2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

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2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Veronique Kessler
Hi,

The 2010-11 Annual Plan and Questions and Answers have just been posted
to the Foundation website
(http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports#2010-2011_fiscal_year).  
The plan was approved by the Board last week.

The 2010-11 plan differs from previous years in that this plan is rooted
in the five-year (2010-2015) Wikimedia Strategy which has been developed
collaboratively over the past year.  In 2010-11, we have planned
continued growth over previous years reflecting continued and increased
investments to serve our mission and increase our impact.

The 2009-10 year is projected to exceed revenue targets and to be
underspent in expenses primarily due to underspending in the first
quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year.

Veronique

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

phoebe ayers-3
On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM, Veronique Kessler
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi,
>
> The 2010-11 Annual Plan and Questions and Answers have just been posted
> to the Foundation website
> (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports#2010-2011_fiscal_year).
> The plan was approved by the Board last week.
>
> The 2010-11 plan differs from previous years in that this plan is rooted
> in the five-year (2010-2015) Wikimedia Strategy which has been developed
> collaboratively over the past year.  In 2010-11, we have planned
> continued growth over previous years reflecting continued and increased
> investments to serve our mission and increase our impact.
>
> The 2009-10 year is projected to exceed revenue targets and to be
> underspent in expenses primarily due to underspending in the first
> quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year.
>
> Veronique

Thank you Veronique for posting this! I appreciate your continued
diligence in making material available to us.

I would like to encourage everyone to be sure and actually read this
plan closely; "continued growth" turns out to mean nearly doubling the
staff next year, and doubling the budget -- rather surprisingly
dramatic growth. There is a lot of change that is planned for here,
and many of these changes relate to areas that community members do
work in.

Personally, I would love to see some serious community discussion of
this plan both here and at Wikimania next week.

-- phoebe

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
When you consider the source of much of the donations, you will find that
they have been coming mainly from the United States. Chapters are becoming
more and more active in fundraising. The Dutch chapter for instance plans on
professionalising its operations and fundraising staff has the highest
priority. It performed much better, one of the reasons is that IDEAL, a
payment method for the Internet in the Netherlands, was implemented. I am
sure that with increased support from the WMF not only but also the Dutch
will raise substantially more money this time around.

When you ask for an endowment, you indicate an opinion that the current
levels of support for our projects suffice. I do not share that opinion and,
I am happy to find indications in the planning that this opinion is
supported in the plans for 2010/11. Milos and myself will talk in Gdansk
about the need to improve technical support for our smallest projects (think
Hindi, Malayalam... hundreds of million people will benefit..). Some of it
is hard core language support and some are changes to operating projects in
order to raise traffic and usability for readers.

The WMF has defined in its strategy that certain types of activity are left
to the chapters. GLAM related activities come to mind. This means that the
chapters will seek funding for exactly such projects. In the case of the
Dutch chapter a project is planned about monuments and a GLAM conference is
also in the planning stages.

What I am also looking for is improved support for projects like the recent
Indonesian contest. They have set the standard for a competition involving
universities. They doubled the number of active editors and 60% of them is
female. This is the kind of ratio that compares well with the division of
the genders in universities in Indonesia. This project only involved
universities in Djakarta, next year could be a national competition.. When
you consider that the Indonesian Wikipedias are among the fastest growing
projects, I would even consider this a strategic choice.

If there is one thing that I find problematic, it is that the WMF office can
be observed to operate a dual role; it is the world wide office for the
Wikimedia Foundation and it behaves very much like a chapter. If there is
one thing I would appreciate it would be if these two activities are
separated. This would imho be best realised with the creation of an USA
chapter.
Thanks,
      GerardM


On 30 June 2010 02:33, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM, Veronique Kessler
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > The 2010-11 Annual Plan and Questions and Answers have just been posted
> > to the Foundation website
> > (
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports#2010-2011_fiscal_year
> ).
> > The plan was approved by the Board last week.
> >
> > The 2010-11 plan differs from previous years in that this plan is rooted
> > in the five-year (2010-2015) Wikimedia Strategy which has been developed
> > collaboratively over the past year.  In 2010-11, we have planned
> > continued growth over previous years reflecting continued and increased
> > investments to serve our mission and increase our impact.
> >
> > The 2009-10 year is projected to exceed revenue targets and to be
> > underspent in expenses primarily due to underspending in the first
> > quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year.
> >
> > Veronique
>
> Thank you Veronique for posting this! I appreciate your continued
> diligence in making material available to us.
>
> I would like to encourage everyone to be sure and actually read this
> plan closely; "continued growth" turns out to mean nearly doubling the
> staff next year, and doubling the budget -- rather surprisingly
> dramatic growth. There is a lot of change that is planned for here,
> and many of these changes relate to areas that community members do
> work in.
>
> Personally, I would love to see some serious community discussion of
> this plan both here and at Wikimania next week.
>
> -- phoebe
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Samuel Klein-4
Veronique, thank you for publishing the plan, and for your work on it.

Phoebe writes:
> I would like to encourage everyone to be sure and actually read this
> plan closely; "continued growth" turns out to mean nearly doubling the
> staff next year, and doubling the budget -- rather surprisingly dramatic
> growth. There is a lot of change that is planned for here, and many of
> these changes relate to areas that community members do work in.
<
> Personally, I would love to see some serious community discussion of
> this plan both here and at Wikimania next week.

Yes, next year's planned growth is dramatic.  I wish that this were
being done more slowly, though I understand the desire to move
decisively and effectively.

I also hope we have good public discussions, and have heard it
suggested that we make time at Wikimania for large-group discussion
and feedback about this and the strategy.

I do think there are more risks inherent in this sort of growth than
are listed in the 'potential risks' section -- for instance,
"inability to acculturate new staff due to aggressive growth" -- and
we should be alert to these risks to avoid them.

The most dramatic change proposed may be the addition of many
community-focused staff roles, including 3 proposed hires focused on
chapter relations and development, 5 focused on community development,
and 1 focused on translation coordination...  I believe that these are
meant to aid and facilitate the work being done in the community
rather than replacing it, but preparing for this sort of change will
involve a level of active collaboration between staff and community.

There are also tantalizing comments in the plan about such new initiatives in
- 'staff and volunteer development'
- 'awards and grants'
- 'community outreach and volunteer convenings'
- a 'stakeholder database'

which I expect people would like to hear more about.  (will this
database let me find community members in Portugal interested in
wikisource and library outreach?)


Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> writes:
> Milos and myself will talk in Gdansk
> about the need to improve technical support for our smallest projects (think
> Hindi, Malayalam... hundreds of million people will benefit..).

I hope that many of us will take part in such discussions!  This is
one of our greatest opportunities for improvement.

> What I am also looking for is improved support for projects like the recent
> Indonesian contest. They have set the standard for a competition involving
> universities. They doubled the number of active editors and 60% of them is
> female.

Yes.  See above re: awards and grants.   The Swahili contest was
similarly successful (though not in terms of gender ratio; lessons to
be shared!)


> If there is one thing that I find problematic, it is that the WMF office can
> be observed to operate a dual role; it is the world wide office for the
> Wikimedia Foundation and it behaves very much like a chapter. If there is
> one thing I would appreciate it would be if these two activities are
> separated. This would imho be best realised with the creation of an USA
> chapter.

I agree.  I know that Wikimedia NY has had some success, but would
like to see a national chapter form.

SJ

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Thomas Dalton
On 30 June 2010 09:28, Samuel J Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]> writes:
>> If there is one thing that I find problematic, it is that the WMF office can
>> be observed to operate a dual role; it is the world wide office for the
>> Wikimedia Foundation and it behaves very much like a chapter. If there is
>> one thing I would appreciate it would be if these two activities are
>> separated. This would imho be best realised with the creation of an USA
>> chapter.
>
> I agree.  I know that Wikimedia NY has had some success, but would
> like to see a national chapter form.

I agree as well. I think we need a US chapter for the good of the
movement generally. Not having one distorts everything.

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Veronique Kessler
Sam Klein writes:

I do think there are more risks inherent in this sort of growth than
> are listed in the 'potential risks' section -- for instance,
> "inability to acculturate new staff due to aggressive growth" -- and
> we should be alert to these risks to avoid them.
>

Just to be clear about this, I read Sam here as saying something like "there
is a potential risk that we will be unable to acculturate new staff as we
grow."  This of course is true -- and it's even true when growth is slow!
But in practice the Foundation takes this risk very seriously, and takes
pains to promote the acculturation of new staff, not just to Foundation
culture but to the larger community. One way we do this is by sending new
staff to Wikimania, if it makes sense to do so,  and/or promoting new
staff's interaction with the community in other ways. Attendees at Wikimania
this year will see a number of staff who haven't been there before --
everyone is urged to engage staff members in conversations about our work
together, or other topics of common interest.  (I'll be there too -- first
Wikimania since Taiwan!)


--Mike
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
I welcome many members of the Wikimedia staff joining us in Gdansk but
PLEASE do not hide in a VIP environment like happened on previous
Wikimanias.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On 30 June 2010 16:13, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Sam Klein writes:
>
> I do think there are more risks inherent in this sort of growth than
> > are listed in the 'potential risks' section -- for instance,
> > "inability to acculturate new staff due to aggressive growth" -- and
> > we should be alert to these risks to avoid them.
> >
>
> Just to be clear about this, I read Sam here as saying something like
> "there
> is a potential risk that we will be unable to acculturate new staff as we
> grow."  This of course is true -- and it's even true when growth is slow!
> But in practice the Foundation takes this risk very seriously, and takes
> pains to promote the acculturation of new staff, not just to Foundation
> culture but to the larger community. One way we do this is by sending new
> staff to Wikimania, if it makes sense to do so,  and/or promoting new
> staff's interaction with the community in other ways. Attendees at
> Wikimania
> this year will see a number of staff who haven't been there before --
> everyone is urged to engage staff members in conversations about our work
> together, or other topics of common interest.  (I'll be there too -- first
> Wikimania since Taiwan!)
>
>
> --Mike
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Mike Godwin-2
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Hoi,
> I welcome many members of the Wikimedia staff joining us in Gdansk but
> PLEASE do not hide in a VIP environment like happened on previous
> Wikimanias.
>

Dear Gerard,

I've never known a VIP environment that would accept me as a member.


--Mike
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Domas Mituzas
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
>
> I welcome many members of the Wikimedia staff joining us in Gdansk but
> PLEASE do not hide in a VIP environment like happened on previous
> Wikimanias.

I hereby find this grossly insulting.

Not spending time with Gerard does not mean that someone is hiding from everyone else.
I found staff always available and roaming in general areas in previous wikimanias, and we're not here to judge how they should spend their evenings and nights.

Domas
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Hoi Mike,
You are a VIP who does not need to hide in any environment. I will be happy
to hear your "Fox Dei" among the "Fox Populi".
Thanks,
      Gerard

On 30 June 2010 16:49, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM, Gerard Meijssen <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hoi,
>> I welcome many members of the Wikimedia staff joining us in Gdansk but
>> PLEASE do not hide in a VIP environment like happened on previous
>> Wikimanias.
>>
>
> Dear Gerard,
>
> I've never known a VIP environment that would accept me as a member.
>
>
> --Mike
>
>
>
>
>
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Liam Wyatt
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
On 30 June 2010 15:13, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Sam Klein writes:
>
> I do think there are more risks inherent in this sort of growth than
> > are listed in the 'potential risks' section -- for instance,
> > "inability to acculturate new staff due to aggressive growth" -- and
> > we should be alert to these risks to avoid them.
> >
>
> Just to be clear about this, I read Sam here as saying something like
> "there
> is a potential risk that we will be unable to acculturate new staff as we
> grow."  This of course is true -- and it's even true when growth is slow!
> But in practice the Foundation takes this risk very seriously, and takes
> pains to promote the acculturation of new staff, not just to Foundation
> culture but to the larger community. One way we do this is by sending new
> staff to Wikimania, if it makes sense to do so,  and/or promoting new
> staff's interaction with the community in other ways. Attendees at
> Wikimania
> this year will see a number of staff who haven't been there before --
> everyone is urged to engage staff members in conversations about our work
> together, or other topics of common interest.  (I'll be there too -- first
> Wikimania since Taiwan!)
>
>
> --Mike
> ___________________
>

Will the new staff be wearing some kind of identifying marker so we can spot
them? Perhaps a silly hat?
Or, could they walk around carrying a board that says "Talk to me about
copyright edge-cases"!
'm not so much sure that that would be good acculturation but it would
definitely be a baptism by fire :-)

Seriously though, perhaps the opening keynote or some other time could be
used to ask new staff to stand up and be briefly introduced?

-Liam

wittylama.com/blog
Peace, love & metadata
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Mike Godwin-2
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
I hope you mean "Vox" rather than "Fox."  I don't think "Fox" currently has
any connection to "Deus."


--Mike



On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:56 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Hoi Mike,
> You are a VIP who does not need to hide in any environment. I will be happy
> to hear your "Fox Dei" among the "Fox Populi".
> Thanks,
>       Gerard
>
> On 30 June 2010 16:49, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM, Gerard Meijssen <
>> [hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Hoi,
>>> I welcome many members of the Wikimedia staff joining us in Gdansk but
>>> PLEASE do not hide in a VIP environment like happened on previous
>>> Wikimanias.
>>>
>>
>> Dear Gerard,
>>
>> I've never known a VIP environment that would accept me as a member.
>>
>>
>> --Mike
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Austin Hair
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I've never known a VIP environment that would accept me as a member.

And you'd presumably never want to belong to a VIP environment that
would accept you as a member.[1]

Austin

[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Groucho_Marx

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Domas Mituzas
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
Hi!

> I hope you mean "Vox" rather than "Fox."  I don't think "Fox" currently has
> any connection to "Deus."

Tell that to Rupert Murdoch

Domas

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

phoebe ayers-3
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:48 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hoi,
> When you consider the source of much of the donations, you will find that
> they have been coming mainly from the United States. Chapters are becoming
> more and more active in fundraising. The Dutch chapter for instance plans on
> professionalising its operations and fundraising staff has the highest
> priority. It performed much better, one of the reasons is that IDEAL, a
> payment method for the Internet in the Netherlands, was implemented. I am
> sure that with increased support from the WMF not only but also the Dutch
> will raise substantially more money this time around.
>
> When you ask for an endowment, you indicate an opinion that the current
> levels of support for our projects suffice. I do not share that opinion and,
> I am happy to find indications in the planning that this opinion is
> supported in the plans for 2010/11. Milos and myself will talk in Gdansk
> about the need to improve technical support for our smallest projects (think
> Hindi, Malayalam... hundreds of million people will benefit..). Some of it
> is hard core language support and some are changes to operating projects in
> order to raise traffic and usability for readers.

Hi Gerard,
A small point -- I don't know who the "you" refers to here -- me? --
but when *I* ask for an endowment, it is not because I think the
current levels of support suffice; that's a different question. It's
because I don't want the long-term support for Wikimedia to be
dependent on our ability to fundraise increasingly large amounts from
year to year. Fundraising above and beyond such an endowment is fine
and good and necessary as well. I have heard that raising an endowment
was rejected by the strategy process because it was hard; I don't know
what that means, exactly, but raising an extra $20M in a recession is
hard, too.

Someone was talking to me the other day about the differences between
Wikimedia and large universities, such as the one where I work. "You
don't mind criticizing the university governance", he said; "in part
because you can't imagine it ever going away, no matter what."

It's true, and I want Wikimedia to be that stable. In fact, I want it
to be *more* stable than most American universities are at the moment
-- certainly more than mine!

-- phoebe

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
When we raise money, we have a choice; either we spend the money and we
communicate what we plan to do or we build reserves for a rainy day. In the
Netherlands there are several charities that find it much harder to raise
funds for any purpose now that they are known to build huge reserves. This
was made worse when they wanted to raise funds after many of their
investments went sour.

As I understand our finances, we forecast a great need and at the same time
are frugal spending realising the communicated goals. Consequently there is
an operational reserve. The Wikimedia Foundation is not a university and
consequently it does not operate along those lines. Mind you, an American
university is a completely different beast then for instance a Dutch
university and our universities have as respectable reputation while their
funding is not reliant on huge endowments.

In my opinion we are on a mission and we should share this mission as widely
as possible. This is why it is not acceptable that so much of the our
finances rely on USA donations. We need chapters that take part in
everything that makes the WMF possible. This includes fund raising and
operating programs that benefit our projects and free knowledge in general.

When people, organisations want to contribute to an endowment, they should
do so separately from our fund raisers. These are to enable us to do what we
aim to do. This will gain us more contributions then building large
reserves.
Thanks,
      GerardM

PS you is "the reader"

On 30 June 2010 17:38, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:48 AM, Gerard Meijssen
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Hoi,
> > When you consider the source of much of the donations, you will find that
> > they have been coming mainly from the United States. Chapters are
> becoming
> > more and more active in fundraising. The Dutch chapter for instance plans
> on
> > professionalising its operations and fundraising staff has the highest
> > priority. It performed much better, one of the reasons is that IDEAL, a
> > payment method for the Internet in the Netherlands, was implemented. I am
> > sure that with increased support from the WMF not only but also the Dutch
> > will raise substantially more money this time around.
> >
> > When you ask for an endowment, you indicate an opinion that the current
> > levels of support for our projects suffice. I do not share that opinion
> and,
> > I am happy to find indications in the planning that this opinion is
> > supported in the plans for 2010/11. Milos and myself will talk in Gdansk
> > about the need to improve technical support for our smallest projects
> (think
> > Hindi, Malayalam... hundreds of million people will benefit..). Some of
> it
> > is hard core language support and some are changes to operating projects
> in
> > order to raise traffic and usability for readers.
>
> Hi Gerard,
> A small point -- I don't know who the "you" refers to here -- me? --
> but when *I* ask for an endowment, it is not because I think the
> current levels of support suffice; that's a different question. It's
> because I don't want the long-term support for Wikimedia to be
> dependent on our ability to fundraise increasingly large amounts from
> year to year. Fundraising above and beyond such an endowment is fine
> and good and necessary as well. I have heard that raising an endowment
> was rejected by the strategy process because it was hard; I don't know
> what that means, exactly, but raising an extra $20M in a recession is
> hard, too.
>
> Someone was talking to me the other day about the differences between
> Wikimedia and large universities, such as the one where I work. "You
> don't mind criticizing the university governance", he said; "in part
> because you can't imagine it ever going away, no matter what."
>
> It's true, and I want Wikimedia to be that stable. In fact, I want it
> to be *more* stable than most American universities are at the moment
> -- certainly more than mine!
>
> -- phoebe
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Ziko van Dijk
It struck me that the Foundation has decided to concentrate on the
large public, the small donators, and not seek much further to
approach big spenders or make money by business partnerships. This is
a statement not only about our history and our future, and also about
our character as movement. Is it too much to call this an event of
historical importance?

Kind regards
Ziko


2010/6/30 Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>:

> Hoi,
> When we raise money, we have a choice; either we spend the money and we
> communicate what we plan to do or we build reserves for a rainy day. In the
> Netherlands there are several charities that find it much harder to raise
> funds for any purpose now that they are known to build huge reserves. This
> was made worse when they wanted to raise funds after many of their
> investments went sour.
>
> As I understand our finances, we forecast a great need and at the same time
> are frugal spending realising the communicated goals. Consequently there is
> an operational reserve. The Wikimedia Foundation is not a university and
> consequently it does not operate along those lines. Mind you, an American
> university is a completely different beast then for instance a Dutch
> university and our universities have as respectable reputation while their
> funding is not reliant on huge endowments.
>
> In my opinion we are on a mission and we should share this mission as widely
> as possible. This is why it is not acceptable that so much of the our
> finances rely on USA donations. We need chapters that take part in
> everything that makes the WMF possible. This includes fund raising and
> operating programs that benefit our projects and free knowledge in general.
>
> When people, organisations want to contribute to an endowment, they should
> do so separately from our fund raisers. These are to enable us to do what we
> aim to do. This will gain us more contributions then building large
> reserves.
> Thanks,
>      GerardM
>
> PS you is "the reader"
>
> On 30 June 2010 17:38, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 12:48 AM, Gerard Meijssen
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > Hoi,
>> > When you consider the source of much of the donations, you will find that
>> > they have been coming mainly from the United States. Chapters are
>> becoming
>> > more and more active in fundraising. The Dutch chapter for instance plans
>> on
>> > professionalising its operations and fundraising staff has the highest
>> > priority. It performed much better, one of the reasons is that IDEAL, a
>> > payment method for the Internet in the Netherlands, was implemented. I am
>> > sure that with increased support from the WMF not only but also the Dutch
>> > will raise substantially more money this time around.
>> >
>> > When you ask for an endowment, you indicate an opinion that the current
>> > levels of support for our projects suffice. I do not share that opinion
>> and,
>> > I am happy to find indications in the planning that this opinion is
>> > supported in the plans for 2010/11. Milos and myself will talk in Gdansk
>> > about the need to improve technical support for our smallest projects
>> (think
>> > Hindi, Malayalam... hundreds of million people will benefit..). Some of
>> it
>> > is hard core language support and some are changes to operating projects
>> in
>> > order to raise traffic and usability for readers.
>>
>> Hi Gerard,
>> A small point -- I don't know who the "you" refers to here -- me? --
>> but when *I* ask for an endowment, it is not because I think the
>> current levels of support suffice; that's a different question. It's
>> because I don't want the long-term support for Wikimedia to be
>> dependent on our ability to fundraise increasingly large amounts from
>> year to year. Fundraising above and beyond such an endowment is fine
>> and good and necessary as well. I have heard that raising an endowment
>> was rejected by the strategy process because it was hard; I don't know
>> what that means, exactly, but raising an extra $20M in a recession is
>> hard, too.
>>
>> Someone was talking to me the other day about the differences between
>> Wikimedia and large universities, such as the one where I work. "You
>> don't mind criticizing the university governance", he said; "in part
>> because you can't imagine it ever going away, no matter what."
>>
>> It's true, and I want Wikimedia to be that stable. In fact, I want it
>> to be *more* stable than most American universities are at the moment
>> -- certainly more than mine!
>>
>> -- phoebe
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
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--
Ziko van Dijk
Niederlande

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

Eugene Eric Kim
In reply to this post by phoebe ayers-3
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:38 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A small point -- I don't know who the "you" refers to here -- me? --
> but when *I* ask for an endowment, it is not because I think the
> current levels of support suffice; that's a different question. It's
> because I don't want the long-term support for Wikimedia to be
> dependent on our ability to fundraise increasingly large amounts from
> year to year. Fundraising above and beyond such an endowment is fine
> and good and necessary as well. I have heard that raising an endowment
> was rejected by the strategy process because it was hard; I don't know
> what that means, exactly, but raising an extra $20M in a recession is
> hard, too.

That was from me, and I obviously oversimplified my explanation in an
attempt to be concise. Gerard and Ziko have already raised critical
points that entered into the decision to focus on many small donors as
an ongoing strategy. To expand on this, see this thread started by Sue
a few weeks ago on strategy wiki:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Strategic_Plan/Movement_Priorities#Revenue_sources_5703

In regards to the endowment question, as you note, the motivation for
an endowment drive is long-term sustainability and some level of
protection from recession. The cost of doing an endowment drive is
enormous. There is usually an 18 months ramp up time simply to start
the drive, and you need a huge staff to manage it. That work comes at
the expense of other work. Furthermore, endowment drives also
typically court high wealth donors aggressively. We do that now, but
that's not our focus, and I think that a lot of good things emerge
from prioritizing many small donors.

What the Financial Sustainability Task Force (with help from the
Bridgespan Group) found was that:

1. Our revenue has grown significantly over the past few years,
despite the recession and a tiny fundraising team that has not grown.
This is because we aren't close to tapping our potential, and it also
speaks to the fundraising team continually getting smarter in how it
works.

2. When we compare Wikimedia Foundation to other similar nonprofits,
it's clear that our potential revenue is much larger, again despite
the recession.

3. In particular, our potential is huge in other countries besides the
U.S., which several people have already pointed out in this thread.
Courting donations in other countries has a lot of positive benefits.
It helps strengthen our chapters, and it increases international
participation and ownership into our projects.

In summary, it's not clear that an endowment drive is a more effective
sustainability strategy than our current model, and the opportunity
cost would be much higher.

If you look at the targets at:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Movement_Priorities#Goal:_Stabilize_the_Infrastructure

you'll notice that the proposed financial goal is listed as the number
of donors, not as a revenue figure. That speaks to the importance of
getting many people to contribute, which I think jives well with our
community's philosophy in general.

=Eugene

--
======================================================================
Eugene Eric Kim ................................ http://xri.net/=eekim
Blue Oxen Associates ........................ http://www.blueoxen.com/
======================================================================

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to FoundationWebsite

Sue Gardner
Thanks Eugene! This is essentially what I would've written, had I gotten there first. So thank you.

I will just add: everyone wants an endowment campaign -- the issue is not whether to do it; the issue is when to do it. We're still developing our pool of donors (especially the chapters, who are with the exception of the German chapter very new to fundraising), and we are still finding our voice when it comes to fundraising. Given that --and given that we have lots of work to do improving our service to readers, and donors are typically more motivated to fund necessary work, before they'll fund permanence -- that's why we're currently focusing on growing the number of donors.  Walking before running.

And yes, Ziko, thanks for calling out the new revenue strategy: it's significant.  I am really grateful that hundreds of thousands of ordinary people are willing to fund the work we do: it's by far the best model for us from an ideological standpoint.  Most non-profits are in two completely unrelated businesses: the business of mission activity, and the business of revenue generation ----- we are lucky that for us, mission activity and revenue generation can be 100 per cent aligned.

I am proud and happy about our new revenue strategy.  We're in an enviable position, in that we don't need to make unhappy compromises -- instead, we have the luxury of being able to focus on the actual mission work we're trying to get done :-)

Thanks,
Sue


-----Original Message-----
From: Eugene Eric Kim <[hidden email]>
Sender: [hidden email]
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2010 09:45:49
To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List<[hidden email]>
Reply-To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation
        Website

On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:38 AM, phoebe ayers <[hidden email]> wrote:

> A small point -- I don't know who the "you" refers to here -- me? --
> but when *I* ask for an endowment, it is not because I think the
> current levels of support suffice; that's a different question. It's
> because I don't want the long-term support for Wikimedia to be
> dependent on our ability to fundraise increasingly large amounts from
> year to year. Fundraising above and beyond such an endowment is fine
> and good and necessary as well. I have heard that raising an endowment
> was rejected by the strategy process because it was hard; I don't know
> what that means, exactly, but raising an extra $20M in a recession is
> hard, too.

That was from me, and I obviously oversimplified my explanation in an
attempt to be concise. Gerard and Ziko have already raised critical
points that entered into the decision to focus on many small donors as
an ongoing strategy. To expand on this, see this thread started by Sue
a few weeks ago on strategy wiki:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Strategic_Plan/Movement_Priorities#Revenue_sources_5703

In regards to the endowment question, as you note, the motivation for
an endowment drive is long-term sustainability and some level of
protection from recession. The cost of doing an endowment drive is
enormous. There is usually an 18 months ramp up time simply to start
the drive, and you need a huge staff to manage it. That work comes at
the expense of other work. Furthermore, endowment drives also
typically court high wealth donors aggressively. We do that now, but
that's not our focus, and I think that a lot of good things emerge
from prioritizing many small donors.

What the Financial Sustainability Task Force (with help from the
Bridgespan Group) found was that:

1. Our revenue has grown significantly over the past few years,
despite the recession and a tiny fundraising team that has not grown.
This is because we aren't close to tapping our potential, and it also
speaks to the fundraising team continually getting smarter in how it
works.

2. When we compare Wikimedia Foundation to other similar nonprofits,
it's clear that our potential revenue is much larger, again despite
the recession.

3. In particular, our potential is huge in other countries besides the
U.S., which several people have already pointed out in this thread.
Courting donations in other countries has a lot of positive benefits.
It helps strengthen our chapters, and it increases international
participation and ownership into our projects.

In summary, it's not clear that an endowment drive is a more effective
sustainability strategy than our current model, and the opportunity
cost would be much higher.

If you look at the targets at:

http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Plan/Movement_Priorities#Goal:_Stabilize_the_Infrastructure

you'll notice that the proposed financial goal is listed as the number
of donors, not as a revenue figure. That speaks to the importance of
getting many people to contribute, which I think jives well with our
community's philosophy in general.

=Eugene

--
======================================================================
Eugene Eric Kim ................................ http://xri.net/=eekim
Blue Oxen Associates ........................ http://www.blueoxen.com/
======================================================================

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Re: 2010-11 Annual Plan Now Posted to Foundation Website

metasj
In reply to this post by Mike Godwin-2
On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 10:13 AM, Mike Godwin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Sam Klein writes:
>
> I do think there are more risks inherent in this sort of growth than
>> are listed in the 'potential risks' section -- for instance,
>> "inability to acculturate new staff due to aggressive growth" -- and
>> we should be alert to these risks to avoid them.
>>
>
> Just to be clear about this, I read Sam here as saying something like "there
> is a potential risk that we will be unable to acculturate new staff as we
> grow."  This of course is true -- and it's even true when growth is slow!

Precisely :-)

> But in practice the Foundation takes this risk very seriously, and takes
> pains to promote the acculturation of new staff, not just to Foundation
> culture but to the larger community.

Yes.  The influx of staff at Wikimania this year will be a sight to
see... I look forward to seeing you there.

Ziko writes:

> It struck me that the Foundation has decided to concentrate on the
> large public, the small donators, and not seek much further to
> approach big spenders or make money by business partnerships. This is
> a statement not only about our history and our future, and also about
> our character as movement. Is it too much to call this an event of
> historical importance?

Yes, it is a big deal.  I think it helps clarify the Foundation's
philosophy as well, unifying our donors and general audience in a
satisfying way -- as Sue says, we are lucky to be able to make that
decision.

Eugene writes:
> The cost of doing an endowment drive is enormous. There is usually an 18 months ramp
> up time simply to start the drive, and you need a huge staff to manage it. That work
> comes at the expense of other work. Furthermore, endowment drives also
> typically court high wealth donors aggressively.

This seems like an extreme type of 'endowment drive' - just as we
don't court high wealth donors in general we would not necessarily
need to for this.  Setting up a dedicated fund for supporting core
services, for instance (whatever you call it) need not have elaborate
staff, 18-month ramp ups, or other extraordinary overhead...  I think
it's good that an endowment drive is being planned for the future - I
hope a target for it shows up in our five-year timeline.

SJ

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