[Wikimedia-l] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

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[Wikimedia-l] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Woubzena Jifar
Hello all!

Hope this email finds you well. We are sending this message to select
community mailing lists and all previous recipients of a Wikimedia
Foundation Rapid Grant.

We have an announcement regarding the closure of the Rapid Grants [1]
program between May 14 - June 30, 2018. This year we've received a lot of
interest in the program and this quarter we've almost doubled the amount of
grants offered to the community compared to last year's quarter. You can
look at our spending analysis
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis>
[2] for
reference. Unfortunately, this means we've expended our funds for this
fiscal year. The last date we will be receiving an application for a rapid
grant before the closure will be *Friday, May 11, 2018*.

We encourage *Wiki Loves Earth* participants to apply for a Rapid Grant by
May 11, 2018 to receive support for their project.

The grant program will be open again to receive grant requests starting *July
1, 2018*. At this point we will be implementing the following changes:

1. There will be a minimum of *$500 USD* for grant requests
2. Applications will only be accepted between the *1st - 15th of each month*.
This is to help with our current workflow and to allow us to be more
responsive to your requests.

If you have any questions, please email us at [hidden email].

Best regards,
Woubzena


[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Project/Rapid
[2]
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis


Woubzena Jifar
Program Officer
Rapid Grants
Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
User: WJifar (WMF)
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Pine W
Hello Woubzena,

I am glad to hear that the WMF Rapid Grants program has been so popular
that its original budget for the year is near exhaustion. I trust that
these funds are being spent wisely, and that community members and
affiliates are achieving valuable outcomes with these funds.

I have some questions about this group of decisions.

1. My understanding is that WMF routinely underspends its quarterly budgets
for the organization as a whole. Also, WMF has ample funding in its
reserves. Because Rapid Grants appears to be a popular program and the
budget of this program appears to be relatively small (am I correct in
saying that the program's total budget for FY1718 is $200,000?), why has
WMF chosen to suspend the program instead of transferring a relatively
small amount of other funds, perhaps $50,000, to support this program
through the remainder of FY1718?

2. My understanding is that one of the original goals for Rapid Grants is
to support small projects and events in an efficient and timely manner. I
am puzzled by the decision to raise the floor for Rapid Grants to $500,
which seems to eliminate WMF funding for small projects that might not
happen without Rapid Grants support and/or require volunteers to take money
out of their personal funds to support Wikimedia projects and events. The
WMF Annual Plan for 2018-2019 is currently in a draft phase, and it seems
to me that the plan could be revised to support continuing the Rapid Grants
program with no floor, or perhaps a very low floor like $50, for funding
requests. If the FY1819 budget for Rapid Grants and/or the budget for staff
time for Rapid Grants needs to be increased in order to achieve the goal of
supporting small projects and events in a timely manner with minimal or no
floor, then it seems to me that the modest amount of additional funding to
accomplish this would be reasonable.

3. Similarly, if additional staff time is necessary to support continuous
processing of Rapid Grant requests instead of limiting requests to the 1st
through 15th of each month, then my inclination is to support the funding
for additional staff time in FY1819. Does that option sound reasonable from
your perspective? I realize that continuous processing might be less
convenient for WMF, but I think that support for the community and
affiliates should be the highest priority here.

Thank you,

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


On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:30 AM, Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hello all!
>
> Hope this email finds you well. We are sending this message to select
> community mailing lists and all previous recipients of a Wikimedia
> Foundation Rapid Grant.
>
> We have an announcement regarding the closure of the Rapid Grants [1]
> program between May 14 - June 30, 2018. This year we've received a lot of
> interest in the program and this quarter we've almost doubled the amount of
> grants offered to the community compared to last year's quarter. You can
> look at our spending analysis
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis> [2] for
> reference. Unfortunately, this means we've expended our funds for this
> fiscal year. The last date we will be receiving an application for a rapid
> grant before the closure will be *Friday, May 11, 2018*.
>
> We encourage *Wiki Loves Earth* participants to apply for a Rapid Grant
> by May 11, 2018 to receive support for their project.
>
> The grant program will be open again to receive grant requests starting *July
> 1, 2018*. At this point we will be implementing the following changes:
>
> 1. There will be a minimum of *$500 USD* for grant requests
> 2. Applications will only be accepted between the *1st - 15th of each
> month*. This is to help with our current workflow and to allow us to be
> more responsive to your requests.
>
> If you have any questions, please email us at [hidden email].
>
> Best regards,
> Woubzena
>
>
> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Project/Rapid
> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/
> Grants_spending_analysis
>
>
> Woubzena Jifar
> Program Officer
> Rapid Grants
> Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
> User: WJifar (WMF)
>
> _______________________________________________
> GLAM mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/glam
>
>
_______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Pine W
Hello Woubzena,

I would like to remind you that I am waiting for a response to the email
that I sent on April 19.

Thank you,

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

On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 6:52 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Woubzena,
>
> I am glad to hear that the WMF Rapid Grants program has been so popular
> that its original budget for the year is near exhaustion. I trust that
> these funds are being spent wisely, and that community members and
> affiliates are achieving valuable outcomes with these funds.
>
> I have some questions about this group of decisions.
>
> 1. My understanding is that WMF routinely underspends its quarterly
> budgets for the organization as a whole. Also, WMF has ample funding in its
> reserves. Because Rapid Grants appears to be a popular program and the
> budget of this program appears to be relatively small (am I correct in
> saying that the program's total budget for FY1718 is $200,000?), why has
> WMF chosen to suspend the program instead of transferring a relatively
> small amount of other funds, perhaps $50,000, to support this program
> through the remainder of FY1718?
>
> 2. My understanding is that one of the original goals for Rapid Grants is
> to support small projects and events in an efficient and timely manner. I
> am puzzled by the decision to raise the floor for Rapid Grants to $500,
> which seems to eliminate WMF funding for small projects that might not
> happen without Rapid Grants support and/or require volunteers to take money
> out of their personal funds to support Wikimedia projects and events. The
> WMF Annual Plan for 2018-2019 is currently in a draft phase, and it seems
> to me that the plan could be revised to support continuing the Rapid Grants
> program with no floor, or perhaps a very low floor like $50, for funding
> requests. If the FY1819 budget for Rapid Grants and/or the budget for staff
> time for Rapid Grants needs to be increased in order to achieve the goal of
> supporting small projects and events in a timely manner with minimal or no
> floor, then it seems to me that the modest amount of additional funding to
> accomplish this would be reasonable.
>
> 3. Similarly, if additional staff time is necessary to support continuous
> processing of Rapid Grant requests instead of limiting requests to the 1st
> through 15th of each month, then my inclination is to support the funding
> for additional staff time in FY1819. Does that option sound reasonable from
> your perspective? I realize that continuous processing might be less
> convenient for WMF, but I think that support for the community and
> affiliates should be the highest priority here.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
>
>
> On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:30 AM, Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
>> Hello all!
>>
>> Hope this email finds you well. We are sending this message to select
>> community mailing lists and all previous recipients of a Wikimedia
>> Foundation Rapid Grant.
>>
>> We have an announcement regarding the closure of the Rapid Grants [1]
>> program between May 14 - June 30, 2018. This year we've received a lot of
>> interest in the program and this quarter we've almost doubled the amount of
>> grants offered to the community compared to last year's quarter. You can
>> look at our spending analysis
>> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis> [2] for
>> reference. Unfortunately, this means we've expended our funds for this
>> fiscal year. The last date we will be receiving an application for a rapid
>> grant before the closure will be *Friday, May 11, 2018*.
>>
>> We encourage *Wiki Loves Earth* participants to apply for a Rapid Grant
>> by May 11, 2018 to receive support for their project.
>>
>> The grant program will be open again to receive grant requests starting *July
>> 1, 2018*. At this point we will be implementing the following changes:
>>
>> 1. There will be a minimum of *$500 USD* for grant requests
>> 2. Applications will only be accepted between the *1st - 15th of each
>> month*. This is to help with our current workflow and to allow us to be
>> more responsive to your requests.
>>
>> If you have any questions, please email us at [hidden email].
>>
>> Best regards,
>> Woubzena
>>
>>
>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Project/Rapid
>> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Gran
>> ts_spending_analysis
>>
>>
>> Woubzena Jifar
>> Program Officer
>> Rapid Grants
>> Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
>> User: WJifar (WMF)
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> GLAM mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/glam
>>
>>
>
_______________________________________________
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Woubzena Jifar
Hello Pine,

Many Wikimedians have been thinking a lot about the strategic direction and
how we might best position ourselves to move towards it. We in the
Foundation’s Community Resources team are planning some temporary changes
that will allow us some space and time to be part of building towards a
long term direction. Please keep that larger goal in mind as you read the
responses to your questions about Rapid grants:

1. Yes, you are correct in that the budget of the Rapid grants program was
originally 200,000 USD for this fiscal year, 2017-18. We have actually
recently allocated an additional 65,000 USD in Wikimedia Foundation funds
for this program, enabling us to fund grant requests already in the
pipeline and programs such as Wiki Loves Earth. During the last quarter, we
received a large increase in grant proposals for Rapid, and made over 70%
more grants in Q3 this year than last year. The 6-week closure will give us
time to process these and also allow the team to reflect on the program’s
needs and explore proactive ways the rapid grant program can reach out to
new grantees and find ways to collaborate with them better.

2. Regarding having a minimum of $500 for the rapid grants program, this is
something we’re experimenting with while we’re aligning to the new
strategic direction. Our preliminary data is showing that this change will
improve our ability to support communities, allowing for more impactful
grants with less overhead for a more effective use of our shared resources.
We also need to make reductions in the time spent processing grants this
year in order to make space for the considerable research and discussions
needed to implement the new strategy, and we need to consider whether the
impact of very small grants warrants their administrative expense.

3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
members understand the state of their application more easily.

Best regards,
Woubzena

Woubzena Jifar
Program Officer
Rapid Grants
Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
User: WJifar (WMF)

On Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 11:12 AM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Woubzena,
>
> I would like to remind you that I am waiting for a response to the email
> that I sent on April 19.
>
> Thank you,
>
> Pine
> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
>
> On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 6:52 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hello Woubzena,
>>
>> I am glad to hear that the WMF Rapid Grants program has been so popular
>> that its original budget for the year is near exhaustion. I trust that
>> these funds are being spent wisely, and that community members and
>> affiliates are achieving valuable outcomes with these funds.
>>
>> I have some questions about this group of decisions.
>>
>> 1. My understanding is that WMF routinely underspends its quarterly
>> budgets for the organization as a whole. Also, WMF has ample funding in its
>> reserves. Because Rapid Grants appears to be a popular program and the
>> budget of this program appears to be relatively small (am I correct in
>> saying that the program's total budget for FY1718 is $200,000?), why has
>> WMF chosen to suspend the program instead of transferring a relatively
>> small amount of other funds, perhaps $50,000, to support this program
>> through the remainder of FY1718?
>>
>> 2. My understanding is that one of the original goals for Rapid Grants is
>> to support small projects and events in an efficient and timely manner. I
>> am puzzled by the decision to raise the floor for Rapid Grants to $500,
>> which seems to eliminate WMF funding for small projects that might not
>> happen without Rapid Grants support and/or require volunteers to take money
>> out of their personal funds to support Wikimedia projects and events. The
>> WMF Annual Plan for 2018-2019 is currently in a draft phase, and it seems
>> to me that the plan could be revised to support continuing the Rapid Grants
>> program with no floor, or perhaps a very low floor like $50, for funding
>> requests. If the FY1819 budget for Rapid Grants and/or the budget for staff
>> time for Rapid Grants needs to be increased in order to achieve the goal of
>> supporting small projects and events in a timely manner with minimal or no
>> floor, then it seems to me that the modest amount of additional funding to
>> accomplish this would be reasonable.
>>
>> 3. Similarly, if additional staff time is necessary to support continuous
>> processing of Rapid Grant requests instead of limiting requests to the 1st
>> through 15th of each month, then my inclination is to support the funding
>> for additional staff time in FY1819. Does that option sound reasonable from
>> your perspective? I realize that continuous processing might be less
>> convenient for WMF, but I think that support for the community and
>> affiliates should be the highest priority here.
>>
>> Thank you,
>>
>> Pine
>> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
>>
>>
>> On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:30 AM, Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Hello all!
>>>
>>> Hope this email finds you well. We are sending this message to select
>>> community mailing lists and all previous recipients of a Wikimedia
>>> Foundation Rapid Grant.
>>>
>>> We have an announcement regarding the closure of the Rapid Grants [1]
>>> program between May 14 - June 30, 2018. This year we've received a lot of
>>> interest in the program and this quarter we've almost doubled the amount of
>>> grants offered to the community compared to last year's quarter. You can
>>> look at our spending analysis
>>> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis> [2] for
>>> reference. Unfortunately, this means we've expended our funds for this
>>> fiscal year. The last date we will be receiving an application for a rapid
>>> grant before the closure will be *Friday, May 11, 2018*.
>>>
>>> We encourage *Wiki Loves Earth* participants to apply for a Rapid Grant
>>> by May 11, 2018 to receive support for their project.
>>>
>>> The grant program will be open again to receive grant requests starting *July
>>> 1, 2018*. At this point we will be implementing the following changes:
>>>
>>> 1. There will be a minimum of *$500 USD* for grant requests
>>> 2. Applications will only be accepted between the *1st - 15th of each
>>> month*. This is to help with our current workflow and to allow us to be
>>> more responsive to your requests.
>>>
>>> If you have any questions, please email us at [hidden email]
>>> .
>>>
>>> Best regards,
>>> Woubzena
>>>
>>>
>>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Project/Rapid
>>> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Gran
>>> ts_spending_analysis
>>>
>>>
>>> Woubzena Jifar
>>> Program Officer
>>> Rapid Grants
>>> Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
>>> User: WJifar (WMF)
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> GLAM mailing list
>>> [hidden email]
>>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/glam
>>>
>>>
>>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Strainu
2018-05-02 1:51 GMT+03:00 Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>:
> 3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
> application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
> clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
> members understand the state of their application more easily.

Woubzena, there used to be a time when the promise of the Rapid grants
was that they would be reviewed weekly. I understand this is no longer
possible, even if the wording is still present on meta. Does the new
rule imply a promise from the WMF that the grants will be granted or
refused withing the same calendar month?

Regards,
    Strainu

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Fæ
On 2 May 2018 at 17:53, Strainu <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2018-05-02 1:51 GMT+03:00 Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>:
>> 3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
>> application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
>> clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
>> members understand the state of their application more easily.
>
> Woubzena, there used to be a time when the promise of the Rapid grants
> was that they would be reviewed weekly. I understand this is no longer
> possible, even if the wording is still present on meta. Does the new
> rule imply a promise from the WMF that the grants will be granted or
> refused withing the same calendar month?
>
> Regards,
>     Strainu

On being experimental and responsive, it would be cool to bring back
some of the trust in grass roots volunteers, and consider funding a
system of very light-weight global microgrants using an open request
process on meta. Microgrants under $250, perhaps with a network of
long term identified local volunteers taking responsibility for
assessing that the money got spent on the right stuff, would be jolly
nice. Enough to pay for bits and bobs of travel expenses, software,
minor bits of hardware like accessibility or experimental kit.

The community has discussed this before, in fact the UK used to have a
productive micro-grant procedure, which I think has been abandoned for
staff managed grants. In terms of trust, I recall going to Amsterdam
to coordinate a GLAM related event with a cash wad of a dozen people's
expenses in my pocket. It felt very informal, but a great
demonstration of trust that volunteers could sort out their own checks
and balances. My main headache was ensuring that everyone got the
money as quickly as possible, so it was out of my wallet!

Any thoughts on lobbying for a tiny global budget to spend on a 100%
volunteer social and open simpleminded process, outside of any
Affiliates structure, with zero employee time needed to run it?

Fae
--
[hidden email] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Pine W
In reply to this post by Woubzena Jifar
Hi Woubzena,

Thank you for your comments.

I agree that it is a good idea for staff to reflect on the Rapid Grants
program and how it might evolve to better serve the needs of grantees.
Also, I understand that WMF might have a backlog of grants in process and
that WMF may wants to pause accepting more of these grant requests while
the backlog is reduced. However, pausing the program for six weeks seems
like a high price to pay, especially for a program with the name "Rapid
Grants" which implies short turnaround times. I hope that considerations
during this period of reflection include how to make the process more
efficient in terms of WMF staff time, and how to staff the program
adequately so that the program is continuous in the future. Continuity of
operations is valuable in many organizations, even when important staff
people become unavailable for planned or unplanned reasons, and I hope that
WMF will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the Rapid Grants
program is continuously operational after this pause regardless of future
unavailability of the regular program staff. One way to improve the
continuity of operations for this program could be to cross-train staff who
could be reassigned to this program if a need arose.

I understand that $500+ grants might seem to be more efficient uses of
resources than grants of lower amounts, but I am concerned about
initiatives with costs less than $500 potentially being unfunded after this
change, for example a request for $100 to rent a display projector for an
edit-a-thon. Also, the $500 floor creates an undesirable incentive for
potential grantees to increase the amount of money that they request for
the purpose of meeting the floor. And while I agree that the ratio of
administrative expenses to the impact of grants under $500 is worth
considering, I think that the potential for individual Wikimedians to be
required to pay expenses from their personal funds if they want to run
programs that cost under $500 (and not inflate their requests to meet the
$500 floor) is problematic. For the changes that you outlined for this
program, I am less concerned about the costs of WMF staff time and more
concerned about adverse impacts to small programs (particularly small
programs with potential to grow), the potential adverse impacts to
individual Wikimedians, and the potential for artificial inflation of
amounts for grant requests.

Regarding the process through which WMF made the decision to implement
these experiments, I think that these experiments should have been proposed
by WMF to the community, and that at a minimum WMF should have run a two
week consultation before implementing these changes.

I think that the best that can be done at this point is to hope that these
experiments produce valuable data, that the benefits will outweigh the
adverse impacts, and that WMF staff's time for reflections will yield
valuable ideas. I encourage WMF to consider how to mitigate the potential
adverse impacts of the $500 floor and the limited windows for applications
each month. I hope that WMF will produce a report regarding the results of
these experiments, and that after the six week pause WMF will consult the
community before making any further changes to the program.

Thank you,

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



On Tue, May 1, 2018 at 3:51 PM, Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello Pine,
>
> Many Wikimedians have been thinking a lot about the strategic direction
> and how we might best position ourselves to move towards it. We in the
> Foundation’s Community Resources team are planning some temporary changes
> that will allow us some space and time to be part of building towards a
> long term direction. Please keep that larger goal in mind as you read the
> responses to your questions about Rapid grants:
>
> 1. Yes, you are correct in that the budget of the Rapid grants program was
> originally 200,000 USD for this fiscal year, 2017-18. We have actually
> recently allocated an additional 65,000 USD in Wikimedia Foundation funds
> for this program, enabling us to fund grant requests already in the
> pipeline and programs such as Wiki Loves Earth. During the last quarter, we
> received a large increase in grant proposals for Rapid, and made over 70%
> more grants in Q3 this year than last year. The 6-week closure will give us
> time to process these and also allow the team to reflect on the program’s
> needs and explore proactive ways the rapid grant program can reach out to
> new grantees and find ways to collaborate with them better.
>
> 2. Regarding having a minimum of $500 for the rapid grants program, this
> is something we’re experimenting with while we’re aligning to the new
> strategic direction. Our preliminary data is showing that this change will
> improve our ability to support communities, allowing for more impactful
> grants with less overhead for a more effective use of our shared resources.
> We also need to make reductions in the time spent processing grants this
> year in order to make space for the considerable research and discussions
> needed to implement the new strategy, and we need to consider whether the
> impact of very small grants warrants their administrative expense.
>
> 3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
> application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
> clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
> members understand the state of their application more easily.
>
> Best regards,
> Woubzena
>
> Woubzena Jifar
> Program Officer
> Rapid Grants
> Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
> User: WJifar (WMF)
>
> On Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 11:12 AM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> Hello Woubzena,
>>
>> I would like to remind you that I am waiting for a response to the email
>> that I sent on April 19.
>>
>> Thank you,
>>
>> Pine
>> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
>>
>> On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 6:52 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>> Hello Woubzena,
>>>
>>> I am glad to hear that the WMF Rapid Grants program has been so popular
>>> that its original budget for the year is near exhaustion. I trust that
>>> these funds are being spent wisely, and that community members and
>>> affiliates are achieving valuable outcomes with these funds.
>>>
>>> I have some questions about this group of decisions.
>>>
>>> 1. My understanding is that WMF routinely underspends its quarterly
>>> budgets for the organization as a whole. Also, WMF has ample funding in its
>>> reserves. Because Rapid Grants appears to be a popular program and the
>>> budget of this program appears to be relatively small (am I correct in
>>> saying that the program's total budget for FY1718 is $200,000?), why has
>>> WMF chosen to suspend the program instead of transferring a relatively
>>> small amount of other funds, perhaps $50,000, to support this program
>>> through the remainder of FY1718?
>>>
>>> 2. My understanding is that one of the original goals for Rapid Grants
>>> is to support small projects and events in an efficient and timely manner.
>>> I am puzzled by the decision to raise the floor for Rapid Grants to $500,
>>> which seems to eliminate WMF funding for small projects that might not
>>> happen without Rapid Grants support and/or require volunteers to take money
>>> out of their personal funds to support Wikimedia projects and events. The
>>> WMF Annual Plan for 2018-2019 is currently in a draft phase, and it seems
>>> to me that the plan could be revised to support continuing the Rapid Grants
>>> program with no floor, or perhaps a very low floor like $50, for funding
>>> requests. If the FY1819 budget for Rapid Grants and/or the budget for staff
>>> time for Rapid Grants needs to be increased in order to achieve the goal of
>>> supporting small projects and events in a timely manner with minimal or no
>>> floor, then it seems to me that the modest amount of additional funding to
>>> accomplish this would be reasonable.
>>>
>>> 3. Similarly, if additional staff time is necessary to support
>>> continuous processing of Rapid Grant requests instead of limiting requests
>>> to the 1st through 15th of each month, then my inclination is to support
>>> the funding for additional staff time in FY1819. Does that option sound
>>> reasonable from your perspective? I realize that continuous processing
>>> might be less convenient for WMF, but I think that support for the
>>> community and affiliates should be the highest priority here.
>>>
>>> Thank you,
>>>
>>> Pine
>>> ( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 1:30 AM, Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hello all!
>>>>
>>>> Hope this email finds you well. We are sending this message to select
>>>> community mailing lists and all previous recipients of a Wikimedia
>>>> Foundation Rapid Grant.
>>>>
>>>> We have an announcement regarding the closure of the Rapid Grants [1]
>>>> program between May 14 - June 30, 2018. This year we've received a lot of
>>>> interest in the program and this quarter we've almost doubled the amount of
>>>> grants offered to the community compared to last year's quarter. You can
>>>> look at our spending analysis
>>>> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Grants_spending_analysis> [2] for
>>>> reference. Unfortunately, this means we've expended our funds for this
>>>> fiscal year. The last date we will be receiving an application for a rapid
>>>> grant before the closure will be *Friday, May 11, 2018*.
>>>>
>>>> We encourage *Wiki Loves Earth* participants to apply for a Rapid
>>>> Grant by May 11, 2018 to receive support for their project.
>>>>
>>>> The grant program will be open again to receive grant requests starting *July
>>>> 1, 2018*. At this point we will be implementing the following changes:
>>>>
>>>> 1. There will be a minimum of *$500 USD* for grant requests
>>>> 2. Applications will only be accepted between the *1st - 15th of each
>>>> month*. This is to help with our current workflow and to allow us to
>>>> be more responsive to your requests.
>>>>
>>>> If you have any questions, please email us at [hidden email]
>>>> .
>>>>
>>>> Best regards,
>>>> Woubzena
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> [1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Project/Rapid
>>>> [2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Resources/Gran
>>>> ts_spending_analysis
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Woubzena Jifar
>>>> Program Officer
>>>> Rapid Grants
>>>> Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
>>>> User: WJifar (WMF)
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> GLAM mailing list
>>>> [hidden email]
>>>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/glam
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Woubzena Jifar
In reply to this post by Strainu
Hello Strainu,

Thank you for bringing the wording on our meta page to my attention. I will
be updating the page with the new changes effective July 1st. Yes, we are
instituting the application window of 1st - 15th of the month to facilitate
a quicker response time. As I mentioned in my previous email we're hopeful
that this timeline will help with workflow and better communication with
community members.

Best regards,
Woubzena

Woubzena Jifar
Program Officer
Rapid Grants
Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
User: WJifar (WMF)

On Wed, May 2, 2018 at 9:53 AM, Strainu <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2018-05-02 1:51 GMT+03:00 Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>:
> > 3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
> > application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
> > clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
> > members understand the state of their application more easily.
>
> Woubzena, there used to be a time when the promise of the Rapid grants
> was that they would be reviewed weekly. I understand this is no longer
> possible, even if the wording is still present on meta. Does the new
> rule imply a promise from the WMF that the grants will be granted or
> refused withing the same calendar month?
>
> Regards,
>     Strainu
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Woubzena Jifar
In reply to this post by Fæ
Hello Fae,

Thank you for sharing your experience with micro-grants and offering an
experimental and responsive procedure. It's definitely a good model to
consider. As we enter our planning year for the strategic direction our
team will be soliciting ideas from the community and looking at different
approaches. I will be sure to keep your suggestion in this consideration as
we move forward.

Best regards,
Woubzena

Woubzena Jifar
Program Officer
Rapid Grants
Wikimedia Foundation <http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Home>
User: WJifar (WMF)

On Wed, May 2, 2018 at 12:05 PM, Fæ <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2 May 2018 at 17:53, Strainu <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > 2018-05-02 1:51 GMT+03:00 Woubzena Jifar <[hidden email]>:
> >> 3. On your third point of having the 1st - 15th of the month be an open
> >> application time, this is also an experiment. We hope that this focused,
> >> clear timeline will allow us to respond more quickly and help community
> >> members understand the state of their application more easily.
> >
> > Woubzena, there used to be a time when the promise of the Rapid grants
> > was that they would be reviewed weekly. I understand this is no longer
> > possible, even if the wording is still present on meta. Does the new
> > rule imply a promise from the WMF that the grants will be granted or
> > refused withing the same calendar month?
> >
> > Regards,
> >     Strainu
>
> On being experimental and responsive, it would be cool to bring back
> some of the trust in grass roots volunteers, and consider funding a
> system of very light-weight global microgrants using an open request
> process on meta. Microgrants under $250, perhaps with a network of
> long term identified local volunteers taking responsibility for
> assessing that the money got spent on the right stuff, would be jolly
> nice. Enough to pay for bits and bobs of travel expenses, software,
> minor bits of hardware like accessibility or experimental kit.
>
> The community has discussed this before, in fact the UK used to have a
> productive micro-grant procedure, which I think has been abandoned for
> staff managed grants. In terms of trust, I recall going to Amsterdam
> to coordinate a GLAM related event with a cash wad of a dozen people's
> expenses in my pocket. It felt very informal, but a great
> demonstration of trust that volunteers could sort out their own checks
> and balances. My main headache was ensuring that everyone got the
> money as quickly as possible, so it was out of my wallet!
>
> Any thoughts on lobbying for a tiny global budget to spend on a 100%
> volunteer social and open simpleminded process, outside of any
> Affiliates structure, with zero employee time needed to run it?
>
> Fae
> --
> [hidden email] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Laurentius-2
In reply to this post by Woubzena Jifar
On mar, 2018-05-01 at 15:51 -0700, Woubzena Jifar wrote:

> 2. Regarding having a minimum of $500 for the rapid grants program,
> this is something we’re experimenting with while we’re aligning to
> the new strategic direction. Our preliminary data is showing that
> this change will improve our ability to support communities, allowing
> for more impactful grants with less overhead for a more effective use
> of our shared resources.
> We also need to make reductions in the time spent processing grants
> this year in order to make space for the considerable research and
> discussions needed to implement the new strategy, and we need to
> consider whether the impact of very small grants warrants their
> administrative expense.

I'm interested in better understanding this decision and its impact.

1. How many grants are actually impacted by this decision? In
particular, in the last year:
 * How many grants below 500 $ have been approved?
 * Of the total 265.000 $ of rapid grants, how much went into grants
   below 500 $?

My rough estimate, by looking at the list on Meta, is that
approximately 20% of rapid grants are below 500 $ (but I don't know the
total), which I expect is around 10.000-20.000 $ per year.

2. From your experience, how do you value the quality of the requests
for grants below 500 $? Do they have proportionally the same impact of
the larger (rapid) grants, less, or more?
In other words: this decision is led by the thought that impact is
roughly proportial with the size of the grant, but the administrative
cost for the WMF is more or less the same, so it's better to prioritize
for larger grants? or that the small grants are actually comparatively
worse (less impactful, or less likely to be approved anyway)? or what
else?

3. Roughly, how much is the administrative overhead for each grant?

4. You mentioned preliminary data about this change. Is there any
additional data that you can share?

Lorenzo


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] [GLAM] Rapid Grants Closure May 14 - June 30, 2018

Lodewijk
I'm also concerned about the implementation of these new rules - especially
in the context of the upcoming Wiki Loves Monuments round. If implemented
without change or exceptions, the implications could be tricky.

The combination of dates and timelines effectively reduces the time window
to apply for rapid grants to about 2 weeks for Wiki Loves Monuments this
year: 1-15 July (new submissions should not be made less than a month
before the event). It removes all possibility for prospective grantees to
get feedback on ideas or get help with their application during Wikimania.
These months are precious in the context of organizing Wiki Loves Monuments.

I hope that the team can fulfill their commitment to respond rapidly indeed
- but given the altered timeline, I fear a large influx of proposals in a
short period of time; a recipe that typically leads to delays. Especially
as no doubt Wikimania will require travel, cause delays by itself, and the
strategy taking time too.

I'm less concerned about the practical implications of the $500 limit: I
guess I'll just be advising people to increase their programs to match the
threshold (e.g. find something to spend money on: adapt the needs to what
you can ask for), even though in the past I have always had the opposite
approach: only ask what you need.

What's perhaps most concerning, is that this change to day to day
operations are such that they result in less effective empowerment of
community members. It's painful. Given the cumulation of these measures, it
feels like the community empowerment will have to pay a significant cost
for developing a strategy. Surely, someone has to give: I just hope this is
not a set of choices/trend that continues in the strategy itself.

Best,
Lodewijk


On Mon, May 14, 2018 at 1:10 AM, Laurentius <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> On mar, 2018-05-01 at 15:51 -0700, Woubzena Jifar wrote:
> > 2. Regarding having a minimum of $500 for the rapid grants program,
> > this is something we’re experimenting with while we’re aligning to
> > the new strategic direction. Our preliminary data is showing that
> > this change will improve our ability to support communities, allowing
> > for more impactful grants with less overhead for a more effective use
> > of our shared resources.
> > We also need to make reductions in the time spent processing grants
> > this year in order to make space for the considerable research and
> > discussions needed to implement the new strategy, and we need to
> > consider whether the impact of very small grants warrants their
> > administrative expense.
>
> I'm interested in better understanding this decision and its impact.
>
> 1. How many grants are actually impacted by this decision? In
> particular, in the last year:
>  * How many grants below 500 $ have been approved?
>  * Of the total 265.000 $ of rapid grants, how much went into grants
>    below 500 $?
>
> My rough estimate, by looking at the list on Meta, is that
> approximately 20% of rapid grants are below 500 $ (but I don't know the
> total), which I expect is around 10.000-20.000 $ per year.
>
> 2. From your experience, how do you value the quality of the requests
> for grants below 500 $? Do they have proportionally the same impact of
> the larger (rapid) grants, less, or more?
> In other words: this decision is led by the thought that impact is
> roughly proportial with the size of the grant, but the administrative
> cost for the WMF is more or less the same, so it's better to prioritize
> for larger grants? or that the small grants are actually comparatively
> worse (less impactful, or less likely to be approved anyway)? or what
> else?
>
> 3. Roughly, how much is the administrative overhead for each grant?
>
> 4. You mentioned preliminary data about this change. Is there any
> additional data that you can share?
>
> Lorenzo
>
>
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