How to move forward
- What was this session about?
The idea was to make people aware of the new WMF grant structure and share experiences how the new grants worked.
- What are the next steps to be taken?
Following the timeline of the Grants Consultation, between July and September 2016 IEG and PEG transit to the new system ("Project Grants" and "Rapid Grants"). In March 2017, the Simple Process Annual Plan Grants will be evaluated.
- Who is the person to reach out to?
Winifred Olliff, Senior Program Officer (WMF)
see the Commons category
- Original Description
- This session will provide an overview of the outcomes of the Reimagining Grants consultation and how changes to the WMF funding options may affect chapters and user groups. We will have a panel discussion about the different funding options for user groups and chapters, including questions from the session participants.
- Session Format
- Conversing (Panel discussion)
- Desired Outcome
- Helping user groups and smaller chapters better understand their funding options after the recent changes to the WMF grants programs.
- Sydney Poore (Simple APG Committee), Winifred Olliff (WMF), Kacie Harold (WMF), Ido Ivry (Grants Advisory Committee), Vojtěch Dostál (Wikimedia Czech Republic), Alice Backer (Wikimedia New York City)
- Summary of the session
The session was opened by Winifred Oliff, the Senior Program Officer at Resources Team at WMF. Winifred presents the new grants structure developed by the team, based on the Community Consultation last year.
The new structure, she explained, works the following way:
4 different options of funding:
- rapid grants,
- project grants (both, experimental and sustaining projects; PEG + IEG),
- conference & travel grants,
- annual plan grants (Simple APGs and FDC APGs)
Winifred explained that all project grants will be allocated under a three-step process within a fixed time. Rapid grants can be applied for throughout the year. Conference & travel grants are for Wikimedia and non-Wikimedia conferences, but people must participate in these conferences. The Conference & Travel grants are for both organizers and participants.
Furthermore, Winifred explained the new simple annual plan grants (simple AGS), which were more flexible, e.g. for six month grants with a total budget of less than 100,000 USD. Winifred highlighted the important fact that when a group or organization receives an APG grant, they are not eligible for other grants from the WMF, except travel and events grants.
After having explained the new grants structure, Winifred opened the stage for a discussion between the audience and the panelists. Ido Ivry (Grants Advisory Committee), Vojtěch Dostál (Wikimedia Czech Republic), Kacie Harold (WMF Program Officer), Alice Backer (Wikimedia New York City), Sydney Poore (Simple APG committee) and Windred herself were on the panel.
One present member of the FDC asked how FDC Annual Plant Grants differed from simple Annual Plan Grants. Winifred responded that FDC APG grantees needed a strategic plan for the grant request, while simple AGS should be more accessible. The idea is to make the step easier to transit from simple Annual Plan Grants to FDC Annual Plan Grants. Vojtěch confirmed that the simple Annual Plan Grant was easier; WMCZ applied this year. Now, they had their first employee and bigger projects.
Sydney asked for the eligibility requirements for an FDC Annual Plan Grant. Winifred replied that it was a rather complicated system, as WMF checks deadlines and eligibility. There is the necessity to show good practices, especially when organizations apply for a grant with staff. Ido commented that there should be more information on the APG process, in particular on the community feedback phase. Alice Baker commented that Wikimedia NYC had to write less text for the simple APG that for a PEG request. She perceived this as an improvement.
One participant from the audience asked for an example from the discussions. Winifred highlighted the importance of smart goals. Vojtěch explained that WMCZ wrote three independent APG request, which overlap now more and more. Together, they are now something like one big annual plan grant. Although there is no fixed deadline when to apply for an (simple) APG request, the committee should be given enough time to review the request, as it is important for planning your upcoming year. Winifred added that for continuation of projects (esp. staff) between grants, interim funding can be arranged.
One participant asked about what budget details should be included in the grant request; e.g. for hiring the first employee. The participant said that their group consisted of experienced Wikipedians that didn’t have knowledge about this. Kacie replied that as a volunteer you don't necessarily have to have organizational skills, but it was useful to look for someone experienced but who can value volunteer work. Vojtěch suggested to really think about hiring employeest. An FDC member strongly warned to hire someone for doing the “boring stuff” like report, as it wasn’t fun for the employee either. Winifred added that it was useful to have fixed responsibilities for staff and board in order to avoid misunderstandings.
One participant asked how to react to unexpected things that could appear within the year when planning for a year in the simple APG process as it is much more difficult than applying for the short-term PEG. Ido replied that the trick is to be flexible and gave the example of Wikimedia Eesti. Vojtěch said that the Simple APG committee had the duty to ask for a clear plan, but nevertheless they were aware of these situations. Winifred explained that (simple APG) grantees could ask for additional funds as long as it doesn’t ultrapass the 100,000 USD limit. Another option, she explained, was to plan more money in advance to be more flexible to react to such situations. Kacie added that the Resources Team could always help.
Winifred closed the session by highlighting that transparency was important.