Talk:Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Recommendations/Archives/2012-02

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Recommendation 3 is unclear

WMF supports the fundraising of the chapters outside the wikis of WMF, but what is unclear are:

  1. may they use the logos?
  2. may they receive a grant to organize their own fundraising

It seems to me that the answers to these two points may put all the recommendations in conflict each other for instance the fundraising is not a commercial use of the logos (the fundraising is based in donations and the donations are not commercial). --Ilario 20:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I've requested feedback on this. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 15:26, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Ilario. Sorry for the delay, but I needed to chase down some information to answer the second question.
With respect to your first question, under the trademark policy, "[a] Chapter is also permitted to use Wikimedia Marks to engage in noncommercial fundraising (e.g., solicitation of donations and grants), so long as the Chapter has completed organizing itself as an independent legal entity under its local government, and so long as it has met the other requirements of the Chapters Committee, an independent committee staffed by Wikimedia volunteers." I read this provision as clearly permitting use of chapter logos for chapter fundraising. Other trademarks arguably could be used as long as they don't mislead donors that they are giving to the Wikimedia Foundation or to the specific Projects that the trademarks represent. Including clarifying language might address this concern.
On the second question, we can give chapters grants to support a fundraising activity or to build their fundraising capacity or both.

Geoffbrigham 23:51, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposals for funds allocation

There is a lot of discussion above on funds processing but very little on funds allocation. Here are my proposals for what the WMF should do next year to open up funds allocation:

Create different committees each with different objectives and give them the authority to approve grants up to a certain limit. Each committee has freedom to decide who to give the money to and to decide what level of reporting they require from applicants. At the end of the year review the different committees and score them on what they were successful.

Funds allocation committees to include

  • national chapters who don't funds process
  • some language wikipedias
  • committee dedicated to only funding new ideas

Anyone else got ideas? Filceolaire 00:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

No, but +1 --Angel54 5 00:55, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Just a quick note to say I am interested in this and would like people to continue discussing it -- I agree with Filceolaire that it would be great to have more focused energy and attention on the issue of funds allocation. I would love people to continue discussing it here, and I would love us to find a way to bring together the various fragments of discussion that are currently happening simultaneously, on a page Erik made, one made by Christophe, and one by Thomas. Thanks Sue Gardner 01:26, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Ok. thought about it for a while. As I said, its nearly impossible to make proposals for interesting projects, and the WMF should decide, if that project is senseless or not and to allocate money for that kind of work. It would be nearly the same, as if I - as a German - should decide if a project to take photographs in the desert Gobi out of archeological reasons (just a construction) should be supported or not. So u just have to leave that to some local authorities. Means to me: that structure has to be open in the next future - but: it has to be organized as well. Local commitees would be helpful for funds allocation. So ur way in Recommendation No. 4 to let this one open, doesnt organize that much. If the construction leaves everything to chance, than there will be no progress.
Thats why Im thinking that fundraising on the one hand and funds allocation on the other have to go quite different ways, to be effective.--Angel54 5 17:44, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
  • PS.: One additional question, what about budgeting? There are sections built in wikipedias, what about giving a budget and the money they dont use within a year falls back into a separate pot again (i.g. if they arent developing ideas for a useful purpose to spent the money). Now grants are given to chapters (or using that 50/50 model, I also think wont work in the long run). This has nothing to do with fair use, cause it doesnt support authors (there is a triple chain built in: The WMF -> the Chapters -> the wikipedias). If u try budgeting u would have two effects, first, that people feel responsible for their budget and will try to use it careful. Second, they wont have the impression, that they do all the "free" work and get "nothing" in return, cause the overhead (sorry for this phrase, cause its a bit simplified, I know) eats away all those funds that are raised. One could start small with such a project, it could be tested first and that does also mean that the thematic sections (lets say natural science) have to make a summarized review, where the money went and report about this at the end of a period.--Angel54 5 22:00, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

This model is developed around the main thought, that each person giving funds asks, how they will benefit the basis. Means, if I give away my money for lets say the earthquake in Haiti, Ill try to make sure, that my sort of help is given to an organization with the lowest percentage of overhead - and perhaps I get angry, if Im getting a postal "thank you note" in return, cause that was wasting my money then. --Angel54 5 22:24, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Last appendix - I do think (thinking the small one further) there is a lot u could save, if u ask about tax withing the fund raising process (a small square to cross). Most people with smaller donors dont even need a donation receipt, cause they are not bound to make a tax declaration in Germany (I dont know how this is handled in other countries).--Angel54 5 22:48, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Overheads with Global Collect?

I'm curious to know what the overheads are on donations received by Global Collect, and whether they vary depending on the donation mechanism, country, etc. Is this information available anywhere? (I can't spot it on their website). Perhaps the answer could be added to Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Recommendations/Q and A? (My question's prompted by Philippe adding q&a's about global collect there.) Thanks. Mike Peel 19:08, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Let me see what (or who) I can find, Mike. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 20:40, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Mike - Maggie pinged me on this one. I'm not sure, I'll check with Zack.  :) Philippe (WMF) 20:42, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
The processing fees are equivalent to other payment processors such as PayPal or PayPal's PayFlowPro. There are no big cuts taken by Global Collect or anyone else as with some other international payment method solutions. If there's no contractual or business reason why we can't publish the fee structure, we could do that. But it might take us a while, because we're just real busy now and are losing a bunch of our fundraising staff who were only signed on for the campaign. As always, we'll be trying to negotiate the lowest possible rates with all our payment providers, so that's the only thing I could see getting in the way of us publishing the numbers: the companies might not want us to advertise the discounts they're giving us. Zackexley 21:31, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
So we're talking around 5% of the donations received, then? Or more or less? Even the average overall numbers here would be really useful. (Understand completely about being really busy, and sympathise - it's always the same everywhere within Wikimedia...) Thanks. Mike Peel 22:37, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment I'll check with Zack. The SOPA blackout was pretty all consuming, but I'll see if I can find out now if the fee structure is publishable. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 12:50, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Just to update, this is still in the works. I think some answer should be forthcoming within a few days. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:42, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

For November and December our total expenses invoiced by Global Collect were $324,543.07, for a total of almost 439,000 donations, collecting over $9.6M (amounts from 11/1-01/6). The break down below is mostly rounded up numbers as fee schedule doesn't break down evenly, but they are really good approximate of the total numbers.

Donation method Expenses Donations
Bank Transfer
Bank Transfer $4,849.81 10,956
Bpay $4,040.90 2,377
Webmoney $327.13 4,803
Real time
IDEAL $12,226.91 17,221
DirectEbanking $256.72 1,164
EPS $88.47 89
Credit Cards
Discover $2,051.76 2,827
Visa $100,828.17 208,547
MasterCard $47,989.94 101,751
Amex $19,931.09 15,646
JCB $158.74 150
Flat rates & network expenses $114,838.11
Inquiries/reporting/account $4,120.04
3D Secure-India Validation $12,833.81

(data from 11/01-12/31)

As for PayFlowPro + PayPal (which includes PayFlowPro credit cards, PayPal and PayPal recurring donations[1]) the November expenses were $166,883.73[2], for a total of almost 625,000 donations and collecting over $12.7M (these numbers are for Nov/Dec).

[1] We are currently unable to separate both reports

[2] This is a partial amount as it displays only November expenses. We haven't closed the books yet for December.

Ppena (WMF) 22:36, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Personal view on why I believe this is important

I wrote this on Internal-L the other day in response to a question about whether people believed that this was so controversial because of the issue of payment processing alone, or whether there was a broader issue behind it. I was asked to put it here as well. :-) My opinion on the matter of the recommendations, especially recommendation #1, is that for a long time I have argued that the WMF should be moving (over the course of many years obviously) to the position where all money raised by the fundraiser should come via Chapters - including the mythical WM-USA. This builds movement-capacity, accountability, professionalism, and local programmatic visibility.

On wiki, we've always encouraged people to take on responsibilities - real responsibilities not just token badges - to those who've proved their qualities and earned the trust of the community. The community is empowered this way and that's what makes us a movement not just a website. Many Wikimedians are happy contributing by taking featured pictures or writing amazing quality articles about their area of expertise. But some of us feel like our contribution to Wikimedia can also be in a more organisational role. That's my case at least - I'm terrible at wikisyntax but I like doing outreach. So, being involved in a Chapter is a great way to do that. Speaking personally, being involved in the Chapter let me take on responsibilities and that's how I felt empowered to contribute to the movement. And, just like with the responsibilities we give to stewards/oversighters/OTRS etc. those Chapter responsibilities are meaningful not just token roles.

For several years, as the WMF was "growing into its shoes", the Chapters received little assistance (either through financial grants or professional support) but also were largely left to do things however they wanted. Now, as the WMF has matured over the last couple of years, it starts to sound more and more like the WMF would like to take charge of those responsibilities because it now has grown the capacity to do so.

Certainly, it is true that at this moment in time the WMF has the most capacity to look after any given area of the movement's responsibilites e.g. payment processing. But let's take an analogy: Imagine if the WMF said to all the people who work on OTRS that from now on, all OTRS emails would be responded to by staff and that their volunteer services were no longer required because the WMF has a legal responsibility for customer-care. OTRS is not there merely because the WMF didn't have the money to pay for staff to respond to emails in 2003, but because responding to the public's emails is how some of our community are empowered. If the WMF feels that the responsibility to customers isn't being properly fulfilled, rather than simply taking over control of OTRS it would be more empowering for everyone to invest in improving the software and providing training.

Take that analogy back to Payment Processing by Chapters. Now that the WMF has the capacity to manage the fundraiser, and has concerns about its responsibility to donors, the response of centralising control of the fundraiser does solve the problem quite neatly from the WMF's auditor's perspective. However, in doing that, it is disempowering the Chapters community by taking the biggest responsibility that the Chapters had [or had the potential for] away from them irrespective of their professionalisation. Instead, just like with the OTRS analogy, I would argue that the response should be to provide support and training and investment in improving the system as this will empower more people. Sure, it's messier, slower and a bit scary compared to simply centralising control, but it's the Wiki way of doing things and the results are far more powerful.

So, Yes. It's not about whether Wikimedia-XYZ has the right to receive credit-card donations from readers who click on Jimmy's banner each December. But it IS about the right to feel like your organisation has meaningful responsibility in a worldwide movement. In ANY organisation there's no such thing as "complete independence" because there's strings attached to all money (whether it comes from Grants or directly from Donors) so I think arguing about payment processing to preserve "chapter independence" is a red-herring. But being empowered to have genuine responsibility IS about independence, and trust, and power.

If the WMF runs centralised fundraising, there's no reason why it shouldn't also run centralised outreach programs, centralised press relations, create local sub-organisations to take advantage of tax-deductions for donors etc. etc. leaving the chapters as mere fan-clubs (albeit potentially well funded fan-clubs) and leaving those of us who, like me, feel empowered by taking on organisational roles, left looking for another movement to join. THAT'S why this discussion is so contentious, in my opinion. [although others are, of course, free to disagree!]. Wittylama 07:20, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Thank you very much. Denis Barthel 13:35, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. --Goldzahn 13:59, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
Well put. Empowerment and volunteerism are core to the Project. It is bound to cause tension if the WMF moves from doing things that volunteers would prefer to hire people to do, to doing things that paid staff are convinced they can do better than volunteers. WereSpielChequers 20:44, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I should just clarify, even though I know you're not thinking this, I'm not arguing against professionalisation or hiring employees. I really think Chapters (and the WMF) should be hiring professionals (sourced externally and within the community) should be professionalising and not having a purely volunteer-run fundraising infrastructure etc. but, in accordance with the w:principle of subsidiarity that this work should be done at the most local capable level as this will empower the most people. Wittylama 22:58, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
well, i ve my doubts. for one, the analogy fails on a very basic level. submitting a question that results in an OTRS-ticket doesn't necessarily counts as a positive contribution and therefore does not generate always entitlements. on the opposite site: supporting the system by donation is a positive contribution by own right, entitles the contributor to some stuff (get relevant information regarding where his money is going, that its used properly, etc.) and that has to be ensured. you may start thinking once more about how chapter could do that.
second, i doubt that "meaningful responsibility" is focused on money (alone ore even primarily) and i dispute that the "Wiki way" works without proper accountability. most chapters, as we all may remember, are doing a bloody bad job ensuring proper transparency as well as other basic standards.
arguing that this is because WMDE & WMF had years to develop and others haven't doesn't fit the bill. we re telling donors that standards are ensured now and not "yes, they are but not for your own contribution - at least not before 2021, because the chapter is new and you know...". arguing for handing over finance to the chapter system as a whole is - in its current shape - a nightmare, if you care about transparency & accountability.
despite, there are tons of well-known reasons why fundraising as a technical area is not like other fields that can't be centralized - content & people are non-technical stuff -> can't be done in such a technical way. we should start to think about how to construct a reasonable FAC, not toy around with fictional ideas for a system that doesn't exist and has no real chance of being archived within the time table we are debating about, regards --Jan eissfeldt 14:24, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Witty, I agree with you on this. You have put into words the vague feelings I had about this.
On the wikis the most important decisions are made at the level of each page. Over time policy pages for each project develop to record what has been agreed on the article talk pages - the "five pillars" and the mission statement were written down after the projects were well underway.
It makes sense that the funds allocation decisions should also be spread widely and that people should have the chance to try different things and sometimes fail. If some group decides to blow the lot on cake and ale for wikieditors then they should be able to try that. Most of our donors won't object - they donate because they are grateful to wikieditors and what better way to show their gratitude. It might even work, with wikieditors returning from Wikstock full of enthusiasm and cake crumbs.
Part of the being able to take risks, try new things even they sometimes fail, is more than one group looking at the funds allocation and having National chapters with their own funds and their own Funds Allocation Committees is one way to achieve this. These committees shouldn't get an exclusive franchise however.
Having a contribution to reserves at the end of the year is a sign of failure. Your job is to spend funds and you didn't do it. The only reserve Wikimedia needs or ever will need is the reserve of goodwill and trust in the public towards us and if we lose that then no amount in the bank will or should save us.--Filceolaire 20:37, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Having a contribution to reserves at the end of a year may be a sign of health not failure. This is a volunteer project where people care about money and efficiency, so some things will come in under budget, and some people will not claim as much as you budgeted for. There may also be occasions when a project slips from one financial year to the next, sometimes because of real life commitments by the volunteers involved. Yes we need to ask awkward questions at AGMs, and no we don't want a situation where good schemes can't get funding but there is spare money at the end of the year. But an efficient organisation should treat it as a positive if at the AGM the treasurer says "due to some projects coming in under budget and a couple of projects slipping we didn't spend what we were willing to spend." The last thing we want is some large organisation mentality where the budget has to be spent on something to avoid losing it. WereSpielChequers 21:46, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Okay. I may have got carried away with my own rhetoric there. There is a real difference in attitude however between seeing your job as preventing stuff and worrying that something might go wrong that you should have stopped and seeing your job as spending the money even if not everything you try comes off.
Thinking about what I said above about how policy gets developed on the wikis - for individual pages first with more general principals emerging when we see what works on the pages - I realised today that this initiative of Sue's is too soon. It is too soon to say that the national chapters are the only model but it is also too soon to say they are not. We have some chapters operating. Now we need to see how that works out. We need to get some other models developing too and see where they go. Sub national groups like New York, transnational groups like the Catalans, Multi national specialised groups - GLAM maybe, individuals or small teams that get financed to do projects like the Wikidata project or the film about Oral Citations.
Personally I hope that we find all of these models work for somethings and all should be used so we end up with a gloriously complicated org chart with democratic membership groups and private companies on contract and people who have a number of different roles at the same time. Constantly growing and shrinking and changing to reflect what people want to work with and never fossilising into the 'perfect' arrangement. Filceolaire 20:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
My personal believe: "Never change horses within the race." If someone really could point out, what went wrong in recent history, I would agree - now all of this discussion is about assumptions. The amount of donations never was higher. I dont understand the reason why there should be any change. If so from WMF could describe, what went wrong and where?Angel54 5 23:26, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Out-denting! Hi Liam! You say this: [F]or a long time I have argued that the WMF should be moving (over the course of many years obviously) to the position where all money raised by the fundraiser should come via Chapters - including the mythical WM-USA. I'm glad you said that explicitly, because I think the world you're imagining is something a number of people involved in this discussion are hoping for, or have been assuming will come to pass. I think though that if you work it through, it's clear that it will not happen, because it's not financially reasonable. Here's why:
Fully decentralizing the campaign, so that every country payment processes, would be prohibitively expensive.
Why? Because payment processing responsibly is expensive. To date, most chapter payment-processing has not been handled with the appropriate level of controls in place -- that's why the Board wrote its Haifa letter, it's why we had five chapters payment-processing this year compared with 12 the previous year, and it's why the payment-processing chapters have been adding staff.
What does it cost to payment-process appropriately? There are certain base, unavoidable costs. Let's ballpark you need something like this: one staff person leading fundraising overall; one staff person handling the technical components; one finance and administration person handling compliance and that kind of thing, and one boss. (That's a hack -- you could for example say "one admin person" instead of "one boss," or whatever. But you get my gist. You need probably somewhere between two and six FT and PT staff to do it right.) Plus you have various costs related to governance, various types of audits, other administrative overhead, and so forth. You need space for those people to work in. Let's say all this costs, I dunno, USD 250K annually. (I am spitballing, obviously.) That is 250K of pure fundraising and administrative costs: it's not creating much, if any, programmatic value for the Wikimedia movement.
Meanwhile, there are many many countries that bring in less than 250K during the annual campaign, and which will always bring in less than 250K, because they are poor countries, or have small populations, or don't have a cultural tradition of giving a lot to charity. Let's stipulate that the purpose of the annual campaign is not to create fundraising infrastructure around the world: that is the tail wagging the dog. The purpose of the annual campaign is to bring in enough money to support the movement, as effectively and efficiently as possible. And so clearly, it would be prohibitively expensive for every country in the world to payment-process in the annual campaign. In most countries, it would result in a net financial loss to the movement.
So, we'll never have a world in which the majority of countries handle their own payment-processing, because in most countries it would just never be financially sensible. We will always live in a world in which the Wikimedia Foundation payment-processes for either most countries, or all countries.
In acknowledgement of that, I think we need a model in which payment-processing is detached from entitlement to spend. Currently, the payment processing countries are able to keep 50% of funds raised in their geography. But that doesn't really bear scrutiny, I think: why should donations given in Germany, the UK, or France be treated differently from donations given in Argentina, or Brazil, or Kenya, or Vietnam? I don't see a rational argument for why, if you happen to operate a chapter in a rich country where there's a charitable tradition, and you have a basic level of controls in place, you would receive more money, more easily, than a chapter located in a poorer country or a country with no charitable tradition, or a chapter that has chosen to focus on something other than building controls.
Does anyone want to make an argument for payment-processing to be tied to entitlement to retain a percentage of funds? I mean, an argument that would apply to e.g., Germany (which payment-processed in 2011), but not to e.g., Argentina (which did not).
Thanks. Sue Gardner 23:06, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
The issue is not that funds processing by a national chapter entitles them to spend all (or even a fixed percentage of) “their” funds in their country. I have seen no one advocating that. Where National chapters have funds to spend these are in pretty much every case spent of projects which benefit all the Wikimedia projects.
The issue is that, in practice, funds processing by a group has meant that group is entitled to control the allocation of those funds. That is why funds processing is a big deal and why taking away the right to process funds is seen as a power grab by San Francisco.
If the online fundraiser is seen to be a joint effort of all wikipedians (rather than a team in San Francisco) and the distribution of funds is similarly seen as a joint effort of broad team of wikipedians (rather than surprise announcements by Sue) then who does the funds processing will fade into a minor technical issue.
Give each national chapter and other group contemplating funds processing a significant grant from the funds collected in their country by the fundraiser, for them to spend. If it goes badly then they aren't ready to funds process. If it goes well for a couple of years then talk about local funds processing. The chapter will by then already have a system that works in place so funds processing becomes a technical issue rather than a power struggle.
and that's how I see it. Filceolaire 10:13, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps Head Office could start the ball rolling by publishing financial reports from the projects they have financed in the last few years - the Oral citations film, the Public policy initiative, the WYSIWIG editor; creating a model for what is expected from other funds allocation committees. Filceolaire 10:36, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
While the staff in SF may not be in the best position to publish reports from some of these projects (those conducted by non-staff), I imagine there is information on all of them: Research:Oral Citations and Outreach:Public Policy Initiative Learning Points are both documented. I think the WYSIWYG editor may have been part of the Usability Initiative, but I'd have to look into that one. I could be way off base. :) I'm afraid that not being techy, I didn't pay much attention to tech developments in days past. I just edit with what's put in front of me. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 17:03, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Dear Sue, noone said ull have to pay for the processing of fundraising local stuff members in each chapter, who do organize the campaign (to centralize that would be cost reducing, indeed). But on the other hand - how can and will u secure, that the work of many many freelancers will be honoured. Im not an official an not speaking for WMDE, but what I see is that infrastructural investments will not be enough to give those people the acknowledgement for their "free" engagement. If u say they can have grants, how will that be handled (writing an application with seven copies to WMF in English, sry was a joke)? And noone said that funds from Argentina are less worth than that from European countries. But on the other hand u will have to consider, if u r trying to draw a line under that bill, that there are huge parts of the content that has been developed in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the UK (the order is arbitrary). And sure it looks like this: To expand as WMF we have to take from the rich and give to poor countries. Looks noble at first - but if u try to overextend this scheme, ull loose authors - thats my warning sign I will want to put up.--Angel54 5 14:42, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Angel54 5. [N]oone said ull have to pay for the processing of fundraising local stuff members in each chapter seems to assume that I'm approaching this issue from the perspective of what is best/cheapest/most sensible for the Wikimedia Foundation. That's not what I'm doing. I am trying to approach it from the perspective of what is best for the Wikimedia movement. If the Wikimedia movement raises ten dollars, and spends one of those dollars in fundraising costs, that is better than if the Wikimedia movement raises ten dollars, and spends five dollars in fundraising costs. That's the argument I'm making. The former is better because it reserves the largest possible amount of money for spending on programmatic activities. Thanks Sue Gardner 18:59, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I know, but in Germany u call that a kind of "milk maid summary" (sry, was a bit harsh). Ull have to balance this one out. Thats ur duty. Not to walk from one extreme (lets say all the power to the chapers) to the other one (all power to WMF). Thats not a kind job, I know..--Angel54 5 19:25, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I would be offended if I knew what "milk maid summary" means (or had been able to successfully Google it) -- but I don't, so I'm not ;-) Thanks Sue Gardner 19:50, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Ok Ill try to explain - its a king of summary that comes back to u in the future. Thats why it is called "milk maid summary" in German (specific German talk - dont feel offended). U r trying to see the short term, like a "milk maid" would do summarizing all the costs now, but what, if ur haunted in the long term? That was my question (concerning eventual losses)?--Angel54 5 20:24, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I've seen anyone arguing in favour of the old 50% rule (and it is an old rule, we've already moved away from it - this year allocations were based on negotiated plans, although due to w:anchoring they didn't stray far from 50%, but that should improve over time). You keep talking about how we need to separate fundraising and fund dissemination, but I've yet to see anyone disagree with you. You can drop that point now! --Tango 21:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Ah, Thomas, thank you. So here is my question then: if people think it makes sense to separate fundraising from funds dissemination, then how do they think that allocations should be determined? The process for 2011 was not good: essentially, the payment-processing chapters developed program plans that were briefly scrutinized, and hastily approved, by Barry. I am assuming that nobody loved that process. It worked for 2011 because we had major time constraints, but I don't think it's a model for how allocations should be determined going forward. So. Setting aside the issue of payment-processing for the moment: how do chapters imagine it would make sense for their allocations to be evaluated in future years? Would all chapters (regardless of whether they payment-process or not) undergo the same evaluation process? If not, i) why not, and ii) what process do people want?
If people are already making proposals for this, I would appreciate being pointed towards them, or having someone summarize them here. I am trying to keep up with all the pages, but it's not easy :-) And I know there are conversations happening outside of the wiki, as well, that I may or may not be privy to. Thanks Sue Gardner 21:15, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Recommendation 2 on my recommendations page is my thoughts on how this should work. In summary: all spending of funds that were raised using the Wikimedia project websites should go through exactly the same process. I can't think of any good reason for anything else. It's worth noting that not all the movement's funds come through the Wikimedia project websites (there are major donors, earned income, corporate sponsorship, etc.) and those funds would not go through the same process, this provides some degree of independence - if you want to do something that the movement isn't willing to fund, you can do so as long as you can get the funds somewhere else (and as long as it is in keeping with our mission and values, of course). --Tango 00:22, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Funds should be distributed in ways that support mission work, agnostic with regard to where the money was raised

Here is a map of the world:

Here is a cartograph that shows that map distorted to reflect how donations come into the Wikimedia movement via the annual campaign. This map is based on 2010 data (just because the 2011 data isn't yet complete.)
2010 fundraiser cartogram

The Board's Guiding Principles for Funds Dissemination include this principle: "Funds should be distributed in ways that support mission work, agnostic with regard to where the money was raised."

I am unclear about whether anyone is arguing for chapters to have an 'entitlement" to funds raised in their geography. I have heard that argument in the past, but I'm not sure if anyone is still championing it. If anyone is, I'd like to ask them to respond to this map in light of the guiding principle from the Board, and try to make the case that funds should default to remaining in the geography in which they were raised. In other words, how would spending consistent with this cartograph help the movement achieve its global goals?

Thanks Sue Gardner 18:50, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Sue. The most obvious feature that jumps out at me in these plots is the US, where only the WMF is 'entitled' to raise funds, and where the WMF will be spending most of its money. So, please could the WMF also answer the question you raise here (perhaps after some chapters have done so)? Also, why is AUS red, given the amount of money raised there? Thanks. Mike Peel 22:32, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
The data I used only had USD 65,570 from Australia (for 2010). Pgehres (WMF) 23:09, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
According to [1] that number should be closer to $400,000 (both WMF and chapter, for 2010). It would be good to see the numbers that the plot's based on recorded somewhere (perhaps on the file's talk page, or information box?). Thanks. Mike Peel 23:14, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. I was fighting so hard with the tool that I forgot to add in the chapter money from that spreadsheet. I will make a new map and upload it as soon as I can. Thanks for finding that. Pgehres (WMF) 23:28, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Done Pgehres (WMF) 01:03, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I also want to quickly point out two other things. First, where funds are raised isn't where they are spent - e.g. 50% of money raised in the UK goes to WMF to support the global mission (on the basis that they are best placed to do that). That seems to be missed out by these plots. And second, purchasing power varies dramatically across the world, and is intimately linked to fundraising potential of each country. Ideally, that wouldn't be the case. But since it is, it's inevitable that in order to get a similar level of impact in every country, some countries will need more money spending in them than others. Similarly, active volunteers are (sadly) not spread out equally across the globe - which means that can be a lot more effective to spend money in one country than another. I'm not sure that anyone is arguing (as you are suggesting) that all of the money should be spent in the country that it's raised in; equally I would hope that no-one's arguing that 100% of the money should be spent in the 'global south'. That's somewhat beside the point, though - we're not talking about black and white here, but shades of grey, and different shades will be optimal for different countries. Mike Peel 23:25, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Sue, I believe, as I said above, that the issue is not where the money is spent - all of the national chapters seem to be working in accordance with the principal above. The issue is Who gets to decide i.e. who controls funds allocation. At present those decisions are made by the funds processors - mostly the WMF but the National chapters which do their own funds processing get to decide where their money is spent.
Before you centralise funds processing in San Francisco you need to open up the funds allocation process first. Make it more transparent. Get more people involved. Without that opening up it just looks like the WMF is trying to shut down the only funds allocation teams which are independent of them - the funds processing chapters. I personally don't think that's what you want to do but it could look that way. Filceolaire 23:38, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Filceolaire. The funds allocation process is what we're discussing in recommendation #4: The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees should commit to delegating movement-wide allocation of funds (excluding Wikimedia Foundation’s core operating budget) to a newly-formed movement body that would make decisions on the best use of funds within the movement. I am most emphatically NOT recommending that San Francisco decide how money gets spent. What I'm arguing for here is that money be collected by the Wikimedia Foundation, because that's the simplest and most efficient way to bring in money without losing a lot of it to overhead. I am simultaneously recommending that funds allocation be determined by an international jury. Something like the GAC, but with more decision-making authority, and a more transparent and accountable process for determining who is on the jury. It's actually quite a radical proposal, that would result in significantly decentralized decision-making. Sue Gardner 00:02, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
OK. I'm convinced. The problem is that the proposal for fundraising is definite and clear while the proposal for funds allocation is still nebulous. This has resulted in people en:bike-shedding about the fund raising proposal. I suggest you put fund processing changes on hold for two years (no new schemes, existing schemes continue) and concentrate on getting the Funds allocation committees up and running (more than one version please). In two years time we look at it again. Filceolaire 07:49, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Replying now to Mike, who wrote above: The most obvious feature that jumps out at me in these plots is the US, where only the WMF is 'entitled' to raise funds, and where the WMF will be spending most of its money. Mike, I hear what you're saying here, but I think your comment's rooted in a wrong understanding of the role of the WMF. The WMF spending money in the United States doesn't mean that money only benefits the United States: clearly it does not. The money spent by the Wikimedia Foundation by and large benefits the entire movement: the Wikimedia Foundation buys the servers, we pay for the staff to maintain them, we pay for the staff to provide legal defense for all the projects, etc., etc., etc. This is global spending that benefits everyone, despite the fact that much of it takes place within the United States. We can't treat the Wikimedia Foundation like a chapter, because it isn't a chapter: it operates the websites.
I would like to see a United States chapter come into existence, and I think we're probably on the road to that happening sometime within the next few years. If we were to continue, as a movement, with the current roughly 50-50 split by geography, a U.S. chapter would be fantastically wealthy, and the Wikimedia Foundation would be unable to pay the costs of operating the projects. I don't think anybody thinks that would make sense. Thus, the 50-50 model does not work. It would result in some chapters (including a hypothetical U.S. chapter) controlling huge amounts of money, and some chapters controlling practically zero money. The amount of money controlled by a particular chapter would have nothing to do with their capacity to spend well, the need for programmatic activities in their geography, or even the number of people in that geography involved with the projects or involved with the chapter. Surely there is no good argument in favour of that? Sue Gardner 00:13, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
So spending money in, e.g. the UK, only benefits the UK? Clearly it does not. E.g. the GLAM-WIKI conference didn't just benefit those in the UK, it had a world-wide impact. Ditto everything else done at the British Museum. Ditto the Derby challenge and QRPedia, which (particularly given their multilingualism) made a global impact. Look at our plans for a WW1/2 project; clearly that will result in international benefits. And there's many more like that. I'm talking about WMUK's activities here because that's what I know best, but it should apply equally to any chapter. No-one's working in isolation, solely in their own country here. It's not as easy to plot these impacts on a map ('money raised' clearly misses them completely, and even 'money spent' wouldn't be accurate, although that would be better), but it's much more important.
I think we can actually think of most of the WMF as a chapter. Yes, there's the operations side, but that's no longer the majority of the WMF's work. What fraction of the WMF's staff is hands-on maintaining servers? It's not actually that many. Most of the technology group are working on other things - mobile, localisation, mediawiki development, etc. That's not tied directly to operating the servers; it's improving the software, and that could just as easily be done by a 'chapter' than the 'foundation'. In essence, WMF is _both_ the operations _and_ the US chapter all rolled into one. And it's fantastically wealthy. And it spends less than 50% on technology (44% from the WMF's 2011-12 annual plan). And it's trying to control huge amounts of money, letting other chapters control practically zero money. I hope you can see that point of view. Mike Peel 09:53, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
I completely disagree, Mike. Very little of what the Wikimedia Foundation does is chapter work: almost all of what the Wikimedia Foundation does benefits the entire world. Mediawiki development benefits everyone; the legal defense work benefits everyone; our research and data analysis benefits everyone, and so forth. The only U.S.-specific work done by the Wikimedia Foundation is the U.S. GLAM position (which as I understand it, the GLAM community asked the Wikimedia Foundation to create because it felt such a position was necessary, and there was no-one else ready to do it at this time), and the U.S. education program associate position (which again, is work that I would be very happy to see a U.S chapter ultimately take over). I would prefer if there were more chapter-driven programmatic work focused on the United States: there is some now, and I hope we'll see more over time. But it is not true to say that "most of the WMF" functions as a chapter. The only way the Wikimedia Foundation can be understood to be doing "chapter work" is if chapter work has no boundaries. In fact that's an interesting exercise: perhaps it would be worthwhile to define what constitutes chapter work?
You say: [The Wikimedia Foundation] is trying to control huge amounts of money. I disagree: that's not what's happening here. I have made a fairly radical proposal, recommending that an international jury, accountable to the movement, control the movement's money. I am not proposing a power grab by the Wikimedia Foundation; I am proposing the opposite: a massive decentralization of power. I believe that everyone should have access to funding to enable them to do programmatic work, regardless of whether they're involved with a formal chapter organization. I don't see an argument for forcing everything through a geographic lens, particularly given that the projects are organized along language lines not geographic lines. Do you? Thanks Sue Gardner 19:35, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Sue, you don't seen to have acknowledged Mike's point that chapter activities benefit the entire world too. I think by saying a lot of the WMF's work is essentially chapter work he meant the work itself takes place in a single geography (the US, and now India and soon Brazil), not that the benefit is restricted to a single geography. --Tango 21:03, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Sue. You actually seem to have completely missed my point, and I'm incredibly worried about this. You and I seem to have a very different understanding of how Wikimedia is, and should be, operating and I find that rather scary given your position within the Wikimedia movement. I'm going to put together a much longer reply to this over the next day or so (in between my day job, and my other Wikimedia obligations - please remember that I don't have the same luxury of time that you and your staff do), but in the meantime please take the time to re-read what I've said above - and please take into account that what can be defined as "chapter work" doesn't just benefit a single country, but benefits the world as a whole. 'Chapter work' has boundaries, but I don't think we agree at all on what those boundaries are. Thanks. Mike Peel 01:10, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Mike, I'm confused by this thread and I think I may be misunderstanding your point. It reads to me like you're saying "chapters do everything except buying & installing servers" and that therefore when the Wikimedia Foundation is doing anything other than buying and installing servers, it is behaving like a U.S. chapter. Or, maybe you are saying what Thomas is saying, that whenever "work takes place in a single geography," it is by definition chapter work. Am I understanding that right? Thanks Sue Gardner 01:25, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
(Also, I totally hear you re the time you have for this conversation. I'm aware that one of the weird things about volunteers interacting with staff is that time plays out differently for each. If you don't respond quickly, I will not assume you've lost interest or are necessarily focused elsewhere.) — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Sue Gardner (talk)
I think your confusion is about what chapters do, which is a very worrying confusion for you to have. Chapters don't work to benefit their country. Chapter work to benefit the movement by using the resources of their country (volunteers, experts, institutions, funds, etc.). Arguments about how it is unfair for the UK,say, to get the benefit of half the money raised in the UK are fundamentally flawed because it isn't the UK that gets the benefit of money that is spent in the UK, it is the Wikimedia movement that gets the benefit (they are also flawed because no-one is proposing that in the first place, but that's another matter). Your distinction between chapter work and what the WMF does seems to be that the WMF works to benefit the whole world, which isn't distinction at all. --Tango 01:45, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I have looked into the Annual Plan 2011/12. Risk Number one is: Editor decline. This is a problem that could be solved by spending money in the English and the European Wikipedias. Chapters who do fundraising in 2010/11 are in Germany, France, UK and Switzerland. I don´t know if those Chapters increased Editor participation more than the foundation, for example, in the USA. By the way, in my view this is not a problem that could be solved with money, but with good projects and people doing those projects. --Goldzahn 02:59, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Goldzahn. Unfortunately, at the moment nobody is making much progress halting editor decline. Some projects, such as the Public Policy Initiative, the Global Education Program work, and the Wiki Loves Monuments project, have succeeded in temporarily swelling the number of participants in the projects. But nothing thus far has resulted in a permanent lift: participants in projects like those tend to "pass through" while the project is ongoing: they don't tend to stick around afterwards. It's very very difficult work, which is why it needs sustained focus. (Side note: as per my note above to Mike: please don't assume the Foundation is active solely in the United States -- that's not at all the case. The Global Education project, for example, which is run by the Wikimedia Foundation, is currently active in the United States, Canada, India, and I believe also Germany. There may be other countries I'm forgetting.) Thanks Sue Gardner 19:41, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Wow! Peter Gehres just updated the map to include the money payment-processed by the chapters in 2010, which had accidentally been left out of the earlier version. Anyone who looked at the earlier version, it's worth looking at again. Sue Gardner 01:09, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

It's good to see this map using more accurate data - but please can the input data as used to create the map be made publicly visible? I fully support having a data-driven decision-making process, but that fundamentally requires the data that's driving the decision to be clearly visible (and I note that a lack of visibility of that data led to the first version of the map being wrong - kudos to Pgehres for fixing this after I pointed out the error!). Also, I note that some conclusions can be drawn from this, particularly in terms of the GDP of the countries and the effectiveness of fundraising efforts in those countries - but that the conclusions that Sue is trying to draw from it about fundraising dissemination are fundamentally flawed, since what matters here is the benefits that countries receive from the activities derived from the expenditure of those funds (which is frequently independent of which countries the money is actually spent in) rather than the amount of money that is raised from specific countries. Mike Peel 01:10, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Peter has shared the data used in compiling the maps. It should be visible below :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 20:29, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Data for the Cartogram
ID Name Amount
1 Aruba 701.68
2 Afghanistan 4899.48
3 Angola 845.98
4 Anguilla 150
5 Albania 732.88
6 Andorra 1003.16
7 Netherlands Antilles 1517.2
8 United Arab Emirates 51371
9 Argentina 29738.9
10 Armenia 1421.7
11 American Samoa 20
12 Antarctica 0
13 French Southern & Antarctic Lands 290.96
14 Antigua & Barbuda 15
15 Australia 378282.62
16 Austria 107242.74
17 Azerbaijan 3035.04
18 Burundi 5
19 Belgium 161809.76
20 Benin 47.42
21 Burkina Faso 74.57
22 Bangladesh 406
23 Bulgaria 25714.81
24 Bahrain 795
25 The Bahamas 0
26 Bosnia & Herzegovina 1417.02
27 Belarus 3099.27
28 Belize 85
29 Bermuda 2094.29
30 Bolivia 204.95
31 Brazil 156897.49
32 Barbados 744.09
33 Brunei 1330.11
34 Bhutan 0
35 Botswana 331.45
36 Central African Republic 0
37 Canada 893470.02
38 Cocos Is. 0
39 Switzerland 379048.82
40 Chile 24150.79
41 China 179388.62
42 Cote d'Ivory 308.88
43 Cameroon 65.82
44 Congo 198.65
45 Cook Is. 150
46 Colombia 13136.04
47 Comoros 0
48 Cape Verde 127.27
49 Costa Rica 5577.37
50 Cuba 39.87
51 Christmas I. 0
52 Cayman Is. 689.41
53 Cyprus 10583.27
54 Czech Republic 58630.88
55 Germany 3239707.95
56 Djibouti 31.31
57 Dominica 74.36
58 Denmark 104396.05
59 Dominican Republic 3248.29
60 Algeria 51.44
61 Ecuador 4103.9
62 Egypt 8104.2
63 Eritrea 5
64 Western Sahara 0
65 Spain 323285.09
66 Estonia 9110.37
67 Ethiopia 41
68 Finland 79385.05
69 Fiji 516.7
70 Falkland Is. 0
71 France 713645.05
72 Faroe Is. 340.65
73 Micronesia 46
74 Gabon 65.68
75 United Kingdom 1144834.55
76 Georgia 1425.76
77 Ghana 157
78 Gibraltar 814.93
79 Guinea 0
80 Guadeloupe 503.49
81 The Gambia 0
82 Guinea-Bissau 0
83 Equatorial Guinea 26.49
84 Greece 60634.01
85 Grenada 115
86 Greenland 133.64
87 Guatemala 2141.07
88 French Guiana 736.19
89 Guam 735
90 Guyana 81.36
91 Heard I. & McDonald Is. 10
92 Honduras 1371
93 Croatia 18192.73
94 Haiti 123
95 Hungary 31021.98
96 Indonesia 14513.2
97 India 193657.88
98 British Indian Ocean Territory 0
99 Ireland 76329.64
100 Iran 2423.43
101 Iraq 246.64
102 Iceland 7993.78
103 Gaza Strip
104 Israel 101300.35
105 West Bank 0
106 Italy 425372.67
107 Jamaica 1459.11
108 Jordan 3967.43
109 Japan 500182.49
110 Kazakhstan 6992.82
111 Kenya 1701.49
112 Kyrgyzstan 736.58
113 Cambodia 418.44
114 Kiribati 0
115 St. Kitts & Nevis 120
116 South Korea 48200.99
117 Kuwait 14964.79
118 Laos 70
119 Lebanon 5015.63
120 Liberia 0
121 Libya 182
122 St. Lucia 238.1
123 Liechtenstein 2572.88
124 Sri Lanka 3304.71
125 Lesotho 0
126 Lithuania 7817.03
127 Luxembourg 28458.48
128 Latvia 9264.89
129 Morocco 606.86
130 Monaco 0
131 Moldova 455.05
132 Madagascar 213.34
133 Maldives 614.9
134 Mexico 78061.45
135 Marshall Is. 0
136 Macedonia 0
137 Mali 159.73
138 Malta 5448.11
139 Myanmar 15
140 Mongolia 182.38
141 Northern Mariana Is. 60
142 Mozambique 451.23
143 Mauritania 50
144 Montserrat 20
145 Martinique 659.96
146 Mauritius 1580.88
147 Malawi 74.07
148 Malaysia 31460.44
149 Mayotte 13.26
150 Namibia 634.16
151 New Caledonia 1806.68
152 Niger 5
153 Norfolk I. 0
154 Nigeria 3107.78
155 Nicaragua 557.34
156 Niue 0
157 Netherlands 465814.2
158 Bouvet I. 20
159 Norway 126817.04
160 Nepal 146.12
161 Nauru 0
162 New Zealand 64275.36
163 Oman 3786.65
164 Pakistan 2358.94
165 Panama 3365.29
166 Pitcairn Is. 0
167 Peru 5409.95
168 Philippines 9587.53
169 Palau 5
170 Papua New Guinea 174.76
171 Poland 60656.29
172 Puerto Rico 2807
173 North Korea 408
174 Portugal 51074.14
175 Paraguay 1756.2
176 French Polynesia 1929.54
177 Qatar 12187.12
178 Glorioso Is. 0
179 Juan De Nova I. 0
180 Reunion 264.05
181 Romania 26503.65
182 Russia 181823.55
183 Rwanda 60
184 Saudi Arabia 29129.45
185 Sudan 340.29
186 Senegal 96.09
187 Singapore 87258.07
188 South Georgia & the South Sandwich 0
189 St. Helena 1
190 Jan Mayen 0
191 Svalbard 0
192 Solomon Is. 68.99
193 Sierra Leone 26.45
194 El Salvador 1416.02
195 Serbia & Montenegro 3809.31
196 San Marino 206.16
197 Somalia 5
198 St. Pierre & Miquelon 13.11
199 Sao Tome & Principe 1.32
200 Suriname 193.28
201 Slovakia 20404.71
202 Slovenia 22032.78
203 Sweden 77832.89
204 Swaziland 232.07
205 Seychelles 60
206 Syria 216
207 Turks & Caicos Is. 110
208 Chad 27.22
209 Togo 66.62
210 Thailand 26525.41
211 Tajikistan 68
212 Tokelau 0
213 Turkmenistan 96
214 Timor Leste 0
215 Tonga 0
216 Trinidad & Tobago 3772
217 Tunisia 419.11
218 Turkey 34753.85
219 Tuvalu 1
220 Tanzania 472.82
221 Uganda 218.97
222 Ukraine 24617.94
223 Baker I. 5804.4
224 Howland I. 0
225 Jarvis I. 0
226 Johnston Atoll 0
227 Midway Is. 0
228 Wake I. 140
229 Uruguay 5650.39
230 United States 10038417.59
231 Uzbekistan 165
232 St. Vincent & the Grenadines 65
233 Venezuela 1994.27
234 British Virgin Is. 325
235 Virgin Is. 550
236 Vietnam 4908.73
237 Vatican City 0
238 Vanuatu 59.88
239 Wallis & Futuna 15.28
240 Samoa 14.9
241 Guernsey 0
242 Isle of Man 0
243 Jersey 0
244 Paracel Is. 0
245 Spratly Is. 0
246 Yemen 352
247 South Africa 55276.64
248 Congo, DRC 218.99
249 Zambia 107.56
250 Zimbabwe 60.42

What do the colours stand for on the maps? --Dami 20:01, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

The colors were chosen by the tool that generated the map, but I believe that red indicates countries from which we raised less money and green indicates countries from which the WMF and chpaters raised a significant amount of money. It should correlate to size, more or less. Pgehres (WMF) 17:12, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Countries with low fundraising potential

There is a subject that has been mentioned a few times but never really discussed, so here is a new section for it. If we go for a decentralised fundraising model, what should we do about countries that don't have the potential to raise significant amounts of money? I can see three options 1) The WMF fundraises in them, 2) local chapters fundraise in them or 3) we don't fundraise in them at all. The simplest option would appear to be option 1, but that's only because the WMF is already doing lots of fundraising and it isn't difficult to add a few extra countries to the list. If we move away from the WMF doing fundraising (particularly, if we have a WM-USA start fundraising), then the WMF would be left with just the low-potential countries (and countries without chapters, but countries without chapters that have significant fundraising potential is a rapidly shortening list so I think we can ignore them in long-term discussions). It wouldn't be much more efficient to have the WMF fundraising in only low-potential countries than it would be to have local chapters fundraising there. In fact, local chapters might end up more efficient since they could employ locals to do the work at a fraction of the cost of employing somoene in San Francisco to do it, and they wouldn't have the various costs associated with fundraising far from home. We've discussed the various benefits of fundraising a lot, and there are several that have nothing to do with money (it encourages organisational maturity, it forms relationships with local people, etc.). If we're not going to raise much money in a country, we should be thinking about why we're fundraising there at all. If we're doing it for the non-monetary reasons, then it only makes sense if a chapter is doing it. If we're doing it for the monetary reasons, we probably shouldn't be bothering. The conclusion, then, is that we should either have chapters fundraising there or not fundraise there at all - there is no good reason to have the WMF fundraising there. What do other people think about this issue? --Tango 12:49, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Fund raising is not the same as Funds processing. Every organisation in the wikimovement can help publicise the fund raiser and can use the publicity generated by the fund raiser to raise their own profile. and they should. The fact that the money all goes into a bank account in the USA (or in Liechtenstein) doesn't stop this excercise.
  • All should raise funds.
  • All should spend funds.
  • The central website should process donations on behalf of the fund raisers unless there are exceptional circumstances which make it worth while for some other to process funds.
  • The WMF mostly acts as referee sharing out the money to FACs of various types but it doesn't run programmes itself. Filceolaire 16:52, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
The WMF has tried to argue that point (and always say "payment processing" rather than "fundraising") but I disagree. While you can support somebody else in their fundraising efforts, you aren't really fundraising yourself unless you are actually getting the funds. There are many aspects to fundraising (messaging, processing, donor relations, etc.), but I don't think you can separate them. There is always one entity that is actually responsible for the fundraiser, and that entity is the one doing the fundraising. Anyone else is just playing a (perhaps very important) supporting role. --Tango 17:59, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps we're not talking about the same thing. Is it actually your opinion that a non-profit organization that tells people to take their credit cards to a payment processing website like or is "not really fundraising" because the non-profit isn't processing the payments? WhatamIdoing 20:22, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
There is a very big difference between delegating part of the processing to an agent and having people actually make the donation to another charity. The most important difference is who is responsible for that money. If you donate to a charity via JustGive, or whoever, then the trustees of that charity are responsible for the money, just as if you had put the money straight into their bank account yourself (it's really no different to donating via PayPal, except the sites you mention tend to handle the tax deductibility paperwork for you). If someone donates to the WMF, after clicking on a banner designed by a chapter, it is the WMF board that is responsible for the money, not the chapter's board. If you aren't responsible for the funds, then you aren't fundraising. --Tango 22:17, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
You are mistaken in your facts. The three "payment processing agents" I named are all registered charities themselves, and when you use their websites to make a donation, you are legally "making the donation to another charity", i.e., to the charity whose website you're using to make the donation. The trustees of those three charities are legally responsible for that money, and they are prohibited from disbursing it for non-charitable purposes, e.g., to any charity that has lost its registered status. So if you click here and make a donation, your money is actually being donated to, and you are making a non-binding recommendation that's trustees use most of that money to support the WMF.
So again: given your new knowledge of the actual facts, if a charity tells people to use to make online donations, is that charity "not really fundraising"? WhatamIdoing 21:02, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Tango, I disagree. If you turn around and donate half the donations you receive to another charity, like WMUK does, then where are you? If I am helping the WMF in SF to fundraise it is because I believe they are worth supporting, based on their track record. If I am donating to WMUK then I don't have that same track record but they are endorsed by the WMF and I trust the WMF to I will give them a go.
Alternatively, if the team in San Francisco do the funds processing and put all funds donated via the WMUK donations landing page into a separate US bank account from that for WMUSA is WMUK, in your judgement, still fund raising?
What if it goes in the same bank account but they keep track of the which money is whose? What if it all goes in the same account and a committee with representatives from all the wikimovement decides how to share it out? How about if the committee meets in London (Why not. I hear Jimmy lives here now).
It isn't black and white. There are shades of grey. For me the important thing is who has gets to decide how the money is spent. Who controls it. Who is responsible, as you put it. If that is resolved to my satisfaction then which bank account it happens to be sitting in is a trivial technical issue not a basic principal.
Sue, rewrite all those recommendations with the funds allocation as points +1, +2 and +3. Point +4 is not to change the funds processing until the funds allocation process has been running at least two years. That's my recommendation. Filceolaire 22:41, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Filceolaire. I am not opposed to what you suggest here. (And perhaps this is a good time to say: my recommendations are draft. I am reading everything on the wikis, and I am thinking. I expect to alter my recommendations to the Board, based on the discussions here. I am looking for workable solutions.)
But, there are a couple of problems with leaving the payment-processing question open for a few years.
  1. Chapters have quite correctly pointed out that they have begun building capacity for payment-processing infrastructure, because they understood they were expected to payment-process. It's a lot of work, it takes years to develop the infrastructure and capabilities, and it is energy that could be directed elsewhere. I am not sure it makes sense, or is fair, to continue having chapters work towards developing that expertise and capacity, if ultimately there is a real possibility we are going to handle payment-processing centrally. If I were a chapter, I think that I would rather have the question settled than left open, so that I know what is expected of me and I can plan accordingly. So I guess this is a hypothetical question for chapters: if there were a real possibility that in 2014 you would no longer be payment-processing, would you want to payment-process in 2012 and 2013, or not?
  2. If some chapters continue to payment-process, even if only for a few years, that leaves open the question (which I mentioned elsewhere on this page) of how funds are allocated to those payment-processing chapters during those years. The 2011 process was fine given the circumstances, but it was rushed, it was not very transparent, and plans were reviewed solely by Barry, who is one person and not omniscient. I don't actually think it makes sense that payment-processing chapters spending plans would undergo a different evaluation process compared with non-payment processors' spending plans: we did it this year because we had no real alternative, but I would not want us to handle it that way in future. So, if some chapters were to payment-process in 2012 and beyond, the question then becomes: what is the evaluation process for their spending plans? That is an open question that would need to be resolved: I would welcome people's thoughts.
Filceolaire, I don't know if you're involved with the UK chapter. On the assumption that you're not, I want to thank you and the other non-chapter, non-WMF people on this page who are contributing here. It's a complicated discussion, and I imagine it may feel kind of thankless, digging through all the data and arguments, and trying to help come up with a good answer. I am not surprised that most of the people talking here are people who are heavily involved with the chapters and (ahem) me. But I think it's critical that we hear from people who are not involved with the chapters, as well as people who are, and so I very much appreciate your contributions. Thanks Sue Gardner 22:15, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Upon re-reading -- I want to also thank the chapters people, and the WMF people, who are contributing here. This is hard work: I appreciate people's open, sincere engagement :-) Sue Gardner 22:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not involved in WMUK. I've just been thinking about this stuff for a while. To respond to your points above:
You say these recommendations are draft and you will produce revised recommendations after the consultation is finished. That sounds like the sort of consultation I've seen too often where you will write a whole new recommendation after the consultation is over and we will not be consulted on it. The wiki way is discussing a constantly evolving text. The Terms of Use discussion was going nowhere until we convinced Geoff to ammend the text as we went along. Please do the same here or this discussion is going to grind to a halt (as the Fundraising_and_Funds_Dissemination/Funds_allocation_brainstorming page has) or start going in circles repeating itself (as this page has).
1. There is not a lot of point in asking potential funds processors hypotheticals about funds processing unless you lay out what the alternative to processing their own funds is. Once you have laid out some solid alternative proposals to funds allocation with central funds processing then they have something to respond to.
2. The 50% passed to WMF from each funds processing chapter means that the funds allocated to these chapters is already effectively agreed centrally. Creating a solid acceptable system for deciding how much each gets is the hard bit. Deciding which bank account the money comes out of is the easy bit.
In summary: This discussion will go nowhere unless there is a solid proposal (or alternative proposals) for funds allocation to focus the discussion. My proposal:
* Every national chapter gets a grant to spend. How big it is depends on their capacity
to manage the money as shown by their performance in spending previous grants. 
* Every wiki gets a fund to spend (min 1000$). Allocation can be by a micro-grants application page,
similar to deletion discussions or admin approvals or some other system. Each wiki also sets out
it's own system for monitoring how the money got spent and what the results were (for me
I would limit this to the grantee having to make a report on the grant application page).
WMF to work out a simple system for closing admins to notify the WMF (or other payment
processor/bank account manager) who to pay the money to. Once they have spent the grant
(after a month or a year or five years) they can apply for more. A cursory review of
what the money achieved happens before the next lump is released.
* The current system in San Francisco is working well. We do not start dismantling it until the
new system is up and running. Over the course of some years the balance between money spent
centrally and that spent locally can change, depending on what works.
and that's how Joe sees it. Filceolaire 08:06, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
While Sue will certainly correct me if I'm misstating this in any way, I do want to make sure that people remember that this is not the consensus recommendation of participants to this conversation, but Sue's recommendation to the Board. I'm sure it'll be presented in that light. :) Various Board members have already weighed in here and are able themselves to see the diverse viewpoints expressed here. As she says in the document itself, Sue is not expecting consensus support for her recommendation. Rather, she is consulting with the community to get information and input that will help guide her thinking on the subject. It is very likely that the community will not be consulted on her final recommendation, but I hope that everyone would take this opportunity to bring up information and ideas so that her final recommendation (which will still reflect her own opinion) is fully informed. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 18:04, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
So what, Maggie? We are used to that style of discussion. Thats how it always was, concerning picture filtering, concerning the ToUs, we do only want to articulate our general misbehave with such a kind of discussion and the style it transports, cause it has none... I will talk about why: the Board sees a problem, but has the solution already in view (their solution, not mine and everybody elses who is contributing to this wikiPedia). Now a discussion is held - which is a formal one - despite what everyone says, the results already are in. I think the Board has already decided at any question put up here. This is to say: But we did have a talk about the subject!.--Angel54 5 19:12, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
These recommendations are from Sue, not the board. It is very clear from the comments board members have been making during this discussion that the board hasn't made a decision on this yet. There have been several comments from board members that showed they have serious doubts that Sue's recommendations are the right way forward (and there have been comments from other board members that suggest they are in favour of the recommendations). Don't just assume the board are going to adopt these recommendations - that is far from certain at this point. --Tango 19:29, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Out of this discussion. Period.--Angel54 5 19:34, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Maggie, there have been a number of calls here for a complete rewrite of Sue's recommendations (and not only by me)
  • to put more detail on how the funds allocation might work and
  • to give more info on what the local involvement in fund raising might be if chapters are not processing donations.
If Sue does this then the recommendations she presents to the board will be different from those discussed here. Since it has already been decided that these recommendations will be reviewed by the board before being reviewed here I hope some consideration will be given to reviewing implementation details here once the board has decided the basic principals. Filceolaire 19:38, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Filceolaire, I'm not 100% sure I understand what you're saying, so please forgive me if I'm slightly off in my answer. :) It is very possible that Sue's recommendations to the Board will wind up very different than the draft she began here. Whether her conclusions will differ, I suspect that her thoughts will be more fully formed by the time she sits down to write the final recommendation. I'm afraid I don't know what the process will be of further development once the Board decides basic principles, if it resolves to move in a direction different than that currently in place. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 20:29, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

It's not just about the money

Perhaps understandably, a lot of the discussion here has focused on money, and the various ways that the funding pie can be carved up if we go to a centralised model. However, from the perspective of someone who was in a fundraising chapter previously, the ability to make money was not the only advantage that direct fundraising through movement sites offered. For us, some of the other big advantages that were easily as significant as the money were:

  • Being able to speak directly to readers. Through community links we've already build up networks with editors, but this was our first big chance to talk to readers. By gaining that exposure we were able to engage in recruitment, both of members and volunteers. Our current organisation's secretary comes from that, so I think it definitely paid off.
  • Being able to show that we were in Australia, and were serious about our mission. We were able to solidify our relationship with some GLAM institutions, and also raise awareness with other institutions that has led to some positive payoffs.

I don't see how any grants programme, no matter how equitably or cleverly designed, is going to be able to replace that. Craig Franklin 02:19, 14 January 2012 (UTC).

+1 I have the same experience (with Hungary). --Bence 21:19, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Witty said something like this above too and it rings very true with me. Having grant giving handled by local organisations is a good thing. I agree with Sue that National Chapters should not be the only organisation doing this but they should still be an important piece in our jigsaw. Filceolaire 09:27, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with what Witty said 100%, but what I'm talking about here is real, measurable, tangible benefits of being engaged with the fundraiser that chapters have previously enjoyed that will be lost to anyone who isn't the WMF. I doubt it will sway Sue's thinking all that much, but it needs to be quantified. Craig Franklin 11:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC).
Hi Craig. I don't understand what this: Being able to show that we were in Australia, and were serious about our mission. We were able to solidify our relationship with some GLAM institutions, and also raise awareness with other institutions that has led to some positive payoffs has to do with payment-processing? Thanks Sue Gardner 19:02, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Not so much payment processing, but the ability to have a degree of control over the centralised banners, and the ability to build our own database of donor contact details. In the past, they've come packaged with the "payment processing" (and my, how I detest that term). It would be a useful consolation if we were given some sort of access to those things, even if fundraising was taken away from us. The answers on these sorts of questions so far has ranged from "no" to "we're too busy, so no". Craig Franklin 11:44, 31 January 2012 (UTC).
Craig, The advantages you list seem to relate to WMAU having a closer direct relationship with donors in AU. I think that many of these advantages could be achieved if WMAU were more involved in the running of the online fundraiser - contacting last years donors, writing emails to thank donors, providing interviewees for newspapers and TV in AUS, developing a separate WMAU donations landing page. All these things can happen even if the bank account the money ends up in happens to be in the USA. Could you see this happening - a third way that is different from the current fundraiser and also different from the current local funds processing systems? Filceolaire 20:10, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
This in theory sounds possible, but in the previous number of years, it has not been once possible to use the WMF donor database to send personalized messages that linked to chapters. A different question is, how motivated would a given WMAU volunteer be to participate in someone else's fundraiser. (Some people are always motivated to help out, but some others would choose to edit Wikipedia instead or work on some other local project. I am not sure, how good the WMF has been in building up a sense of community ownership of the fundraiser...). --Bence 21:19, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

A question for chapters that aspire to payment-process

I have a question for chapters that aspire to payment-process.

If your chapter were approved to payment process in future annual campaigns, which of the following scenarios most closely matches your view:

A) I would expect/want to be entitled to retain a certain proportion of the money raised in my geography. (If this most closely matches your view, please describe the process by which you think the retention amount should be determined.)

B) I would expect/want to be entitled to retain the costs of the payment processing itself, and I would expect/want my spending plan to be put through, and refined and approved via, the same process as other chapters' spending plans. I would retain the costs of payment-processing, but I would not consider my chapter to have an entitlement to a share of the remainder of the money raised in my geography.

C) I would expect/want my chapter's spending to be put through, and refined and approved via, the same process as other chapters' spending plans, including the costs of payment processing itself. I would not consider my chapter to have an entitlement to any of the money raised in my geography.

D) Some other arrangement -- please describe.

Thanks Sue Gardner 18:35, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

I guess option E :), or at least that I am going a bit off-topic; but I haven't had time to weigh in earlier. Hope Maggie, can summarize it in the end :)
For me the question about payment processing is not about the exact arrangement the money is eventually spent, but about the ability to communicate, engage, educate the public (and the donors, who are a subset of the public) and the relative hassle associated with getting the funds needed to do good work.
For us, over the years, fundraising have allowed us to get a number of people interested in our work that we do locally and offer their help, a number of companies approach us to offer their in-kind support, and has put us on the map. While this has happened in the years we were fundraising, it has not happened in the year the WMF was fundraising. The WMF might have got those same offers, but it seems, they didn't forward any to us; and I am not convinced that the centralized approach will facilitate such referrals in the future.
The sense what I get from the recommendations that are floating around, including the one on grants; is that chapters should be able to plan ahead 3-4 years (under the "have a strategic plan" criteria of the grants draft), and know exactly what they will do in the next year. This is not always so, probably, most of the time it isn't – this capability needs to be developed, and is probably the most effective if you have a staff you can instruct to implement the plan. (I am sure, the WMF was without this ability for a long time, at least until 2010 as far as the strategic plan is concerned – fortunately, we can build on the experience, and learn from each other; but long term planning is a bit different with staff and with an amorphous blob of volunteers.)
What actually happens is that you get people excited for projects, one project at the time. This can be something that happens a year in the future (e.g. WLM 2012) and you can confidently put it onto the map; or it can be something that is planned to happen next Saturday (let's have a wikimeetup), and everything in between.
In the past, except for the new arrangement for the last fundraiser, the fundraiser has allowed us to have a limited amount of money, that could be as little as $400, or as much as $4000 to be able to enable our volunteers to organise competitions, multi-day wikimeetups and similar programmes (which have benefited mostly the Hungarian Wikipedia – one that is sorely affected by the editor decline, and which I hope the global community would like saved, even if it is for a language only spoken in a handful of countries in the Global North –, but also WM Commons ).
If I would have to start over today, and have to go through the same level of scrutiny some of the grant applicants are going through, micromanaging even a $90 item in a not very much bigger request, I would probably say that it is not worth it and advise my group to see what we can do with the $100 that we ourselves collect in membership fees.
The fundraisers have forced us to build our capacities, and at the same time force us to be more responsible and forward looking in what we wanted to achieve and spend the money on. Having the donors support was also a good gauge to see whether our work is appreciated by the public. And in our experience, the growth can not entirely be attributed to the increased professionality in the way the WMF has handled the banners, and the general good-will towards Wikipedia (which, of course were also contributing factors); but support for local activities was a contributing factor.
Nevertheless, at the end of 2011, the WMF considered Hungary to be not a country that is worth the effort to have local fundraising in. While our views might have been different, we agreed that as long as the process is not arduous and we would still retain most of our freedom to form and fund our local activities, we didn't really lament the fact that we had to give up fundraising - even though we had made some considerable investments into participating that year. For us, fundraising was the most hassle-free way to get support for our activities (and we have tried WMF grants before GAC; Government grants of different types; grants from local NGOs, etc.) and as we see the funds dissemination debate unfold, we don't see that supporting small scale local projects will be low-hassle in the future.
Anyhow, to answer the original question, what I would want is that my chapters' operating costs are taken care of, its grander projects (say, things over $2000) can be reviewed by anybody, and that we would still have the freedom to allocate a fund based on opportunities that are not planned in advance (say $10 000). I would want this regardless of the source: e.g. getting it from the WMF, or processing the payments ourselves wouldn't make much difference in terms of how the funds are distributed.
We would of course be happy to provide reports on how we spent the money from all three of these buckets. In this scenario, I imagine my chapter to remain a volunteer-lead organisation, with possibly 1.5 full time staff to enable and support the projects envisioned by the volunteers.
If we want total oversight to the last pencil that we plan to buy 1-2-3 years in advance, I can envision us becoming an obliging outfit, but in that case with the work to be done by a handful of staff members, as otherwise we wouldn't be able to give full guarantees on what our volunteers would like to do in the future.
Given that we already have movement outfits on both ends of the scale of ability to plan ahead, I really hope we don't end up having a one-size-fits all solution, or one with the perverse situation where the outfits dealing with minute amounts of money (e.g. doing sustained amazing work with a budget that is less than the quarterly salary of a single US employee) are subjected to the most amount of inquisitive oversight and those with the most resources to lowest amount of hassle. (And a situation where small chapters have to go through the grant process, as I see it now, while fundraising chapters and the WMF, would automatically find itself entitled to any amount of money, would be such an upside-down system.) --Bence 21:13, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I would not ordinarily write a nutshell for this (under my current attempt to help facilitate :D) until tomorrow, but let's see if I can capture the gist of it so that when I write the nutshell I'll be able to further narrow it down. :)
You start with the benefits of geographically based outreach to the public (including donors) and the difficulties getting funding for such work. Based on your observations, you feel that fundraising entities have higher visibility in their communities, which brings in volunteers. You are concerned that the long-term "strategic plan" model proposed for chapters lacks is unrealistic at this point, though potentially possible later in part because it is easier to motivate people to work on individual projects within a foreseeable time-frame.
From there, you move to the issue of availability of funds, noting that the Hungarian chapter has historically had access to limited amounts of money through fundraising, but that you would find it not worth the effort of submitting a grant application for most smaller amounts. (I'm not entirely sure I have that correctly; please let me know if I don't.) You feel that fundraising has been good for the chapter both in providing encouragement for volunteers and forcing growth and planning, but in spite of the time and effort your chapter put into preparing to do local fundraising in 2011 accepted it when this did not happen. You're worried that excluding local projects from fundraising will increase the 'hassle' of obtaining funds.
In terms of Sue's specific question, you hope to see three streams of funding: (1) assured funding for operating costs; (2) public review for larger projects (over $2,000); (3) a pool of funds ($10,000) to spend spontaneously on projects that are not part of a long-term plan. Under this scenario, you see the Hungarian chapter remaining largely volunteers. Although you would do reports on money spent either way, a "strategic plan" extended years into the future would require that you hire more staff.
Your hope is that whatever is implemented, it offers solutions customized to the specific details of the chapters and one that is fair in the amount of burden placed on smaller chapters with smaller budgets.
Is that a pretty accurate overview of your position? --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 16:08, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
That seems a pretty accurate summary of what I wrote - thank you! On some reflection, I should say that strategic plans can perhaps work for volunteer organizations as well, but there might be a cultural component to their relative effectiveness (i.e. I am still not convinced it would work well for us in Hungary at the moment).
As for grants, I think you got my point. I think that with the advent of the GAC and the more serious reviews that are put in place, the minimum amount of money where it is worth my effort to submit a request has risen.
I do worry about the increased effort (I guess my continued use of "hassle" has not been the best synonym) needed to obtain funds for well-meaning volunteers, mostly based on what I imagine the new solution to get funds will be. (There could be optimal solutions that involve fewer conditions and restrictions on getting funds and still do not require local fundraising; fundraising is more of a mean to engaging the local public and getting unrestricted funding than an end in itself).
I do hope that the solutions we end up with are flexible, and one way for it would be the three-tier approach you quote; the amount in each bucket was only an example, the exact amounts would probably depend on available funds, the number of volunteers, previous track record of spending and the general price level of the given country. This would at least work for smaller organizations, although I imagine, even larger ones would want to have some kind of opportunity-fund (maybe under the name "community projects budget").--Bence 16:31, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
"B" with a caveat here. I would like to see an aspiration to have a certain percentage of the funding from a given country (not sure what it would be, but less than 50%) invested back into programmes in that country. It doesn't matter who runs those programmes, whether WMF, chapter, or other affiliated organisation, so long as rich countries don't end up being cash cows for pouring money into fashionable developing world projects. Craig Franklin 11:49, 31 January 2012 (UTC).

monopoly positions by chapters

The questions who exactly proceeds annual fundraising is of secondary importance for me as a simple community member. Much more influence on our (offline) work will Sues recommendation #3 have: to support decentralized work by movement members (including chapters, other groups, and individuals). This will extremly strengthen volunteer engagement and initiative in, for example, local GLAM projects and other real-life events (i.e. content production or gathering, teachings or exhibitions). Volunteers of the Wikimedia movement are not allowed to use the Wikipedia or Wikimedia logo on banners or information leaflets. They have to act very carefully, always declaring themselves explicitly as private persons, when getting in contact with potential cooperation partners or when trying to fund private donations for their project. If there is - by any reason - a dissonance between the local chapter and that group of volunteers, the latter will have difficulties to really implement their event. Chapters - rather some few chapter's representatives - have a monopole of what initiatives are supported and how exactly. Chapters can hijack concepts of volunteers and are not obliged to explain themselves to volunteers (only to their own formal members). These national monopolist are - outside of their own organization - faced by control authorities only far away in the US and by nearly no standard of comparison in their country. Some more competition between organizations and groups in the national Wikimedia world could improve the movement's outreach and effectiveness. --Martina Nolte 23:24, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks Martina for ur view. I proposed to be more significant concerning #3 too. See some sections above (funds allocation).--Angel54 5 01:06, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
More support for non-chapter groups and individual volunteers is definitely a good idea, but I don't think it will solve the problems you describe. If the local chapter objects to a particular initiative that is proposed in their region and overlaps with the kind of work they do, then I think it would be unwise for the WMF or a FAC to ignore the views of that chapter and fund the initiative anyway. We can't have groups doing overlapping work pulling in different directions. It would be good to have alternative funding routes so such initiatives don't have to be funded out of the chapter's budget, but the chapter should still be consulted and their objections shouldn't be ignored. You say that chapters aren't accountable within their country. That just isn't true - having a very open membership policy is a requirement to be a chapter, so anyone can join a chapter (and the fees are usually quite small, if there are fees at all) and have a vote. Volunteers would still need to be careful not to imply that they represent anyone other than themselves, just as chapters and the WMF have to be. Volunteers should be able to get permission to use the Wikipedia trademarks fairly easily even now - you just need to email the WMF explaining what you are planning to do (I think Jay handles those requests, but I may be wrong). --Tango 12:42, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Just to add, the email to contact is trademarks(_AT_) :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 16:17, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Just read a little bit more carefully: "Volunteers would still need to be careful not to imply that they represent anyone other than themselves". What does that sentence mean in ur opinion? Are they less worth?--Angel54 5 01:53, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
I can't agree with you Tango. We coined the word chapter to talk about very different organizations. Wikimedia Deuschland has more than thousand affiliates and millions of budget while Wikimedia UK version 1 had to be closed. According to chapters page there are many chapters with less than 50 members and according to reports page there are several chapters we don't know what are they doing assuming they do something. Theres is no reason why chapters opinion should have more weight than other groups or wikiprojects or editing communities with similar or bigger number of participants and results.
I think Martina is raising an important point for the chapters if they want to succeed in their mission. They should be aware that dynamics of free knowledge is opposed to dynamics of commercial companies. For commercial companies monopoly is an advantage: the less the participants the better. For free knowledge it is a drawback: the more participants the better.
So geopolitical chapters are facing a very important danger. That is to be seen (or even see themselves) as entities that enjoy a monopoly and exclusivity. Caricaturing and exaggerating, this can lead to a Kafkaesque situation: the people of the chapters can be settled in the chair waiting for all that want to move in their territory have to go through their approval. They do nothing to focus on supervising others, and others do nothing because they think everything is the chapter's duty.
Here you have a recent example of a the Italian chapter incapable of providing support to a group of volunteers to present a bid to Wikimania 2013. I don't know the quality of Naples Wikimania proposal but I know that the more and the better Wikimania proposals the best will be the final choice.
If there is a group wiling to present a Wikimania bid out of the control of the chapter, the solution is being thankful to them for doing what the chapter is unable to do instead of trying to stop them by publicly stating that the chapter rejected to participate.
A key point in distributing funds is the contribution of volunteer efforts. If the job is done by volunteers and we only pay small marginal expenses to an organization to do an activity that interests us because it promotes the projects that we love, we are not giving our money to them, are they who are giving us the work their volunteers do. We must be very cautious about the opinions of the chapters because if they have payed staff they can face a serious conflict of interest when we have to decide to fund cheap activity run by volunteers instead of paying to the professionals hired by the chapter to do the same job.
--Gomà 19:11, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, Gomà for that chapters page mentioned above. Shows much of the problems to be dealt with.--Angel54 5 19:43, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
WMI wasn't incapable of providing support, they chose not to. And, it wasn't just the board making the decision, it was a vote of anyone that wanted to become a member and turn up to the General Assembly. I don't see any problems there. Are you suggesting chapters should be forced to support anything and everything that anyone asks them to support? That would never work. --Tango 21:59, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Of-course not. What I am suggesting is that we cant let chapters stop us from promoting free knowledge. If WMIT can not or want not give them support thats fine but please don't let WMIT stop them from going ahead as could happen if we apply your first statement.--Gomà 00:24, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
I understood the request some other way. There was a plea to bring sth. at knowledge to the board. How did u understand that, Tango?--Angel54 5 22:35, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Gomà, I fully agree with you.
You mentioned Wikimedia Germany as example with "more than thousand affiliates". They even gained more than thousand additional affiliates in the last fundraiser (there was an easy click application for membership on the donation platform) so that 50 to 100 Wikimedia volunteers now are a tiny minority in the membership of that chapter. In smaller chapters involvement in decision making may be easy, in bigger chapters it can be very helpful for Wikimedia community members to have an alternative source of support. --Martina Nolte 22:40, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I tried to grasp the sense. Can u write that at my disk in German, please or be more specific here?--Angel54 5 23:02, 30 January 2012 (UTC) appx: especially that "minority thing" was unclear, sry for that...--Angel54 5 23:07, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
The fundraiser addresses mainly our readers, not our volunteer project contributors. If a chapter gains the far biggest part of their members in that - let's say - "external" group, taking part in politics and grant strategies in such big chapters is not as easy for volunteers as Tango assumed above; interests of Wikimedia volunteers can fade from the spotlight and can get in conflicts with chapter's interests. --Martina Nolte 00:21, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Thx, that was more precise.--Angel54 5 01:03, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Let's talk about the USA...

[For those who don't want to read the whole thing, there's a call to the WMF board at the bottom.]
To my mind, the elephant in the room with regards to fundraising is the USA. It is where the VAST majority of the money is raised, it is also the country where the WMF is registered, and it is also almost the only developed country that doesn't have a national Chapter (yet). The discussion of the USA's role is raised in the "Personal view..." and "Funds should be distributed..." sections (above) and probably other places as well. So, perhaps it is appropriate to discuss the USA's role in fundraising directly.

I have often used the question "do you think there should be a [payment processing] national Wikimedia-USA Chapter?" as a very good litmus test about what a person believes the role of the WMF vis-à-vis a Chapter should be. Broadly speaking, there are two positions:

  • those who do NOT see the need for a national Wikimedia-USA Chapter regard it as an unnecessary organisation because the WMF is already quite capable of doing things in the USA;
  • those who DO see the need for a national Wikimedia-USA Chapter think that the WMF has taken on Chapter roles in the USA by historical accident (because that's where it lives) and believe it would be good to differentiate between the global and the national activities.

For my part, I take the second position. I think there SHOULD be a Wikimedia-USA and it SHOULD be a payment processing organisation. The long term implications of this are quite significant as I am sure everyone here is aware. It would mean:

  • The WMF's single largest income source would change from being small payments from individuals to big payments from chapters.
  • The WMF's primary fundraising focus would shift from direct management of banners and payments to ensuring compliance/security/professionalism in the payment processing chapter(s) - especially in the USA, and including before, during and after fundraising efforts.
  • Many of the WMF's staff (and their project responsibilities) would need to be handed across to WM-USA - this would include people from the Press team, many in the Fundraising team, and probably most of the Outreach team.

The corollary is that, aside from hardware maintenance and software development, the vast majority of the WMF's work would be in coordinating the efforts of a network of Chapters (albeit at different levels of organisational maturity). For example, rather than directly running 10 USA regions of the Wikipedia Education Program it would assist Wikimedia-USA's running of it.

In my opinion, these consequences would be Good Things. Not because I want the WMF to stop growing/professionalising, but because I want to see that growth and professionalism spread around the world! In ten years, we should have a team of dedicated professionals helping the local volunteer community to share free knowledge based in most major cities in the world, not just in San Francisco. Our mission statement is just as expansive as the Red Cross, Amnesty International or Oxfam, so we should be thinking on that kind of scale about what we can achieve. Furthermore, returning to my 'litmus test' mentioned above, having a USA Chapter with full "chapter rights" is a necessary step in that process because it allows the USA to focus on what the USA needs, and allows the WMF to focus on what the Wikimedia movement needs. This is as opposed to the current mixed model where the WMF is both the global HQ and local outreach coordinator.

Organisational comparison
For an organisational comparison, I would love to know what took place in the internal Red Cross discussions about the relationship between the Swiss Red Cross (HQ in Berne) and the International Red Cross (HQ in Geneva). For what it's worth, if you are Swiss, you donate to the national organisation[2] and not to the international one even though they are in the same country. Furthermore, the Red Cross seems to be able to raise money in one country and spend it in another, so we should be legally/culturally able to do so as well. Yes, of course it will mean a lot of international legal/financial compliance bureaucracy, but that's a necessary cost of being a global non-profit network. We should not try to fool ourselves that we can avoid this complexity by taking the easy option of centralising all fundraising. Of course none of these implications (above) would or should happen immediately even if WM-USA was created tomorrow. The level of professionalism required is very high so it would be a multi-year process of bringing WM-USA "up to speed".

But why?
So, why should either WMF or WM-USA bother with all of this extra work when the WMF is already capable of managing the fundraising? Why should the USA have to "grow up" when the WMF is happy to keep "making the bed" for it indefinitely? It helps to look at it from a different perspective. What if the WMF had instead been founded in Iceland (which has a pretty good legal infrastructure for such a project)? Would there have been a WM-USA develop along the same timeline as did WM-France, WM-Germany etc.? Most probably. Would the WMF have been actively involved in making sure that the movement could raise money in the USA effectively? Most definitely. Would the WM-USA community argue that they should keep a disproportionate amount of the money raised locally and not send it to global activities (i.e. to Iceland)? No, and if they tried, the WMF and other Chapters would rightly criticize them. Would the WMF think it acceptable that the USA community have no professional coordination locally but have it all run from Iceland? No, it would assist the USA Chapter to make sure it continually improves, for the benefit of everyone.

Call to the WMF board
So... whilst this is not a direct reply to the fundraising recommendations that Sue has made, I think it is definitely related. I would like to call on the WMF board to:

  • Make a resolution calling for the development of a national Wikimedia-USA Chapter (that works with and does not override the existing two USA local Chapters).
  • Develop a strategy for how the WMF would relate to WM-USA: a) legally; b) financially; c) operationally.
  • Indicate how the WMF would directly assist in building the maturity of this organisation, and progressively hand over USA-specific functions to it.
  • Set criteria for the standards needed for WM-USA to directly manage the annual fundraiser within the USA.

[ADDENDUM: There is already a Wikimedia United States Chapters Council project (also known as Wikipedians Active in Local Regions of the US [with the awesome acronym WALRUS]). This would be a perfect group for the WMF board to point towards in encouraging the creation of a WM-USA, to invent some form of Federal Chapter model within the USA. I've heard too many American Wikimedians say that they'd like to become a chapter "but the WMF would never allow it". We need to change that.]

Sincerely, Wittylama 05:11, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

I think it would make more sense for WMUSA to contract WMF to do it's funds processing though WMUSA would still be heavily involved in organising fundraising in the USA, handling donor relations for donors in the USA etc.
The chairman and the chief executive of WMUSA are going to be a powerful figures in the wikimovement, rivalling Sue and Jimmy. Do we want that potential for division? Filceolaire 08:04, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the elected President and employed Director of a WM-USA would be influential positions, just like the equivalent positions in Germany, UK, France etc. are. The USA needs to have a voice just as much as the other countries do, perhaps more since it is where a large amount of our editors, readers and donors come from. This is not a "rival" to Sue or Jimmy in the same way that the equivalent positions in other countries are not rivals either. In fact, it would free up the WMF to focus solely on the global needs of Wikimedia. As for WM-USA "contracting" the WMF to do its fundraising, that kind of idea is part of the discussions they would have each year as the organisations developed. I wouldn't want to pre-empt what was the best option for them at each point in time. Wittylama 10:34, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Wittylama, I think your proposal is a clear reason to support the recommendation of Sue.
Do you think that is the Board who has to say lets create a chapter out of nothing? Do you think that is a gentleman from Australia who has to tell the USA how to organize? And if they think it is not practical to have a chapter all over the USA? And if they prefere to have several chapters cooperating though a chapters council? And if Spanish speaking people of the USA prefer to have a different chapter than English speakers? Where are the volunteers who have asked for a chapter in the USA? Why should be the English-speaking chapter of USA who collect the money in USA instead of the State based chapters or an hypothetical Spanish speaking chapter? Just set an artificial none asked by anybody chapter in all USA and you will have an allied to fight for the money against WMF in the side of the chapters and later we will fight against him to fund the poor country chapters and he will fight inside USA to avoid the creation of state based Chapters o linguistic o thematic chapters…
At first I thought that raising funds in the hands of chapters and other organizations nearer to the donors had many advantages and that we should set very stringent criteria to accept it but we shouldn’t completely closed the door to this. But with contributions like this you are convincing me that Sue’s recommendation is the best we can do because fundraising in the hands of the chapters is generating a problem that is worst than the difficulties coming from not being near the donors: Bring the chapters to fight among them and the WMF for the control of the money and make them radically opposed to anyone else living in "their" territory, lest they lose control of the money.
--Gomà 09:28, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
To be clear, I'm not asking the WMF board to "Create a Chapter out of nothing", I'm asking the WMF board to overtly call on the USA community to get together to create one themselves, and that this will be actively supported by the WMF. The Wikimedians in the USA that I have talked to over the years who are already interested in having some kind of national Chapter always generally say the same thing - "it will never happen because the WMF would never allow it." I'm asking the WMF board to make the specific statement that not only will they be allowed to create a national Chapter, but that they will be supported in doing it.
With regards to your question about "Spanish speaking Chapter [of the USA]" I think this, again, requires that I re-iterate that *Chapters are geographic not cultural/linguistic/thematic* organisations. There is no reason why WM-USA could not have a dual-language policy, or money set aside for Spanish-language projects etc. etc. Those are perfectly good things for it to do. Wittylama 10:35, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
You are convincing me more and more. If linking the fundraising payment processing to chapters drives us to define from top to down what organizations are allowed to be chapters, what are not, what are encouraged… Instead of just empowering people to freely organize themselves and letting editing communities to decide who is doing a good job and what activity plans are worth to receive financing then the best way to be coherent with our values is by centralizing payment processing and decentralising funds distribution decision.--Gomà 11:40, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Are you aware that there is a Wikimedia District of Columbia and a Wikimedia New York City? --Goldzahn 11:58, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Liam called on the WMF board to "Make a resolution calling for the development of a national Wikimedia-USA Chapter (that works with and does not override the existing two USA local Chapters)." (emphasis mine), so I'm quite sure he does. There is a very big difference between those kind of sub-national chapters are a proper WM-USA, though. --Tango 12:37, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I remember the discussion on foundation-I that a chapter for 300 Million US-citizen won´t work similar to for example Wikimedia Poland. A WM-USA would rather be a second Wikimedia Foundation. I agree with that. (Maybe India is different, because the number of internet user in India is maybe 100 million or less) --Goldzahn 13:31, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I am aware that there are two "sub-national" Chapters in the US already, and there will probably be more. I HOPE there will be more. I am also aware of the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council project (also known as Wikipedians Active in Local Regions of the US [with the awesome acronym WALRUS]). This is precisely the kind of grouping I would hope the WMF Board would specifically address and say "we encourage your existence and ask the WMF Staff to support you in becoming a National chapter". Moreover this would probably have some federal association model, just like the point you raise about India. [In fact, I'm going to go back and add a note at the bottom of my first post, pointing to WALRUS, so people know that's what I'm referring to.] Wittylama 00:34, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree that we're never going to really get things sorted until we have a WM-USA. The kind of work WM-USA would do needs to be done, so at the moment the WMF does it. That means its role is very confused. There are similar problems with the "boots on the ground" programme. I am particularly worried by the WMF creating its own subsidiary in India - if there are things that need to be done by a legal entity in India, then they should be done by the Indian chapter. The WMF's role should be to support that chapter, not to take on the role of an Indian chapter itself. (I'm not up-to-date on the plans for Brazil, but I think there are similar issues there.)
There are clearly Americans interested in forming and running a chapter, since they've already created two, so it shouldn't take much more than a statement of encouragement from the WMF board for them to create a WM-USA. (It would be my preference for WM-USA to override the existing chapters and for them to become sub-chapters of it - I can't see any reason for them to remain separate chapters other than due to some kind of grandfather clause and they just complicate things.)
So far, I've really only talked about WM-USA's programme work. Its role in fundraising is another matter. I do think it should take over fundraising in the USA, simply to maintain consistency with the rest of the movement (and I think chapters doing local fundraising is what is best for the rest of the movement, with the exception of countries where we can't raise enough to be worth it). We're currently in a situation where the USA is subsidising the operations side of the Wikimedia movement, simply by virtue of the WMF being based there, which is simply by virtue of Jimmy living there when he set it up (and the WMF is concerned that, should WM-USA take over fundraising, that subsidy would stop). That obviously doesn't make any sense. I don't think anyone would disagree that the operations side of things should be jointly funded by all the countries we raise funds in. It shouldn't be difficult to achieve that once we have a FAC, or similar, organising things. --Tango 12:37, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
If you and Wittylama believe that Wikimedia USA is needed and have ideas that can work and you have the will to go ahead then be bold, gather people, starting with the wikimedians in the USA that Wittylama have talked to over the years and start working and raising funds. As you have interesting proposals and people wiling to carry them into practice and prove that you're able to do so if your own fund-raising is not enough then you can ask for the financing from WMF. But if another also has good ideas and capability they should also be able to access the funds. What makes no sense is that you have the privilege of processing payments made in USA just because you chose the name "Wikimedia USA Local Chapter" instead of the name "Crazy for Wikipedia and Sister Projects" or the name "WMF".--Gomà 18:01, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
Wittylama is based in Australia and I'm based in the UK, so I don't think either of us is particularly suited to setting up a US chapter... --Tango 20:18, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I knew. That's exactly my point from the very begining. Let people actually wiling to work in USA organize their own way. If distributed payment processing imposes a given model then we have an additional serious reason for a centralized system. --Gomà 23:05, 25 January 2012 (UTC)
I've added an addendum to my original post to include a link to the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council project. This group is already trying to coordinate itself, so there is already an expressed desire from within the USA for some kind of National coordination structure. They don't HAVE to payment process, nor do they HAVE to do it immediately even if they do want to do it. The point is that they SHOULD be allowed to do it when they have the professional capacity to handle the responsibility. The USA should not be denied the rights accorded to other nations simply because that's where the WMF happens to be too. Wittylama 00:34, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Exact, and as this group we also have Iberocoop and Wikimedia Asia. The reason why you are convincing me that a centralized model is better is because the centralized model gives freedom to create the Wikimedia United States Chapters Council as well as Iberocoop and left in their hands the decision to go as far as they want in cooperation while your distributed model forces to join New York and Puerto Rico and forces to separate Spain from Mexico.--Gomà 09:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Outdenting. I will just briefly say here that of course the Wikimedia Foundation would love to see a United States chapter develop. I have said that consistently, many times. I continue to be perplexed by people who say the Wikimedia Foundation is doing the work of a U.S. chapter: we are not. The PPI is something that could have been run by a U.S. chapter, if a chapter existed, and there are two positions at the Wikimedia Foundation that I named elsewhere on this page, that could be run out of a U.S. chapter, if one existed. But again: the bulk of the work that the Wikimedia Foundation does is not focused on the United States: it is global work.

(Yes, I realize there are folks here saying "the chapters do global work." In response to that, first I would acknowledge that yes, some chapters do some work that extends beyond their own geography, and some chapters fund some work that happens outside their geography. That is an inarguable fact. Second though, it does raise the question: what defines the mission of an individual chapter, if not geography? I confess that, in the absence of a mission statement for chapters, it is not easy to understand their scope. The original mandate for Movement Roles called for the development of a mission statement for the chapters: I think it's a shame that such a mission statement has not been developed, because I think it would help everyone's understanding here.)

Wittylama is correct: a U.S. chapter would not be a rival to the Wikimedia Foundation, and leadership of a U.S. chapter would not be a "rival" to me and Jimmy. The more leadership the better! And (also agreeing with Wittylama) -- the establishment of a U.S. chapter would take some weight off the Wikimedia Foundation, and free it up for more global work. It would also, importantly, enable lots of NEW programmatic work to be done in the United States, that is currently not being done by anyone. New York and DC are of course doing programmatic work: I'm not saying they're not. I'm just saying that a U.S. chapter would do more, new, additional work.

WRT the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees mandating the creation of a U.S. chapter, and actively working to foster its development, I would say this: that's not how things really work in our movement. Chapters establish themselves when there are sufficient volunteers to self-organize and grow, and where people see work that wants to get done. I believe that will happen in the United States, and I will be very happy when it does happen. But you can't manufacture it: it needs to grow on its own initiative.

Meanwhile, I think Gomà is correct: fundraising is not the important part; fundraising should be done in whatever way seems simplest and most effective. Funds dissemination -- to chapters, to associations, to individuals: that is what matters. Sue Gardner 21:44, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Sue,
I'm glad to see you reiterate your support for a WM-USA to be created - I know you've always supported it, and have said so to me personally in the past. Thank you. I do know that others at the WMF do NOT want a WM-USA to exist, and they have said so to me personally in the past as well. And yes, a Chapter should form of its own internal momentum and cannot be forced into existence. However, as we know, the USA is a special case because that is also where the WMF is based. If the WMF had not been based there, then I believe a WM-USA would have self-formed a long time ago. The reason that it hasn't done so yet, IMO, is in large-part because the USA communities can't get a critical mass for organisation locally (except DC and NYC) and don't believe they have the power/right to get organised nationally. What I'm calling for is the WMF Board to say "We would like to see a National USA Chapter (dovetailing with the existing local chapters), we will provide support that is needed". This gives a 'permission' to the USA community to coordinate but it does not 'mandate it' to happen top-down like you suggest. I am also asking the WMF Board to proactively develop a strategy for how it will legally/financially/organisationally relate to such a Chapter because I believe it would be prudent planning rather than scrambling to work out the laws after the fact.
Having the current position that a USA Chapter is allowed to form (but not doing anything about it) whilst at the same time the WMF almost doubles in size every 2 years means that a WM-USA will NEVER happen if the status quo is maintained. All of the good local people, who in other countries would have been involved in local coordination, are vacuumed up to become WMF staff, and the self-fulfilling prophecy of "there's no local capacity, because there's no local group, because there's no local capacity..." continues.
Once there's a WM-USA (or at least one in the works) then this will allow us as a global movement to move forward in our ongoing Chapter-WMF fundraising debates. It is not sustainable to keep seeing money that comes from 'anywhere-except-the-USA' as part of the Chapter debate whilst money from within the USA is 'automatically always going 100% to the WMF.
And yes, a Chapter's charter or something like that would be good, it would give us a consistent document to point to. But, since there is the important factor of legal independence that needs to be maintained (for mutual benefit), that Charter shouldn't be a legal document. Wittylama 02:10, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

So the fact that a fundraising WMUS would obviously cut into the WMF's revenue streams doesn't influence you? Not even a little bit? Craig Franklin 11:46, 31 January 2012 (UTC).

Who are you asking? --Tango 01:19, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Tango, I suppose the indenting didn't make that clear. The question was directed at Sue. Craig Franklin 11:35, 1 February 2012 (UTC).

What resources Wikimedians want

Please help to compile a list for a survey of resources (requiring funding) Wikimedians want and need, and at what priority. This is related to allocation of funds. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 22:15, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Chapters and affiliated wikipedias

I dont really know, what the talk about this one is. Over the yrs there was developed a system that disconnected wikipedian volunteers completedly from the chapters in the first row, and because the chapters have agreements with WMF (who is allowed to do what) in the second row. The first thing proposed by someone in a leading position was to open a wikipedia cafe with a friend (out of some community project budget). I ask: How does that benefit the community, are they invited to get a free coffee there *sarcasm*? I can only agree to rethink the entire structure, cause something like that is demotivating for volunteers, if their own spokesmen only try to work for themselves (was a huge internal rage and scandal). Other people are not even heard about their proposals, lest the money doesnt have any benefit for the community. Such things should not happen again. If local chapters or WMF sums up the money is in my opinion of second rate - but we see that the WMF also tries to deplete the funds for reasons of outreach in the Global South - this might cost authors in the Global North. Thats both of the risks Im seeing:

  • Uncommited use of the money by Chapters
  • Only supporting plans of global outreach from the WMF

Please make sure, that both risks are minimized by ur plans.--Angel54 5 01:42, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Ok Im trying to add sth. What we have now, is a mixed model system. Thats why wittylamas question about WMUS is important. Which way to go (regional - decentralized) - then a WMUS would make sense. Centralized with WMF (the other option), then this model doesnt make sense. Or do we prefer to split at: what question makes sense to be handled centralized and on the other hand, which ones of the tasks are better taken care of locally? I think thats the main concern, we have to face here.

  • What is in the responsibility of whom?--Angel54 5 17:20, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Who maintains relations with donors?

Under the current system, if you assume that a chapter's budget (and revenue) remain constant, switching to direct engagement with donors via the sitewide campaing has two primary impacts:

  • It makes the flow of funds during the fundraiser more immediate: as the funds are received daily starting with the fundraiser launch.
  • The Chapter becomes responsible for the donor relationship: they have the first contact and obligation to give thanks, provide tax receipts, and answer related inquiries. They also have the ongoing relationship with their donors.
  1. If the WMF were to process all donations, who would maintain those donor relationships?
  2. In the current fundraising process, where/when is it made clear to donors that there are separate global and local organizations? Are they able to subscribe to organization newsletters without donating? Able to donate separately to more than one org?
  3. Under the current mixed system, has anyone considered separating the question of donor relationship management from the question of payment processing? I could imagine smaller chapters wanting to build their donor base (and donors who don't speak English as a first language, or live in a country with a local chapter, wanting to get annual updates from a local group).
  4. Under the current system, do we know of any groups who share donor databases (or, say, CiviCRM installations) for any purposes? (most of the movement already shares inquirer information via OTRS, though not well data-normalized)
  5. Do any Chapters or the WMF send informational updates in more than one language? Or differentiate their donors by language of choice?

While I feel I should know some of these answers, I do not; they are not meant as rhetorical questions.

Thank you, SJ talk | translate   03:15, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Dont really know what u mean with ur first point (more immediate) - cause there are time zones?--Angel54 5 00:46, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
The other ones are not nearly necessary, if there will be people allowed to select in a database, which one came out of their country and react (just a matter of organizing, seems to me)...--Angel54 5 00:51, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
The big impact that you have missed is the matter of who is ultimately responsible for the funds. The responsibility falls to the Trustees of whichever body receives the donation. That's far more important than whether you can start spending the money before the end of the fundraiser or not (it would be very irresponsible for any organisation to let their bank balance get low enough for that to be an issue). --Tango 01:17, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
What are u talking about, Tango? In my country ist not ecen allowed that the amount of money goes beyond zero, if u are a humanitarian institution. I dont understand the impact, u have to plan that way, thats ur duty...--Angel54 5 01:50, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
To explain: Under the current system, a German user (for example) makes a donation at the start of the fundraising campaign. We'll say that money is donated on 01 November. The money goes to the WPDE chapter's bank account. At a later date, WPDE sends some of that money to the WMF. We'll say that the money reaches the WMF on 01 February.
Under the proposed system, the German user makes a donation at the start of the fundraising campaign, on 01 November. Under this system, all of that money reaches the WMF in November, not several months later.
That is what is meant by the first bullet: the WMF would get the money sooner.
Since the WMF has some reserves and multiple sources of revenue, and since it does not seem to have significant cash flow problems, this is probably not an important factor for them, but the change to centralized processing would eliminate the delay involved in getting money out of the chapters' bank accounts and into its own. WhatamIdoing 17:47, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Im not sure, I understand that. In my opinion if the fundraiser is done u have the money in for the next period. Means: until the next fundraiser starts. Until then u will have to budget (and ur obligated to) in a way, that u doesnt overextend the financial resources. U cant even spent more than ur income was (there isnt any credit line as if u were a business company). That was my point of view - correct me if Im wrong.--Angel54 5 18:14, 1 February 2012 (UTC), sry @whatamidoing I was answering to Tango, u were trying to explain the first bullet of sj - now I got it...--Angel54 5 18:23, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
American charities are permitted to use lines of credit or to otherwise go into debt. The WMF has no need to do this (they have more than six months' worth of operating expenses sitting in the bank right now), but it is a legal option for them. WhatamIdoing 03:29, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok then, read about that a bit. Under the current construction (gGmbH) WMDE is allowed too. But that wasnt my point. The gGmbH is allowed to go into debt, the union was not. But that construction also means, that members of the union dont have a voice about the disposition of the money. They are excluded, enabled are shareholders in that gGmbH.--Angel54 5 17:10, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
There are no shareholders for American charities. WhatamIdoing 20:21, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Sj - finally - someone talking about donor data and relationships! In my view this is really important. Donors, their goodwill, and their personal data / consent to be contacted are an important asset to the movement. At the most basic level, this involves sending them emails asking them if they can make another donation. The Foundation can do that just as well as any chapter. But once you move beyond that into thinking about questions like - which existing donors are capable of giving 5- or 6-figure sums if cultivated? Which are trustees of charities or directors of companies that might make us grants? Which prominent local celebrities have given? How can we interest donors in taking part in outreach activities? - once you start to ask those questions, then it very quickly becomes apparent that there is a great deal chapters can do which the Foundation can 't, or at least can't without acquiring the legal standing, cultural understanding and linguistic skills that chapters possess.
An arrangement by which donors could opt in to (say) email communication from the local chapter while donating to the Foundation could probably be devised, with a bit of attention to the legal/regulatory requirements, but no-one has done so yet. The Land 17:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Please do that as a new point of discussion - thats really important.--Angel54 5 19:55, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Conclusions of the discussion held between the members of Amical Viquipèdia and other Wikipedians active on the Wikipedia in Catalan

Collapsed for readability of page. New comments certainly welcome below. Latest comment in collapse: 23:53, 18 January 2012

Dear Sue and fellow Wikipedians/contributors,
Although the opinions expressed here are assumed to be personal, I promised to provide an opinion on behalf of the Amical Viquipèdia Association.

To do this, we translated the original text into Catalan and then announced this discussion at the Catalan Wikipedia's "Village Pump".

The resulting consensual text is divided into two parts, the first one corresponding to the distribution of funds, which I've posted at Funds allocation brainstorming, and the second corresponding to fundraising issues, which I've posted here - Recommendations. The two parts form a whole and are designed to be viewed as such.

The members of Amical wish you much luck and success with this initiative.

Centralized / Decentralized Fundraising

The manner of fundraising chosen has an impact on editors' views of the projects they are contributing to build with their work. Much of the money collected is spent on activities designed to attract new editors. We must be very careful to ensure that collection systems are well regarded by editors so as not to lose them.

The processing of funds collected through fundraising campaigns can be centralized or distributed, and decentralization need not be only geographical - it can also be language- or project-based.

The current system has the disadvantage that it links the collection with the distribution of the funds. Whoever collects the funds is the "owner" of a highly significant part of the funds.

A prerequisite for raising funds in a decentralized manner should be that each group be allocated at least the same amount of the total funds as the centralized collection. Groups that process funds should only receive part of the increase in revenue as compared to the centralized collection as an incentive. The only way to estimate if there is an increase and the magnitude of said increase is by using techniques similar to experiments done with banner ads.

Another prerequisite for a chapter or other entity to be delegated for processing the payments received from a particular project/language/geographic area is that the editing community of the project/language agree with this designation. The local FACs (Funds Allocation Committees) could carry out the task of screening opinions and making the decision for each project/language.

--Gomà 00:04, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi there. I am curious, how do you scale this last point? For example, would you have the English Wikipedia community deciding on the "designation", as you put it, of Wikimedia NY, Wikimedia DC, Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia India, to mention a few, or the Spanish Wikipedia community deciding on Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia Chile, Wikimedia Venezuela, Wikimedia Bolivia, and so on? This could have exactly the opposite effect for the intended funds dissemination (besides being really tiresome for those communities): if, say, editors of the English Wikipedia do not find projects of the Indian chapter interesting, or feel that the Indian chapter should not be trusted as a payment processor even if they do comply with requirements, and do not support them, then what happens? Or for Chile, or whatever. Bear in mind, you can have a very used language project but a very small number of editors who contribute in it from a certain geography. And that would clearly damage the chances of precisely the countries with fewer editors that most difficulties have raising funds. They may never reach enough support to become payment processors, through no fault of their own. How would you tackle this? And where does this leave projects like Commons, by the way? Raystorm 18:43, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Here we talk about raising funds not about its distribution. We propose that for example if Wikimedia Deutschland wish to process payments from any language wikipedia, for example from Spanish Wikipedia, in addition to other conditions, should win the confidence of Spanish Wikipedia FAC. For example by presenting banners in Spanish, otherwise we get complains like this:
"I don't understand why I'm getting a German fundraising banner when I'm connecting to the Spanish Wikipedia( I do feel it as a kind of offense to my language option. Geolocalization shouldn't reign that much. You should not force me to interact in German just because I'm currently in Germany. Mar del Sur 23:29, 14 December 2010 (UTC)".
--Gomà 20:33, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I actually know Mar better than you do, I'll wager. :D And I've read the whole thread in both your talk pages, and I think you gave her a very incorrect role of the German Chapter. No wonder she reacted as she did. In any case, you cannot take one point and try to establish a pattern. Since you will not answer my previous questions, I'll ask new ones: we have 282 different language projects. You expect to have 282 different FACs? How will money be allocated between them? Raystorm 13:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand this idea of having different FACs for each project. Who would allocate money between the difference FACs? What happens to spending that isn't for a specific project (which is the vast majority of our spending, I think)? --Tango 12:51, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Thomas. We propose that the FAC should have a global component determining the distribution of funds among global activities and each language/project promotion activities. The global FAK also should asses the financing of global activities and/or activities benefiting all projects. We also propose that there should be local FACs for each language assessing and defining priorities in local promotional activities designed to benefit that language's projects. Advantages:
  1. Scalability. As our budget grows the people assessing the activities can grow.
  2. Ability to participate in all languages. Grant requests can be done in each language not necessarily in English. The local FAK can do a summary for the global FAK.
  3. Encourage participation of the editors in the government. They feel they really have a direct say in the promotion activities financed by the donations. If the elections for local FAKs and Global FAK are organized simultaneously with board elections we can increase participation and debate.
  4. Respect of donors will in cases where they prefer to finance the promotion of specific projects/languages.
Regarding the distributed payment processing we think this is a very sensible issue. We believe that distributed has advantages over centralized. For example the possibility of coordinating online and offline fundraising campaigns. But a distributed payment processing only should be allowed to an entity if it accomplishes with high level standards, many of them already pointed to by the board or in this discussion pages. We see an additional requirement of high importance: the impact on editing community. Everybody knows the possible effect on editing community of fundraising methods like ads. The same may happen if the payment processing entity is seen by the editing community as a hostile entity. I heard that Wikimedia Deutschland at the beginning receiving thousands of donations of 1€ as a protest action because the cost of processing each one of those payments where greater than 1 €. You also can see this from the positive point of view, by asking to the editing community for permission before granting the payment processing the granted entity will gain their confidence and cooperation.
--Gomà 15:00, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
How about this. We don't decide how the FAC works on a Talk page on Meta. Instead we set up four small committees and give them each a little money and tell them to spend it - an FAC based in a minor language, another based in a certain area, a third based around a wikiproject and a fourth group told to come up with something wild. Each gets to work out their own procedures and do their own thing and report back. After a year we look at what works and what doesn't and do it again with more money and more groups. Filceolaire 21:12, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
One thing is giving a high level of freedom to people wiling to develop activities to support and promote the projects and allow them to ask for financial support and another thing is to determine which proposed activities are financed primarily. The model that has allowed us to get where we are is a model where the projects are organized by languages and each one is free to decide their care. But we have broken this model by puting out of the hands of editing communities the decisions of creating chapters and financing activities which are supposed to promote projects and attract new editors. For me it would be a big step that each language can have a say in activities that aim to promote the projects in that language. Later, each can decide if they want to organize their local FAC into groups specialized in Wikiprojects, or something wild or just keep a single team.--Gomà 23:53, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Amical Viquipèdia and Catalan Wikipedia conclusions: new comments

Please feel free to add new comments on this section here.

Maggie, I don't know how you can state these are also Catalan Wikipedia conclusions. I checked the link provided: when Amical made their announcement, no discussion whatsoever arose saying either yay or nay: it was archived without a single comment. Unless there is another link to a community discussion which could be provided, these are solely Amical's conclusions. Raystorm 00:30, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks; I'll adjust the nutshell. :) I'm afraid I understood his note that this was "consensual text" resulting from a discussion on the Catalan Village Pump (and the header: "Conclusions of the discussion held between the members of Amical Viquipèdia and other Wikipedians active on the Wikipedia in Catala") to indicate that it was a community viewpoint. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:51, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course, I understand. Thank you for clearing it up so quickly. :) Raystorm 21:22, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Sure!, Raystorm as vice president of WM-ES knows the best powder in Catalan Wikipedia. At the end there is only associated Amical for over 50 Wikipedians in Catalan. The discussion in the village pump it's empy because those who usually talk about thir where working in the Amical text ; but if you want I can post my opinions expressed at the Amical discussion of the text, aren't so nice and gentle that the final text. It is gratifying to see people more concerned to point out to us and hinder us, rather than looking at how we can leverage the work we do.--Mafoso 12:22, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
"Powder"? I think you misused an expression there, I did not get that. Btw, I'm commenting here as just any other editor can, so it is very impolite of you to imply I can only comment anywhere as a member of any given chapter, and nothing else. You should know better, and I expect you not to do it again. Thank you. In any case, the point stands: the link provided did not refer to a public discussion where the community supported these views. Unless another link is provided for that (please provide it if it exists), then it is misleading to say these conclusions are also endorsed by the community of This is neither controversial nor an attempt to hinder anything or anyone, no need to get defensive. These are Amical's conclusions, nobody is denying that. How could you possibly have a problem with what is written above? Raystorm 18:04, 1 February 2012 (UTC)


Thanks Raystorm. Thanks to your comment we realized that a formal Catalan Wikipedia decision was needed. Here you are. Please Maggy take this into account in your final report. You can find there the English translation.
Raystorm, I wonder if it would be also healthy to open a similar debate in Spanish Wikipedia. I know Spanish wikipedians are quite sensitive to fundraising issues. Just remember the fork due to rumours about advertising. It seems to me that perhaps they should be confident that WMF will not pass the fundraising capability to another organization without their consensus.
--Gomà 13:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Gomà. I will. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:45, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Now that is what I'm talking about! :D Either a proposal has been debated or not, there are no grey areas there. In English even, terrific.
As for Spanish Wikipedians, it is true they have a history of being very concerned with the direction the movement has always taken at any given time. Which is healthy I think. There have been multiple debates there on multiple WMF decissions, although I am not aware of a single position on this particular set of recommendations by Sue. But I'm sure that if you chose to present Amical's conclusions there too (is that what you are saying?) they would be commented upon, why not. Raystorm 15:17, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Raystorm: it is tiring to read what you say ... if Amical brings something it does not represent the Wikipedia in Catalan, the Wikipedia in Catalan takes a decision there is no debate ... what's next?. Before returning to bite me, take (all) a minute to think about this question :
* Why you need to waste your time in me?.
The answer is more complicated than a simple "flame".--Mafoso 16:22, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I withdraw the comment above, I made ​​a bad translation, my apologies --Mafoso 07:05, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

What happens next?

Collapsed for readability of page. New comments certainly welcome below. Latest comment in collapse: 27 January 2012

I thought it might make sense to be explicit here about how I think this is going to work.

So to be clear: I am reading these pages, and the other pages in the fundraising template. If there are pages where discussion is happening that aren't in the template, I'd appreciate if people can tell Maggie, and we will get them added.

The draft recommendations are just that: they are not final. I made them so we would have a starting point for discussion. I intend to revise them based on the conversations we have here, and on the other pages. The conversation so far is helpful to me.

I've put a couple of questions on this page: I would really appreciate if people could try to help answer them. I acknowledge that we're probably not going to get definitive official answers in the time we've got: I don't expect, for example, that chapters would be able to hold Board meetings, have lengthy discussions, and achieve resolution on these tough issues. But I would appreciate people giving personal opinions, and trying as best they can to reflect whatever conversations they are having, or have had in the past, with their Boards and memberships.

I would also really appreciate further discussion about funds dissemination particularly. Maybe I will try, later tonight, to pose some specific questions that people can respond to. (And Maggie: if it makes sense and is possible for you, maybe you could nutshell whatever conversation is happening on the GAC discussion pages, and bring it over here?) I think that regardless of how payment-processing is resolved, we are going to want to build a robust process for funds dissemination that is generally perceived as fair and accountable. So I would love if we could begin to focus our energy on that. I welcome views from people here, and like I said, I will try to formulate some specific questions later, and/or someone else can do it in the interim. Thanks Sue Gardner 00:30, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree that we need to have some quality discussions on how funds dissemination should work, but I think the reason that hasn't happened yet is because it isn't the controversial part of this. The general principles of how to disseminate funds are widely shared between all of us, so the discussion is naturally focusing on the area where we disagree, which is fundraising. I think we need to resolve the fundraising question before we can really concentrate on the details of fund dissemination (for one thing, the details depend on how we're raising funds - the dissemination system will involve budget setting and you can't set a budget without considering how you are going to raise those funds). I suggest you re-write your recommendations on fundraising, taking on board all the points made on these pages, ASAP. Then we can discuss your new recommendations and new reasons for them in time for the board meeting. Then, once the board has decided where they stand on fundraising we can start discussing the details of fund dissemination. --Tango 12:19, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid I disagree with you again on this. We have two fund raising systems, either of which work well enough to fund our budget. Which fund raising system we use will therefore have little influence on the budget. I believe the discussion has concentrated on funds processing because that is the system people have been working hard on implementing for a while and whose advantages and disadvantages are mostly known. Local funds processing has these characteristics:
  • Funds go into the chapter bank account so the chapter gets to decide how to spend them - subject to the conditions laid down by the WMF as a condition of the chapter using the WMF website and trademarks.
  • local fund raising can be used as a volunteer retention and recruitment tool since it is something that volunteers who are not interested in editting can do.
  • local fund raising can be used as an outreach tool, to develop relationships with other organisations and with donors
  • local fund raising is a publicity tool - it is one time of the year when the papers and tv and radio are interested in interviewing wikipeople and local chapters can use this to explain what they are.
At least that is what I have taken from the discussion above. The current recommendations have no details on how local chapters can achieve these objectives if they are not processing donations. That doesn't mean the recommendations are wrong - just that they need to be rewritten to address these issues.
At least that is what I think. Filceolaire 19:58, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Tango. I don't think I'm in a position to rewrite the recommendations on fundraising yet, because I don't yet have an alternate recommendation to make. So, I have made this new page. I'd appreciate if people could help me by discussing the four options there (or additional options, if you want to make new ones). Thanks Sue Gardner 20:11, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Sue, this is splitting the discussion anew. Why? This is the same subject.--Angel54 5 20:21, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Hi Angel54 5. You're right that mostly what the new page does is refactor existing issues/questions. Essentially I'm doing it so I have a place to dig into, and make progress on, Recommendation 1, which currently says: All donations received from visitors to sites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation should be received and processed by the Wikimedia Foundation. The purpose of breaking out that question is to help me better understand what people opposed to that recommendation are arguing for. At this point I am still in favour of the existing draft recommendation, but that might change if I better understood the counter-proposals. At this point I don't: I think I understand why people oppose the recommendation I've made, but I'm not sure what they're advocating for, instead of it. And so the purpose of the new page is to help me understand alternative views better: that's all. Thanks Sue Gardner 21:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
But we had that talk. I was arguing to split the theme above. U r right if u propose to centralize the fundraising out of reasons for cost reductions. But how do u give back, that the machine ur driving is "well oiled"?--Angel54 5 22:15, 27 January 2012 (UTC) We are discusssing what processing means above too (those are both raise income and outgoing costs) - so why are u trying to manage both with the same kind of rules? This is not consistent.--Angel54 5 22:24, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
And btw. Sue, ull find my proposals in that section "Proposals for funds allocation". Would be worth a consideration, to make a new recommendation for No. 3. U say there in brackets: "(including chapters, other groups, and individuals)". Thats all and nothing. I really dont want to reply on lots of sites, cause this isnt furthering the debate, but splitting it of - noone then has a single chance, to overview, what is said here and there.--Angel54 5 14:51, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
I think there are at least one more option. In Germany you can donate money by calling a certain telephone number and in several countries by Direct debit. Or think about something like en:M-Pesa (mobile-phone based money transfer service in the Global South). On the other hand, there is no use donating money per paypal to a chapter. Maybe we can split donation by the way the donation is done? --Goldzahn 22:34, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
Sue, for me, the problem with recommendation 1 is that it is not justified by the Preamble above it. The Preamble makes a good case that National Chapters should not be the only model for organising. The Preamble does not even discuss funds processing. Recommendation 1 then asserts that the balance of advantages of central funds processing outweigh those of local funds processing without listing out any of those advantages nor addressing how some of the advantages of local processing could be retained by changes to how we do central funds processing. (My post above lists various advantages of local processing which have been mentioned here)
You put this recommendation first because it is the most immediate issue - you don't want chapters wasting time on this if it isn't going to happen. It may be the most immediate but it isn't the most important. In my opinion this recommendation should be farther down the list and should include some more text introducing the issue before jumping to the recommendation. That is just me though.
Going over to the Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Fundraising options page now. Filceolaire 22:41, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

What happens next?: new discussion

Summary of GAC page conversations
  • June 2011: GAC will have open communication, with discussions of concerns about the committee's function addressed openly at the Meta talk page.
  • August and September 2011: Ijon (Asaf) calls for self- and external evaluation, including thoughts on how to improve participation by GAC members. In terms of overall performance and improvement points, most responders felt that overall a good job was being done, but that coordination to ensure consistent high levels of participation in review would be helpful. In terms of reasonable standards of participation, responders generally agreed that some grants required more participation than others and some of the GAC have more experience/expertise to bring to different proposals, but some specific suggestions include at least 3 GAC members per proposal and that each GAC member must address 2-3 requests per month. As to whether or not GAC should be expanded and how, most felt that there was no current need to expand, but one suggested to add elected representatives of 10 major language projects. In terms of improved communications with WMF, several felt that more communication about major and potential major grant policy changes would help, but others felt communication was fine.
  • September through November, they sporadically discussed how to add new members. There was some confusion about whether all applicants would be accepted, the WMF would select or active members would vote. Ijon/Asaf announces that he's considering a call to expand and asks what process should be used, but no decision is reached. He asks members who are interested in remaining on the GAC to speak up, and nobody answers.
  • October - November: Asaf starts exploring a method for GAC to acknowledging having reviewed a proposal, even if they have no comment. One responder suggests that GAC members should always comment when they read a proposal, while another indicates that he doesn't see the need.
  • November: Asaf asks if people who review Grant Reports. Responses suggest it may be a good idea but could overwhelm the GAC, interfering with reviewing the proposals.
  • November: Asaf suggests a term limit for GAC membership and receives no responses.
  • November - December: Asaf proposes a procedure for electing new GAC members. The sole respondent first suggests letting in everybody who qualifies, but when Asaf suggests that elections allow broader view of whether or not somebody meets criteria and the respondent comes back with support for a referendum.

What did the board conclude?

The WMF board has now had a length discussion on this topic. What was the conclusion? This discussion has pretty much gone as far as it can without some word on what the WMF board intends to do. --Tango 21:36, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for asking. We're sending out a letter about it; should be out before the end of the week. best, -- phoebe | talk 22:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Some remarks/suggestions by Lodewijk

friendly request: please don't "nutshell" my text - I recommand people just read the first few lines and the bullet points at the bottom. If you insist you can summarize the discussion below, if you really feel it adds anything

Summary so far of a big part of the discissions:

  • Much of the used data and assumptions originally submitted seem to be flawed
  • I haven't seen many people with experience in running a chapter to be enthusiast about Sue's recommandations with regards to the chapters
  • Fundraising and Fund dissemmination should not be mixed

For me, the intents of these proposals are good - Sue wants to be responsible and wants other people to act responsibly as well - very noble goals. However, in my opinion the offered suggestions are not taking care of the real problems, and they cause many new ones. It seems to some extent to be symptom fighting.

I will do my best to be short for the mental sake of those that got this far. I also do not have the capacity to work out these plans and support them with lots of data. I would like to refer to the suggestions made by Pavel Richter et al. which are a very good step in the right direction.


Volunteer run organizations (and chapters are mainly that - even after they hire staff they are primarily volunteer run, contrary to for example the Wikimedia Foundation) need to act responsibly - I cannot disagree with that. However, if you want them to do so, you should allow them to do so. 'Punishing' chapters because they don't live up to standards is not the right approach. Taking away responsibilities might seem a sensible thing to do, but the focus should not be on negative rewards, it should be on training. Help these organizations to become better! I have not seen many people mention that.

The approach should not be: "the chapters are so bad and do stupid things, now they can't fundraise any more" but should rather be along the lines of "how can we help the chapters that want to fundraise to become professional enough to live up to our standards". And yes, that will require some investments in both time and money.


Which organization is most effective in fundraising? For me it is very intuitive to think that this must be the local organizations. Sue digged up some data points which prooved to be flawed in later discussions, so I am at this point unwilling to blindly accept them without having access to the raw data (which the WMF at this point doesn't want to or can't provide). So, at this point I cannot really draw a reasonable conclusion here.

Non-tangible results from fundraising

I should point out that the money is not the only asset that comes out of fundraising. Last January, Wikimedia Nederland invited all its past donors to a reception in the Teylers Museum (~100-150 visitors, full house) and it was clear that many donors appreciated this personal connection. They were interested to learn more personally about this organization they supported, and several were after the reception willing to become editor.

Another thing I didn't hear yet explicitely is that several grant giving organizations require recipients to have X% of their income to be non-grant. With Wikimedia Netherlands becoming dependent on the WMF grants, it would make it impossible for them to diversify their income and request a grant at for example the Mondriaanfonds to run a project in the cultural sector.


I find it ridiculous that whether a chapter should act accountable should depend on where their money comes from. All chapters should act accountably. However, to which extent depends a lot. Fraud prevention etc is very important and applies to all organizations no matter the budget. Detailing what they spent money on, should in my opinion mainly be based on what are the generally accepted guidelines in their jurisdiction. We asked chapters to incorporate in their own country, so they should definitely follow local rules. Additionally, it would make sense to publish data publicly of course in the spirit of transparancy and openness.

But we should not fall in the trap that a membership organization has to submit many months before its fiscal year starts a detailed budget to some external body, have a huge discussion about it about every single expense, and then not be able to drop project A and instead do project X because in the mean time, it becomes clear that there are no volunteers available for A, but many are enthusiast about X. Chapters should be flexible in spending their money, and the final authority should always remain with the General Assembly of the association.

And if chapters need some kind of 'auditing' of how their organization is being run? Please let that be a peer review process, and let them learn from people who are also experts in running volunteer based organizations. We discussed it many times and everybody seems to be in favor of that (with many different details).


It is clear that we need to make a quick decision on fundraising requirements for chapters. If there will be clear cut requirements, they should know soon, so that they can start preparing themselves. When rules are changing every year in July, it is no miracle that they do not perform optimally, and that they cannot fulfill every single requirement the WMF makes with the best intentions.

At the same time, for funds dessimmination I am less sure we are under a lot of time pressure. A hasty decision here can have, as spelled out in the booklet of discussions above, major consequences and I think I am not exagurating that it could potentially destroy a lot of goodwill of the volunteers the chapters have to work with. Finding good and responsible volunteers is not always an easy thing for a chapter, and the suggested direction doesn't exactly make it much easier.


I am sorry not to be able as detailed as some others. Some concluding recommandations (not only to the board):

  • Set up clear requirements when organizations can join the fundraiser.
  • Set up a program to teach chapters the necessary skills and build the necessary infrastructure to fulfill those requirements
  • Set up more training programs for chapter volunteers to learn skills. This doesn't need to happen by the WMF, but could be done by chapters themselves.
  • Provide the raw data to allow people to make statistics that are not so contested as the currently available.
  • Make a decision relatively soon (I'd say decision early April) about the fundraiser, take more time for the dissemmination question.
  • Maintain flexibility of chapters
  • Detach the accountibility question from the origin of the budget.
  • If an organization is a fully fledged membership organization, then trust those members to make the right decision for their specific situation. Alternatively you could consider asking chapcom to only approve non-membership organizations in the future.

This got a lot longer than I intended, apologies. Effeietsanders 08:11, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

I have one single question as a remark of that section
Then of how - if responsibility is the first point summarized up here - are u going to better the link between the Chapters and the communities? Or do u think there isnt an existing problem and what Gomà or Martina Nolte complained about (not even me) should not be considerated?--Angel54 5 15:50, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Angel,
First of all, the points are not in a particular order. Not mentioning something doesn't mean I think it should not be considered, you're jumping to conclusions here. At this moment I don't think it would be a helpful exercize to go into every single comment made on these pages - that would both cost me way too much time at this point, and also bore all the readers. In this specific case, I think the link between the chapters and the communities is in some countries better than in others, and perceived better by some people than by others. I would not like to immediately extrapolate that to all countries - but sure there are always improvements to be made to the two-way communication. Effeietsanders 08:29, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Effeietsanders - sure Im jumping to conclusions, shouldnt I? Ur text is suggesting that its more important how to start the next fundraiser then it is how funds will be allocated in the next future (u want perhaps have the discussion of both points decoupled). Lets first talk about the chapters and their income - and then u state there too, it wouldnt be easy to find good and efficient volunteers. Thats why I brought up the question. If its not easy to find them, why are u arguing that their suggestions should be put in the second row? Thats all.--Angel54 5 19:52, 2 February 2012 (UTC) and u were referencing to the proposals of WMDE, which in my opinion are a scandal:"we propose to ask an established advisory firm (such as KPMG) to help our movement". Means: first throw money out of the window, cause we ourselves cant solve our problems...--Angel54 5 20:05, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Angel,
Yes, it seems you're jumping to conclusions indeed. I indeed think that the fund raising and the fund dissemination should be uncoupled - those are two separate issues with a different timeline to resolve. I did not say fundraising is more important - I simply said it requires a different timeline. If issues are harder to resolve, maybe then it is also prudent to take more time for it. Also, you are assuming that I endorse every single detail of Pavel's suggestions - I said it is a step in the good direction, and would be worth taking as a starting point. Pavel suggested one method of getting to good criteria, but I'm certainly open for better suggestions of achieving the same. But I suggest you participate in the discussion on that talk page. I am sorry to see that you are mainly focusing on what I am not writing, rather than what I do recommend. But then, maybe that should be taken as a compliment. Effeietsanders 00:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
But u dont seem to answer my question from above. Thats why I tried to explain it a little bit further. The situation between chapters (how ever they may be organized as a corporate) and freelancers is, lets say at least tense - and concerning the money and non existing voices how to use it for the benefit of the movement. And the first proposal from so in an official position is: how can we organize the next campaign. Thats why I put up the question above - and meanwhile the third time. Ur answers simply are none - like always from chapters people. Their interests and those of volunteers differs a lot - but u simply dont want to listen. If u do follow that strategy for a long time, u will lose authors. But I agree to disagree here.--Angel54 5 14:32, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
And ur asking me, a volunteer for better suggestions? If u run a business, u have to follow strict timelines for budgeting and on how ur business is situated at the moment. U r the professionals in this context. Then all I ask u is to do ur duty - u get paid for that. Timely reports and plannings are cruel for success here. And I mean "business reports" not peripatetic discussions about the sense of the movement. And make some business figures known for the communities too (what is ur concrete help?). I didnt read anything about that, thats right, but thats my critique too.--Angel54 5 14:53, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
And I go through ur text one more time: For me it is very intuitive to think that this must be the local organizations. Sue said out of reasons for cost reduction (not to have the same kind of stuff for the same reasons) U answer with "very intuitive". Do u think this helps a lot?
I am at this point unwilling to blindly accept them without having access to the raw data (which the WMF at this point doesn't want to or can't provide). The chapters are responsible to deliver that data first - if they dont, how can u expect that WMF can?
Last January, Wikimedia Nederland invited all its past donors to a reception in the Teylers Museum If I were donating to u I would ask myself, why shall I give a donation, only to eat it up at such an event?

U see, I did read, what the content was, but for me there are some points, I can simply not agree, cause there are views which dont support the general movement.--Angel54 5 15:15, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

I am sorry to see you keep jumping to conclusions. Let me just contradict some of the "facts" you assumed above: 1) I am no chapter board member. 2) I am not paid, nor are the chapter board members. 3) You extrapolate your experiences in Germany to everyone - I take distance from those assumptions and think that out of all countries, Germany might be the least representative, chapter wise. 4) Some chapters have already provided the raw data, some are in the process. The WMF has only provided raw data up to May 2010. They have indicated they will provide more up to date at a later stage, but that will likely be too late for this discussion. 5) The reception at the Teylers Museum was in cooperation with them. The location was sponsored by them, and only a small part of the total costs were provided for by Wikimedia Nederland. The event was primarily a community supporting event and the launch of a new project at the same time.
Anyway, I hope to have removed some of your wrong assumptions here. We will definitely remain to disagree on the usefullness of the chapters, and their added value - I think chapters in general do great work, and they are a vehicle to organize real life volunteers in an effective and efficient way. They also provide a platform for people to be active in the Wikimedia movement in other ways than editing, and an interface area where people can meet with the editing community, get to know more about them and perhaps become active in it. I am sorry to see that you are so unhappy about the German chapter, but I also noted you are similarly unhappy about the German editing community - I don't expect to be able to persuade you. Effeietsanders 17:25, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Thats ur version of things. What I can see out of ur link are exactly three days of how so. is handled who wants to share his knowledge, but got in conflict with influential people. If u need a broader history look there:[3]. Thats me and not me, some users scratched together. Dont talk about sth u do know nothing about. Thats how it goes if influential people are managing as admins like they are know-it-alls and not allowing any discussion about any subject anyhow. And they are members of the union, who decide as Admins about to be or not to be. U got the pic?--Angel54 5 18:02, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
And by the record: What do u think if a user is banned and the banning administrator also? [4]. Who then was right?
And btw. what has this to do with ur not-answering to my question above anyhow? What are especially u going to do? Shall I ask Ziko how the community in the Netherlands works and thinks, or what. Answer...--Angel54 5 18:14, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Some remarks/suggestions/questions to Lodewijk's text

I'm not sure how to take into account the bullet points, except the third one which is clear (for me) and there I am in complete agreement.
I would like to know what are the real problems and what new problems you mean. the bague specify of this point makes this real and new problems easily misinterpreted. You started talking about flawed data, I also want know what are the real data.
You mixtures responsibility with the fact of whether or not a volunteer, viewed favorably You referred that a volunteer must be responsible and a member of staff should be a bit more, I guess you mean to this.
A Chapter is an entity recognized by the WMF, as recognized it have a number of tools and possibilities that others do not. This benefit should have a counterpart and the lower of these is to act responsibly (note that I assume that all members of a chapter act in good faith and are responsible).
I disagree when you indicate that the proposal is a punishment, It's a punishment that a local chapter doesn't have part of a global fundraising and where all contributions are collected in a common bag (cash in a place)? (please note I'm talking about a common bag, not about how is collect, here the chapters/local organitzations have it's important paper in order to increase the eficence). That's in Fundraising.
About Fund dissemmination , as an action of responsibility , chapters and the people with experience in running a chapter will have no problem on bring a proposal to grant whatever is necessary, I am convinced that the experience of those who have long active and have carried out various activities allows them to more easily present a reasoned proposal and tight, without taking into account that as organizations recognized by the WMF they have access to different tools (internal wiki, mailing lists, ...) that allow them to have more information than those who do not have this recognition. BTW:we are talking of money collected via a global fundraising, organizations can find other ways of financing local. Here organizations recognized by the WMF again have advantages over those that are not (f.ex. commercial use of trademarks).
Concern in the punishment must come, if it's necessary (I really don't know), if something is wrong (that would terribly wrong), instead my personal experience with WMF about how this applies his vision and values leaves much wishing, I assume that is a particular case, and in the soul of the WMF is still to encourage and assist communities, and each chapter is a community, so ask for that wise that helps improve is one of the values of the WMF and this is bound to fulfill it.
The approach should not be: "they want to punish" , should be "why we assume that people are against us?, what we have done wrong?, our good faith, goodwill and efforts are still not well known?, why the chapter-state model is called into question?" . For me the first three questions are answered in: responsibility and transparency. The fourth is more about the nature of the movement that ALL of us are trying to promote.
like you I can not provide a reasoned response based on real data. One approach is that in a global fundraising banners are very important for his massive impact at the same time that the off-wiki efforts are much needed. I agree that efficiency is achieved through the customization of messages and actions to the target. Gives me the feeling that you assume an scenario where the only actor is the WMF, for my part I assume a scenario where we all work to improve fundraising in order to maximize the funds collected in a common bag and gives an important role here, in improving the efficiency, to recognized organizations (f.ex. serving as intermediaries gatherer of funds to maximize the tax benefits). Note that in the fundraising organizations still have a recognized role as actors and I assumed that the costs generated by the activity must, obviously, be covered.
Non-tangible results from fundraising
Attention, at this point I see a mix of general public relations expenses and fundraising expenses, but if cost is a part of this fundraising should be covered as part of this. On the other hand if the organization considers this a necessary activity that is within the efficient operation and has no funds to cover a reasoned proposal of grand should be given power.
At this point you indicate that to carry out the activity of your association is necessary to have some funds. Again I see you still assume that the funds of your organization only come from the global fundraising and, at the same time, assume that you will not be awarded with a grant based on the fact that you need a minimum of resources to operate. In my view a reasonable grant request (this example seems to me a request very easy to justify and basic,or better: necessary) must be given.
At this point I see a great and notable flaw in the argument. You assume that the money in the chapter are owned for it, instead of that money comes from donations from other people who donate money to Wikipedia, the WMF or your organization directly. If the money comes directly to a donation to your chapter the responsibility to what you do with them is yours: you consider that you have to do to look after your donor, but if the money come from WMF (and by extension the Wikipedia ) responsibility lies at the WMF and this should take care to look after their donors.
I find ridiculous to assume that the relationship WMF - recognizedAssociations, only have the duties the WMF and recognized associations only have rights.
Chapters have an obligation to account for what they do and how they do in the foundation where all these chapters have tried to establish a relationship of which take profits? Or not: the chapters are completely separate entities that do not take anything in return for being part of the associations recognized by the WMF?. Note that I always match that which concerns us ALL is the same goal and I start out from the fact that everyone tries to act responsibly. From this point of view the problem of bureaucratic request of a grant and take a rigorous accounting environment about expenditure and income is basically an act of transparency, a necessary nuisance to ensure to the community (at large) that their donations are being spent on activities for which they started to give money.
--Mafoso 12:00, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Measuring efficacy of expenditure

I support your effort to adapt the fund distribution system to world reality, as there is scant coincidence between nation-states territoriality and language. Even your example of fair coincidence in Germany does not have in consideration that German is also the language of Austria, good part of Switzerland, and smaller ones in France, Poland and Holland.

I, nevertheless, find a vacuum regarding expenses accounting and control. It is important that the money be used to good purpose, and this has to be controlled and evaluated in a continues form, so that a transparent and accessible accounting system is deemed necessary, in order that the continues improvement principle, so central to quality systems, may be applied: Plan, act, measure, correct, and back to act.--Auró 10:49, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

The WMF and all chapters follow the financial regulations and controls that are normal in their country. They maintain accounts and are audited according to requirements of that country. There is no vacuum. Do you think we need an internal system of accounting and auditing in addition to the national systems? --Tango 14:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I am talking about funds use efficiency, in connection with WMF objectives. This is not evaluated by national legal regulations and audits, but only by an internal system.--Auró 20:41, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I prefer Bold, Revert, Discuss. We should encourage all parties to be bold in trying new things then, afterwards, review how it went and let that inform what we try next. Filceolaire 20:37, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Genius, thats a good spirit: Reach out, control and measure, come to terms, my translation. Well thats a good one...--Angel54 5 00:02, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Board communication

See Fundraising_and_Funds_Dissemination/draft Board resolution for the text of the letter.

The text above is reproduced from an email sent by Ting Chen three hours ago on behalf of the Board to the mailing list Foundation-L. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 11:49, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

I think this should be moved to it's own page with it's own talk page and they should be here on Meta. Say Fundraising_and_Funds_Dissemination/draft Board resolution. ok Maggie? Filceolaire 23:03, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
We can if you think we should, Filceolaire. :) I was a little hesitant to enshrine it to quite that degree since it was a preliminary communication that they suggest may be modified prior to their official resolution. I'm not sure how much discussion to expect, though, as I believe many chapter representatives have voiced their thoughts on the Internal-L mailing list. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:05, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Since it is not *just* a reply to Sue's recommendations, I think that moving it to an own page is an excellent idea. That way we can focus further discussion which is no longer based on Sue's recommendations but on this draft there, instead of incorrectly here. Effeietsanders 15:51, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
All righty, then. Since you both think a draft is okay with its own page, I have set it up accordingly. I look forward to reading the conversation there. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 13:43, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
The cool thing about the draft having it's own page and it's own talk page is that the board can develop it in full view with tweaks and revisions done there to respond to comments. It's the wikiway. 20:37, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid that I can't say if that's going to happen; I don't know if anyone on the Board is even aware that it's on Meta. :) I brought it here from the mailing list simply because I thought those who do not follow the mailing lists would probably like to see it. I wasn't asked or directed to do so. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

New page

Just wanted to put out a heads up that Zack Exley has shared some thoughts and experiences on last year's fundraiser at Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Online fundraising. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 22:47, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Another new page. There is now Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Staff memo, with several appendices. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 17:36, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

my own thoughts

I have just read the February 2012 Fundraising Letter and I am really worried about the reported thoughts on chapters and fundraising. I understand that at the moment the focus has been put on concepts and not on actual wording, so I won't speak about the term "payment processing" which I assure you is really derogatory.

My concern is that centralization of the fundraising, with chapters grudgingly allowed to take part in it just "for reasons of tax". My own vision is different: WMF and the local chapter must be seen as two sides of the same medal, with the Foundation having a global view of what happens (and managing the servers with all their burden...) and the Chapter being the interface with the community. This means that the yearly budget must be clearly divided between centralized and distributed functions, and the Chapters will contribute to the centralized functions and give to the WMF part of the rest of the money raised, so that they may be distributed to poorer Chapters and places where a Chapter has not been established yet.

In this way I think the "glocal" function of Wikipedia could be better accomplished.

-- (WMIT) .mau. ✉ 14:12, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

exactly this is my sorrow: "the Chapter being the interface with the community". What do u think if in German WP one of the members is an admin and oppresses all views against the chapters view? In my eyes...I will not discuss this any further, ridiculous, thats all.--Angel54 5 16:11, 12 February 2012 (UTC) And a short appx: with automatic programming - he decides, on which sites its allowed to write and so on.
means: cut them all the money, so they come down to earth once again and know, what is their duty...--Angel54 5 18:19, 12 February 2012 (UTC) And btw. I know that isnt fair. But a member of the board here (the last one, responsible for press) stated in a blog (my words): So what, we are in a comfortable position, we dont need the community anymore, we only need to commercialize this. The results already are in.--Angel54 5 18:27, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
there isnt any support. Someone asking for a ticket to wikimania, is forwarned, that the rules are not just set. If she (and I think its a she, I dont know) will do that on her own, than there wasnt anything concrete... thats how the officials react (the members can ask for anything, if its granted, I dont know, perhaps, take the risk u dont get anything paid back)...recent case. So what? There are some people sitting on the money...--Angel54 5 19:28, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Angel54, if you have problems with WMDE you should address your thoughts to them. This discussion is not about a single chapter, it is about the direction the whole Wikiemdia thing is moving. And I believe it would be very helpful even for WMDE to know what you are talking about. I don't think that vague intimations can assist to find a common sense on how to go on with this issue. --lyzzy 20:09, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Dont even think, I didnt write emails to Pavel Richter. I shall what? Distribute contents of emails here? U should go about common sense, right? And I Know, who user Lyzzy is, right? Another one bites the dust...--Angel54 5 20:25, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
What I dont understand...ur a woman too. Why cant u support sth like that?--Angel54 5 20:45, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

the view of Mau is a good starting point, but consider what happens when:

  • The chapter raises and manages funds that are higger of it's prevision of spends
  • How to fit into the online community to a unique monolithic model, based on political boundaries
  • What to do about a place that already has a chapter and there is a group that wants to have another
  • The chapter does not become an interface with a notable part of the community.

--Mafoso 17:09, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello Mafoso,
I agree that the last point you raised (the Chapter not doing well with the community) is quite problematic: in such cases probably WMF should take action in taking back its support to the chapter, but this could mean that some funds were lost. (Your point "someone wants to create a second Chapter in the same region" is not that different, if you come to think about it). It's however reasonable that these turmoils do not happen all of a sudden: I think that one of the scope of WMF, since it is the fathering organization, is to check what happens in the various Chapters.
As for your first point, I don't see any issue: the Chapter has a provisional budget, and if donation are much more than foreseen all further money goes to WMF, maybe with the provision to distribute it to poorer chapters.
I do not understand exactly your second point. Could you please explain it again?
from WM-IT, --.mau. ✉ 16:00, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Page translation discouraged

As Sue has allegedly made recommendations to be the board, I have removed the translation recommendation for this page, so that it no longer shows up in Special:LanguageStats. It is unknown if the current version was what was recommended, or if the actual recommendations were different, because she has not edited the page since January 6, 2012. --Siebrand (talk) 13:58, 18 February 2012 (UTC)