I've served in the past on the board of Wikimedia France, and I'm still member of the quality committee and the micro-grant committee of the chapter. However the following document represents my views from my own experience and is nothing official (as some would write, I speak on my own capacity).
The letter of intent
When the process was introduced I had a lot of hope in this additional step, especially because it was introduced as start of dialogue between the entity and the FDC staff.
“With the Letter of Intent, the FDC staff can support applying entities in
their proposal process well before the deadline for proposals. We hope this will remove some of the challenges faced by applicants in the first year of the FDC process. The FDC can also plan better with a clear understanding ofwho intends to apply, and an estimation of the funds requested.”
— Patricio Lorente (WMF Board of Trustee / FDC member).
However, lots of entities proposed a letter of intent where they forecast to ask more funding than the guardrails limit allows and I would have expected most of the problem about growth in movement fund to be addressed thanks to the letter of intent. That said I believe it's an improvement that can still happen in the future, especially since FDC staff is very kind and helpful from my experience.
Here is one of my biggest concern. I'm happy to see a guardrail to prevent from uncontrolled growth which can be catastrophic for volunteer based organization, however I believe the guardrails is a bit too simple and may prevent normal growth for small organization. Small organization may grow by step, i.e. cycle such as growth, stabilization, growth, etc.. A 20% cap may prevent this.
The reporting process
While I believe it's a very good process, I have been wondering whether the 30 days after period limit is not a bit short for mixed staff-volunteer based organizations. I believe it puts a lot of pressure in order to finish in time and have all the quarterly assessments from different groups of volunteers (what worked, what did not worked, and lessons learnt), especially since the writing process is slower in organization where English is not the native language.