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Latest comment: 17 years ago by Daniel Mayer in topic Opposition to this committee



I am interested in working with the FundCom to the extent of the ideas that I mentioned in this thread, but not really beyond that. And I have a bad tendency to overcommit to Wikimedia groups and projects and goings-on. So I won't put myself down as "interested" but I will keep an eye on how things develop. pfctdayelise 08:40, 8 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Some thoughts on fundraising


A great fundraiser should highlight the most important initiatives to date, note what specifically is planned for the near future with the funds, encourage input from donors, and close the loop with a meaningful followup that encourages developing a relationship with each donor over time.

Fundraising should attend both to identifying needs/soliciting funds, and also to developing lasting relationships with donors and organizations. - Sj 16:30, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Thoughts on scope

  1. Identify fundraising goals and milestones
  2. Coordinate fund drives
    • Time solicitation schedules with other parts of the calendar
    • Announce/market drives, including email and direct mail
  3. Plan designated giving and planned giving programs
  4. Oversee recognition efforts
    • Direct mail thanks, updates on progress
    • Recognize corporate donors, planned & deferred donors, and others
  5. Track and analyse information and statistics about donors, fund drive results, communication, and stated goals. Designing projections for the future based on this.
  6. Compute and publish the cost of fundraising regularly

--Sj 16:30, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

All good ideas. Projections already done through the end of the year, but only given to the board and officers so far. Once the budget is passed, we can distribute that. Same thing for past spending on fundraising. --Daniel Mayer 00:36, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Reply



Spend no more than 35% of related contributions on fund raising. Related contributions include donations, legacies, and other gifts received as a result of fund raising efforts.

Compute and publish the cost of fundraising per year

Address privacy concerns of donors by providing a clear, prominent and easily accessible donor privacy policy that tells donors (i) what information, if any, is being collected about them and how this information will be used, (ii) how to contact us to review personal information collected and request corrections, (iii) how to inform us (e.g., a check off box) that the donor does not wish his/her personal information to be shared outside the organization, and (iv) what security measures we have in place to protect personal information.

Clearly disclose how we benefit from the sale of products (cafepress) that state or imply that the Foundation will benefit from a consumer sale or transaction, noting the actual or anticipated portion of the purchase price that will benefit WMF (e.g., 5 cents will be contributed to Foundation for every xyz company product sold). Make that be the case on the official webshop, and also for any related product sold by a local associaton (in this case, list the product and mention the benefit goes to the local association).

Promotions for campaigns should disclose, at the point of solicitation:

  • the duration of the campaign (e.g., the month of October),
  • any maximum, minimum or average contribution amount. Which benefit may be obtained from giving over 1000 dollars, over 10 000 dollars etc...

Respond promptly to and act on complaints brought to its attention about fundraising practices (OTRS essentially).

-- Suggestions from a contributor, via Anthere & foundation-l

Actually, only about 5% of gross donations go to direct electronic fundraising costs (all from PayPal and similar fees). It is hard to account for office time of paid staff to process mailed donations and the sending of thank you letters, but I am pretty sure that amount is similar. With only volunteers I would like to keep that at the same level. Even with a staff, I would like to keep that below 10%. Either way, that is way below 35%.

A donor privacy policy and promise how the funds will be used is most certainly a great idea. Creating that will be one of the first things the fundcom does.

The amount the foundation gets from the sale of CafePress items is already stated. We could make that more obvious though.

Fund drive duration is already clearly part of each fundraiser. Giving people gifts for donating certain amounts is complicated both from a logistics and legal perspective, but should be explored.

--Daniel Mayer 00:26, 14 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

A couple of comments

  • We need to be ready to take advantage of "high profile" events with fundraising activity. Having a pitch ready to go, to be rolled out whenever we get a high profile event, would be opportune.
  • Staff handling donation inflow needs office automation to assist with handling donation volume; this will help with reporting obligations, planning, and donor thank-you notes (thank-you notes are a major way of ensuring continued donations), amongst other goals.
  • Have we considered a bequest program?
  • What about building a sustaining endowment?

Kelly Martin 16:56, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

I'm a big advocate for a sustaining endowment. Many people might be encouraged by an endowment drive; a few have said so explicitly. A proper reserve (we still do not have a sufficient reserve, though ~10% of each fund drive has been added to it) is also a pressing goal.
Specialized programs (bequests / planned giving, corporate giving) : definitely important. For some, these may be the only ways they can effectively donate to the project.
Sj 17:08, 11 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Outreach messages


see Translation_requests/WMF/Fundraising for more

Site-wide message for anons

  • Is this up all the time? Currently: yes
  • Is there any way for anons to turn it off? Currently: no
  • How should this change during/after a fund drive?

Site-wide message for all, during/around fund drives

  • How long in advance should the notice-dates be planned?
  • Should this run only on the days of the fund drive? also the day before?
  • Running a message immediately after the fund drive, with status and thanks
    How long to run this?
  • Planning translations and rollout of such messages
    Writing a script to auto-update the messages in all langs from a list
    Setting default languages for smaller langs (e.g., uk: should default to ru: before defaulting to en:), with a notice about how to add a local translation
    Coordinating with stewards and translators to allow local admins to apply translated messages if available; else for a trusted group who are not local admins to apply them.

Mailing list


I think a dedicated fundraising-l mailing list might make sense to coordinate communications among interested participants. Thoughts?--Eloquence 00:09, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Is foundation-l too crowded? user:pfctdayelise (not logged in) 03:50, 12 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
It's pretty crowded, esp. when people just want to toss out ideas and may not be comfortable doing so in front of the entire Foundation :-).--Eloquence 05:05, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
True. Given Danny's recent post, I think the fundcom should probably try to give feedback on fundraising ideas about how viable they are. It would be nice to be told, this idea is not viable because of X, rather than, stop trying to run Wikimedia like your local glee club. :) pfctdayelise 09:28, 13 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
The first rule of brainstorming is that there are no bad ideas. Once you're done, you sort the wheat from the chaff. But, we need to start collecting ideas, no matter how crazy they are. And a (completely open) committee mailing list where any new idea is not immediately dissected might be a good place for that.--Eloquence

Committee proposal


So, let's see--we have one person on the proposed committee with any professional fundraising experience, and no such experience stated among the advisers. There is no link between the committee and the WP office, which actually takes in the money and processes it. I am completely at a loss for words. Danny 12:34, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Fine, you are drafted. :) There is also a very limited pool of people to choose from and what we do with fundraising really does not require much expertise in traditional non-profit fundraising. This first incarnation of the committee is only supposed to continue what we are doing now but do it better. In time, people with the very rare combination of both trusted status and relevant experience will come in and join. If you have any ideas on who specifically to have on the fundcom who does meet with your liking, then please say so. --Daniel Mayer 21:22, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
I will start by saying I very much disagree with the statement "what we do with fundraising really does not require much expertise in traditional non-profit fundraising." Actually, it has a lot to do with it, including such basic ideas as donor cultivation, donor management, responses, etc. None of these are addressed. I cannot be on the committee. Danny 23:06, 19 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
So let me get this right. You come here to complain that the committee does not have the experts you want nor the office connection. You are such an expert and you are paid by the foundation to help in the office. And yet you refuse to help on the committee? Knowing you would refuse to be on the committee was the reason why I didn’t ask you. Complaining is the easy way out. So are you going to help us get the people we need or are you going to just complain? I welcome the former but not the later. Negative energy yields negative results. Do you have anything positive to add? --Daniel Mayer 12:03, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
No, I come here to complain that I see myself added to a committee without being asked. I see a committee based on the principle that you dont have to know anything about the topic to make binding decisions about it. I consider that you are dealing with, potentially, with enormous sums of money, donors who entrust the Foundation with that money to be handled responsibly, issues of privacy and fiduciary responsibilities being trampled on, and my name being attached to that without my knowledge. Justifying the failure to meet those responsibilities by citing jingoistic drivel like "no experience required" is what i define as "negative energy," and it will, indeed, bring negative results. Danny 23:47, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
You were only added after you complained about the committee not having members with qualities that you have. What I see is a proposed committee with a mix of both expertise and willingness/ability to help based on the advice of that expertise. Also, many tasks, such as creating designs for the CafePress shop, translating or creating fundraising reports do not require any special expertise. Mostly time and effort. Only those members who are trusted and who have a need to have access will have any access to confidential donor information; nobody's privacy will be trampled on. Also, I am limited by who I select by 1) People who can be trusted, 2) people with any kind of relevant abilities and 3) those people who came forward to volunteer or those I happened to know might want to join or those that I really need (such as Alex). Finding the perfect group is impossible. Any deficiencies in the free labor we can get will need to be addressed by hiring a person to be in the office. One area where I've known for some time that that was needed, is in donor management; it is not practical to expect that we could find a volunteer with the relevant experience willing to work in the office for free to do something that is both so important and so monotonous (and being in the office is a requirement to conduct complete donor management). Our volunteer force should focus on those aspects that can be considered to have some aspect of 'fun' to it (examples mentioned above). One last thing - as a paid representative of the foundation, you really should treat volunteers with kindness and respect (WikiLove) even when you think they are doing something wrong. There are plenty of productive ways to say how to do things correctly; bullying and throwing insults is not one of them. --Daniel Mayer 05:40, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Withdrawing from committee


I'm withdrawing from this committee; the comments I've seen by others planning to serve on this committee lead me to believe that this committee will be hopelessly unproductive and, quite frankly, a waste of my time. I have limited time to spend on Wikimedia and I do not believe that this is my best use of it. Kelly Martin 04:34, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Hopelessly unproductive? Why in the world would you think that? If we *only* did what we do now (that is, have the one man show with some occasional help), then we will still have plenty of money to run our current operations. The point of the first incarnation of the committee is to continue what we now do but do it better. In time we will expand what we do into other areas. But unproductive? That is an unfair slur. --Daniel Mayer 11:56, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
I've read the discussion on the foundation-l list and elsewhere and from the comments I've seen this committee is going to be a great deal of heat and very little light. You will doubtlessly succeed in raising some funds (since raising SOME funds is not that hard, as you note above) but I don't think you have the leadership or the willingness to listen to the people who actually know how to do this right to be successful in moving us to the next level. I don't think this committee will bear any useful fruit (just business as usual, plus extra noise and irritation), and as such I don't want to waste my time on it. My time will benefit Wikimedia more if directed elsewhere. Kelly Martin 15:26, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
I am very willing to listen to people who either know what they are talking about or who are at least willing to help but complaining by itself is not helpful. Dropping out at the onset is a bit premature given that the committee is not formed yet. Nor are any of its procedures. How do you know what the committee will do in the mid to long term when it is not formed yet? That the committee will only be able to do things as they have been as the first step is a given. The reason is that the problem we now have is that I can no longer coordinate everything myself. So the first order of business is to correctly do what we now do. Rome was not built in a day, neither will this committee. If you have any light to give, then give it. Additional heat will only derail the whole process. --Daniel Mayer 15:36, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
Tell you what: I'll observe for a few weeks, maybe make a few comments, and withhold a final judgment until after you've demonstrated that this committee will not turn into a massive timesuck without benefit. I am, however, not willing to make any sort of time committment at this time, not with what I've seen so far, certainly not the level of commitment you indicated is to be expected. (You may recategorize my participation on the committee's page as you feel fit based on these statements.) My judgment of the likelihood of success of this committee is based on my observations of the personalities of the persons selected to serve on it, and the public statements (mainly on from foundation-l) of the same. Feel free to prove me wrong; it would be a pleasant surprise. Kelly Martin 16:28, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
Deal. :) It also sounds like I need to make another appeal for participation ; I was mostly limited to those who expressed an interest in helping. For example, we need more people with real experience/training in the professional aspects of fundraising (as Danny points out albeit in an unfair and not particularly helpful manor)- Daniel Mayer 20:56, 20 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Some potential people to draft

  • GerardM, Erik Zachte, Magnus Manske are smart people with technical knowledge who can help us optimize our online fundraising processes. I think they would be good to have on board at least as volunteers or consultants.
  • User:Akl is going to be the full-time director (Geschäftsführer) of the German chapter and is its current vice-chairman. He could help us deal with issues arising on the international level of fundraising, and share his organizational experience. He's also a nice guy.
  • User:Brian0918 has shown some interest in fundraising in the past, is a passionate and motivated guy, and seems to be the kind of person who would help to get things done.

--Eloquence 06:45, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Nice picks. I will ask them later today. Do you know of anybody with professional experience in fundraising who might want to join? --Daniel Mayer 11:58, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
All nice people. And their experience with the professional side of fundraising is ... ? Has anyone even asked the question, "What does fundraising entail?" A banner on fundraising days and Cafe Press? How about a bake sale too? Danny 12:47, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
And where are these people who we can trust, who want to help for free and who have the relevant experience? I can not just conjure them from thin air. Can you? --Daniel Mayer 14:23, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
Danny, Daniel and I were the first people to get access to the PayPal account. I suggested the very first fundraiser in December 2003, when the servers were having trouble coping, and set it up together with Jimmy. The fundraiser took in about $40K. Daniel has since taken the lead in determining needs, organizing fundraisers, keeping notices up to date, etc. This is not only about "a banner on fundraising days". With all your talk about professionalism, you seem to know precious little about online fundraising. That doesn't mean you don't know a lot of things that we don't know, but please do not speak with arrogance if you only get half he picture. There are multiple key variables that need to be optimized:
* Clear targets. One of the biggest mistakes of the last fundraising drive was not to start with a clearly communicated target amount. As a result, donations trickled in, until we added the personal appeal. We need appeals like this, but we also should communicate clearly how much money we need, for what purpose, what our goals are, etc. We can also not keep using the same appeal, and we should appeal both to rational and emotional givers.
* Instant donation. There is no reason that donations shouldn't be possible directly from the sitenotice.
* Instant feedback. We have already spent a lot of energy on making donor feedback visible. I have discussed the possibility with Brion to integrate it directly into the fundraising bar itself, so that recent comments are always shown (possibly after review). All studies on online fundraising show that feedback mechanisms are crucial to the success of a fundraising campaign.
* Keeping attention. A message that is static is treated by the viewer like an advertising banner -- it is phased out. We need to work on our site notices; for instance, by mixing pure data with messages/facts of the day.
* Spreading the word. If we communicate unusual goals, or attach "rider" campaigns (such as the image donations campaign currently discussed on commons-l), we can generate media attention.
As I understand it, your focus has so far been on donor relations. These are important, but a single minor variation to the above variables can mean an impact of tens of thousands of dollars, as past fundraising campaigns have amply demonstrated. This is why I want people like Erik Zachte, Magnus Manske and Gerard Meijssen to help us with innovative ideas and interesting new variations.
As for donor relations, these are part of your job description. What software are you currently using to maintain a list of contacts? Is there already an automated process for donor information to pass into whatver system you're using? Danny, please understand that the Wikimedia community is a very diverse group. People bring a lot of very different skills to the table. If you communicate with kindness and respect (!), they will be able to help you do whatever you are doing more efficiently.
We have already discussed on the mailing list how a semi-automated process for sending e-mails which are necessary due to legal requirements could be combined with a volunteer-driven, decentralized approach to communicate personally with individual donors via snail-mail. I very much intend to try out this experiment. If it does not work, we can go for hiring college students or other cheap labor in order to help with the proverbial envelope-licking. Please tell us what other tasks we need to think carefully about which aren't met by the current group of people, and please make constructive suggestions for either people we should invite, or consultants we should hire.
Fundraising does, of course, go further than online fundraising. But the responsibility of the fundraising committee, as defined, is to handle online fundraisers, and therefore, our first priority is to manage and optimize this process. As the office assistant, together with Brad (the legal counsel and interim director), your role is to define any additional tasks for the fundraising committee to complete. Please do so.
As for other fundraising methods that would be suitable for non-profits, I will not take any cheap shots, but I do point out that you are the appointed grants coordinator of the Foundation. As of today, the only grant that is listed on the WMF site is the Lounsberry grant from winter 2004 ($40K). It is clear to me that, if we are to be successful in that area, we need multiple people working on grants, and ideally a professional to lead them. Do you agree? If so, do you have any recommendations where to look for a professional on grants development? You are also a Special Projects coordinator. Which partnerships are you currently working on that have the potential to bring in substantial additional funds for the organization? Do you want the fundraising committee to get involved in either area?--Eloquence 15:38, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply
Update: A few weeks ago I wrote a small paper collecting some key facts about fundraising online. It's not specifically targeted at Wikimedia, but I'd appreciate it if others would edit it to make it a more useful collection of observations and data.--Eloquence 16:18, 21 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Actually, Erik, I have brought in more money for the foundation this week than you have brought in since you first showed up, demanding to be paid to write articles. The difference is that I spend my time doing actual work, while you spend your time taking credit. Danny 02:54, 22 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

That's an interesting definition of "demanding". :-) But I won't respond in kind, as this is not the place nor the time. For the record, I think you are doing a lot of good work. You are very capable and spread your considerable talents over a vast array of very different tasks. I have a lot of respect for you and find it deeply regrettable that you are not willing to work out any personal differences we may have. Do you have anything to say on the substantial questions above?--Eloquence 04:38, 22 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Merchandise ideas


I've made a subpage: Fundraising committee/Merch ideas

Tlogmer 01:54, 28 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Opposition to this committee


I have struck my name in protest against this committee. Can someone please explain why this committee is the only committee that is entirely based on Americans? Danny 01:26, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Alex is Canadian and Jeremy lives in the UK. Nobody from other nations who I asked to be member agreed to be. --Daniel Mayer 15:47, 31 August 2006 (UTC)Reply