the long-term. Nemo 14:56, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion[edit]

Thanks for the report. could you please add it as a supplemental unaudited statement to the financial report? (or link it)
Exceeding plan is a good problem to have; could you incorporate some benchmarking to similar fundraising efforts such as PBS? --Slowking4 (talk) 21:49, 29 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you Slowking4 for the benchmarking idea. We will take this into consideration for future reports. You can find the WMF’s financial reports here. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:07, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cryptocurrencies[edit]

@TSkaff (WMF): Is it possible to know any or all of the following:

  • The total $ value of donations made in cryptocurrencies
  • The total number of donors who opted to donate cryptocurrency
  • Which cryptocurrencies were donated (preferably with information about total value and number of donors using each)

Thanks in advance! GorillaWarfare (talk) 23:49, 6 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi GorillaWarfare, I have seen your questions and am gather more information for you. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:09, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wonderful, thank you! GorillaWarfare (talk) 16:14, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi @GorillaWarfare,
Thank you for your questions. Please see the answers below:
  • The total $ value of donations made in cryptocurrencies
    • In the last financial year we received $130,100.94 worth of donations in cryptocurrencies. Crypto was around 0.08% of our revenue last year, and it remains one of our smallest revenue channels.
  • The total number of donors who opted to donate cryptocurrency
    • In the last financial years we had 347 donors who used the cryptocurrency option.
  • Which cryptocurrencies were donated (preferably with information about total value and number of donors using each)
    • In the last financial year the most used cryptocurrency was Bitcoin. We have never held cryptocurrency, and spot-convert donations daily into fiat currency (USD), which doesn’t have a significant environmental impact.
Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:56, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): Thank you! GorillaWarfare (talk) 19:55, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As there is an ongoing discussion about stopping to accept donations via crypto currencies I am wondering how this number has been evolved over the years and if there is a trend. Is it easily possible for @JBrungs (WMF) to get the report from Bitpay for all the years since we started accepting crypto currencies? --Renepick (talk) 20:29, 17 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the follow up question. We started accepting cryptocurrencies back in 2014 and since then it has remained one of our smallest revenue portions each year. We do not currently have plans to promote cryptocurrency as a donation method, or prioritize its growth as a revenue stream. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 15:02, 19 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Investment questions[edit]

@TSkaff (WMF): I have four questions, please: 1. How much does the Foundation, including through the Endowment and any other funds or investment holdings, invest in real estate, including real estate investment trusts, real estate funds, equity primarily holding real estate, debt from entities primarily holding real estate, or futures or options positions on such funds or companies? 2. Do such investments tend to increase the cost of real estate on the market? 3. Is the Foundation amenable to divesting from investments which increase the cost of real estate? 4. Is the Endowment (which I know has REITs) so willing? New4Q (talk) 09:10, 11 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for your questions New4Q. The Foundation and Endowment’s investments are managed and governed separately. For the Foundation, our investments are principally in cash, stocks, and bonds. Our investments are broken into three funds: 1.) The Operating Fund, which is primarily cash and money market investments, 2.) the short term reserve fund, which is primarily short duration fixed income investments (principally bonds) and 3.) the long term reserve fund, which is a mix of fixed income and equity investments (principally stocks). Our investment policy does allow for REITs, but they do not currently make up a significant amount of our portfolio. You can find more details on WMF’s Investment policy here. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:09, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions about research and feedback[edit]

@TSkaff (WMF) and JBrungs (WMF): - 2 questions. is there any research done to those who have donated before but not this year? Or even better, non-donors? It's not very surprising that those willing to give us money rated us highly! What do you mean by We cannot reasonably share performances and statistics, we do not have the capacity to share this publicly [my stress]? For most organisations obviously it would be a terrible idea to share this stuff publicly, but for us, it doesn't seem reusuable by others in a way that would impact our fundraising success. Or if it genuinely is capacity, I can understand it being a bit of a faff to share everything that got trialled earlier in the year, but we aren't very fussy in how we would get the data for the main campaign banners. If there's a powerpoint you used internally, uploading that on commons and pointing us to it would suffice. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:38, 11 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Could I ask what changed with South America? They went from $40k to over $1m - interested to see if it was the same methodology that just hit better or if a different strategy was used. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:14, 11 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @Nosebagbear: IIRC they changed the scheduling or something (I think?), so there basically wasn't a fundraising campaign in South America for 2019-20. For comparison, South America donated 668K in 2018-19. --Yair rand (talk) 17:49, 11 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for your questions Nosebagbear. Yes, the fundraising team relies on surveys and other feedback channels. Here are some examples of past research: Lake report English countries from 2017, Lake report Japan from 2016, Lake report English countries from 2015, Lake report US from 2015.  We look forward to sharing more insights in future reporting. In the meantime, we appreciate your feedback and any ideas you may have to better reach our readers.

The banners and messaging we test are a lot and very complex. We do not have the capacity to create reporting for every version of banners and emails used in each campaign. We continue to engage with questions on this report as well as publishing examples of banners and email materials on meta in the run up to the campaigns and in our regular meta updates.

With regards to South America, we ran a successful campaign there in April/May 2021. While we run fundraising campaigns each year in most of our fundraising countries, we do adjust campaign schedules for a variety of reasons including local scheduling optimization, accommodating Wikimedia community banner campaigns, and team capacity. Some countries do not receive a full fundraising campaign each year (often campaigns straddle two fiscal years) while others did, which leads to revenue differences year to year.

Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:13, 13 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]