Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2017-2018/Final
Overview of the Wikimedia Foundation's annual plan
We at the Wikimedia Foundation are pleased to present to the community our proposed annual plan for the upcoming fiscal year, 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. As with last year, we are sharing our plan in the Funds Dissemination Committee format, to receive feedback on the plan within the FDC review process. We are deeply proud to support the Wikimedia projects and communities, and our shared vision of global participation in free knowledge.
The Foundation maintains and improves Wikimedia technologies: we ensure the consistent and secure operations of the projects, we conduct research and make improvements to products and features. We provide programmatic tools and services, manage and fund grants, and help create a safe online experience for our volunteers. We also protect the independence of our projects and volunteers through policy and legal work, and work to raise awareness of the movement and our vision with our readers and supporters.
Our proposed plan for 2017-2018 is a continuation of the Foundation’s work as described in the 2016-2018 interim strategic plan, in which we focus on Reach, Communities, and Knowledge. These were identified as areas that the Foundation is uniquely positioned to address, including readership and reach, volunteer retention and engagement, and support for knowledge creation. The interim strategic plan was developed to guide the Foundation’s work during a period of transition and preparation for the 2018 movement strategy, and focus our efforts more closely in three areas closely aligned with the Wikimedia vision.
Throughout 2016-2017, the Foundation made a commitment to increase collaboration across the organization’s eight departments, in order to better resource and serve priority programs. This year, we are introducing “cross-departmental” programs into our annual plan. These programs represent a financial and resource commitment to overall organizational priorities, with a minimum participation of three departments and $500,000 in funding. The introduction of cross-departmental programs is meant to provide greater clarity to the community and Foundation staff about our priorities, greater commitment to their success, and greater insight into how we as an organization work to realize them. You will see that these cross-departmental programs track closely with the priorities set out in the interim strategy. In addition, the annual plan includes all the major programmatic and non-programmatic work, and the budgets of each department.
Reach; we will better understand and respond to the needs of our global readers and contributors so that more people can share in free knowledge. Everyone should be able to participate in all knowledge. In 2016 we confirmed the strategic importance of reaching new audiences.
- This year we continue with our efforts to within the New Readers program. This includes researching the needs of people who are not yet aware of or engaged with the Wikimedia projects, and developing awareness programs and product initiatives to reach and support their needs. In collaboration with local Wikimedians we will pilot programs in Mexico, India, and Nigeria based on the unique needs of those countries and regions.
- The Wikimedia “brand” — which is best understood as the trust that the public has in the projects, as a result of the efforts of volunteers — is one of the most important things we steward. As part of our Wikimedia brand and identity program and trademarks support, we will maintain strong trademark protections, ensure the Wikimedia brand is consistent and protected from abuse and misappropriation, and work to increase awareness of our projects around the world. Wikimedia’s vision is for everyone to share in all knowledge, and responsible use of the brand is part of how we reach toward that incredible goal.
Communities; we will increase volunteer retention and engagement through improved programs, experiences, and resources. A robust, diverse, and inclusive global community — and evolving approaches to collaboration — is a unique strength of Wikimedia.
- The new Community Health initiative aims to improve the environment in which volunteers contribute on-wiki. This includes improving the clarity, consistency, and application of relevant policies and reducing harassing behaviors on Wikimedia projects. We will work with communities to put better practices, tools, and policies into place.
- In addition, we will increase our focus on Community Tech. Volunteer contributors have built many critical tools and workflows based on templates, bots, and gadgets that sustain our projects. This initiative will ensure more support for maintaining and improving these critical resources through Community Wishlist Survey priorities.
- We will also help build capacity in countries with lower awareness of Wikimedia through support for Emerging Communities. This includes building awareness of the projects, supporting volunteers to create Wikimedia communities, and empowering local leaders.
Knowledge; we will increase and diversify knowledge by developing high-priority curation and creation tools for user needs. Sharing all knowledge is the vision that inspires Wikimedians every day. We will invest in supporting new forms of knowledge and improving the experience of contributing to the projects.
- Through the Structured Data program we will work to integrate Wikidata into Commons in order to provide better search for Commons media, and improve multilingual descriptions and categorizations. This will make it easier for people to discover, learn, and manage free media stored on Commons.
- Ongoing work on Wikidata is occurring through a joint program between the Foundation and Wikimedia Deutschland. This year, together we will focus on improving Wikidata and increasing its integration with Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, and Wikipedia.
- Content quality and diversity encompasses three programs (3, 4, and 5) within the Product organization that are intended to provide new and existing editors with better contribution tools. We will examine existing contribution paths and mechanism to identify pain points and improve the volunteer experience. It will also improve the mobile editing experience, working closely with emerging communities where mobile far exceeds desktop devices, to help ensure they can more easily and effectively contribute.
Budget and resources
The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to being efficient with funds, focusing our spending on programs and initiatives that reflect our strategic priorities, and improving efficiency and reducing costs in our core workflows.
During last year’s plan (2016-2017) we made a conscious decision to slow down our growth in personnel and spending. This allowed us to focus our efforts on stabilizing the organization, building capacity and stronger teams, and improving operational procedures and transparency. We feel as though these efforts have been largely successful, with improved communication and coordination between the Foundation and the rest of the movement, and a greater emphasis on the needs of the audiences we serve, from community to readers.
This year (2017-2018), we intend to resume growth in a limited and targeted fashion. Our programmatic expenditures will increase roughly 10%, with the main drivers including investment in new cross-departmental programs (such as Structured Data and Community Health), funding for ongoing Wikidata commitments, Wikimania, and regular staffing and personnel cost-of-living increases. More details about cross-departmental programs, as well as detailed outlines of the budgets of our programmatic departments, can be found in the plan.
Along with many other non-profits based in the United States, the Foundation experienced an unusual December 2016 fundraising campaign in which we met our goals more quickly than projected and raised some additional funds. In order to use these funds more effectively, we plan to work with the Board to designate a limited amount of these funds for the purpose of discrete investments over the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The planned investments include the work on movement strategy occurring in the first half of the fiscal year, a complementary program for Wikimedia brand and identity, and our forthcoming move to a new office space. These are non-recurring investments for this year only.
Finally, the Foundation intends to continue to build the Wikimedia Endowment to secure the future of the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. We have made a commitment an initial campaign to raise US $100 million over ten years. The Foundation has committed to seeking US $5 million per year from external sources, and matching this funding with US $5 million from our regular annual fundraising, until our initial $100 million campaign target is met. This US $5 million was not included in the 2016-2017 budget, but will be resourced out of funds raised from the online fundraising campaigns, as we announced in December. The proposed 2017-2018 budget includes this scheduled US $5 million annual commitment to the Endowment.
Throughout the coming year, the Foundation will continue to work against our programmatic priorities of increasing the reach of our projects, improving support to our communities, and increasing support for knowledge creation. We also view this year as the year to prepare for, and begin to align with, overall movement strategy. All investments we are making this year are intended to support the capacity we will need in order to effectively embrace and evolve in response to the direction determined by the broader community. We are deeply excited about the work ahead of us in the coming year, and to the future of our movement. We look forward to building it together. Thank you.
Responses to FDC overview questions
2. Name, fiscal year, and funding period.
- Legal name of organization: The Wikimedia Foundation
- Organization's fiscal year: FY 2017-18
- 12-month funding period requested: 1 July 2017 - 30 June, 2018
- Currency requested: USD
- Name of primary contact: Jaime Villagomez, Chief Financial Officer
3. Amount requested.
4. How does your organization know what community members and contributors to online projects need or want? Does your organization conduct needs assessments or consult the contributors and volunteers most involved with its work?
The Foundation has multiple ways it researches what community members and contributors need. This is a primary objective of the FY2016-18 strategic plan for both contributors and readers, in order to better serve their unique needs. Ways the Foundation does this include:
- Generative design research to gain more knowledge about our broad set of users and their unmet needs, informing what products to build for users and why. For example, we're conducting research on new readers, especially in lower-awareness and usage markets.
- Annual community survey as an on-going information system to help us understand of user/volunteer satisfaction, feedback, needs, and changes over time.
- Design research to provide the audience team with evaluative / usability research to collaboratively iterate toward high-quality products focused on supporting the needs of specific users.
- Community Wishlist to better understand and prioritize specific product features and enhancements needed.
- One-on-one discussions with Wikimedia editors and developers at Wikimedia events (hackathons, Wikimania, and more).
- Quantitative research to understand and model reader behavior, barriers to newcomer participation, the composition and diversity of the Wikimedia contributor population, and gaps and biases in Wikimedia projects' contents across languages.
- Emerging research to design and evaluate algorithms (edit- and article- quality classifiers, article creation recommendations, stub expansion, and reading recommendations), based on community needs, providing contributors, tool developers and audience teams with AI as a service.
5. Please provide a link to your organization's strategic plan, and a link to your separate annual plans for the current and upcoming funding periods if you have them.
The Foundation's interim 2016-18 strategic plan: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategy/Wikimedia_Foundation/2016/Draft