Talk:Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/WMF staff memo

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"the staff"[edit]

Hi. Regarding the notice This memo represents the view of the Wikimedia Foundation staff, can we find a wording that makes it clear that it's the view of a selection of the staff, and not all the staff? Perhaps a list of the people who actually wrote and/or approved the text? I haven't read the memo (and as a consequence, I don't know if I'd agree with it or not), but it feels strange to present a staff of ~100 as a homogeneous body with only one "view". guillom 19:31, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi, Guillom. :) I believe that all the c-levels signed off on it. (For those not familiar with WMF stucture, "c-levels" are the heads of each department; see wmf:Staff and contractors.) Except I'm not sure if Human Resources looked at it. :D --Maggie Dennis (WMF) 20:25, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
hi Maggie. In the past, Sue has encouraged staff to participate freely the discussion on fund raising and fund dissemination. This memo does imply that this memo is supported by the complete staff. Has this degree of freedom changed with this memo? If not, I think that it would be good for the benefit of transparency if the supporters of this memo were to be mentioned by name. Siebrand 20:53, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Guillaume, Maggie, Siebrand. Nothing has changed in how staff are expected/allowed to participate in these conversations; the document is just, I would say, slightly mislabeled. It was called "from the staff" presumably because it was written for the Board, and so the title was, I imagine, an attempt to say where it came from, relative to the Board. The actual people who worked on it were: Geoff, Steven LaPorte, Zack, Megan (I think), Asaf, Philippe and Garfield. There may be others I'm forgetting. That doesn't necessarily mean those people have read it all, or that it represents their personal opinions: it just means they contributed material to it, or answered questions while it was being created. Come to think of it, I am not actually sure why the document is characterized as containing "views" at all -- from my read, it is a collection of information, not a position paper. Perhaps we can just relabel. Anyway: that is the document's provenance :-) Thanks Sue Gardner 21:22, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
I took a run at clarifying. :) Philippe (WMF) 21:39, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, Philippe. guillom 13:12, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Sue, can you honestly say that you don't see that this collection of information presents a view. John Vandenberg (talk) 06:10, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Could someone say who are the heads of the departments? Is it Erik, Zack, Barry, Garfield, Geoff and Joady. The job titles at WMF are very confusing to me. John Vandenberg (talk) 05:58, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
That term would most likely relate to c-level execs, so Erik, Zack, Barry, Garfield, Geoff, and Gayle. --Philippe (talk) 06:00, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks mate. I was close!  ;-) John Vandenberg (talk) 06:07, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Beanplating: Erik is kind of a C-level, and kind of not a C-level --- he exists simultaneously in two places in the organizational structure. As the head of tech & product, he's a C-level like Zack and the others, although like Geoff he does not have "chief" in his title. But he is also my deputy, which places him above the C-levels in the hierarchy. In practical terms, this mostly means that while I'm travelling, he gets to do exciting things like approving C-level people's holiday requests :-) Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 09:57, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
And, to clarify: I didn't review the document prior to publication, nor did I co-author it. I do think it includes lots of solid info that'll hopefully contribute to a better shared understanding, but I also think there's room for improvement, especially in how some of the information is qualified or characterized.--Eloquence (talk) 01:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
So who did approve it then? John Vandenberg (talk) 06:08, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
It was a joint effort that went through many drafts with different people contributing. In the end, I was the one who finalized and read the final version and made the decision to submit it to the Board and community in public wiki format. Geoffbrigham (talk) 07:15, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

A response[edit]

I'm very disappointed with this document. This really feels like a document drafted to reinforce prejudices rather than contribute to the debate.

I am particularly irritated to find the answers to the 2010 Editor Survey question "Next time you donate, would you say you would rather donate to the Wikimedia Foundation that operates Wikipedia, or to the national chapter representing your country?" wheeled out yet again to justify Sue's proposals when it is such a patently biased question. This has been highlighted a number of times and it is deeply regrettable that it is still in use.

I do not get the impression, on a quick reading, that the rest of the document is any less selective in its interpretation. The figures presented in the appendix are basically made up. There is still very little attempt to assess the value of tax-deductibility to donors, and none at all to consider the synergy between the annual fundraiser and other opportunities from fundraising.

Frankly it is documents like this one that cause the problem of trust between the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters.

I hope we will be able to have a sensible debate this weekend in spite of this document. Otherwise I might as well cancel my Eurostar ticket right away. Regards, The Land 20:13, 15 February 2012 (UTC) (Edited to add: Just for the avoidance of doubt, these views are my own, not those of my chapter. The Land 21:17, 15 February 2012 (UTC))

I'm both staff, albeit as a contractor, and a chapter board member, and in both roles I'm disappointed with the contents of this memo. I would regret someone reading the memo as fully supported by me with my WMF staff hat on. With a chapter hat on, I share the sentiments expressed by Chris. Siebrand 20:26, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
So I did actually use my Eurostar ticket and the fundraising meeting is very productive, with a lot of helpful sharing between the Foundation board, staff, and Chapters.
I've also had a chance to learn a bit more about how this document was developed and would like to withdraw my initial response. While I still don't agree with all of the memo, I appreciate that it was produced in very great detail at short notice and with the best of intentions. I'll be contributing in further detail about some things over the course of the next week or so. It's also a good sign that it was posted on Meta, not just supplied in private to the Board.
I'm optimistic that rather than undermining trust between Foundation and chapters as I initially thought we can use some learning from this episode (on both sides) to help that future conversations go more smoothly. Regards, The Land (talk) 09:54, 18 February 2012 (UTC)


(These are copies of two emails I sent to internal-l.)

Reading through this page brings a quote into mind: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. This page falls wholly under that problem. It's unscientific, littered with mistakes, and is completely useless.

It contrasts sharply with Zack's recent note on online fundraising, at: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_and_Funds_Dissemination/Online_fundraising where good statistics are used, in a thoughtful and careful manner, with plenty of logic throughout. That's the sort of document that's useful in these sort of discussions, since it can start a logical, drama-free on-wiki discussion and lead to practical improvements and conclusions.

There's also a second issue that this highlights. The WMF staff (by which I mean the writers of this document, and Sue) are not listening, they are not asking, and they are not checking. They are using statistics that have been clearly shown to be flawed (as per Chris's comment). They are assuming things for other Wikimedia organisations that are completely false - which could easily have been fixed by simply asking those organisations for their estimate/insight into an issue. At the very least, they could have checked with the organisations to make sure their estimates and assertions were reasonable before making claims based on them (_particularly_ when those claims are quantitative).

So I have to echo Chris here: I'm very disappointed with this document. It doesn't help us here, it just causes drama and stress. And there's plenty enough of that to go around already. Mike Peel (talk) 10:11, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

"Reading through this page brings a quote into mind: there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. This page falls wholly under that problem. It's unscientific, littered with mistakes, and is completely useless."
These are big charges. In all good faith, please highlight specific things that you consider objectionable.
If the argument is that statistics in general are objectionable, please say why, since we use statistics and metrics routinely.
Am factoring in the emotional response, but even so...would appreciate specifics, rather than condemnation of en entire document. Bishakha (on-list)Also signing here to buttress that I did make this comment onlist. Bishdatta (talk) 05:58, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Bishaka,
I'm at a work conference right now. I just had to walk out of it to answer this email, since this is important and time is short. Please bear that in mind here.
"These are big charges. In all good faith, please highlight specific things that you consider objectionable."
I should clarify: I was not saying that the page was full of lies - I was just making use of the quote. Please see Wikipedia for the underlying meaning:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies,_damned_lies,_and_statistics
In a nutshell: '"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.'
I'll pick one example from each section, as an illustration of what's wrong here.
First consideration. See Chris's and Theo's emails (and others - I haven't had time to read this whole email thread yet) - the results from these surveys have been shown to be biased, and hence are unreliable. It's unscientific to use them this way.
Second consideration: OK, this is somewhat useful, but it needs a lot more context and explanation. It's the best part of the whole document. But I find it hard to believe that GlobalCost is 'free' as portrayed here (no conversion fees, no transfer fees, no mention of cost at all?).
Third consideration: Those estimates are completely inaccurate and useless. If I had the time, I could challenge every single number in there for the UK (even payment costs, which are based on this year's numbers, but will be decreasing significantly for WMUK in the near future). If WMUK had been asked to provide numbers in this context, then that could have been done far more accurately than this.
Fourth consideration: The section on 'Gift Aid' has several inaccuracies. Tax deductibility is still relevant for the UK in the context of donors that earn high salaries (they pay 40% tax, Gift Aid lets us reclaim 25% of that tax, the donor can reclaim the rest). There are donors that will only donate to a charity if Gift Aid is available, a factor which is omitted here. As mentioned in the document, Gift Aid has been heavily revised recently, so the historical 'significant administrative costs' aren't relevant.
Mike: Do you have a percentage for the donors "that will only donate to a charity if Gift Aid is available." We were not able to find one for the size of our typical donations in the discussion surrounding Sue's recommendations or the reports available online, but maybe we missed it. Also, to be clear, the Appendix A calculates total fundraising costs and then backs out the Gift Aid (as a cost benefit). In that calculation, lost opportunity for failure to offer Gift Aid is not a relevant variable in the calculation. I agree it is relevant overall in looking at the issue, but, unless we can find better specific data, I'm not sure it is much greater than what we could find on tax deductibility in general. Geoffbrigham (talk) 07:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
It's very difficult to quantify as it's not something that is directly measurable, but should still be taken into qualitative consideration. I still believe that Appendix A is a complete waste of time, sorry. Mike Peel (talk) 07:33, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Fifth consideration: "50% of the donations given to the UK and FR chapters" - that's not true for the UK.
As I understand, UK can only provide 50% of its donations to WMF for legal reasons (and therefore can keep 50%). Are we misunderstanding each other on this, or are you operating under a different legal assumption? Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 07:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Can I ask where you got that from, please? Mike Peel (talk) 07:31, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
This was the legal advice from our UK counsel which I believe the UK chapter has accepted. The thinking is that to avoid a challenge to the independence of the UK chapter, the chapter may transfer in its discretion no more than 50% of donations to WMF. (The same applies to France.) Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:29, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Geoff. The advice that the WMF has received from your UK counsel has not been communicated to WMUK, hence we cannot have accepted it. We'd love to see a copy of it if you'd be willing to share it, though. Mike Peel (talk) 00:22, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Mike, thanks for talking this out with me. As we discussed, both of our UK counsel have advised that there is an undefined threshold over which we cannot pass in transferring funds from UK to WMF. WMF's UK counsel puts that threshold (albeit subjectively) at 50%, though it sounds like there is some wiggle room there. I will forward you the advice we received.
Mike, I have raised again with counsel, and I am still discussing, but you clearly seem to be right. There is more discretion than originally reported to me. I therefore have removed the reference to the UK re 50% split. Thank you for this discussion. Geoffbrigham (talk) 22:29 7 March 2012 (UTC)
"If the argument is that statistics in general are objectionable, please say why, since we use statistics and metrics routinely."
Of course that's not my argument. I'm a scientist. I regularly work with statistics. They're great. But they have to be used carefully, and in context. That's why I like Zack's wiki page, and don't like this one.
"Am factoring in the emotional response, but even so...would appreciate specifics, rather than condemnation of en entire document."
I'd rather not invest my time into correcting all of the mistakes I can identify in documents like this. I simply don't have the time to do that, and I wouldn't wish that on any volunteer. Rather, I would prefer to see the approach to gathering the information presented in this sort of document fundamentally changed. That's what I was raising in my second point in my last email. I'll go a bit further than what I said before to say: if a document is going to be on-wiki, then it should be constructed in a collaborative, wiki fashion - as it stands, this document has been presented as-is, with the instruction not to edit. That's fine for a high-level positional statement based on ethos, but not for a list of statistics and conclusions drawn from those statistics as this document mostly is.
To generalise in terms of the Wikimedia movement: there have been lots of comments about taking up volunteer time with fundraising issues, at the expense of them working on programmatic activities. This is a really good example of where things are going wrong here - volunteers have to spend a lot of time countering incorrect points raised by staff, rather than focusing on making improvements to the fundraising and programmatic activities. I'd much rather see us work in cooperation rather than opposition, since that's far more effective and productive. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 10:11, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for taking the request seriously and for posting this. Your section-by-section comments are very useful, as well as your overall comment on how documents like this should be constructed. I continue to hope that we will arrive at a consensus on this document, through working in cooperation, as you suggested. Bishdatta (talk) 06:02, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Increase in Sweden[edit]

I don't agree with your interpretation of the 196% increase in Sweden: The 2010 donation process was too complex and offered inconvenient payment options. Instead, our first fundraising tests during last summer with an identical message, but an one-click donation and more payment options than offered by WMF right now suggested an 5...10 fold increase in donations. --Prolineserver 21:34, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Prolineserver. It sounds like you offered a more direct donation form in your tests over the summer, and it allowed more people to donate. Would you like to share that donation form with us all to look at? Zackexley (talk) 04:25, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
It was this form and its Swedish translation. --Prolineserver (talk) 10:54, 2 March 2012 (UTC)
Prolineserver: In 2010, this was the Swedish donation page. The one you tested this summer was much more direct. It also almost doesn't mention the chapter at all. The 2010 donation page clearly explains that the donor is giving to the Swedish chapter, and has the additional explanation that half the money will be sent off to another organization, the Wikimedia Foundation. I think that message decreases donations. There were huge gains between 2010 and 2011 in every country where that message was used in 2010 and then dropped in 2011. Of course, that was not the only thing that changed. But I think that it was one of the significant factors that caused such a large increase in SE, RU and AU, for example. Zackexley (talk) 16:40, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Consideration Five[edit]

As I believe the note and attachment hopefully point out clearly enough, the process of determining which way funds travel easiest is a subjective legal and tax determination, usually requiring a closer review of the particular transaction. From my viewpoint, the most important question - which I believe is captured in the consideration - is whether there are significant barriers with funds traveling from WMF to chapters. I believe that, after this preliminary analysis which I'm sharing here, the answer is "no."

I wanted to share the attachment summary with the group - despite its detail and preliminary state - to ensure transparency. I have no problems if people wish to challenge particular advice: it makes our global legal understanding better. And, by posting the attachment, I want people to see also some of the issues we will have in each country with transfers from WMF to chapters. As you can see, it is not a black-and-white analysis.

Of course, each case will require more in depth analysis and the comparisons are admittedly nuanced, subjective, and maybe sometimes conflicting. In Switzerland, for example, certain individual transactions may be fine, but it does sound like we have different advice about how careful we need to be about ongoing and large transfers from CH to WMF while protecting CH's tax exempt status. (I'm not worried about it; we will be able to work it out either way.) The point is however that we don't see any major barriers for transfers from WMF to CH. For that reason, based on the advice that I have received, I think that it is generally easier to transfer funds from WMF to CH. I admit it is a judgment call, but my main point here is that transfers from WMF to chapters are generally not problematic, and it is good news when transfers from chapters to WMF are similarly without issues. I appreciate CH raising the issue (and, as I say, I look forward to discussing.) Geoffbrigham 22:04, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

As an update, I'm committed to working with the CH chapter on this and resolving the apparent conflict. I will loop back with our CH counsel, and I obviously will update the note as appropriate. For now, I'm assuming that that the chapter's view is the correct one. Cheers. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:05, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I've shared our written legal advice with CH. CH recollects different oral advice on the issue but may seek clarification from its counsel. We are also investigating legal registration issues for fundraising in CH. If the result of that inquiry suggests that CH should payment process (consistent with the Board's letters), we may request a tax ruling from authorities on the transfer issue to ensure we have the advice in writing from the applicable authorities. Geoffbrigham (talk) 10:57, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Increase in Australia[edit]

The consideration 'Three' claims a 165% increase in Australia. In the 2010 Fundraiser, WMAU raised AUD$328,326.[1] I cant find a document that says how much the WMF raised in the official Fundraiser time period, however this suggests that WMF raised $900,000+ in the fundraising period. So I am guessing that WMF had a >250% increase.

What this fails to take into consideration, or mention, is that WMAU ran with a very different type of fundraiser in 2010. We knew the chapter did not need large amounts of money in our first year of being a fundraising chapter, and to be honest we could not make effective use of large amounts of money in the first year. We're still scaling up. So WMAU didn't run an aggressive money-focused campaign, as this wasnt necessary; instead we ran a pro-GLAM campaign intended to promote one very open GLAM (SLQ) and shake the other GLAMs a bit. (wmf:WMAU-SLQ6) The pro-GLAM campaign exclusively used community created banners which included images donated by the SLQ. The impact of this wasn't dollars; it was hearts and minds. And it worked. Oh, and the only fundraising 'cost' for the WMAU 2010 fundraiser was the Paypal fees. i.e. the 2010 campaign here in Australia cost nothing except the time and effort willing donated by the chapter members and other Australians. Full disclosure: WMAU did have one or two hours of assistance from WMF fundraising staff who implemented the banners on meta before we had our own +sysop on meta, and Tim helped fix a minor bug in one of the banners. All other costs, like engaging an auditor, would be a necessary overhead irrespective of how the money arrived in our bank. John Vandenberg (talk) 04:48, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to make a wider point on "Third Consideration" as well, with specific regard to bullet point four....
As I understand it, you are arguing that these five countries [RU, AU, AT, IT & SV] had an increase in the amount they raised between 2010 and 2011 of between 151% and 196% and you attribute this change the change of who managed of the process and the banners they used. In the 2010 fundraiser those countries' Chapters managed the fundraiser and in 2011 the WMF managed the fundraiser. Your explanation for this increase is the "... more general and global message".
However, such an interpretation requires that we know what the % increase in donation amounts from 2010 to 2011 was in countries where the WMF managed the fundraiser in both years. If my understanding is correct, the average donation increase was at least 150% and much more in many countries. So... using those statistics you could argue that the WMF taking over the fundraiser in the five countries had a detrimental effect on the total amount received because those five countries did not increase the amount they raised as fast as the global average.
I raise this by way of pointing out that you cannot take a single raw statistic, with clearly a very large number of causes, and explain it with one, very subjective, cause. I appreciate the effort to bring actual statistics to the discussion but I, and everyone else so far, am very critical of the interpretation being made of them. Wittylama (talk) 07:16, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Liam, please see the comparison here. As you can see, WMF->WMF countries with significant dollar amounts have seen much smaller percentage increases than most WMF->chapter countries.--Eloquence (talk) 01:50, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi John,
as far as the overall issue goes, this is actually a pretty strong reason to question the idea of giving the control of an entire fundraising campaign, including all banners, to a national chapter to use as it sees fit. Because the question for the Wikimedia movement isn't so much "How much money does Australia need to raise", but "How much money do we need to raise as a whole, and how should we spend it"? It may seem very strategic and on-point from Wikimedia Australia's point of view to advertise your work on GLAM relationships, but it doesn't take into account the opportunity cost for the movement as a whole .
I do agree, though, that the percentage increase regarding Australia should be qualified, explaining that it is at least in part due to this particular choice. It would be useful to have percentage increase data for the parts of the fundraiser during which you didn't run the GLAM campaign.--Eloquence (talk) 01:50, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
In 2010, we were forced to have a 50:50 split with WMF because of the WMF-chapter fundraising agreement. Our fundraising approval, submitted to and approved by the Australian government departments, all had this split on the record. However WMAU did (or offered to) hand over the fundraising in Australia to the WMF once we had reached our target, albeit in the last few days. Please note that we did increase the donations in Australia from 2009 to 2010, and did so by a margin comparable to the rest of the world. We could have run a more aggressive, dollar-focused, campaign, giving the WMF another $50,000-$100,000 but we certainly didn't run a campaign which significantly deprived the Wikimedia movement of money. As you know, raising another $50,000-$100,000 in the 2010 campaign would have only required to keep the fundraiser open longer for a very short period of time. The opportunity cost to the movement? Zero. The WMF reached its 2010 target, ahead of schedule, so why are you complaining and attacking WMAU's choice? In the process, I think we achieved a far greater impact for the movement with the WMAU campaign — you cant buy the positive long-term effect that our campaign had. Our campaign 'bought' recognition and acceptance by govt and the public.
The 50:50 split was abandoned in 2011, by joint agreement of WMF and chapters, because everyone agreed it was not ideal way to do funds dissemination. With the new agreement that WMF and chapters wrote for the 2011 fundraiser, WMAU could and would have sent a higher percentage back to the central pool, and we would not have needed to be concerned about having excess amount of money in the WMAU bank account. Instead, WMF broke a signed contract with WMAU, and the WMAU wmau:budget for 2010-11 has a hole of ~$100,000. John Vandenberg (talk) 03:47, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi John. Thank you for clarifying that the 50% split was an additional consideration which constrained your choices in the 2010 campaign. Based on your earlier comment ("So WMAU didn't run an aggressive money-focused campaign, as this wasnt necessary"), it sounded to me like this was purely a decision based on the WMAU budget. I agree that a better agreement for payment processing chapters helps to avoid these kinds of constraints.
My main point is that we ought to minimize irrational distortions of the overall shape of the campaign. Our goal, IMO, should be to raise the amount of money that can be usefully spent by the movement as a whole, in the shortest possible time. We're usually going to raise our target somehow, so mostly we're going to be talking about the length of the campaign as a whole. Running a shorter campaign for everyone builds goodwill for everyone, which can be spent by everyone -- including on awareness-building for important work across the movement. --Eloquence (talk) 05:17, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
In light of the above discussion I have changed language in the note to indicate that local messaging may be one factor (as opposed to a determinative factor). Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:56, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi John, On the point about WMF breaking a signed contract, that isn't correct and you seem to imply that we just ignored the contract and acted completely unilaterally, which is also incorrect. We engaged in extensive discussions with your Treasurer, Craig Franklin (in which the whole board was usually cc:ed). We agreed on the path forward in which we meet specific conditions WMAU laid out for us and we committed to provide an annual plan grant to meet WMAU's needs for 2011-12. We received permission from Craig before we proceeded with the fundraiser in Australia. We have be waiting for WMAU to prepare a program plan for 2011-12 before we mutually complete the grant agreement. We look forward to completing this, when WMAU is ready. Your comment about about a hole in your budget is really surprising to me. You might want to clarify what you mean? I reviewed the Treasurers report presented at your AGM. It shows WMAU ran a surplus of A$192,119.21 in your 2010-11 fiscal year and had a cash balance of A$204,038.34 on June 30, 2011 (the date the report uses), which is about 130% of total 2010-11 expenses of A$155,003.27. Don't see a hole? --Barry Newstead 16:03, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Second consideration[edit]

I would like to go point by point through these assumptions.

  • None of the comparison being made really apply to WMF. All other organizations have their own control and platform, WMF's biggest identity is Wikipedia. WMF has no involvement in writing it, the biggest contributors are volunteers. The project can and did exist without WMF, it can do so again. This narrative about "Internet-based international nonprofits" have their own platform and content, WMF has little to do with the either. The community department is a joke, mislabeled from the fundraising department, which has little or no dealing with the community, yet it can claim ownership over such an integral area. this is the ideology that permeates. Mozilla develops its own browsers, and used to draw the largest amount of revenue from Google. It's also set up in a completely different way - a non-profit which licenses its trademarks to its for-profit subsidiary. This entire narrative, is from a condescending US-based, corporatized excuse for what the staff has wanted to push from the beginning.
  • It is good to see the document discount all charities as "struggling to integrate". Red Cross, MSF, United way. Would you like to know how Mozilla was struggling before the google deal?
  • If even handling the "core functions" is a problem and a burden for WMF, then by all means, it should be transferred to the chapters. I'm not sure what's left for WMF to do.

This is an incredibly frustrating document to read. It is completely isolated from the realities. I will try and expand my response later. It seems that only thing WMF wants chapters to do is be their translators. They can use euphemisms like collaboration and localization, but the truth is, this entire document just demonstrates the superiority that has gone to the head of some individuals on staff and how they approach everything beneath them. It is ridiculous. Theo10011 (talk) 06:24, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Theo, the whole tone of this just makes me sad. Why is it that this has to become about "superiority that has gone to the head of some individuals on staff"? Why is it that you're having trouble accepting that people on staff are good people, perhaps with a different worldview? Why does it have to get so mean? I assure you, there's not a single person on staff who would ever dream of referring to the chapters as "beneath them", as you put it. These are good people, trying hard to solve challenging problems. Please grant them at least that. They've granted you nothing less. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 08:56, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Really pb? heh I would seriously dispute granting me any courtesy by the staff. Maybe you can discuss it at the next meeting about me. But that's another issue. Theo10011 (talk) 10:46, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Just to clarify, I am in no way shape or form referring to Geoff anywhere. I love Geoff, he has been nothing but courteous with me. I have made my points elsewhere to certain other people. They can bring this up in the next meeting I suppose. Theo10011 (talk) 03:44, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

The comparision of charities would be more useful if it would start with some clear selection criteria (e.g. "we looked at the largest 10 US charities") to avoid cherry-picking data, and presented and compared charities in a uniform way (e.g. annual revenue displayed for all charities, not just the ones which collect money centrally) and without special pleading ("grew up as somewhat disconnected" and such). --Tgr (talk) 11:21, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Tgr. In response to your point, Jon Huggett who facilitated Movement Roles and who provided us some of the information on the charities in the note (see footnote 16), including the desire for charities to adapt a more global approach, offered this perspective:
The comparison of charities was drawn from broader studies of the largest global NGO networks, which are footnoted there. Each of the networks fell into one of four categories, examples of each being Mozilla, Olympics, MSF and YMCA; the Red Cross movement is in a fifth category of its own.
The category of global integrating networks of national organizations includes MSF, WorldVision, Save the Children, Habitat for Humanity and many more. Each of these has worked hard in recent years to become more coherent to fund and run global programs. Each has evolved from looser associations or movements, similar to today's YMCA around the world.
The literature covers all NGO networks with revenue known to be larger than US$1B, and many below. A caution, however, is that there is no standard ranking of global NGOs. Many NGO networks do not publish audited financial results for the entire network. Some do not even assemble consolidated accounts.
Geoffbrigham (talk) 19:50, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Consideration 1[edit]

Bullet 1[edit]

Bullet 2[edit]

Please see the discussion here with a thorough explanation why this is an unjustified conclusion to draw from these data. Effeietsanders (talk) 07:55, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

I would suggest at least adding the following qualifier: "The question asked was: 'Next time you donate, would you say you would rather donate to the Wikimedia Foundation that operates Wikipedia, or to the national chapter representing your country.' It's been argued that a question that accurately characterizes what chapters do (and that revenue donated to a chapter is shared with the Foundation) would have yielded a higher percentage of support for chapters." Is that an accurate reflection of the criticism? I would add to that: "The main point of including this data, however, is not so much to discredit chapters (which are doing tremendously important work), but to show that donors specifically and very strongly identify with the objective of 'operating Wikipedia'."--Eloquence (talk) 01:39, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think there is an easy way to ask this question correctly - because to let people make a real choice you will have to explain them what both organizations do, split per country and limit yourself to those that claim to understand the difference then. (although I realize that carries a bias in itself). What is being overlooked here is that chapters *do* contribute to the operating of Wikipedia - not in the technical sense perhaps, but definitely in the community sense. (but now we start repeating the discussion of that talkpage) Effeietsanders (talk) 11:22, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

It is interesting to note that about 20% of donors said that they would prefer to give some or all of their money to a chapter, and the actual percentage of donors whose money went to a chapter is, I think, well below this. So if we wanted to follow donor intent (which I don't think we should; generally, decisions should be made where the most information is, not where the least), WMF should actually involve more chapters in payment processing, not less.

Anyway, given that 80% of the donors didn't even know about the existence of chapters before taking the survey, their answer to the question probably does not reflect their real values very well.

As for showing that "donors specifically and very strongly identify with the objective of 'operating Wikipedia'", I'm not sure how that would be relevant. Operating Wikipedia, in the strict sense, is some 20% of the Foundation's expenses (assuming a rough 50-50% split between operation and development costs), so it is clear that the WMF does not blindly follow donor intent in how the money is used. --Tgr (talk) 11:53, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

To clarify the last comment, per our annual report 44% was spent on Site maintenance and software improvements, 18% Administration, 6% Governance, 11% Fundraising, 9% Community, and 12% Global Development.

Garfield Byrd (WMF)

Based on the feedback here, I have referenced in the footnotes the questions asked and included the last bullet point capturing in part Eloquence's suggestion. I also included some language that pointed out the limited purposes of the surveys in the last bullet point. Hope that addresses some of the concerns. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 11:15, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Bullet 3[edit]

Please see the discussion here with a thorough explanation why this is an unjustified conclusion to draw from these data. Effeietsanders (talk) 07:55, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Effe. Insofar as the document reaches a conclusion on donor intent, it is this: "Our surveys suggest that the current mixed fundraising model may not necessarily reflect donor or editor intent." I think that conclusion is pretty modest, and is in fact supported by the data cited.
It is true that folks have poked and prodded at those two data points (the 2010 Donor survey question about where people want their donations to go, and the 2011 Editor survey question about how editors want funds to be spent). Many of us have discussed them at length, in the pages you point to and elsewhere, and it's true that they are not perfectly definitive in revealing donor and editor intent. But, they are the data that we have, and I do believe they support the assertion made in the document. Again, the language is "Our surveys suggest that the current mixed fundraising model may not necessarily reflect donor or editor intent." (Emphasis added by me.) I think that is pretty understated and reasonable.
As I've said elsewhere, it is very, very difficult to uncover, with certainty, donor intent. We had an open process recently on one of the FR&FD pages where we attempted to come up with a survey question that would yield more useful data, and in my view we didn't succeed at designing anything better. (I actually think we ended up making the question somewhat worse, unfortunately.) It's hard to construct a question that'll get a useful result, because we are somewhat unusual in how we organize ourselves and donors have imperfect understanding of the various entities and how they interact, which makes it hard for them to give an answer that accurately reflects their wishes. And we can't wait for new and better data, because none is imminently forthcoming --- like I said, despite our attempts, we do not yet have a better question.
So: this is the data that we have, and it's included in the document not because it's perfectly revelatory, but because it offers some insight, however limited. Nobody is pretending it's anything but that. And, it's not the only data presented here: this section of the document draws from four surveys: (i) the 2010 Donor Survey; (ii) the OMP 2010 New York area focus group; (iii) the 2011 German Donor Survey; and (iv) the April 2011 Editor Survey. That's the data that we've got, so that's what's in the document.
Stepping back a little: I think that some of people's upset about this document is rooted in a wrong impression about what it purports to be. It really isn't aimed at providing rock-solid evidence supporting a particular course of action. Rather, it is an attempt to gather together relevant data, some of it inherently limited and some of it quite good, that can be used to inform our discussions. I think some people are responding as though they believe the Wikimedia Foundation is slamming this down as some kind of major incontrovertible statement. We're not: it's just one piece of input to the process here. Thanks Sue Gardner (talk) 09:47, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Sue,
I guess we just have to agree to disagree on the usefulness of the donor survey in this context. You think it is understated and I think it is strongly overstated. When a question is as misleading as in this case, it may be the best you have - but you simply cannot use it. If your computer is broken and the best tool you have is a hammer, then maybe it is better to do nothing than to just use that hammer. Even though if you read carefully your sentences indeed does include "may", "suggests" etc, it definitely doesn't come across like that. I don't know about how well these conclusions align with the other data points, so I invite other people to take a stab at those, but I only can conclude here that the donor survey is imho no useful data point in this context - it may have been very useful for other purposes, and I don't say it was malintent when setting up the survey. But right here, right now, it is not helpful. Effeietsanders (talk) 10:40, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Bullets 4-7[edit]

I don't see how these points suggest that "the current mixed fundraising model may not necessarily reflect donor or editor intent". They say that for the large majority of editors and donors, running the site is the most important. Given that WMF spends most of its money towards other goals, it is fair to say that the current way of funds distribution does not reflect donor or editor intent, but how is that related to the fundraising model? If fundraising would be centralized, would WMF spend more money on site operation than now? --Tgr (talk) 12:14, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Based on our most recent annual report, we spend 44% of Foundation funding on direct site operations and a significant percentage of our other expenditure areas in support of site operations, including fundraising. Garfield Byrd (WMF)

Hi Garfield,

44% is the total tech budget, which includes things like offline readers, the visual editor, or ArticleFeedback (not to mention support for other programs, such as the Education Program extension) - I doubt the people answering the survey would characterize these as "operating the site". I couldn't find any data about how that 44% is split between ops and other stuff; assuming, for the sake of argument, an 50-50% split (It would be interesting to see more detailed numbers btw), operating the site is a rough third of the non-admin non-fundraising costs (tech + governance + community + global developement = 71%). Further assuming that dropping the other two-third would also drop two-third of the admin and fundraising costs (which is a reasonable assumption, I think), the cost of operating the site could be estimated with half the tech budget plus third of the admin budget plus third of the fundraising budget - that is about 30% of the full budget. A very very rough estimate obviously, but good enough for the argument I made above. --Tgr (talk) 17:03, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

(OTOH the answers for the 2011 editor survey, which had the most specific question about the distribution of money (question D21), matches the WMF budget remarkably well - respondents allocated in average 65% of the money for tech goals, which is (given that they were only asked about the non-admin non-fundraising items) about 40% of the full budget. --Tgr (talk) 18:09, 26 February 2012 (UTC))

APPENDIX A[edit]

WMCH WMDE WMF WMFR WMUK
2011 2012 2011 2012 2011 2012 2011 2012 2011 2012
1. Chapter cost: Maintenance of independent servers in country for donor data including maintenance/security and pro-rated capital costs Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
2. Chapter cost: Data breach insurance to cover liability for chapter and officers, including cost of researching/obtaining/maintaining insurance. Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
3. Chapter cost: Third-party security audits of systems and processes Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
4. Chapter cost: Compliance with local fundraising and other laws including money transfer to WMF: mostly general legal costs associated with payment processing. Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
5. Chapter cost: Headcount costs of paid chapter staff to execute payment processing, local fundraising and governance, including oversight of volunteers to execute in accordance with laws and internal values. Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
6. WMF cost: WMF headcount to manage coordination with payment processing chapters (negotiating fundraising agreements, ensuring compliance with agreements, facilitating money transfers, finance staff, providing legal advice and research: estimated pro-rated salaries and costs taken from legal, finance, global development). Conservative estimate. Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
7. Chapter payment processing cost. (3.8% estimate based on 2010 UK data) Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
Direct cost Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
Cost as a percentage Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
8. Movement gain: UK Gift Aid Contributions. Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
Net Cost Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example
  • Query: There's an unanswered question here, which is benchmarking. Are we asking the actual costs that were spent (which may have been too much, too little, or just right from a compliance perspective? ie, If Wikimedia Mars spent $0 on auditing and brought in $6M, I think we can all agree that the "actual spent" is not an appropriate indicator of what SHOULD have been spent. How do we control for that here? It seems to me like we're conflating two questions. Philippe (WMF) ([[User
  • Good point. So let me add columns and do both. Spent in 2011 and expected for 2012. This way we have both data :) 81.253.34.224 09:03, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

___

  • I wanted to clarify the purpose of the "Estimated Cost Chart".  It is intended as a discussion document (as indicated on the document), and the hope was that we would have the opportunity to review the data on the cost chart together at the Paris meeting to see where we agree and where we do not agree so that information can be presented to the Board.  The document does include data from the DE, FR, UK and CH chapters if it was made available in time for this document's original publication on Meta.  For example, the cost of fundraising for both the DE and UK chapters comes from them directly.  The estimated costs are projections based on data from WMF, the DE chapter fundraising structure and compliance items that need to be in place, to attempt to get a rough picture of what the total fundraising cost for the DE, FR, UK, and CH chapters may look like in the next one to three years.
  • The last section of the "Estimated Cost Chart"  is for us to begin a conversation on the possible impacts of the changes in landing pages messaging to reflect changes recommended by KPMG to better disclose to donors that of their donation is going to the local chapter and part of the donation is going to WMF.  As we have time to gather more data to provide either a revised version of this document or a new document to the Board to address these same issues, we look forward to getting this information in Paris and before the Board vote on this issue so the Board has the most current information available from both WMF and the DE, FR, UK and CH chapters. Garfield Byrd (WMF) 08:50, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I have asked the DE, FR, UK, and CH chapters to update a Google doc with the Appendix A data so that a new version can be posted. Garfield Byrd (WMF)

FTE considerations[edit]

For our FTE calculations, we are taking into account the following:

1. An FTE represents only $75K, which includes full salary, benefits, overhead, and travel. We believe this is roughly a salary of about 30K Euros.

2. Germany has a 3-person fundraising team. Three FTE at the above rates also seem consistent with WMF experience.

3. At least one FTE should have fundraising experience to ensure professionalism, efficiencies, and compliance. This may drive up the cost of one FTE, allowing less expensive supporting FTEs.

4. We are extremely appreciative of volunteer work in this area. In our opinion, however, relying on volunteers to fundraise is not sustainable given the public attention on the fundraiser, compliance issues, the need for continuity, and the dollar amounts raised. In addition, reliance on OTRS to answer donor-specific questions may be misplaced because of privacy constraints surrounding donor data bases. (WMF may ask volunteeers for translation help on messaging, however, without disclosure of personally identifiable information of donors.)

5. We assume less reliance on WMF staff than what takes place today. Chapters would be leading their own fundraisers.

6. Some responsibilities/activities for the FTEs may include:

  • Expertise in fundraising techniques, including A/B testing, to test local messaging (to ensure effective local transparency requirements focused on chapter activities consistent with mission and to optimize form design, user experience, payment method options). Creation of localized, chapters-oriented messaging along with text and media will be expected. Development skills will be necessary.
  • Professional standard in compiling fundraising data and statistics, including immediate availability and analysis on demand.
  • Professional standard in fundraising strategy, practice, and reporting to ensure effective, objective, and uniform practices.
  • High service levels with respect to donor management (messaging to donors throughout the year about chapter and WMF activities, thank you notes, dealing with charge backs, proper treatment of "problem" donors).
  • Technical capacity to implement payment methods with payment providers and maintain the integrity of an accurate donor database.
  • High compliance levels. Issues include fundraising requirements; privacy requirements (including maintaining donor data properly over the years); security audits; contract adherence (PayPal and other payment processing companies); PCI compliance, legal review of messaging, including landing pages; insurance; and government liaison.
  • High professionalism on finance, accounting, and audit-proofing re donations.

Garfield Byrd (WMF)

Re: Mozilla[edit]

The memo has missed the fact that the en:Mozilla Foundation is a different entity from the en:Mozilla Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the former. The corporation has a large revenue (in excess of US$100 million) from search engine deals (notably with Google) that comparing just the Foundation's finances with the Wikimedia movement is inaccurate. --seav (talk) 16:14, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

ya, I pointed to it above "Second consideration" - Mozilla corp had a 50 Million USD deal with google before it was re-negotiated recently. Theo10011 (talk) 17:23, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
The memo included the Mozilla Foundation for comparison because they are a non-profit entity and processed personal donations online. Thanks for the notes, and I hope that provides some clarification. Cheers, - Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 20:55, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
And the Mozilla movement supports communities in various countries. Please check out this approved grant where WMPH has a joint project with the Mozilla Philippines community (not an registered organization) as an example: Grants:WM PH/Open Web Day. The local Mozilla community has received a grant from Mozilla but I don't know whether the money came from the Foundation or the Corporation. This is relevant in the discussion because funds dissemination is also part of the debate. So not including *all* of Mozilla is inappropriate. --seav (talk) 23:41, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
This memo focused on payment processing, and the second consideration includes organization's experiences with globalized central payment processing. The second consideration mentions the Mozilla Foundation because that is the entity that operates their fundraising campaign. Cheers, - Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 17:59, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
That memo is incomplete without their largest source of revenue. I am not sure how you can look at only a part of an organization's revenue, and consider it a complete picture. The definition of "globalized central payment processing" is not as universal as its projected. Either way, Mozilla is set-up in a certain fashion, without their for-profit subsidiary and their biggest source of revenue, you can not form an equatable comparison for the purposed of fundraising or fund dissemination. Theo10011 (talk) 18:04, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the response--I hope a little more detailed information is helpful. The Mozilla Foundation reported $1.9M in total revenue on their Form 990 (Part I, Line 12). They list $1.35M from contributions and grants (Part I Line 8; Part VIII Line 1h) as their largest source of revenue in 2010. They do have investments and other sources of income, but the revenue from their search engine partnership does not go directly to the Mozilla Foundation. As you note, the Mozilla Foundation does receive revenue ($10,000/year, see their Form 990 Part VIII Line 2b) for licensing the Mozilla name to their for-profit subsidiary, but this is not their largest source of revenue. I hope that is useful. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. Cheers, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 19:53, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Stephen, the relevant point here is - who controls fund-dissemination in their community. If the payments made to their community, for events, meetup is handled by the non-profit or the for-profit entity. They created another entity, it really doesn't change where the funds come from if they are held in one for-profit entity's account or a restrictive non-profit. It matters what the total spending is coming from and going. This ties in directly with what they are raising and spending, I don't see their corporation as a separate entity, just a convenient one. Even if that is the case, I still think you should make a note about their for-profit entity and its revenue. This is especially true, since WMF is in a similar position. If WMF created a for-profit corporation today, and it handled 100 million USD grant, to raise and spend by itself on its community, it might be relevant to compare the two. Theo10011 (talk) 06:30, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Hi Seav & Theo. The Mozilla example was cited for the following proposition: "[W]e do note that Internet-based international nonprofits, albeit with smaller individual donor programs than WMF, do collect money globally and centrally." We cited the smaller numbers that are associated with the Mozilla Foundation to ensure that the Board did not see Mozilla as comparable to the Wikimedia Foundation in size with respect to centralized payment processing: as we stated, Mozilla frankly has a "smaller individual donor program[] than WMF." Put another way, WMF has larger online donation flows, and we appear to be more advanced than Mozilla in this area. My concern was not to exaggerate that Mozilla was as large (or larger) than WMF with respect to online donations. I think that would be misleading to the Board in that it would suggest that Mozilla is a point of comparision that was as large and as advanced as WMF with respect to online donor programs. In reality, it is not.
To be sure, we can look to Mozilla as a point of comparison for funds dissimination to test the proposition that grant-making from a "mother" organization works. Before making that proposition to the Board - which supports Consideration Five - I would want to verify and stress-test it first. I don't yet feel comfortable making this point.
I will ask Stephen to include the financial numbers that you request here, so the information is available. But again I don't want these numbers to suggest to the Board that Mozilla is as sophisticated as WMF with respect to online donation programs. In my opinion it is not. Cheers. Geoffbrigham (talk) 14:23, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
The Mozilla Corporation is a separate entity, although it is a subsidiary that furthers the Mozilla Foundation's goal. Under tax law, there are some restrictions on how a the Mozilla Foundation can transfer money to and from the Mozilla Foundation, so the for-profit entity is more than an accounting formality. I would have to do a little more research to tell you how they disseminate funds for community projects. The Mozilla Corporation is responsible for "product development, marketing and distribution of Mozilla products" (See their Audited Consolidated Financial Statements, p. 5 Note 1). The Mozilla Foundation's program related expenses are described in Part III of their Form 990. According to their consolidated financial statement, they have a total $123,206,000 in revenue, including their for-profit organizations. For more information, you can see their financial documents. Cheers, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 21:20, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

"Do not edit"[edit]

Philippe, any objections to removing the "do not edit" notice? I think if we want to collaboratively improve and fact-check some of this document, it'll help to not have to go through a talk loop. There's always the history if we want to reflect back to the original memo (which we could permalink from the template).--Eloquence (talk) 01:31, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

It's ultimately Geoff's call. :-) I'll point him to this. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 10:33, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Consideration 4[edit]

Bullet 2[edit]

  1. The way the survey numbers are used here is completely wrong.
    • The international donors survey found that 24% of the readers would donate; of the 76% which would not, 4% claimed the lack of tax-deductibility as a reason. That gives an expected increase of donations from 24% to 24% + 76% * 4% = 27.04%, which is a 12.66% increase. (I used the numbers from the blog post; the numbers in the memo footnote seem to mix up the number of people who would donate with those who would not.)
    • The 2011 editor survey found that 19% ever donated money; of the 81% which did not, 6% points to lack of tax-deductibility as the reason. That gives an expected increase of donors from 19% to 19% + 81% * 6% = 23.86%, which is a 25.57% increase.
  1. WMF basically matched US growth (45%) in Canada (46%) with no tax benefits - this comparision makes no sense at all, since tax benefit status did not change in either country.

--Tgr (talk) 12:52, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

I removed the Canada example, as it relied on some assumptions that are confusing. Thanks for pointing it out. Zackexley (talk) 18:39, 21 February 2012 (UTC)
Frankly, after careful review, we do not understand the math here. To clarify, since the question for both studies, the editor and reader surveys (not the donor survey referred to in the comment), is a multi-select, i.e respondents could chose more than one response, it is not possible to conclude that those who said that they didn't donate due to non-availability of tax deductibility would have donated. Respondents often chose more than one option, i.e they believed there was more than one barrier that kept them from donating. Based on this it is not possible to calculate the percentage increase, but we can probably assume it is less than 4-6% who saw a lack of tax deductibility as the sole reason for not donating.Manipande (talk) 20:55, 24 February 2012 (UTC) (Original designer of the studies)

3 FTE for fundraising in each chapter ?[edit]

It is not clearly clear why 3 FTE staff would be required for fundraising. That's a total of 6000 hours of work every year; how would this time be used, and how was this estimated ? Schutz (talk) 20:59, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I think a number of people are thinking about this one. Talking to Geoff Brigham at the weekend, I think the Foundation staff simply took the staffing level of Wikimedia DE and thought that, since WMDE are effective, other chapters would need the same level.
In fact WMUK did the 2010 and 2011 fundraisers with 0.3 FTE staff working on it. We recognise this isn't sustainable. I am just working on some revised figures and a 2012 plan, but I reckon we'll have 1 FTE working on the fundraiser itself and another 0.5 FTE equivalent of administrative and IT support. I'd encourage other chapters who would like to payment process to indicate what resources they estimate they will need. The Land (talk) 22:13, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
It'd be interesting to break this down by task -- and also by period throughout the year, since this is not likely to be a linear occupation (probably 0.1-... FTE most of the year, and 2-3 FTE before and during the fundraiser. Schutz (talk) 22:54, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
And it'd interesting to know from the WMF what they had in mind, too. Schutz (talk) 07:38, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I did use the Wikimedia DE staffing model as good reference point in this discussion. The information that will be helpful is to find out from all the payment processing chapters how much volunteer time is used for fundraising. My current thinking is that at least three FTE of work needs to be done to cover all the technical, compliance, data, and customer service aspects of fundraising, even at the current levels of donations of the UK, FR and CH chapters and that volunteers doing fundraising and payment processing is not sustainable over time. I have requested the UK, FR, and CH chapters to update an Appendix A Google doc, with the UK chapter already having updated it and posting their own version of the document on meta. Garfield Byrd (WMF)

For discussion on FTE considerations, please go here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 11:35, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK cost/benefit analysis[edit]

So here is a very focused cost-benefit analysis of Wikimedia UK's participation in the 2012 fundraiser as a payment-processing chapter, using similar assumptions to the Staff Memo. Apologies for the poor formatting, I'm not very good with Wikitables.

The cost figures and income projections here are, in my view, conservative. Many of the benefits scale with fundraising income, while we have plans in place to control some of the more significant costs. Even on what on my view are very cautious assumptions, Wikimedia UK's participation in the Fundraiser is clearly adding value to the movement.

Furthermore, I have identified (but not attempted to value) some additional benefits which I think are important in the long run. How much people value those things is really a matter of subjective opinion, but the value from them is definitely greater than zero.

Regards, The Land (talk) 18:46, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Direct financial benefit
Gift Aid (60% takeup of £800,000) £120,000 Conservative. Would be higher if fundraiser continued to grow.
Long-term benefit of recurring donations £178,125 Conservative. To 5- year time horizon, accounting for attrition (4.5% per month), and assuming regular donors do not give additional cash gifts to future fundraisers.
TOTAL BENEFIT £298,125
Chapter Costs
Server £1,000 part of cost of a multi-purpose confidential data server
Part of our Developer post £5,000 (sysadmin, some web development supporting fundraiser)
Development - CiviCRM Gift Aid and DD modules, plus project management £5,000 one-off cost resulting in significant administrative savings in subsequent years. Code contributed back to CiviCRM community.
Data liability insurance £3,000 Per WMF estimate pending local estimate
3rd Party security assessment £3,000 per WMF estimate
Related legal fees £2,000 We have received extensive legal advice on this point already, we would only need to spend more on it in the event of significant regulatory or legistlative innovation (low probability)
Annual Fundraiser staff member £32,400 including on-costs. This post relieve the existing burden on volunteers, reduces the calls we make on the Foundation fundraising team's time, and increases capacity overall in the fundraiser. They will also have time to take on other fundraising projects.
Subtotal chapter costs £51,400
Payment processing costs
Actual DD costs £24,000 7.5% of DD income. Currently we have a very outsourced solution, set up on a "get it done with the least hassle" basis. Bringing DD processing work in-house will result in a much more favourable cost structure and a significant saving.
Actual Paypal costs £22,800 3.8% of Paypal income. Will decrease in future when we get charity rates (1.4%+20p/donation).
LESS Equivalent Foundation costs (GlobalCollect/Paypal) -£17,460 2% of total income (subject to correction by WMF staff)
1/4 of Office Manager £7,500 Dealing with cheques, donor queries, supporting OTRS volunteers. Some of this would still be a cost even if we didn't payment process.
Management costs of reclaiming Gift Aid £1,000 2 weeks of Office Manager (easier in future years; there is an opportunity cost but same ballpark)
Subtotal additional payment processing cost £37,840
WMF costs
Staff time spent managing the framework that allows chapter fundraising £12,000 per WMF estimate, though it seems high (0.5 FTE just to deal with the UK? - we hope that this will decrease once a lasting solution is reached)
TOTAL COSTS £190,480
GRAND TOTAL Benefits - Costs £107,645
Synergistic financial benefits
Contribution of UK fundraiser staff to global impact of testing What if our staff member's idea for a test is the next "in-focus leaves" moment that yields a 50% global fundraiser efficiency gain?
Donor relationships & potential to develop non-Fundraiser fundraising potential Using fundraiser data, we can develop further income streams (e.g. major gifts). This has the potential to be a 6-figure proposition.
Synergistic non-financial benefits
Increased membership Our membership always grows much faster during the fundraisers
Potential to use Fundraiser data to support communications & outreach work Our donor database are all potential editors and advocates if we communicate with them correctly

If donors have the choice, its local.[edit]

Why do we not simply give our donors the option of who they give to?

  1. They can donate to the WMF and outside of the USA not receive a tax receipt or
  2. They can donate to the local chapter and receive a tax receipt with the latter amount split based on what the laws allow between the local chapter and the WMF.

This would maximize the funds raised by the movement as a whole. There are definitely some people who will not donate 20$ without a tax receipt and I am not convinced that the analysis presented finds otherwise.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:44, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

We actually did a variation on that, two years ago, I believe. What we found was that having that option actually suppressed the total number and amount of donations. I'm going to ask Megan to weigh in here, but that's my initial recollection. It also does not mitigate the fact that we then have full processing costs in both revenue channels. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 21:47, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Also we would need to set up two separate legal compliance units (one for the chapter and one for WMF). IMHO, the benefits don't outweigh the costs. Interesting idea, though. Geoffbrigham (talk) 03:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Philippe's remembering that correctly. We did used to have a split donation form with both options of donating directly to WMF or a chapter in 2009. The next year, we did a lot of testing with the donation form and found that in general, simplifying the design of the page and reducing number of selections a donor has to make increases donation rates. Meganhernandez (talk) 12:21, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I was speaking with Sue Gardner last year in Germany where she mentioned that there was a Canadian donor who wished to give a large sum to the movement but wished a tax receipt. If we do not mention the possibility of donating to the chapters and receiving a tax receipt directly on the donation form than we should at least mention it on a subpage regarding "questions" / "further information" or what have you. Then those who are willing donate only if they receive a tax receipt and put in a little effort to look around will not just walk away. While at the same time we will not have the issue of cluttering the donation page.--Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:32, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
WMCH traditionally and for years offers exactly this model to our donors, the second most appreciated persons after the editors: give local, give local with tax exemption, give to the foundation. Therefor WMCH has a real case of thousands of donors, and can tell that a high percentage (~70%) prefer to donate local. In 2011 the WMF option was one click further, and the local preference climbed to 85%. BTW, 30% of the local donations were tax deductible. WMCH did not offer credit card payments and paypal, so these always go to the WMF. The amount donated is since years stable with what is coming out of Germany, 50-100% per capita or GDP more as people give in the United States. See here for details, don't be shy to edit.
From a cost and accountability perspective, getting money from a movement website is a huge cost saver. Nobody has the idea to do stupid "proprietary fundraisings", does not make silly contracts with companies just to get a couple of bucks, etc. The basic cost of running WMCH is the same, no matter if donations come from the movement websites or not. The main cost drivers, be a users contact point and say thank you stays in any case. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, you're mixing variables there, ThurnerRupert: you can't say for sure exactly why people are giving to the chapter - whether it's the "local" aspect, the donation method that WMF doesn't offer, or something different entirely. With all that said, we know that there will always be one-off cases. That's why the Board was pretty clear that in some cases it made more sense for a chapter to process payments directly - yours might be one of those cases. So might the Canadian donor above. But I do caution folks not to treat this with a data-driven approach: we tried one method, then another, and I don't think it's necessary to go back to a method that worked less-optimally (split donation forms). However, the comment about reaching out to a chapter directly and providing contact information for that is well taken, and I hope will be remembered if/when this all gets worked out.
It's also important to remember one other thing: nobody's talking about cutting chapters off from online revenue - it'll still be there. The only difference that's being raised here is who processes the payments. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 08:16, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I want to clarify something on this point. 85% of Swiss donors chose the chapter in 2011 because it was the only choice offered on the donation page. There was no mention of WMF on the page. There was only a link below the form that said "See our website for more information, especially about getting a tax receipt". On that page, there were three options, the foundation being the least prominent of them all. In that circumstance, it's hard to believe that anyone gave to WMF at all. Zackexley (talk) 16:43, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

This discussion is good[edit]

I've just looked at this page for the first time since the Paris meeting, and it's making me kind of happy. It looks like we got off on a bad footing with some confusion about who wrote the memo and what its purpose is, but since that rocky start it looks like the discussions here have been quite substantive and useful. Thanks to everyone who has participated. (And thanks especially to Geoff, who looks like he's been contributing significantly while on holiday in France.) Sue Gardner (talk) 19:25, 28 February 2012 (UTC)