How to move forward
- What was this session about?
John showed what the best tools are to get external funds.
- What are the next steps to be taken?
- Joint applications for external grants (EU funding, foreign aid, etc.)
- Establish a community of practice where we regularly exchange ideas
- Who is the person to reach out to?
- Original Description
In 2015 we created a survey around the work done regarding fundraising and partnerships. The survey received responses from 23 Wikimedia organizations. The survey was a follow-up to fundraising and partnerships sessions at the Wikimedia Conference 2015 (1, 2, 3) and the WMCON Follow-Up Day at Wikimania 2015. Based on the answers in our survey, the material we gathered during the year and from our experience I will give a short introduction about the following questions:
- How to get started with grant applications for external funding? What is needed?
- How do we create the most value from the work?
- What to think about when involving new partners? What good and bad experiences has the participants experienced?
- What can we do together in the future? (Including improving the resources in the portal we have created on Meta).
Discussions and activities:
After the introduction we will jointly discuss certain important practical steps together. First John from Wikimedia Sverige will tell about our experience and what we have done, and then the group will discuss how it can be done in their countries. What steps they would take, what they would do the same and what they would do different.
The workshop will consist of a number of tasks (around 4 or so). The tasks will be structured something like this: (1) tell the theory, i.e. that there is a need to identify suitable financiers early on and why this is important; (2) in practice this could include the creation of a structured list (and show how we have done it); (3) ask the teams to each create a template for the list of what they believe should be included and why; (4) ask them to present it and the rest will discuss and evaluate their suggestion.
This way we present the why and how but also make the participants start the work that is crucial to move forward.
- Session Format
- Learning (Workshop)
- Desired Outcome
- John Andersson (WMSE)
- Summary of the session
John Andersson, project manager at Wikimedia Sweden, opened the session. John explained that he often develops third-party-funded projects at Wikimedia Sweden. Together with Nikki Zeuner (WMDE) and Anne-Laure Prévost (WMFR), he is part of the Partnerships & Resource Development group, created after the last Wikimedia Conference. The goal of this session and the group is to improve a Wikimedia organization’s ability to apply for external grants for projects.
After his introduction, John explained his idea of the “Four Fs of Fundraising”:
- Finding and keeping partners
- Fleshing out your ideas
Over several slides John explained what the four Fs actual are.
Fundraising can bring a lot of advantages for an organization, John explained. Having diversified funds makes your organization less dependent on one single funder’s ideas, so you have more options to develop ideas that you like. Also, third-party fundings bring more funding for our movement. On the other hand, different funding sources created more reporting overhead, John said. There was the risk of getting off track.
Finding and keeping partners
John explained that it was easier to find and keep partners, when you offer something instead of simply asking. It makes partners experiment more, as it makes them more visible.
Third-party fundings let you try new things, John explained. This was challenging, he said, but helps you to keep experimenting and evolving (and not stagnating). Your organization needs to be flexible and prepared for this flexibility.
Fleshing out your ideas
For preparing a proposal, John said, you needed to collect all good ideas and concepts and figure out what is needed to make it happen. Having a clear goal and a deadline, allowed you to make something real out of the ideas, John explained.
After explaining the fours “Fs”, John short explained the work of the “Partnerships & Resource Development group”, which was founded after last year’s WMCON. The group has a portal on Meta. In 2015, the group did a survey with all interested chapters and Amical. Twenty-three replied (results are here). It was a start to get to know the status of fundraising efforts in the movement. 7 organisations (30%) said that they had received grants from public institutions, and even 12 (52%) said that had received grants from private institutions.
More importantly, it was interesting to know what hinders organizations in having more fundings? Overwhelmingly, people said it was hard for them to find appropriate funding opportunities (16 orgs, 73 %) and they had no capacity to complete proposals and applications (14 orgs, 64%). Regarding evaluation (also mentioned), John said, it was easy to evaluate, but hard to evaluate well. If the evaluation of project showed good results, John recommend to show it to the WMF, as they might like the project and fund it in the future.
John then gave an overview of four tools when applying for external grants.
- Get an overview of the funds available
- Create a structured list of applications periods for grants applicable to your organization
- Search on Google and other grant databases
- Talk to your partners, which might know a bunch of opportunities for funds/grants (go to their events!)
- “Talking can be really helpful, they recognize you, they know your organisation is serious”
- Project ideas
- Think about the structures you’re in
- Match ideas with what the funds are/were asking for
- Continuously think about what your organization wants
- Think about possible synergies
- Show the benefits/skills of your organization
- Project plan
- Identify partners that can fill gaps in your own organisation skills /Competencies
- "Everybody likes Wikipedia so you will find partners! A lot of them will say yes if you ask for a partnership."
- Build relationships in advance. It will take months in advance.
- Budget will always end up being finished last
- Realize changes in cost early and do it in advance
- Calculate hourly costs for staff members.
After explaining these four tools, John asked the audience to do some group work. The first was on creating a list of opportunities, the second on creating a budget for an edit-a-thon.
In the end, John concluded the session.