Wikimedia Eesti/Second interim report on professionalization

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Wikimedia Estonia began its process of professionalization in the second half of 2013. The first outcome of the process was the hiring of two employees (a board assistant and a project manager) in October.

Aims of professionalization:

  • Increase the efficiency of the operations of the organization
  • Support in initiation of new projects
  • Diversify financial resources
  • Administration of documentation necessary for operations of the organization
  • Cutting down the number of obligations of board members


This document is the result of the second quarter's (January-March 2014) mid-term evaluation results of Wikimedia Estonia's professionalization process.

General board member evaluation[edit]

Overall, the board members of Wikimedia Estonia evaluate the continuation of the process of professionalization as successful. They acknowledge the contributions of their employees in daily activities and in planning future activities.
Tasks presented by the board have been completed and the employees have even shown initiative when involved in extra-contractual activities that have helped solve problems and questions essential to the organization, and have made great ongoing contributions to the operational efficiency of the organization.
The administrative capacity of Wikimedia Estonia is well on track, the documents related to and important for the activities of the organization are prepared accurately and in due course, and glitches in the period before professionalization are soon to be fixed.

Comparison of planned and actual tasks[edit]

Employees' extra-contractual activities have been of great assistance to Wikimedia Estonia and its board. On the one hand, they have helped the organization function more efficiently, but on the other, this indicates certain inadequacies in the planning of these positions. Therefore, the body of this report will focus on analyzing the actual tasks of employees.

Planned tasks of the board assistant[edit]

The main task of the board assistant, as stipulated the employment contract, is to enhance the work of NPO Wikimedia Estonia and its board by assisting in administrative, communicative and organizational tasks.
To achieve this, the following job functions have been established:

  1. Records the meetings of the board of Wikimedia Estonia
  2. Records the general meetings of Wikimedia Estonia
  3. Reports protocols of meetings
  4. Writes the internel bulletin MTÜ Teataja (NPO Journal)
  5. Arranges movement of documents between Wikimedia Estonia and national registries
  6. When and if necessary, orders translations of documents (reports, international texts etc.).
  7. Manages correspondence of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. registers letters and e-mails, arranges replies or replies and ensures replies are sent on time.
  8. Manages blog and Facebook page of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. follows regular posts and posts or organizes supplementation of information to blog and pages.
  9. Organizes meetings with partners of Wikimedia Estonia, public appearances of nonprofit organization members etc.
  10. Organizes events of Wikimedia Estonia members and Wikipedia community.
  11. Organizes public events (unless project manager specific task)
  12. Organizes exhibition actions (unless specific task for project manager)
  13. Organizes trips for board members, members, employees or affiliated persons of nonprofit organization.
  14. Registers accounting source document received by the nonprofit organization and forwards these to accounting
  15. Orders paraphernalia and souvenirs of Wikimedia Estonia
  16. Organizes publication of Wikimedia prints (unless project manager specific task)
  17. Organizes post exchange of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. sending and receiving of packages
  18. Follows and registers media appearances of NPO Wikimedia Estonia and Wikipedia. If necessary, makes necessary improvements in wiki press review.
  19. Organizes media appearances of Wikimedia Estonia and Wikipedia.
  20. Motivates and supports members of community in their work.

Actual tasks of the board assistant[edit]

The analysis actual tasks executed in this report identified that actual tasks of the board assistant largely overlap with planned tasks. Although, the Wikimedia Estonia board treasurer and volunteers have had to execute certain tasks.
Namely, the Wikimedia Estonia board treasurer carries out: 1) the 5th article of the job description, i.e. arranges the movement of documents between Wikimedia Estonia and national registries and 2) the 14th article of the job description, i.e. registers the accounting source document received by the nonprofit organization and forwards these to accounting.
Volunteers carry out: 1) the 18th article of the job description, i.e. follow and register media appearances of the NPO Wikimedia Estonia and Wikipedia. If necessary, make necessary improvements in wiki press review.

Thus, the main objective of the board assistant, as constituted by the employment contract, is to enhance the work of NPO Wikimedia Estonia and its board by assisting in administrative, communicative and organizational tasks.

Actual job functions of the board assistant:

  1. Forms protocols of meetings of the board of Wikimedia Estonia
  2. Forms protocols of general meetings of Wikimedia Estonia
  3. Reports protocols of meetings
  4. Compiles intra-firm notification letter MTU Teataja (NPO Journal)
  5. When necessary, orders translations of documents (reports, international texts etc.).
  6. Manages correspondence of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. registers letters and e-mails, organizes replies or replies and ensures replies are sent on time.
  7. Manages blog and Facebook page of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. follows regular posts and posts or organizes supplementation of information to blog and pages.
  8. Organizes meetings with partners of Wikimedia Estonia, public appearances of nonprofit organization members etc.
  9. Organizes events of Wikimedia Estonia members and Wikipedia community.
  10. Organizes public events (unless specific task for project manager)
  11. Organizes exhibition actions (unless specific task for project manager)
  12. Organizes trips for board members, members, employees or affiliated persons of nonprofit organization.
  13. Orders paraphernalia and souvenirs of Wikimedia Estonia
  14. Organizes publication of Wikimedia prints (unless specific task for project manager)
  15. Organizes post exchange of Wikimedia Estonia, i.e. sending and receiving of packages
  16. Organizes media appearances of Wikimedia Estonia and Wikipedia.
  17. Motivates and supports members of community in their work.

Planned tasks of project writer[edit]

The main objective of the project writer, as constituted by the employment contract, is to provide financial sources and means for NPO Wikimedia Estonia by writing and submitting projects, support the realization of projects and be responsible for the correct reporting of projects.

To achieve this, job functions have been established:

  1. Writes grant proposals for Wikimedia Foundation
  2. Compiles grant reports for Wikimedia Foundation
  3. Writes operating grant proposals
  4. Compiles utilization reports of operating grants
  5. Compiles other monetary grant applications or helps the project manager with it
  6. Compiles other monetary grant application reports or helps the project manager with it
  7. Searches for sponsors and donors
  8. Writes reports for major sponsors and donors
  9. Supports the realization of projects, e.g. helps organize the work of the project team, if necessary, manages the budget, expenses and plan of action of projects
  10. Writes the records of performance for the year

Actual tasks of project writer[edit]

The main objective of the project writer have been to provide financial sources and means for NPO Wikimedia Estonia by writing and submitting projects, support the realization of projects and be responsible for the correct reporting of projects, but due to different circumstances, the project writer has had, in addition to those, various other responsibilities.
Based on his previous experience in assisting a nonprofit organization and in accounting, the project writer has had to engage in planning and strategy work, compilation of contracts, representation of the organization and systematization of the organization's accounting.

Actual job functions of the project writer:

  1. Mapping of grant application opportunities necessary for the project and following the deadlines of calls for proposals, searching for sponsors and donors, and compiling short summaries of application opportunities for the board
  2. Executing preparations for calls for proposals based on the decision of the board (consulting the board on establishing aims and plan of action of the project as well as compiling the budget)
  3. Actual project writing and discussion with the board of the organization, preparing documents to be signed by the board and, when necessary, submitting project application
  4. Supporting realization of projects, e.g. helps organize the work of the project team, managing budget, expenses and plan of action with the help of project managers and board. Actively participates in project discussions
  5. Communication with the financer in project preparation, realization, reporting and submitting information to board
  6. Compilation of project final reports, discussion with board and accountant and, if necessary, submitting final report
  7. Compilation of contracts and clarification for the board and, if necessary, making improvements and corrections
  8. Compilation of policies in collaboration with board member(s) and discussion with board members
  9. Representing organization at meetings, seminars, conferences, including representing organization at international community gatherings
  10. Preparation of possible partnerships and communication with partners of organization
  11. Communication with members of organization, including project discussions
  12. Preparing and conducting general meetings in collaboration with board
  13. Participating in board meetings and discussions
  14. Obtaining information for compilation of organization year plan and budget, compilation and discussion with board
  15. Compilation of year reports and discussion with board
  16. Analysis of strategic needs and previous strategic work
  17. Leading organization strategy team and drafting strategies into strategy document, including outlining future of organization in collaboration with board

Board evaluation of comparison of planned and actual tasks[edit]

Overall, the board assistant works in the subject field and in the manner set before professionalization. Some outlined job functions have not been assigned to the board assistant based on the feasibility of the delegation.
Namely, communication with registries and endorsement of incoming documents require power to sign, which the employee does not have. The treasurer, who is a member of the board and must familiarize him-/herself with those documents either way, does have that power. Therefore, it is practical to leave those commitments to the treasurer of Wikimedia Estonia.
The project executes to every job function set before professionalization. Although, these functions require preliminary functions which are not contractual and the board of Wikimedia, which is comprised of volunteers, lack the resources for thorough execution of these functions. So, the project writer has been engaged in the following non-contractual activities which are required for the execution of contractual functions: accounting and the organization of other documentation, the general and long-term planning of the organization's operations, compilation of contracts and communication with partners.
Additionally, the project writer has substantially contributed to the strategy work of the organization and has been engaged in not only the writing of projects, but the realization of them, participating in the strategy and project discussions of the organization. This kind of contribution has significantly helped advance these discussions.
The fact that the project writer is sometimes forced to engage in non-contractual functions indicates that the initial job title, the main objective of the position and the list of job functions did not correspond to actual project-related requirements, and the job functions and position of the project writer should probably be expanded.

Development talks with employees[edit]

In April of 2014, the board of Wikimedia Estonia conducted, based on its job evaluation policy, development talks with employees, which, among other things, allow for the evaluation of the process of professionalization and future needs related to the human resources of the organization. In the course of the development talk, the better and worse parts of our current operation were discussed as well as how to create an even more advantageous environment for future operations.

Summary of the board assistant's development talk[edit]

The board assistant is satisfied with her work as well as the contributions of board members. Even the board rates the assistant's job functions as well done. The assistant has significantly simplified the work of board members, especially in current activities, problem solving and communication with partners.
The main job-related problems are connected to communication and technical questions. Board members have not replied to her inquiries fast or resolute enough, meaning that the assistant has not always had the ability to work as efficiently as possible. The working hours of the assistant require better planning, a work schedule should be comprised. The employee would benefit from records management training.
Overall, the board assistant as well as the board believe that the assistant should continue her work under the same conditions and the same workload.

Summary of project writer development[edit]

The project writer's work has met the expectations of the board – numerous projects and monetary grant applications have been written, the affairs of the NPO have become more efficient, the backlog of necessary documentation and records prior to the hiring of employees has been reduced. The involvement of private investments has not been successful, but this is due to external circumstances (poor macroeconomics etc.).
The work of the project writer has been hindered by the changing composition of the board, slow reaction times of the board, the delayed completion of board member tasks and failure of information exchange. The project writer's work, including communication with project partners and financers, has been successful despite these obstacles.
The project writer has perforce had to engage in problems that are not directly connected to the project writer's job functions but needed to be completed (this issue has been addressed in the previous section of the report). Therefore, and the job functions and position of the project writer need to be expanded so they correspond to the actual requirements of the organization and would clarify the job functions of the project writer. It is reasonable that the part-time position of project writer should be changed to full-time chief executive officer that would better correspond to the current actual functions of the employee and better correspond to requirements related to the expansion of Wikimedia Estonia.
As the board greatly values the board-based activities of the project writer, there is no need for a public job contest and the position of chief executive officer will be created by transforming the current position. The main objective and functions of the transformed position should be precisely set based on the current actual functions of the project writer. Comprising a fixed work schedule should also help achieve better results. The project writer should take management training when the position of chief executive officer is created.

Summary[edit]

Based on the second interim report of professionalization, the board of Wikimedia Estonia has decided to continue the process. The board estimates that professionalization has substantially increased the efficiency of the organization's operations, the variety of financial sources and the reporting capability. Communication with project partners and financers is very successful and the work load of the board has been reduced. Thanks to paid employees, Wikimedia Estonia is able to execute its statutory aims more efficiently. It has become evident that job functions set prior to professionalization do not directly correspond to the actual requirements of the organization. Therefore, based on the results of the interim report, Wikimedia Estonia has decided to transform the part-time position of project writer to the full-time position of chief executive officer.
As many of the current job functions of the executive assistant are related to the position of chief executive officer, which will be created in the future, the board of Wikimedia Estonia has decided that the current position of board assistant will be formally transformed into the position of assistant. This change does not involve significant substantive changes in the board assistant's current job functions.
The board greatly values the actual work of the current project writer and believes there is no need for a public job contest for the transformed position of chief executive officer. The project writer, in his current position, has proven that he possesses the necessary prerequisites, skills and has enough experience to successfully fulfill the requirements of the position of chief executive officer.