[Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

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[Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Stevie Benton
Wikimedia UK regrets to have to announce to the community that the
Wikimedia Foundation’s outgoing Executive Director, Sue Gardner, has given
us formal notice of her decision under her mandate from the WMF board not
to renew our fundraising agreement, thereby excluding us from this year’s
fundraiser.

We have written an open letter to Sue about this decision. A copy of our
letter to Sue can be found
here<https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/File:Open_letter_to_Sue_Gardner_regarding_non-renewal.pdf>
on
the Wikimedia UK wiki.

Thanks and regards,

Stevie


--

Stevie Benton
Head of External Relations
Wikimedia UK
+44 (0) 20 7065 0993 / +44 (0) 7803 505 173
@StevieBenton

Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England
and Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513.
Registered Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
London EC2A 4LT. United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a
global Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the
Wikimedia Foundation (who operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).

*Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal
control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Craig Franklin
The Foundation acted to strip chapters of their fundraising authority at
the first opportunity, based on what clearly seems to be a pre-determined
ideological decision that doesn't take actual evidence into account and
centralises movement decision making authority even further in the WMF?

Colour me surprised.


On 21 May 2014 17:10, Stevie Benton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Wikimedia UK regrets to have to announce to the community that the
> Wikimedia Foundation’s outgoing Executive Director, Sue Gardner, has given
> us formal notice of her decision under her mandate from the WMF board not
> to renew our fundraising agreement, thereby excluding us from this year’s
> fundraiser.
>
> We have written an open letter to Sue about this decision. A copy of our
> letter to Sue can be found
> here<
> https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/File:Open_letter_to_Sue_Gardner_regarding_non-renewal.pdf
> >
> on
> the Wikimedia UK wiki.
>
> Thanks and regards,
>
> Stevie
>
>
> --
>
> Stevie Benton
> Head of External Relations
> Wikimedia UK
> +44 (0) 20 7065 0993 / +44 (0) 7803 505 173
> @StevieBenton
>
> Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England
> and Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513.
> Registered Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
> London EC2A 4LT. United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a
> global Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the
> Wikimedia Foundation (who operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
>
> *Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal
> control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Stevie Benton
Stevie Benton, 21/05/2014 09:10:
> We have written an open letter to Sue about this decision. A copy of our
> letter to Sue can be found
> here<https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/File:Open_letter_to_Sue_Gardner_regarding_non-renewal.pdf>
> on
> the Wikimedia UK wiki.

Ok, but did anyone in the world really believe for a second that WMF was
ever going to change their mind after they managed to centralise UK
income in WMF bank accounts?

Nemo

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

David Cuenca Tudela
On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Federico Leva (Nemo)
<[hidden email]>wrote:
>
> Ok, but did anyone in the world really believe for a second that WMF was
> ever going to change their mind after they managed to centralise UK income
> in WMF bank accounts?
>
>
Sometimes it is better to take a step back to understand in which
conceptual frame each decision is taken.

As I see it:
- WMF: specialized in global matters, fearful of not having enough
long-term resources to conduct its operation
- Chapters:  specialized in local matters, fearful of not having enough
long-term resources to conduct their operation

And resources are not only money, also the independence and political
capital to act, or to build-up donor's trust for future fundraisers.

Some chapters are taking a very active role in removing weight from WMF's
shoulders also on global matters, and I think that increases trust. Perhaps
there is a clear model about what expects each side, I was not able to find
it (other than Chapters Dialogue), that would prevent disappointments like
it seems in this case.

Cheers,
Micru
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

cro0016
In reply to this post by Craig Franklin
I have to say I'm quite surprised by this announcement and this course of
action taken by the Foundation, though it's not the first time this has
happened, and very few chapters are left with a fundraising agreement.

I don't know the reasons this action was taken, but I am troubled. :/


On 21 May 2014 18:09, Craig Franklin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The Foundation acted to strip chapters of their fundraising authority at
> the first opportunity, based on what clearly seems to be a pre-determined
> ideological decision that doesn't take actual evidence into account and
> centralises movement decision making authority even further in the WMF?
>
> Colour me surprised.
>
>
> On 21 May 2014 17:10, Stevie Benton <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > Wikimedia UK regrets to have to announce to the community that the
> > Wikimedia Foundation’s outgoing Executive Director, Sue Gardner, has
> given
> > us formal notice of her decision under her mandate from the WMF board not
> > to renew our fundraising agreement, thereby excluding us from this year’s
> > fundraiser.
> >
> > We have written an open letter to Sue about this decision. A copy of our
> > letter to Sue can be found
> > here<
> >
> https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/File:Open_letter_to_Sue_Gardner_regarding_non-renewal.pdf
> > >
> > on
> > the Wikimedia UK wiki.
> >
> > Thanks and regards,
> >
> > Stevie
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > Stevie Benton
> > Head of External Relations
> > Wikimedia UK
> > +44 (0) 20 7065 0993 / +44 (0) 7803 505 173
> > @StevieBenton
> >
> > Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England
> > and Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513.
> > Registered Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
> > London EC2A 4LT. United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a
> > global Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the
> > Wikimedia Foundation (who operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
> >
> > *Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal
> > control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Russavia
In reply to this post by Stevie Benton
Hi all,

A couple of things popped into my head that I am unsure of, but hope
someone might be able to answer.

1) I understand that processing of UK donations in the US has significant
tax implications on the funds collected. I would imagine that the WMF
couldn't claim anywhere near the same tax relief on this income in the USA?
2) If there are tax implications, wouldn't it make more sense for the WMF
to register its own charity in the UK, thereby it could essentially take
WMUK out of the equation completely?
3) Could the fact that WMUK is currently spending approximately 50% of its
income on non-project costs[1] be partly the reason for this decision by
Sue? I understand that 3 years ago there was no staff in the UK and
something like 90% of income was spent directly on projects, and now there
are 12 staff with at the very least 50% of income being spent on
non-project activities based on reports presented for the last FDC
proposal. This could be a message that WMUK needs to trim the fat,
especially if there are more overheads that are "hidden" within programme
activity funding.

Not really sure what's going on here with the WMF, but the likelihood that
what Nemo and Mircu state is possible, but we shouldn't discount other
things as well.

But I would like to thank WMUK for sponsoring the "Airliners" project on
Commons,[2] which will see over 200,000+ aviation images being made
available via Fae's great work, and the chapters generosity. It's something
that I don't think sponsorship would have come as easily from other sources.

Cheers

Russavia


[1]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance
[2] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Batch_uploading/Airliners
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Richard Symonds-3
Hi Russavia,

Just a quick response to your points:

   1. Yes. Gift Aid isn't quite the same as tax deductibility. To take
   Wikipedia's example, when Mr Smith donates £100 to a charity, the charity
   gets £100 from him, plus an extra £25 from the government. It's more
   complex than this - not everyone is eligible - but broadly this is the case.
   2. Probably not. See
   http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-asked-questions/faqs-about-registering-a-charity/can-i-register-the-uk-branch-of-an-overseas-charity/
   .
   3. I'm not sure where the 50% figure came from, but it is incorrect. The
   correct figure for that year is 69%. For this past quarter, the correct
   figure is even better, at 80.24%. In addition, our fundraising costs as a
   percentage of total spend have dropped from 22% to 10%. If anyone wants
   more information on this, our treasurer is happy to discuss it with them by
   email.
   4. As for the planes - it is indeed fantastic and a good example of how,
   even where we may disagree, we can still all pull together to do great work
   for the movement. Speaking personally, it's a shame we don't have something
   similar for ships!


Richard Symonds
Wikimedia UK
0207 065 0992

Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and
Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered
Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia
movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who
operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).

*Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control
over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*


On 21 May 2014 12:22, Russavia <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi all,
>
> A couple of things popped into my head that I am unsure of, but hope
> someone might be able to answer.
>
> 1) I understand that processing of UK donations in the US has significant
> tax implications on the funds collected. I would imagine that the WMF
> couldn't claim anywhere near the same tax relief on this income in the USA?
> 2) If there are tax implications, wouldn't it make more sense for the WMF
> to register its own charity in the UK, thereby it could essentially take
> WMUK out of the equation completely?
> 3) Could the fact that WMUK is currently spending approximately 50% of its
> income on non-project costs[1] be partly the reason for this decision by
> Sue? I understand that 3 years ago there was no staff in the UK and
> something like 90% of income was spent directly on projects, and now there
> are 12 staff with at the very least 50% of income being spent on
> non-project activities based on reports presented for the last FDC
> proposal. This could be a message that WMUK needs to trim the fat,
> especially if there are more overheads that are "hidden" within programme
> activity funding.
>
> Not really sure what's going on here with the WMF, but the likelihood that
> what Nemo and Mircu state is possible, but we shouldn't discount other
> things as well.
>
> But I would like to thank WMUK for sponsoring the "Airliners" project on
> Commons,[2] which will see over 200,000+ aviation images being made
> available via Fae's great work, and the chapters generosity. It's something
> that I don't think sponsorship would have come as easily from other
> sources.
>
> Cheers
>
> Russavia
>
>
> [1]
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance
> [2] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Batch_uploading/Airliners
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Fæ
On 21 May 2014 13:19, Richard Symonds <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
>    2. Probably not. See
>    http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-asked-questions/faqs-about-registering-a-charity/can-i-register-the-uk-branch-of-an-overseas-charity/

This means that the WMF would need to establish an independent
fundraising institution in the UK in order for it to be a registered
charity. This would be in exactly the same ways as other global
charities successfully manage it under UK law.

>    3. I'm not sure where the 50% figure came from, but it is incorrect. The
>    correct figure for that year is 69%. For this past quarter, the correct
>    figure is even better, at 80.24%. In addition, our fundraising costs as a
>    percentage of total spend have dropped from 22% to 10%. If anyone wants
>    more information on this, our treasurer is happy to discuss it with them by
>    email.

A strange response from WMUK as Russavia included a link to the
analysis in his email, so this seems to be a tangent to the issue of
the most recent accepted and analysed financial report, showing that
more than 50% of funds are spent on non-project activities. Just in
case people missed it, the link was
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance

The technical way of redefining English words in such a way so that
the significant expenses of running trustee board meetings with staff
support, or paying for highly expensive lawyers and management
consultants as part of governance issues, gets reported as a
deliverable open knowledge Wikimedia project, is unhelpful as a way to
convince the Wikimedia community, or the WMF, that the UK charity is
efficient compared to WMDE or the WMF. Using words this way undermines
the value of the reports.

As a bizarre example the SORP way of conveniently redefining English
words, I could re-employ Jon Davies as a temporary "management
consultant" rather than a "permanent employee", even giving him twice
the income to take home, and yet this could be reported as a
significant increase in the efficiency of the charity, as an expensive
line item would move from administration to programme costs. I doubt
that many Wikimedians are taken in by this management jargon, as
opposed to common sense or plain English use of words.

>    4. As for the planes - it is indeed fantastic and a good example of how,
>    even where we may disagree, we can still all pull together to do great work
>    for the movement. Speaking personally, it's a shame we don't have something
>    similar for ships!
...

On this, we can agree. The Avionics Project represents less than 0.1%
of funds handled by the UK charity, yet these volunteer centric and
cheap-as-chips projects now represent the significant majority of
tangible outcomes for Wikimedia Commons, if one, say, counts the
actual number of media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, rather
than soft (so-called "narrative") measures, or internal facing
measures of success like supporting the Wikimania conference. As for
ships, I have uploaded many thousands of historic images of ships to
Commons which are highly valued by other unpaid Wikimedia volunteers,
however these were not supported by Wikimedia UK due to previous
concerns raised about my volunteer uploads from a potential partner
institution that might have employed a WIR and might have done
something similar. If the charity wishes to extend the project to
media such as this, the trustees know how to find me.

PS For those unfamiliar with my background, I was previously a trustee
of Wikimedia UK and even served time as the Chairman, until I resigned
after lots of political unpleasantness. My awareness of WMUK figures
comes from that hands-on experience, not so long ago.

Fae
--
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Simon Knight
To offer a clarification, SORP stands for Statement of Recommended Practice and offers a standard for best practice in charitable accounting. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/Charity_requirements_guidance/Accounting_and_reporting/Preparing_charity_accounts/sorpfront.aspx 

Cheers
Simon

-----Original Message-----
From: [hidden email] [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Fæ
Sent: 21 May 2014 14:17
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

On 21 May 2014 13:19, Richard Symonds <[hidden email]> wrote:
...
>    2. Probably not. See
>    
> http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-asked-questions/faqs-ab
> out-registering-a-charity/can-i-register-the-uk-branch-of-an-overseas-
> charity/

This means that the WMF would need to establish an independent fundraising institution in the UK in order for it to be a registered charity. This would be in exactly the same ways as other global charities successfully manage it under UK law.

>    3. I'm not sure where the 50% figure came from, but it is incorrect. The
>    correct figure for that year is 69%. For this past quarter, the correct
>    figure is even better, at 80.24%. In addition, our fundraising costs as a
>    percentage of total spend have dropped from 22% to 10%. If anyone wants
>    more information on this, our treasurer is happy to discuss it with them by
>    email.

A strange response from WMUK as Russavia included a link to the analysis in his email, so this seems to be a tangent to the issue of the most recent accepted and analysed financial report, showing that more than 50% of funds are spent on non-project activities. Just in case people missed it, the link was https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance

The technical way of redefining English words in such a way so that the significant expenses of running trustee board meetings with staff support, or paying for highly expensive lawyers and management consultants as part of governance issues, gets reported as a deliverable open knowledge Wikimedia project, is unhelpful as a way to convince the Wikimedia community, or the WMF, that the UK charity is efficient compared to WMDE or the WMF. Using words this way undermines the value of the reports.

As a bizarre example the SORP way of conveniently redefining English words, I could re-employ Jon Davies as a temporary "management consultant" rather than a "permanent employee", even giving him twice the income to take home, and yet this could be reported as a significant increase in the efficiency of the charity, as an expensive line item would move from administration to programme costs. I doubt that many Wikimedians are taken in by this management jargon, as opposed to common sense or plain English use of words.

>    4. As for the planes - it is indeed fantastic and a good example of how,
>    even where we may disagree, we can still all pull together to do great work
>    for the movement. Speaking personally, it's a shame we don't have something
>    similar for ships!
...

On this, we can agree. The Avionics Project represents less than 0.1% of funds handled by the UK charity, yet these volunteer centric and cheap-as-chips projects now represent the significant majority of tangible outcomes for Wikimedia Commons, if one, say, counts the actual number of media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, rather than soft (so-called "narrative") measures, or internal facing measures of success like supporting the Wikimania conference. As for ships, I have uploaded many thousands of historic images of ships to Commons which are highly valued by other unpaid Wikimedia volunteers, however these were not supported by Wikimedia UK due to previous concerns raised about my volunteer uploads from a potential partner institution that might have employed a WIR and might have done something similar. If the charity wishes to extend the project to media such as this, the trustees know how to find me.

PS For those unfamiliar with my background, I was previously a trustee of Wikimedia UK and even served time as the Chairman, until I resigned after lots of political unpleasantness. My awareness of WMUK figures comes from that hands-on experience, not so long ago.

Fae
--
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Craig Franklin
Craig Franklin wrote:
>The Foundation acted to strip chapters of their fundraising authority at
>the first opportunity, based on what clearly seems to be a pre-determined
>ideological decision that doesn't take actual evidence into account and
>centralises movement decision making authority even further in the WMF?
>
>Colour me surprised.

Hi.

As I understand the history here (and please correct me where I'm wrong),
Wikimedia UK was one of the early chapters (along with Wikimedia
Deutschland and a few others) that set up fundraising agreements in the
mid-2000s. This resulted in a few Wikimedia chapters receiving a
disproportionate and frankly exorbitant amount of money as donation income
steadily increased over the years and the agreements (which were
percentage-based) stayed in place. Eventually the agreements were
renegotiated, but not before a few chapters had hundreds of thousands of
dollars and no concrete plans for what to do with this money.

Wikimedia UK in particular had bad enough management issues that in late
2012, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK worked together to
generate a report about the various management and governance deficiencies
within the organization, which was posted a little over a year ago.

The history here is complex and it's certainly possible that the Wikimedia
Foundation is acting in its own interest rather than in the interest of
the Wikimedia movement. However, I have difficulty understanding why the
decision to not renew Wikimedia's UK fundraising agreement would be
surprising, given the historical context. I'm not sure this decision would
be surprising to an outside observer.

To that end, on the subject of outside observers and open letters: when
writing such a letter, it's important to give context and err on the side
of formality. I've never seen a professional letter begin with "Dear Sue"
(no last name or contact information provided) and end with "Yours
sincerely, Jon" (no last name or contact information provided). This isn't
a huge deal, but it's perhaps indicative.

MZMcBride



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Russavia
In reply to this post by Richard Symonds-3
Richard,

To answer 1 and 2 together, and thanks for your response....

As you noted, under Gift Aid charities receive a 25% premium on donations
(I hope that's correct just going on your figures), and I can't see the WMF
really wanting to lose what is essentially, well, a gift.

As Fae mentioned in his response, the WMF could set up a trust in the UK
for the sole purpose of fundraising, to ensure that the 25% gift aid is
retained. They could then distribute these funds to whichever countries
they like.

This is apparently how Greenpeace operates with the Greenpeace
Environmental Trust[1] used to fundraise for the organisation, and
Greenpeace Limited doing the stuff that wouldnt be legal for the charitable
trust to do. With the fundraising the GET receives they can use these funds
to support the upkeep of their foreign ships, or to protest Russian goings
ons in the Arctic.

I sincerely can't see WMF wanting to lose the premium on donations which I
am sure they are aware of, and they don't want WMUK collecting donations,
so the logical conclusion to this is that they are bypassing WMUK to do
this themselves (which they have already stated, except for the how).

So that we have some idea could we please get some figures on how WMUK
collected for the WMF, and how much of the 25% premium (if that it was it
is) the WMUK received.

Cheers

Russavia

[1]
http://apps.charitycommission.gov.uk/Showcharity/RegisterOfCharities/CharityWithPartB.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=284934&SubsidiaryNumber=0




On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 8:19 PM, Richard Symonds <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Russavia,
>
> Just a quick response to your points:
>
>    1. Yes. Gift Aid isn't quite the same as tax deductibility. To take
>    Wikipedia's example, when Mr Smith donates £100 to a charity, the
> charity
>    gets £100 from him, plus an extra £25 from the government. It's more
>    complex than this - not everyone is eligible - but broadly this is the
> case.
>    2. Probably not. See
>
> http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-asked-questions/faqs-about-registering-a-charity/can-i-register-the-uk-branch-of-an-overseas-charity/
>    .
>    3. I'm not sure where the 50% figure came from, but it is incorrect. The
>    correct figure for that year is 69%. For this past quarter, the correct
>    figure is even better, at 80.24%. In addition, our fundraising costs as
> a
>    percentage of total spend have dropped from 22% to 10%. If anyone wants
>    more information on this, our treasurer is happy to discuss it with
> them by
>    email.
>    4. As for the planes - it is indeed fantastic and a good example of how,
>    even where we may disagree, we can still all pull together to do great
> work
>    for the movement. Speaking personally, it's a shame we don't have
> something
>    similar for ships!
>
>
> Richard Symonds
> Wikimedia UK
> 0207 065 0992
>
> Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England and
> Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513. Registered
> Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4LT.
> United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a global Wikimedia
> movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the Wikimedia Foundation (who
> operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
>
> *Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal control
> over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*
>
>
> On 21 May 2014 12:22, Russavia <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > Hi all,
> >
> > A couple of things popped into my head that I am unsure of, but hope
> > someone might be able to answer.
> >
> > 1) I understand that processing of UK donations in the US has significant
> > tax implications on the funds collected. I would imagine that the WMF
> > couldn't claim anywhere near the same tax relief on this income in the
> USA?
> > 2) If there are tax implications, wouldn't it make more sense for the WMF
> > to register its own charity in the UK, thereby it could essentially take
> > WMUK out of the equation completely?
> > 3) Could the fact that WMUK is currently spending approximately 50% of
> its
> > income on non-project costs[1] be partly the reason for this decision by
> > Sue? I understand that 3 years ago there was no staff in the UK and
> > something like 90% of income was spent directly on projects, and now
> there
> > are 12 staff with at the very least 50% of income being spent on
> > non-project activities based on reports presented for the last FDC
> > proposal. This could be a message that WMUK needs to trim the fat,
> > especially if there are more overheads that are "hidden" within programme
> > activity funding.
> >
> > Not really sure what's going on here with the WMF, but the likelihood
> that
> > what Nemo and Mircu state is possible, but we shouldn't discount other
> > things as well.
> >
> > But I would like to thank WMUK for sponsoring the "Airliners" project on
> > Commons,[2] which will see over 200,000+ aviation images being made
> > available via Fae's great work, and the chapters generosity. It's
> something
> > that I don't think sponsorship would have come as easily from other
> > sources.
> >
> > Cheers
> >
> > Russavia
> >
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance
> > [2] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Batch_uploading/Airliners
> > _______________________________________________
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> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
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> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Nathan Awrich
In reply to this post by Fæ
On Wed, May 21, 2014 at 9:17 AM, Fæ <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 21 May 2014 13:19, Richard Symonds <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> ...
> >    2. Probably not. See
> >
> http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/frequently-asked-questions/faqs-about-registering-a-charity/can-i-register-the-uk-branch-of-an-overseas-charity/
>
> This means that the WMF would need to establish an independent
> fundraising institution in the UK in order for it to be a registered
> charity. This would be in exactly the same ways as other global
> charities successfully manage it under UK law.
>
> >    3. I'm not sure where the 50% figure came from, but it is incorrect.
> The
> >    correct figure for that year is 69%. For this past quarter, the
> correct
> >    figure is even better, at 80.24%. In addition, our fundraising costs
> as a
> >    percentage of total spend have dropped from 22% to 10%. If anyone
> wants
> >    more information on this, our treasurer is happy to discuss it with
> them by
> >    email.
>
> A strange response from WMUK as Russavia included a link to the
> analysis in his email, so this seems to be a tangent to the issue of
> the most recent accepted and analysed financial report, showing that
> more than 50% of funds are spent on non-project activities. Just in
> case people missed it, the link was
>
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance
>
> The technical way of redefining English words in such a way so that
> the significant expenses of running trustee board meetings with staff
> support, or paying for highly expensive lawyers and management
> consultants as part of governance issues, gets reported as a
> deliverable open knowledge Wikimedia project, is unhelpful as a way to
> convince the Wikimedia community, or the WMF, that the UK charity is
> efficient compared to WMDE or the WMF. Using words this way undermines
> the value of the reports.
>
> As a bizarre example the SORP way of conveniently redefining English
> words, I could re-employ Jon Davies as a temporary "management
> consultant" rather than a "permanent employee", even giving him twice
> the income to take home, and yet this could be reported as a
> significant increase in the efficiency of the charity, as an expensive
> line item would move from administration to programme costs. I doubt
> that many Wikimedians are taken in by this management jargon, as
> opposed to common sense or plain English use of words.
>
> >    4. As for the planes - it is indeed fantastic and a good example of
> how,
> >    even where we may disagree, we can still all pull together to do
> great work
> >    for the movement. Speaking personally, it's a shame we don't have
> something
> >    similar for ships!
> ...
>
> On this, we can agree. The Avionics Project represents less than 0.1%
> of funds handled by the UK charity, yet these volunteer centric and
> cheap-as-chips projects now represent the significant majority of
> tangible outcomes for Wikimedia Commons, if one, say, counts the
> actual number of media files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, rather
> than soft (so-called "narrative") measures, or internal facing
> measures of success like supporting the Wikimania conference. As for
> ships, I have uploaded many thousands of historic images of ships to
> Commons which are highly valued by other unpaid Wikimedia volunteers,
> however these were not supported by Wikimedia UK due to previous
> concerns raised about my volunteer uploads from a potential partner
> institution that might have employed a WIR and might have done
> something similar. If the charity wishes to extend the project to
> media such as this, the trustees know how to find me.
>
> PS For those unfamiliar with my background, I was previously a trustee
> of Wikimedia UK and even served time as the Chairman, until I resigned
> after lots of political unpleasantness. My awareness of WMUK figures
> comes from that hands-on experience, not so long ago.
>
> Fae
> --
>


Reading over the linked Meta page, it actually looks like this disagreement
over expense ratios might be a misunderstanding. It's at least possible
that the performance ratios Richard Nevell reported were misinterpreted as
a description of how costs were classified.

I looked up the 2013 budget for WMUK[1] and did a rough classification of
expense types. I get *£*434,552 in "programmatic" spending vs. 336,568 in
administrative costs. Out of 771,119 in total planned expenditures, the
programmatic spending is 53%. That's the inverse of Fae's calculation on
the linked meta discussion.[2] Of course, 53% is still quite low and I'm
glad to read that the recent quarter has climbed past 80%.

In any event, this is only tangentially related. I agree with Max's
criticism of the letter as a little less professional and more emotional
than I would have expected, particularly given WMUK hasn't participated as
a payment processor since 2011. The smart move is to seek a re-evaluation
with the next ED, without poisoning the well. I'm sure that the WMUK staff
and leadership are aware that no affiliate is entitled to process payments
for the annual WMF fundraising drive... It might be worthwhile to consider
that communications that suggest a sense of entitlement might not sit well
with the many chapters who never had an expectation of being able to
process payments.

[1]:
https://docs.google.com/a/wikimedia.org.uk/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0ArU6-SFBZAbsdEZRV09abm9jakRBN1p0WVR3VjVEcnc#gid=0
[2]:
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:FDC_portal/Proposals/2013-2014_round1/WMUK/Proposal_form#Programme_5.E2.80.94Finance
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Hubert-17
In reply to this post by MZMcBride-2

Am 21.05.2014 15:33, schrieb MZMcBride:
> To that end, on the subject of outside observers and open letters:
> when writing such a letter, it's important to give context and err on
> the side of formality. I've never seen a professional letter begin
> with "Dear Sue" (no last name or contact information provided) and end
> with "Yours sincerely, Jon" (no last name or contact information
> provided). This isn't a huge deal, but it's perhaps indicative
MZMcBride

Dear Sir!

  ??? With all due respect, but what kind of bullshit is this??

sincerely H.


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

Andrew Gray-3
In reply to this post by Russavia
On 21 May 2014 12:22, Russavia <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> A couple of things popped into my head that I am unsure of, but hope
> someone might be able to answer.
>
> 1) I understand that processing of UK donations in the US has significant
> tax implications on the funds collected. I would imagine that the WMF
> couldn't claim anywhere near the same tax relief on this income in the USA?

Very significant; with some caveats, any donation from someone who a)
is a basic rate taxpayer (earns more than ~£10k/year) and b) fills in
a short form agreeing to it, gets increased by 25% by HMRC.

This is handled by the charity rather than the donor - ie, the donor
still pays tax and then the charity recovers it, rather than the donor
claiming a tax deduction as in the US model. (It's an open question
which of these is more efficient...).

I don't believe an overseas charity would be eligible for this rebate,
and so money paid to WMF directly by UK residents is not going to get
this aid.

> 2) If there are tax implications, wouldn't it make more sense for the WMF
> to register its own charity in the UK, thereby it could essentially take
> WMUK out of the equation completely?

...which is why WMUK was created in the first place, including a lot
of legal back-and-forth to demonstrate that it was actually possible
under charity law! (It took quite a while to get to this stage,
including a first chapter which basically fizzled, but charitable
donations was right there on day one as an issue.)

The chapter qua chapter has done some pretty good things, but one of
the big drivers from the very first discussions back in 2005 (or
earlier?) was the efficiency of being able to fundraise and take
advantage of gift aid; everything else followed on since then. Of
course, Wikimedia as a whole had a lot less money in 2005 and we were
all somewhat unclear on what a chapter could actually do ;-)

So it seems a little weird, to me, to create a second charity to do
the job that the first one was created for...

--
- Andrew Gray
  [hidden email]

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] Non-renewal of Wikimedia UK fundraiser agreement

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Hubert-17
Hubert Laska wrote:

>Am 21.05.2014 15:33, schrieb MZMcBride:
>> To that end, on the subject of outside observers and open letters:
>> when writing such a letter, it's important to give context and err on
>> the side of formality. I've never seen a professional letter begin
>> with "Dear Sue" (no last name or contact information provided) and end
>> with "Yours sincerely, Jon" (no last name or contact information
>> provided). This isn't a huge deal, but it's perhaps indicative.
>MZMcBride
>
>Dear Sir!
>
>  ??? With all due respect, but what kind of bullshit is this??

Hi Hubert,

https://www.google.com/search?q=formal+letter+template may be helpful.

Nathan wrote:
>The smart move is to seek a re-evaluation with the next ED, without
>poisoning the well. I'm sure that the WMUK staff and leadership are aware
>that no affiliate is entitled to process payments for the annual WMF
>fundraising drive... It might be worthwhile to consider that
>communications that suggest a sense of entitlement might not sit well
>with the many chapters who never had an expectation of being able to
>process payments.

Yep. Though in addition to the issue of a perception of entitlement, I
think there's also a larger issue of re-establishing trust between the two
organizations. That's perhaps the central issue here.

MZMcBride



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