[Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

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[Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Pine W
Hello,

This email is mainly addressed to Affcom and WMF but I would like to hear
others' comments also.

Some background information regarding the context for this email: the
recently published annual reports from user groups reminded me of some
issues that I first considered a few years ago. I believe that user group
annual reports are currently not standardized, and I think that the public
and WMF might like to have standardized quantitative and comparable ways to
understand affiliates' work, including use of volunteer hours and
per-program benefits, while minimizing the burden on volunteers for
administrative tasks.

I would like to suggest that Affcom and WMF require that all affiliates'
annual reports include:

1. A list of programs which the affiliate supported in the past year. For
each program the affiliate should state the financial costs to the
affiliate including overhead costs and overhead person-hours attributable
to the program, how much time the organizers and participants spent on the
program, the Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results of each program, and
results for any custom-defined measures of success. Auditable performance
information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
regarding their participation.

2. A financial summary for the year that states all sources of income and
amounts from each source, how funds were spent, funds payable, funds
receivable, debts, reserves, assets, etc.

3. Total annual organizer and participant person-hours and a summary of how
those hours were used, for both programmatic and non-programmatic
activities.

4. Total annual Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results for the year, and total
annual results for any custom-defined metrics. Again, auditable performance
information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
regarding their participation.

This information is important enough that I would support reasonable staff
or contractor expenses to produce reports with these details. I am mindful
of how precious volunteer time is, and I do not want to burden already
generous volunteers with administrative work that could be done by
contractors or staff. Some cooperation and support for reporting from
volunteer organizers may be necessary, such as when gathering information
from participants at individual events. Some affiliates may have such
generous volunteers that they can do all of the reporting with volunteer
time. But for many affiliates I would support reasonable expenses for
producing standardized quantitative information in annual reports while
minimizing the administrative burden on volunteers.

Regards,


--

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Wonderful that you want to burden people with new standards. I have had
dealings with funding of the WMF. I delivered on time and for what I
delivered to work, the WMF had to do its stuff on time. They did not, my
project petered out and THEN they required me to jump through hoops
demonstrating that my project was "appropriate".. It was no longer and from
the WMF there was no self reflection.

When for whatever good reason you want OTHERS to deliver according to your
standards / WMF standards, be advised that such a requirement need to be
bidirectional. What I have noticed is that funding and organisational stuff
has become increasingly bureaucratic and for simple small projects it
stopped functioning.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On Thu, 29 Nov 2018 at 04:11, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> This email is mainly addressed to Affcom and WMF but I would like to hear
> others' comments also.
>
> Some background information regarding the context for this email: the
> recently published annual reports from user groups reminded me of some
> issues that I first considered a few years ago. I believe that user group
> annual reports are currently not standardized, and I think that the public
> and WMF might like to have standardized quantitative and comparable ways to
> understand affiliates' work, including use of volunteer hours and
> per-program benefits, while minimizing the burden on volunteers for
> administrative tasks.
>
> I would like to suggest that Affcom and WMF require that all affiliates'
> annual reports include:
>
> 1. A list of programs which the affiliate supported in the past year. For
> each program the affiliate should state the financial costs to the
> affiliate including overhead costs and overhead person-hours attributable
> to the program, how much time the organizers and participants spent on the
> program, the Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results of each program, and
> results for any custom-defined measures of success. Auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> 2. A financial summary for the year that states all sources of income and
> amounts from each source, how funds were spent, funds payable, funds
> receivable, debts, reserves, assets, etc.
>
> 3. Total annual organizer and participant person-hours and a summary of how
> those hours were used, for both programmatic and non-programmatic
> activities.
>
> 4. Total annual Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results for the year, and total
> annual results for any custom-defined metrics. Again, auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> This information is important enough that I would support reasonable staff
> or contractor expenses to produce reports with these details. I am mindful
> of how precious volunteer time is, and I do not want to burden already
> generous volunteers with administrative work that could be done by
> contractors or staff. Some cooperation and support for reporting from
> volunteer organizers may be necessary, such as when gathering information
> from participants at individual events. Some affiliates may have such
> generous volunteers that they can do all of the reporting with volunteer
> time. But for many affiliates I would support reasonable expenses for
> producing standardized quantitative information in annual reports while
> minimizing the administrative burden on volunteers.
>
> Regards,
>
>
> --
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Pine W
Hi Pine,

Standardising reporting across affiliates is an attractive-sounding
idea in theory but turns out to be very difficult in practice.

A few issues that spring to mind:
- User Groups are meant to be a low-barrier-to-entry, lightweight form
of affiliation. Basically you need 10 people and a good idea. Creating
in-depth expectations around reporting by User Groups would defeat the
object of having them. [Of course there are plenty of User Groups
these days that are incorporated entities with five or maybe
six-figure budgets, full-time staff, and so on... but that's because
the WMF Board decided that User Groups were the only option available
for new affiliates.]
- Where an affiliate has significant programmes and is incorporated,
there are a whole bunch of expectations on them that depend on how
they register. The way a UK-registered charity has to prepare its
annual accounts is different to how a nonprofit anywhere in the world
has to. Dual-reporting everything according to local laws and the
WMF's expectations already creates issues and extra work, gold-playing
the WMF's expectations would significantly increase this.
- There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter. Global
Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer, and
for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus
for the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their
own metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising
on naive metrics would be a step backwards.
- Also, we are still very much in the middle of the movement strategy
process. What you've suggested is very much a "This is what WMF should
require affiliates to do" approach, hopefully on the other side of the
strategy process we will not be in a situation where we solve problems
in the movement by the WMF telling people what to do. (I mean, in
practice the WMF doesn't do much issuing diktats any more, but
hopefully we will end up with some more formal creative solutions...)

Chris


On Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 3:11 AM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Hello,
>
> This email is mainly addressed to Affcom and WMF but I would like to hear
> others' comments also.
>
> Some background information regarding the context for this email: the
> recently published annual reports from user groups reminded me of some
> issues that I first considered a few years ago. I believe that user group
> annual reports are currently not standardized, and I think that the public
> and WMF might like to have standardized quantitative and comparable ways to
> understand affiliates' work, including use of volunteer hours and
> per-program benefits, while minimizing the burden on volunteers for
> administrative tasks.
>
> I would like to suggest that Affcom and WMF require that all affiliates'
> annual reports include:
>
> 1. A list of programs which the affiliate supported in the past year. For
> each program the affiliate should state the financial costs to the
> affiliate including overhead costs and overhead person-hours attributable
> to the program, how much time the organizers and participants spent on the
> program, the Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results of each program, and
> results for any custom-defined measures of success. Auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> 2. A financial summary for the year that states all sources of income and
> amounts from each source, how funds were spent, funds payable, funds
> receivable, debts, reserves, assets, etc.
>
> 3. Total annual organizer and participant person-hours and a summary of how
> those hours were used, for both programmatic and non-programmatic
> activities.
>
> 4. Total annual Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results for the year, and total
> annual results for any custom-defined metrics. Again, auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> This information is important enough that I would support reasonable staff
> or contractor expenses to produce reports with these details. I am mindful
> of how precious volunteer time is, and I do not want to burden already
> generous volunteers with administrative work that could be done by
> contractors or staff. Some cooperation and support for reporting from
> volunteer organizers may be necessary, such as when gathering information
> from participants at individual events. Some affiliates may have such
> generous volunteers that they can do all of the reporting with volunteer
> time. But for many affiliates I would support reasonable expenses for
> producing standardized quantitative information in annual reports while
> minimizing the administrative burden on volunteers.
>
> Regards,
>
>
> --
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Kalman Hajdu
In reply to this post by Pine W
I 100% agree with Pine. I have read very impressive annual reports without
any factual data. This 4 point as a small spreadsheet will specify the
reports and make there comparative.

With regards



On Thu, Nov 29, 2018 at 4:11 AM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> This email is mainly addressed to Affcom and WMF but I would like to hear
> others' comments also.
>
> Some background information regarding the context for this email: the
> recently published annual reports from user groups reminded me of some
> issues that I first considered a few years ago. I believe that user group
> annual reports are currently not standardized, and I think that the public
> and WMF might like to have standardized quantitative and comparable ways to
> understand affiliates' work, including use of volunteer hours and
> per-program benefits, while minimizing the burden on volunteers for
> administrative tasks.
>
> I would like to suggest that Affcom and WMF require that all affiliates'
> annual reports include:
>
> 1. A list of programs which the affiliate supported in the past year. For
> each program the affiliate should state the financial costs to the
> affiliate including overhead costs and overhead person-hours attributable
> to the program, how much time the organizers and participants spent on the
> program, the Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results of each program, and
> results for any custom-defined measures of success. Auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> 2. A financial summary for the year that states all sources of income and
> amounts from each source, how funds were spent, funds payable, funds
> receivable, debts, reserves, assets, etc.
>
> 3. Total annual organizer and participant person-hours and a summary of how
> those hours were used, for both programmatic and non-programmatic
> activities.
>
> 4. Total annual Wikimetrics/Global Metrics results for the year, and total
> annual results for any custom-defined metrics. Again, auditable performance
> information can be made public and/or shared privately with WMF, depending
> on privacy rules and the willingness of participants to share information
> regarding their participation.
>
> This information is important enough that I would support reasonable staff
> or contractor expenses to produce reports with these details. I am mindful
> of how precious volunteer time is, and I do not want to burden already
> generous volunteers with administrative work that could be done by
> contractors or staff. Some cooperation and support for reporting from
> volunteer organizers may be necessary, such as when gathering information
> from participants at individual events. Some affiliates may have such
> generous volunteers that they can do all of the reporting with volunteer
> time. But for many affiliates I would support reasonable expenses for
> producing standardized quantitative information in annual reports while
> minimizing the administrative burden on volunteers.
>
> Regards,
>
>
> --
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Pine W
In reply to this post by Chris Keating-2
I'm going to respond to both Chris and Gerard in one email.

Gerard:

* I agree that it's possible to over-bureaucratize projects, including
small projects. This is one of the reasons that I think that performance
analysis should mostly be done with staff or contractor time rather than
volunteer time. I don't want small projects to get exempted from
accountability, but I also don't want small projects to be weighed down
with unreasonable administrative overhead.

* I agree that WMF Community Resources has room for improvement. I may have
accidentally implied that I think that WMF always does things well and
always makes good decisions. I too have had experiences of WMF Community
Resources staff taking far too long to respond to inquiries. However, WMF
has the money for grants for Wikimedia activities, and there are few
alternatives to WMF for financial support of Wikimedia affiliate and
individual projects. If WMF Community Resources' level of responsiveness is
going to improve then WMF will need to choose to make changes.

Chris:

* I make a distinction between the formation of a user group, and that user
group running programs. If a user group runs a single small program, and
correspondingly has little money, then there should be little to report. A
user group which runs multiple programs and is handling many thousands of
dollars' worth of funds will have more extensive reporting requirements. I
think that staff or contractors should complete most of the reporting and
analysis so that volunteers are not burdened with that work. I would like
volunteers to be able to focus on mission, on the creation and execution of
programs, on developing supportive relationships, and on the strategic
decision-making for their user group, rather than spending significant time
and effort on administrative activities like writing reports.

* I don't see a way to get out of having multiple reporting systems, such
as for national tax authorities and for grantmakers such as WMF. Many
charities deal with this. I think that most of the reporting work can be
done with staff or contractor time rather than volunteer time.

* Regarding "There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter.
Global Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer, and
for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus for
the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their own
metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising on naive
metrics would be a step backwards.", I partly agree and partly disagree. I
think that we should have ways to compare performance of programs
affiliates, so that everyone can learn which affiliates and programs tend
to be especially good or problematic. Over time, as affiliates learn from
each other, ideally this should lead to more efficient uses of resources,
and to more effective programs and affiliates. Having common metrics goes a
long way toward determining which practices are most effective and which
should be changed or discontinued. I agree that custom metrics may in
various cases be good to have in addition to Global Metrics. Maybe a way to
think about this is that Global Metrics are necessary but not always
sufficient.

* I have very mixed feelings about WMF and Affcom issuing edicts to
affiliates. I want affiliates and WMF to make good use of money and
volunteers' time. For better and for worse WMF owns the trademarks and is
the most significant source of funds for Wikimedia affiliates. Also, Affcom
currently sets the reporting requirements for affiliates' annual reports.
So WMF and Affcom have significant ability to use their authorities for
good purposes. In the longer term, I would like to see more peer leadership
from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
trademarks. Perhaps in the course of the strategy work there will be some
good developments. But I don't think that the ongoing development of
long-term strategy is a reason to wait to require standardized financial
and performance information in affiliates' annual reports, or to wait to
provide staff or contractor time to produce and analyze financial and
performance information. Ideally, affiliates and WMF will both benefit from
these enhanced requirements by using the information to make decisions
about what types of programs to run, so that volunteers make good use of
their time and so that everyone makes good use of funds. In my unpaid
capacity, one of the most demoralizing and frustrating experiences that I
have is my time being wasted, which has happened on too many occasions. I
am hoping that the actions that I am proposing here will lead to improved
effectiveness of volunteers' time, and more effective use of WMF and
affiliate financial resources.

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Bence Damokos
Dear Pine,

Just as a thought experiment try to think through how your proposal would
work for an all-volunteer organisation:
A small group of volunteers starts some programme, and at the same time
they hire a contractor (issue an ad, check CVs, hold interviews, draw up a
contract, monitor and pay invoices, pay any applicable taxes and social
security contributions) whose job it is to keep track of the hours and
money the volunteers spend on the programme and on the administration of it
(including the resources spent on hiring, managing and overseeing the
contractor), plus the global metrics. (The situation is not much better if
the contractor is hired at the end of the project and his job is to
interview everyone, and for the volunteers they need to keep records in
order to be able to reply to the questions.)

In the end, you have to retain proportionality of invested resources vs.
level of reporting burden.

Best regards,
Bence

On Fri, 30 Nov 2018, 01:12 Pine W <[hidden email] wrote:

> I'm going to respond to both Chris and Gerard in one email.
>
> Gerard:
>
> * I agree that it's possible to over-bureaucratize projects, including
> small projects. This is one of the reasons that I think that performance
> analysis should mostly be done with staff or contractor time rather than
> volunteer time. I don't want small projects to get exempted from
> accountability, but I also don't want small projects to be weighed down
> with unreasonable administrative overhead.
>
> * I agree that WMF Community Resources has room for improvement. I may have
> accidentally implied that I think that WMF always does things well and
> always makes good decisions. I too have had experiences of WMF Community
> Resources staff taking far too long to respond to inquiries. However, WMF
> has the money for grants for Wikimedia activities, and there are few
> alternatives to WMF for financial support of Wikimedia affiliate and
> individual projects. If WMF Community Resources' level of responsiveness is
> going to improve then WMF will need to choose to make changes.
>
> Chris:
>
> * I make a distinction between the formation of a user group, and that user
> group running programs. If a user group runs a single small program, and
> correspondingly has little money, then there should be little to report. A
> user group which runs multiple programs and is handling many thousands of
> dollars' worth of funds will have more extensive reporting requirements. I
> think that staff or contractors should complete most of the reporting and
> analysis so that volunteers are not burdened with that work. I would like
> volunteers to be able to focus on mission, on the creation and execution of
> programs, on developing supportive relationships, and on the strategic
> decision-making for their user group, rather than spending significant time
> and effort on administrative activities like writing reports.
>
> * I don't see a way to get out of having multiple reporting systems, such
> as for national tax authorities and for grantmakers such as WMF. Many
> charities deal with this. I think that most of the reporting work can be
> done with staff or contractor time rather than volunteer time.
>
> * Regarding "There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter.
> Global Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer, and
> for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus for
> the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their own
> metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising on naive
> metrics would be a step backwards.", I partly agree and partly disagree. I
> think that we should have ways to compare performance of programs
> affiliates, so that everyone can learn which affiliates and programs tend
> to be especially good or problematic. Over time, as affiliates learn from
> each other, ideally this should lead to more efficient uses of resources,
> and to more effective programs and affiliates. Having common metrics goes a
> long way toward determining which practices are most effective and which
> should be changed or discontinued. I agree that custom metrics may in
> various cases be good to have in addition to Global Metrics. Maybe a way to
> think about this is that Global Metrics are necessary but not always
> sufficient.
>
> * I have very mixed feelings about WMF and Affcom issuing edicts to
> affiliates. I want affiliates and WMF to make good use of money and
> volunteers' time. For better and for worse WMF owns the trademarks and is
> the most significant source of funds for Wikimedia affiliates. Also, Affcom
> currently sets the reporting requirements for affiliates' annual reports.
> So WMF and Affcom have significant ability to use their authorities for
> good purposes. In the longer term, I would like to see more peer leadership
> from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
> trademarks. Perhaps in the course of the strategy work there will be some
> good developments. But I don't think that the ongoing development of
> long-term strategy is a reason to wait to require standardized financial
> and performance information in affiliates' annual reports, or to wait to
> provide staff or contractor time to produce and analyze financial and
> performance information. Ideally, affiliates and WMF will both benefit from
> these enhanced requirements by using the information to make decisions
> about what types of programs to run, so that volunteers make good use of
> their time and so that everyone makes good use of funds. In my unpaid
> capacity, one of the most demoralizing and frustrating experiences that I
> have is my time being wasted, which has happened on too many occasions. I
> am hoping that the actions that I am proposing here will lead to improved
> effectiveness of volunteers' time, and more effective use of WMF and
> affiliate financial resources.
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Jane Darnell
In reply to this post by Pine W
Pine,
I totally agree with "I would like to see more peer leadership
from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
trademarks." I would hope that this type of thing is starting to show up in
the larger chapter/thorg/user group plans. I like the idea of custom
metrics, especially in light of this statement. An org the size of WMF is
not likely to be leading in this respect. The smaller groups are where you
would expect leadership in this aspect too. I also agree that custom
metrics should not be instead of the WMF metrics requirements - the one is
more for global reporting, and the other is more for local reporting.

Jane

On Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 1:12 AM Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm going to respond to both Chris and Gerard in one email.
>
> Gerard:
>
> * I agree that it's possible to over-bureaucratize projects, including
> small projects. This is one of the reasons that I think that performance
> analysis should mostly be done with staff or contractor time rather than
> volunteer time. I don't want small projects to get exempted from
> accountability, but I also don't want small projects to be weighed down
> with unreasonable administrative overhead.
>
> * I agree that WMF Community Resources has room for improvement. I may have
> accidentally implied that I think that WMF always does things well and
> always makes good decisions. I too have had experiences of WMF Community
> Resources staff taking far too long to respond to inquiries. However, WMF
> has the money for grants for Wikimedia activities, and there are few
> alternatives to WMF for financial support of Wikimedia affiliate and
> individual projects. If WMF Community Resources' level of responsiveness is
> going to improve then WMF will need to choose to make changes.
>
> Chris:
>
> * I make a distinction between the formation of a user group, and that user
> group running programs. If a user group runs a single small program, and
> correspondingly has little money, then there should be little to report. A
> user group which runs multiple programs and is handling many thousands of
> dollars' worth of funds will have more extensive reporting requirements. I
> think that staff or contractors should complete most of the reporting and
> analysis so that volunteers are not burdened with that work. I would like
> volunteers to be able to focus on mission, on the creation and execution of
> programs, on developing supportive relationships, and on the strategic
> decision-making for their user group, rather than spending significant time
> and effort on administrative activities like writing reports.
>
> * I don't see a way to get out of having multiple reporting systems, such
> as for national tax authorities and for grantmakers such as WMF. Many
> charities deal with this. I think that most of the reporting work can be
> done with staff or contractor time rather than volunteer time.
>
> * Regarding "There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter.
> Global Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer, and
> for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus for
> the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their own
> metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising on naive
> metrics would be a step backwards.", I partly agree and partly disagree. I
> think that we should have ways to compare performance of programs
> affiliates, so that everyone can learn which affiliates and programs tend
> to be especially good or problematic. Over time, as affiliates learn from
> each other, ideally this should lead to more efficient uses of resources,
> and to more effective programs and affiliates. Having common metrics goes a
> long way toward determining which practices are most effective and which
> should be changed or discontinued. I agree that custom metrics may in
> various cases be good to have in addition to Global Metrics. Maybe a way to
> think about this is that Global Metrics are necessary but not always
> sufficient.
>
> * I have very mixed feelings about WMF and Affcom issuing edicts to
> affiliates. I want affiliates and WMF to make good use of money and
> volunteers' time. For better and for worse WMF owns the trademarks and is
> the most significant source of funds for Wikimedia affiliates. Also, Affcom
> currently sets the reporting requirements for affiliates' annual reports.
> So WMF and Affcom have significant ability to use their authorities for
> good purposes. In the longer term, I would like to see more peer leadership
> from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
> trademarks. Perhaps in the course of the strategy work there will be some
> good developments. But I don't think that the ongoing development of
> long-term strategy is a reason to wait to require standardized financial
> and performance information in affiliates' annual reports, or to wait to
> provide staff or contractor time to produce and analyze financial and
> performance information. Ideally, affiliates and WMF will both benefit from
> these enhanced requirements by using the information to make decisions
> about what types of programs to run, so that volunteers make good use of
> their time and so that everyone makes good use of funds. In my unpaid
> capacity, one of the most demoralizing and frustrating experiences that I
> have is my time being wasted, which has happened on too many occasions. I
> am hoping that the actions that I am proposing here will lead to improved
> effectiveness of volunteers' time, and more effective use of WMF and
> affiliate financial resources.
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Jane Darnell
In reply to this post by Bence Damokos
As a learning organization, it is already the case that the reporting
burden is often higher than the invested resources. It's been that way for
years. Fortunately, we have had the luck over the years to attract
dedicated volunteers all over the world to help out with the burden or give
feedback and tips how to cope, and most hired hands by now are used to the
WMF changing the reporting rules with each passing year. I think that is
inherent in a mostly volunteer-staffed worldwide multi-lingual network of
people trying to comply both with local community needs/desires, local tax
authorities, and the WMF.

On Fri, Nov 30, 2018 at 8:40 AM Bence Damokos <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear Pine,
>
> Just as a thought experiment try to think through how your proposal would
> work for an all-volunteer organisation:
> A small group of volunteers starts some programme, and at the same time
> they hire a contractor (issue an ad, check CVs, hold interviews, draw up a
> contract, monitor and pay invoices, pay any applicable taxes and social
> security contributions) whose job it is to keep track of the hours and
> money the volunteers spend on the programme and on the administration of it
> (including the resources spent on hiring, managing and overseeing the
> contractor), plus the global metrics. (The situation is not much better if
> the contractor is hired at the end of the project and his job is to
> interview everyone, and for the volunteers they need to keep records in
> order to be able to reply to the questions.)
>
> In the end, you have to retain proportionality of invested resources vs.
> level of reporting burden.
>
> Best regards,
> Bence
>
> On Fri, 30 Nov 2018, 01:12 Pine W <[hidden email] wrote:
>
> > I'm going to respond to both Chris and Gerard in one email.
> >
> > Gerard:
> >
> > * I agree that it's possible to over-bureaucratize projects, including
> > small projects. This is one of the reasons that I think that performance
> > analysis should mostly be done with staff or contractor time rather than
> > volunteer time. I don't want small projects to get exempted from
> > accountability, but I also don't want small projects to be weighed down
> > with unreasonable administrative overhead.
> >
> > * I agree that WMF Community Resources has room for improvement. I may
> have
> > accidentally implied that I think that WMF always does things well and
> > always makes good decisions. I too have had experiences of WMF Community
> > Resources staff taking far too long to respond to inquiries. However, WMF
> > has the money for grants for Wikimedia activities, and there are few
> > alternatives to WMF for financial support of Wikimedia affiliate and
> > individual projects. If WMF Community Resources' level of responsiveness
> is
> > going to improve then WMF will need to choose to make changes.
> >
> > Chris:
> >
> > * I make a distinction between the formation of a user group, and that
> user
> > group running programs. If a user group runs a single small program, and
> > correspondingly has little money, then there should be little to report.
> A
> > user group which runs multiple programs and is handling many thousands of
> > dollars' worth of funds will have more extensive reporting requirements.
> I
> > think that staff or contractors should complete most of the reporting and
> > analysis so that volunteers are not burdened with that work. I would like
> > volunteers to be able to focus on mission, on the creation and execution
> of
> > programs, on developing supportive relationships, and on the strategic
> > decision-making for their user group, rather than spending significant
> time
> > and effort on administrative activities like writing reports.
> >
> > * I don't see a way to get out of having multiple reporting systems, such
> > as for national tax authorities and for grantmakers such as WMF. Many
> > charities deal with this. I think that most of the reporting work can be
> > done with staff or contractor time rather than volunteer time.
> >
> > * Regarding "There is no consensus around what metrics actually matter.
> > Global Metrics were only ever presented as a first draft of an answer,
> and
> > for many projects they are simply poor metrics. The movement's focus for
> > the last 3-4 years has been on movement entities developing their own
> > metrics that are relevant to their own activities. Standardising on naive
> > metrics would be a step backwards.", I partly agree and partly disagree.
> I
> > think that we should have ways to compare performance of programs
> > affiliates, so that everyone can learn which affiliates and programs tend
> > to be especially good or problematic. Over time, as affiliates learn from
> > each other, ideally this should lead to more efficient uses of resources,
> > and to more effective programs and affiliates. Having common metrics
> goes a
> > long way toward determining which practices are most effective and which
> > should be changed or discontinued. I agree that custom metrics may in
> > various cases be good to have in addition to Global Metrics. Maybe a way
> to
> > think about this is that Global Metrics are necessary but not always
> > sufficient.
> >
> > * I have very mixed feelings about WMF and Affcom issuing edicts to
> > affiliates. I want affiliates and WMF to make good use of money and
> > volunteers' time. For better and for worse WMF owns the trademarks and is
> > the most significant source of funds for Wikimedia affiliates. Also,
> Affcom
> > currently sets the reporting requirements for affiliates' annual reports.
> > So WMF and Affcom have significant ability to use their authorities for
> > good purposes. In the longer term, I would like to see more peer
> leadership
> > from affiliates and less reliance on WMF for both grantmaking and
> > trademarks. Perhaps in the course of the strategy work there will be some
> > good developments. But I don't think that the ongoing development of
> > long-term strategy is a reason to wait to require standardized financial
> > and performance information in affiliates' annual reports, or to wait to
> > provide staff or contractor time to produce and analyze financial and
> > performance information. Ideally, affiliates and WMF will both benefit
> from
> > these enhanced requirements by using the information to make decisions
> > about what types of programs to run, so that volunteers make good use of
> > their time and so that everyone makes good use of funds. In my unpaid
> > capacity, one of the most demoralizing and frustrating experiences that I
> > have is my time being wasted, which has happened on too many occasions. I
> > am hoping that the actions that I am proposing here will lead to improved
> > effectiveness of volunteers' time, and more effective use of WMF and
> > affiliate financial resources.
> >
> > Pine
> > ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> _______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Contents of annual reports from Wikimedia affiliate organizations

Pine W
In reply to this post by Kalman Hajdu
Some further thoughts about reporting:

* Many affiliates already produce quantitative and qualitative information
for their grant reports. I would like to see much of that same information
about inputs and outputs included in annual reports, both for Global
Metrics and for custom metrics.

* I agree that small affiliates might find it to be a more efficient use of
their time for volunteers to complete all reporting requirements than to
find and delegate a contractor or part time staff person to do the
reporting for them. That is a choice that I would be very willing to leave
to small affiliates. Perhaps a good option to offer to small affiliates
would be that WMF staff or contractors, or staff or contractors of other
affiliates that could be shared with the small affiliates, could handle
much of the reporting work once the small affiliates have made their raw
data available to the administrative staff or contractors. In any case, my
hope is to increase the usefulness of affiliates' annual reports while
minimizing the administrative burden on volunteers. WMF has ample funding
to hire more staff or contractors to handle this reporting work, and I
think that volunteers often have other important activities to do with
their time than administrative work.

* In my willingness to criticize the WMF Community Resources staff I should
point out in fairness that I too have made mistakes in the past, and I will
likely make mistakes in the future. I hope that I am open to accepting
good-faith criticism and making changes. I hope that I adhere to the same
standards of accountability that I would expect from anyone else.

Pine
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
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