[Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
25 messages Options
12
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

[Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

C. Scott Ananian
On Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 11:43 AM, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> One part of this arrangement still confuses me. In the linked post, you
> write, "With this grant we brought the idea to the funder and they
> supported our work with this grant."
>
> Why ask for and take the money? The Wikimedia Foundation can raise
> $250,000 in a few days (maybe hours) by placing ads on a few large
> Wikipedias soliciting donations. Why take on a restricted grant, with its
> necessary reporting overhead and other administrative costs?


Responding just to this small portion of MZMcBride's email:

When I interviewed at the WMF, back in Sue's tenure, I asked pointed
questions about the funding model since I was coming from a non-profit
which perennially struggled with funding.

Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
with either of these funding sources.  There is/was the continuing concern
that folks accessing wikimedia content through non-traditional sources
(google snippets, mobile apps, etc) will not see or respond to a banner
campaign, so that sooner or later one of our banner campaigns will come up
very short.  Further, a reliance on banners for funding creates perverse
incentives that discourage us from fully embracing potential users of our
content who may bypass the "official" clients and their banner ads.

Similarly, from my time at OLPC I saw first hand that economic recession
can cause grant sources of funding to dry up seemingly overnight.  So to me
it seemed very wise not to put all the eggs in a single basket.  If grants
or banner campaigns came up short, the other side of the funding equation
could carry the load while the WMF retooled.

This was Sue's explanation.  I don't know if this is still the explicit
thinking of the current board/ED, but IMO it's still an entirely reasonable
rationale for pursuing grant funding, even if the grants come with more
"strings attached" than a banner campaign.
 --scott

ps. I'm deliberately not addressing the specifics of the Knight foundation
grant here, we can continue that discussion on the original thread.  I'm
just talking about grant funding in general.

--
(http://cscott.net)
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Ad Huikeshoven
Hi Scot,

You wrote:

Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
> grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
> with either of these funding sources.

[...]

> This was Sue's explanation.  I don't know if this is still the explicit
> thinking of the current board/ED, but IMO it's still an entirely reasonable
> rationale for pursuing grant funding, even if the grants come with more
> "strings attached" than a banner campaign.
>

You raise a valid question: how many sources of funding does the Wikimedia
Foundation need?
The Bridgespan Group is a consultancy firm specialized in non-profits. They
have been hired
in the past by the Wikimedia Foundtion, for example in the period of
strategy formation that
led to the 2012-2015 Wikimedia strategy.

The Bridgespan Group has done extensive research in funding models. One of
their
researches in this area has lead to a publication in Spring 2007 "How
Nonprofits Get Really Big." [1]
You might spell that publication word by word. At the bottom you find a
link.

One of the parts in that report is titled "The Myth of Diversification."
That title speaks for itself.
The finding of the Bridgespan Group is that ''most of the organizations
that have gotten really big [...]
did so by concentrating on one type of funding source."

The banner fundraising campaigns by the Wikimedia Foundation are a
perfectly mission
aligned funding model for a non-profit. Somebody else might view the
Wikimedia Foundation
funding model as pay-as-you-want. [2] Some readers do and most readers do
not donate a
couple of bucks. However, that "Some readers" amounts to several million
people who just love Wikipedia.

Please note that the Wikimedia Foundation was a "small" foundation back in
2007
when the Bridgespan Group conducted their research. The Wikimedia
Foundation was
not included in the list of 144 nonprofits, all founded after 1969, who
were earning at least $50 million
per year by 2003. Would the research be repeated today, the Wikimedia
Foundation would
end up in the top half of that list, and be a prime example of getting big
as a non profit
by concentrating on a single mission aligned funding source.

Regards,

Ad

[1] http://ssir.org/images/articles/2007SP_feature_fosterfine.pdf
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_what_you_want
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Lodewijk
Hi Ad,

That is of course one side of the medal. And yes, lets be grateful for the
donations we receive day in, day out from our donors.

But 'getting big' is maybe not the most important thing in the world.
Working on our mission, is. And part of that, is security. The WMF is not
in this world to play the odds, but rather to ensure that knowledge is
freed, and stays free - most specifically by securing Wikipedia's continued
availability (at least, that is what our deck of cards looks like now).

Fully focussing on one sigle stream of money may indeed allow you to get
more out of it. But the question here is rather, how to you tackle the
situation when that stream dries up? And for that question, diversification
is actually key.

There is something called the 'law of the diminishing returns' - which I
also believe to hold true for Wikimedia. It's not like every increase in
our budgets equally increases our mission value. When I'd have to guess,
I'd say that we're beyond our 'optimal size' (budget wise) already.

Especially the 'small donor' stream is rather sensitive towards tides. As
long as Wikipedia is very popular and visible, we'll be doing well. But
when we have a few more screwups at the WMF (sorry, but I can't really find
a better phrase for the past few months, communication wise at least),
being a credible organisation towards donors might proove harder than was
the case so far.

Thát is why we should diversify. Not to grow bigger, but to be somewhat
safe.

Best,
Lodewijk

On Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 9:05 PM, Ad Huikeshoven <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Scot,
>
> You wrote:
>
> Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
> > grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
> > with either of these funding sources.
>
> [...]
>
> > This was Sue's explanation.  I don't know if this is still the explicit
> > thinking of the current board/ED, but IMO it's still an entirely
> reasonable
> > rationale for pursuing grant funding, even if the grants come with more
> > "strings attached" than a banner campaign.
> >
>
> You raise a valid question: how many sources of funding does the Wikimedia
> Foundation need?
> The Bridgespan Group is a consultancy firm specialized in non-profits. They
> have been hired
> in the past by the Wikimedia Foundtion, for example in the period of
> strategy formation that
> led to the 2012-2015 Wikimedia strategy.
>
> The Bridgespan Group has done extensive research in funding models. One of
> their
> researches in this area has lead to a publication in Spring 2007 "How
> Nonprofits Get Really Big." [1]
> You might spell that publication word by word. At the bottom you find a
> link.
>
> One of the parts in that report is titled "The Myth of Diversification."
> That title speaks for itself.
> The finding of the Bridgespan Group is that ''most of the organizations
> that have gotten really big [...]
> did so by concentrating on one type of funding source."
>
> The banner fundraising campaigns by the Wikimedia Foundation are a
> perfectly mission
> aligned funding model for a non-profit. Somebody else might view the
> Wikimedia Foundation
> funding model as pay-as-you-want. [2] Some readers do and most readers do
> not donate a
> couple of bucks. However, that "Some readers" amounts to several million
> people who just love Wikipedia.
>
> Please note that the Wikimedia Foundation was a "small" foundation back in
> 2007
> when the Bridgespan Group conducted their research. The Wikimedia
> Foundation was
> not included in the list of 144 nonprofits, all founded after 1969, who
> were earning at least $50 million
> per year by 2003. Would the research be repeated today, the Wikimedia
> Foundation would
> end up in the top half of that list, and be a prime example of getting big
> as a non profit
> by concentrating on a single mission aligned funding source.
>
> Regards,
>
> Ad
>
> [1] http://ssir.org/images/articles/2007SP_feature_fosterfine.pdf
> [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_what_you_want
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Sam Klein
In reply to this post by C. Scott Ananian
Thanks Scott, this is important context.  I think Wikimedia gets rather too
little of its funding from other foundations, through cooperations with
like-minded organizations, and from national/international initiatives to
educate and to preserve culture & knowledge.


Scott writes:

> MZMcBride wrote:
>
> > Why ask for and take the money? The Wikimedia Foundation can raise
> > $250,000 in a few days (maybe hours) by placing ads on a few large
> > Wikipedias soliciting donations. Why take on a restricted grant, with its
> > necessary reporting overhead and other administrative costs?
>
>
> Responding just to this small portion of MZMcBride's email:
>
> Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
> grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
> with either of these funding sources.  There is/was the continuing concern
> that folks accessing wikimedia content through non-traditional sources
> (google snippets, mobile apps, etc) will not see or respond to a banner
> campaign, so that sooner or later one of our banner campaigns will come up
> very short.  Further, a reliance on banners for funding creates perverse
> incentives that discourage us from fully embracing potential users of our
> content who may bypass the "official" clients and their banner ads.
>

It also makes for a very inward-focused and narrow sort of strategy: "How
can we make our few banner projects work better / attract more people"
rather than "how can we make knowledge more accessible to everyone in the
world, including by supporting and enhancing other excellent projects".

If you start with funders and organizations whose missions are similar to
Wikimedia's, working with them on a grant is a way of making them part of
the community: a successful engagement results in them learning more about
the impact and value of our mission, and supporting or encouraging more
work along those lines with their other grantees.  It also builds a
relationship and trust within the circle of similarly-minded organizations
(in this example, grantors; but this applies equally well to other sorts of
partners), which can be drawn on in the future if there were a real crisis
or urgent need.

Mission-aligned donors & grantors & infrastructure-providers & archivists
are all part of our community, in addition to having collections or money
or services to contribute.  Which is an extra reason to let them contribute
that is easiest for them, as long as the overhead required to accept that
contribution is not too large.

I'm sure small donors will continue to be the dominant source of funding
for a long time, perhaps for as long as it exists.  But a bit more
diversity in funding sources can improve consistency, predictability, and
security of support.

SJ
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Benjamin Lees
In reply to this post by C. Scott Ananian
On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 3:19 PM, C. Scott Ananian <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
> grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
> with either of these funding sources.

If that was the goal, it does not seem to have been reached.  Even in
the 2008-2009 financial year, when the budget was $6 million and the
foundation received a million-dollar grant from the Stanton
Foundation, restricted grants did not reach 20% of the budget.  Since
then, fundraising has grown enormously, so that the Knight Foundation
grant comes to less than 1% of what fundraising produces.  Are we sure
that it won't consume more than 1% of our organizational attention?

In any event, isn't this the whole point of having an endowment?

_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Chris Keating-2
In reply to this post by Ad Huikeshoven
>
>
> You raise a valid question: how many sources of funding does the Wikimedia
> Foundation need?
> The Bridgespan Group is a consultancy firm specialized in non-profits. They
> have been hired
> in the past by the Wikimedia Foundtion, for example in the period of
> strategy formation that
> led to the 2012-2015 Wikimedia strategy.



I do recall the Bridgespan Group analysis being shared on this list before
when we've discussed fundraising and funding models (as evidence for  why
heavy reliance on the annual fundraiser was a good thing)

I am really really unsure about the conclusions of that report, for several
reasons.  Some of those reasons are quite dull and methodological (e.g. it
is an ex post sample of post-1970 foundations that are now very successful,
rather than an ex ante sample of charities employing different means and
then examining what growth they end up with; or the arbitrary exclusion of
universities and hospitals; or the fact the analysis only encompasses the
USA; or the fact that the many "unknown"s and "none"s in the sample seem to
get ignored in the analysis entirely.).

However my most important concern is that 73% of the "high growth"
charities in the sample have a dominant income source of "government" or
"service fees" (typically, from the government). That is to say, 73% of
these high-growth charities achieved their high growth by delivering
services the government wanted them to.

If you are a charity that finds its mission is completely aligned with
delivering government programmes - great! Go for it. Get better and better
at it and your organisation will grow, possibly really quickly.

If you are not in that position, then I really fail to see how this
research applies to you. The Wikimedia movement definitely doesn't benefit
from it.

Chris
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

rupert THURNER-2
In reply to this post by Sam Klein
sam, i am not so convinced that what you write is true in too many
countries, namely that you think wikimedia gets too little of its funding
from other foundations. but i think it is fair enough that WMF tries to get
foundations funding on its home turf which it knows best. there are many US
based foundations like the knight foundation with principles like "Knight
primarily funds U.S.-based organizations." what i personally do not
appreciate is that WMF tries to get others into such a model as well, which
turns out to be a spiral of death. WMF e.g. tries to make chapters look for
other financial sources. i am aware of three effects:

first, it generates pressure within WMCH for getting other income. this
pressure leads to generating income on the shoulders of volunteers. on one
hand they are charged. when i edit i should join WMCH and pay membership
fee. i should visit conferences and pay for it. on the other hand persons
should then acquire money from foundations,  or the government.  often in
europe getting money from sources close to the government is attached with
"you get 50% of the money, 50% you pay yourself" disturbing the budget of a
small organisation completely. a very "un-wikipedia" task, at the end of
the day not very funny for a typical wikipedia person. wikipedia typically
deals with crowd-sourcing people and money. the result is: less volunteers.

second, wikipedia is perceived as competition. in switzerland, and in
europe in general, NGOs, clubs, foundations depend much more on individual
donors money and government. wikipedia has the most prominent website
amongst all of them. if somebody from wikipedia asks the government or asks
foundations for money it for sure triggers a "competion feeling".
like-minded organisations want to have money as well. and like-minded
organisations usually have people behind. and them feeling competition is
causing a no-partnership, a rivalry. the result is: less volunteers.

third, there is no connection between money spent in switzerland and money
given in switzerland. there is no direct "i gave it to you and you are
thankful" feeling. in many countries it i do not even known how much money
was given for the wikimedia cause. the result is: less people talking about
it, means less persons being close to the cause, and less money given. i
calculate it simple: an average person knows 400 persons. if we have 1000
volunteers, a maximum of 400'000 persons would, in an ideal world, know
about the money flow.

to sum it up - i do think that maintaining the volunteer base is the most
difficult task. it is much more difficult then getting money. this
discussion shows to me only that many persons in our movement still believe
otherwise, that scratching out additional cents from every resource we can
find is task number one. unfortunately without considering collateral
damage, and motivation of volunteers: as a volunteer i want to have fun,
and i do not want to pay (too much) for my hobby.

best,
rupert

On Tue, Feb 2, 2016 at 9:18 PM, Sam Klein <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Thanks Scott, this is important context.  I think Wikimedia gets rather too
> little of its funding from other foundations, through cooperations with
> like-minded organizations, and from national/international initiatives to
> educate and to preserve culture & knowledge.
>
>
> Scott writes:
>
> > MZMcBride wrote:
> >
> > > Why ask for and take the money? The Wikimedia Foundation can raise
> > > $250,000 in a few days (maybe hours) by placing ads on a few large
> > > Wikipedias soliciting donations. Why take on a restricted grant, with
> its
> > > necessary reporting overhead and other administrative costs?
> >
> >
> > Responding just to this small portion of MZMcBride's email:
> >
> > Sue explained to me that the goal was to have WMF's budget be roughly 50%
> > grants and 50% user contributions to guard against unexpected fragility
> > with either of these funding sources.  There is/was the continuing
> concern
> > that folks accessing wikimedia content through non-traditional sources
> > (google snippets, mobile apps, etc) will not see or respond to a banner
> > campaign, so that sooner or later one of our banner campaigns will come
> up
> > very short.  Further, a reliance on banners for funding creates perverse
> > incentives that discourage us from fully embracing potential users of our
> > content who may bypass the "official" clients and their banner ads.
> >
>
> It also makes for a very inward-focused and narrow sort of strategy: "How
> can we make our few banner projects work better / attract more people"
> rather than "how can we make knowledge more accessible to everyone in the
> world, including by supporting and enhancing other excellent projects".
>
> If you start with funders and organizations whose missions are similar to
> Wikimedia's, working with them on a grant is a way of making them part of
> the community: a successful engagement results in them learning more about
> the impact and value of our mission, and supporting or encouraging more
> work along those lines with their other grantees.  It also builds a
> relationship and trust within the circle of similarly-minded organizations
> (in this example, grantors; but this applies equally well to other sorts of
> partners), which can be drawn on in the future if there were a real crisis
> or urgent need.
>
> Mission-aligned donors & grantors & infrastructure-providers & archivists
> are all part of our community, in addition to having collections or money
> or services to contribute.  Which is an extra reason to let them contribute
> that is easiest for them, as long as the overhead required to accept that
> contribution is not too large.
>
> I'm sure small donors will continue to be the dominant source of funding
> for a long time, perhaps for as long as it exists.  But a bit more
> diversity in funding sources can improve consistency, predictability, and
> security of support.
>
> SJ
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

WereSpielChequers-2
In reply to this post by C. Scott Ananian
I can see the logic in trying for a different funding source, fundraising banners and their messaging have been a cause of tension between the WMF and the community; and asking our readers for money relies on our readers coming to our desktop sites directly and is at risk in a world where our data becomes ubiquitous, but increasingly repackaged and presented by others.

But there are a couple of alternate strategies which I think would serve us better.

Firstly evolution is better than revolution, and in our case that could mean shifting the emphasis from annual one off donations to signing people up for recurring donations. Here in the UK many people open a bank account in their teens and keep it for life. So if you sign people up for a regular payment by direct debit you have a revenue stream that will persist for decades. Short of financial disaster or death people rarely cancel direct debits to charities. I know WIkimedia UK had a lot of success at signing people up for direct debits back in 2011 when they were part of the fundraiser, there has also been some work done on asking former donors to give again. Shifting from a strategy of asking our readers for donations to one of asking new and past donors to sign up for a regular contribution would give us more financial security, less dependence on people using our sites directly and hopefully open the way for less intrusive messaging that is more mission aligned and doesn't scare people into thinking that Wikipedia is under financial threat. It would also be a much smaller step from our current strategy than one of asking big corporates and grant givers for money. When a donor who gives 0.0001% of the WMF's income threatens to stop donating you can ignore the threat and treat their complaint on its merits. When a donor who gives 0.1% of the WMF's income is upset they are likely to have inside contacts whose job it is to keep such donors donating.

Secondly having CC-BY-SA contributions repackaged and reused as if they were CC0 is a trend that the WMF could resist, first with diplomacy and if necessary with lawyers. Remember in most languages we aren't currently under threat from someone creating a rival to Wikipedia, our threat is from mirrors that present Wikipedia in more attractive ways. Attribution would undermine the business model of those mirrors who aim for the ads they wrap our content in to be less intrusive than WMF fundraising, legalese and editing options. It would keep a proportion of the really interested and the really grateful clicking through to Wikimedia sites where they can be recruited as donors of either time or money. It would also realign the strategy of the WMF with the aspirations of a large part of the community, those whose motivation comes in part from contributing under CC-BY-SA rather than CC0.

Regards

Jonathan/WereSpielChequers



_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,

Thanks for a thoughtful piece. I will only respond to the first part, the
second part is imho out of scope.

When the WMF wants more funding, it can if it trusts its chapters. The
current funding model has chapters rely totally on the vagaries of the
funding committee. Legally they are distinct and fundamentally they may
want to do things different for reasons of their own. Now they cannot or do
not because of the additional stress involved.

Yes more funding is an easy option. Donations are a constructive way of
securing funding. In the Netherlands they are seen as positive where
endowments are not. Endowments could be used to prove a positive point.
Invest in green energy worldwide with the argument; "we want to offset the
negative impact of sharing the sum of all knowledge and it becomes an
argument that works for us AND works as an investment". It is similar to
the argument why Greenpeace asked Google, Microsoft, Apple to go green.

When we enable fundraising in a meaningful way, we can still have policies
to do better in the world. It is why I am a fan of the Swiss working on
Kiwix. I like that from France they are working on Africa. Enabling and
financing efforts in other countries is what should be seen as important
for cash flush countries. Personally the project I am most proud of is the
collaboration with the Tropenmuseum because of its impact on the Indonesian
Wikipedia (it did not cost us money though).

Yes, we can have more funding. Yes, when something can be funded by another
party it is welcome when it aligns with what we want to do anyway. Yes
people chafe at the text messages during the fundraiser (it is tradition)
and YES we are a force for good and we can make the endowment fund make
that obvious.
Thanks,
       GerardM

On 3 February 2016 at 12:06, WereSpielChequers <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> I can see the logic in trying for a different funding source, fundraising
> banners and their messaging have been a cause of tension between the WMF
> and the community; and asking our readers for money relies on our readers
> coming to our desktop sites directly and is at risk in a world where our
> data becomes ubiquitous, but increasingly repackaged and presented by
> others.
>
> But there are a couple of alternate strategies which I think would serve
> us better.
>
> Firstly evolution is better than revolution, and in our case that could
> mean shifting the emphasis from annual one off donations to signing people
> up for recurring donations. Here in the UK many people open a bank account
> in their teens and keep it for life. So if you sign people up for a regular
> payment by direct debit you have a revenue stream that will persist for
> decades. Short of financial disaster or death people rarely cancel direct
> debits to charities. I know WIkimedia UK had a lot of success at signing
> people up for direct debits back in 2011 when they were part of the
> fundraiser, there has also been some work done on asking former donors to
> give again. Shifting from a strategy of asking our readers for donations to
> one of asking new and past donors to sign up for a regular contribution
> would give us more financial security, less dependence on people using our
> sites directly and hopefully open the way for less intrusive messaging that
> is more mission aligned and doesn't scare people into thinking that
> Wikipedia is under financial threat. It would also be a much smaller step
> from our current strategy than one of asking big corporates and grant
> givers for money. When a donor who gives 0.0001% of the WMF's income
> threatens to stop donating you can ignore the threat and treat their
> complaint on its merits. When a donor who gives 0.1% of the WMF's income is
> upset they are likely to have inside contacts whose job it is to keep such
> donors donating.
>
> Secondly having CC-BY-SA contributions repackaged and reused as if they
> were CC0 is a trend that the WMF could resist, first with diplomacy and if
> necessary with lawyers. Remember in most languages we aren't currently
> under threat from someone creating a rival to Wikipedia, our threat is from
> mirrors that present Wikipedia in more attractive ways. Attribution would
> undermine the business model of those mirrors who aim for the ads they wrap
> our content in to be less intrusive than WMF fundraising, legalese and
> editing options. It would keep a proportion of the really interested and
> the really grateful clicking through to Wikimedia sites where they can be
> recruited as donors of either time or money. It would also realign the
> strategy of the WMF with the aspirations of a large part of the community,
> those whose motivation comes in part from contributing under CC-BY-SA
> rather than CC0.
>
> Regards
>
> Jonathan/WereSpielChequers
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

MZMcBride-2
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
Lodewijk wrote:
>When I'd have to guess, I'd say that we're beyond our 'optimal size'
>(budget wise) already.
>
>Especially the 'small donor' stream is rather sensitive towards tides. As
>long as Wikipedia is very popular and visible, we'll be doing well. But
>when we have a few more screwups at the WMF (sorry, but I can't really
>find a better phrase for the past few months, communication wise at
>least), being a credible organisation towards donors might proove harder
>than was the case so far.

You mean that small donations provide accountability? :-)  I agree. I
think this is a feature, not a bug. I'd be happy for the Wikimedia
Foundation to be about a tenth of the size it is currently: around 30
full-time employees, with additional money allocated for contractors as
needed. When people tell me that they want to donate to Wikipedia, I tell
them to make an edit. I'd much rather have people truly contributing to
free knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation made a series of choices such
headquartering in San Francisco and hiring over 200 full-time employees
that make it very unsympathetic to me. It certainly doesn't cost anywhere
near $80 million a year to keep the sites online and running.

Sam Klein wrote:

>It also makes for a very inward-focused and narrow sort of strategy: "How
>can we make our few banner projects work better / attract more people"
>rather than "how can we make knowledge more accessible to everyone in the
>world, including by supporting and enhancing other excellent projects".
>
>If you start with funders and organizations whose missions are similar to
>Wikimedia's, working with them on a grant is a way of making them part of
>the community: a successful engagement results in them learning more about
>the impact and value of our mission, and supporting or encouraging more
>work along those lines with their other grantees.  It also builds a
>relationship and trust within the circle of similarly-minded organizations
>(in this example, grantors; but this applies equally well to other sorts
>of partners), which can be drawn on in the future if there were a real
>crisis or urgent need.

The counter-argument here is that having a large and secure budget gives
organizations more opportunities to spend on non-necessities. Does the
Wikimedia Foundation need six legal counsels (not including the general
counsel and two legal directors), eight community liaisons, or a mobile
apps team? I'm sure these are all great people doing excellent work, but
when I see how much the Wikimedia Foundation staff has ballooned (and
frankly bloated), it makes me sad.

If you want diversification, build up the other Wikimedia chapters instead.

MZMcBride



_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Thank you for your opinion. When you ask me, I will not do a WIkipedia
article. I find it highly stressful. I find that doing the edit is not so
bad, it is the lengthy stuff around it that amount to little. I rather do a
thousand Wikidata edits. That brings me to the other point. I do not
support Wikipedia, I support Wikimedia and where you stress over the large
number of staff, I stress over the lack of attention that other projects
get.

Wikisource is a prime example of an easy target to make it really relevant.
Nothing is done, we are stuck in a Wikipedia rut. When you consider
quality, it can improve using Wikidata, it does not happen. It is not even
discussed.

The point is very much that we could do more if we do not spend so much
effort on Wikipedia.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On 3 February 2016 at 15:59, MZMcBride <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Lodewijk wrote:
> >When I'd have to guess, I'd say that we're beyond our 'optimal size'
> >(budget wise) already.
> >
> >Especially the 'small donor' stream is rather sensitive towards tides. As
> >long as Wikipedia is very popular and visible, we'll be doing well. But
> >when we have a few more screwups at the WMF (sorry, but I can't really
> >find a better phrase for the past few months, communication wise at
> >least), being a credible organisation towards donors might proove harder
> >than was the case so far.
>
> You mean that small donations provide accountability? :-)  I agree. I
> think this is a feature, not a bug. I'd be happy for the Wikimedia
> Foundation to be about a tenth of the size it is currently: around 30
> full-time employees, with additional money allocated for contractors as
> needed. When people tell me that they want to donate to Wikipedia, I tell
> them to make an edit. I'd much rather have people truly contributing to
> free knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation made a series of choices such
> headquartering in San Francisco and hiring over 200 full-time employees
> that make it very unsympathetic to me. It certainly doesn't cost anywhere
> near $80 million a year to keep the sites online and running.
>
> Sam Klein wrote:
> >It also makes for a very inward-focused and narrow sort of strategy: "How
> >can we make our few banner projects work better / attract more people"
> >rather than "how can we make knowledge more accessible to everyone in the
> >world, including by supporting and enhancing other excellent projects".
> >
> >If you start with funders and organizations whose missions are similar to
> >Wikimedia's, working with them on a grant is a way of making them part of
> >the community: a successful engagement results in them learning more about
> >the impact and value of our mission, and supporting or encouraging more
> >work along those lines with their other grantees.  It also builds a
> >relationship and trust within the circle of similarly-minded organizations
> >(in this example, grantors; but this applies equally well to other sorts
> >of partners), which can be drawn on in the future if there were a real
> >crisis or urgent need.
>
> The counter-argument here is that having a large and secure budget gives
> organizations more opportunities to spend on non-necessities. Does the
> Wikimedia Foundation need six legal counsels (not including the general
> counsel and two legal directors), eight community liaisons, or a mobile
> apps team? I'm sure these are all great people doing excellent work, but
> when I see how much the Wikimedia Foundation staff has ballooned (and
> frankly bloated), it makes me sad.
>
> If you want diversification, build up the other Wikimedia chapters instead.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Liam Wyatt
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
I wish to respond to this specific statement:

On 3 February 2016 at 13:11, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
 wrote:

>
> When the WMF wants more funding, it can if it trusts its chapters. The
> current funding model has chapters rely totally on the vagaries of the
> funding committee. Legally they are distinct and fundamentally they may
> want to do things different for reasons of their own. Now they cannot or do
> not because of the additional stress involved.


To take the sentences in turn:

When the WMF wants more funding, it can if it trusts its chapters.
>

This, I completely agree with and would like to see more of it. Now that it
seems clear that the maximum effectiveness of the centrally-coordinated
banner-centric fundraiser has been reached, and making the banner more
aggressive is only going to bring diminishing returns. We have reached
"peak-banner". Howver, what surprised me about this year's WMF annual plan
fundraising-related risk statements (here;
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/2015-2016_Annual_Plan#Fundraising )
was that none of the proposed remedies included the involvement of the
Chapters.

It seems daft to me that the current model of fundraising in our movement
forces two affiliated organisations to compete for the same donors, in the
same jurisdiction, for the same money, at the same time, for the same
mission, in the same medium. No wonder donors are confused about who they
can get a tax receipt from! Rather than competing, I would LOVE to see the
WMF fundraising model invest in improving and coordinating the fundraising
capacity and efficiency for all. Rather than two groups fighting over who
gets to have a bigger slice of the available cake, the focus should be on
increasing the size of the cake in the first place, sharing it effectively
to who needs it most, and ensuring that it's a good moist cake that can
continue to be "eaten" every year rather than drying up.


> The current funding model has chapters rely totally on the vagaries of the
> funding committee.
>

As an elected member of that Committee, I should point out in fact that
many chapters do not rely on funding via the Annual Plan Grant process.
Some don't use it at all because they obtain all of their funds
independently (e.g. Indonesia, Poland); some use it as a major, but not
sole, source of income (e.g. UK, France); and some access WMF-funding
through other grant processes (e.g. by combining a series of "project and
event grants" or like Spain, Estonia in this year's newly created 'simple
APG' process https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/Simple/About ).

Legally they are distinct and fundamentally they may want to do things
> different for reasons of their own. Now they cannot or do not because of
> the additional stress involved.


Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations for
applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and their
success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been quite
successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
Wikimedia Sweden: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Connected_Open_Heritage

-Liam / Wittylama


wittylama.com
Peace, love & metadata
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants?

Tim Landscheidt
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
(anonymous) wrote:

> […]

> But 'getting big' is maybe not the most important thing in the world.
> Working on our mission, is. And part of that, is security. The WMF is not
> in this world to play the odds, but rather to ensure that knowledge is
> freed, and stays free - most specifically by securing Wikipedia's continued
> availability (at least, that is what our deck of cards looks like now).

> Fully focussing on one sigle stream of money may indeed allow you to get
> more out of it. But the question here is rather, how to you tackle the
> situation when that stream dries up? And for that question, diversification
> is actually key.

> […]

I don't agree with that.  From the Library of Alexandria to
the Duchess Anna Amalia Library it has always been a mistake
to keep knowledge in one place and try really hard to keep
it from falling apart.  The biggest advancement in that
field probably came from Gutenberg's press which allowed
knowledge to be spread around and resist attempts of censor-
ship.

When cinema and television came along, the ancient pattern
repeated: Cultural goods are lost today because the broad-
casters put them in one vault and then did not maintain the
fire alarm properly.

We have the same issue now with streaming services: During
dictatorships, you could hide books and jazz records.  Net-
flix or YouTube just stops serving videos some entity does
not like, and Amazon can wipe your Kindle clean of anything.

So the diversification for the purpose of the advancement of
knowledge should not lie in making WMF immortal, but ensur-
ing that it survives WMF's death.

Tim


_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Dariusz Jemielniak-3
In reply to this post by Liam Wyatt
>
>
>
> Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations for
> applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
> investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and their
> success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been quite
> successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
> Wikimedia Sweden: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Connected_Open_Heritage
>
>
I can also add that AFAIK the Foundation has never made the diversification
of funds for chapters a hard rule. Rather, it encouraged organizations to
seek alternative funding, when feasible. We have had historically cases of
chapters that admitted they could relatively easily get external support,
but just have preferred not to try to get it.

All in all we should balance two things: (a) resources are finite. If we
can easily get additional funding, especially in the Global North
countries, that's great! We'll have more to do core work in the areas where
it is not possible. (b) applying for external funding should not divert us
from our main mission, and should not make chapters jump the loops of
insane bureaucracy, irrational strain of effort, etc.

I believe we have been relatively successful so far. However, I agree that
the Foundation perhaps is not using its full potential in engaging chapters
in a dialogue how to effectively address the local supporters (both
individuals and on an institutional level). We should use the extensive
network of committed organizations to our advantage.

best,

dj
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Liam Wyatt
Hoi,
Spending and fundraising are two sides of the same coin. I remember that it
was strongly suggested that money had to go through the WMF for all kinds
of political reasons. At the time it was the Dutch chapter that received
money. Long story short, after some animosity the WMF now has the whole
field to itself. Given the animosity and lack of trust at the time I would
not do any fundraising without an accompanying say so of the money spend.

Liam why did you only react to some of the lines and not others?? Paying
for a hole in the ground that will be invested 'wisely' but without any
charm, any pointer why but a rainy day seems stupid. PS It rains a lot in
the Netherlands.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On 3 February 2016 at 16:53, Liam Wyatt <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I wish to respond to this specific statement:
>
> On 3 February 2016 at 13:11, Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
>  wrote:
>
> >
> > When the WMF wants more funding, it can if it trusts its chapters. The
> > current funding model has chapters rely totally on the vagaries of the
> > funding committee. Legally they are distinct and fundamentally they may
> > want to do things different for reasons of their own. Now they cannot or
> do
> > not because of the additional stress involved.
>
>
> To take the sentences in turn:
>
> When the WMF wants more funding, it can if it trusts its chapters.
> >
>
> This, I completely agree with and would like to see more of it. Now that it
> seems clear that the maximum effectiveness of the centrally-coordinated
> banner-centric fundraiser has been reached, and making the banner more
> aggressive is only going to bring diminishing returns. We have reached
> "peak-banner". Howver, what surprised me about this year's WMF annual plan
> fundraising-related risk statements (here;
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/2015-2016_Annual_Plan#Fundraising )
> was that none of the proposed remedies included the involvement of the
> Chapters.
>
> It seems daft to me that the current model of fundraising in our movement
> forces two affiliated organisations to compete for the same donors, in the
> same jurisdiction, for the same money, at the same time, for the same
> mission, in the same medium. No wonder donors are confused about who they
> can get a tax receipt from! Rather than competing, I would LOVE to see the
> WMF fundraising model invest in improving and coordinating the fundraising
> capacity and efficiency for all. Rather than two groups fighting over who
> gets to have a bigger slice of the available cake, the focus should be on
> increasing the size of the cake in the first place, sharing it effectively
> to who needs it most, and ensuring that it's a good moist cake that can
> continue to be "eaten" every year rather than drying up.
>
>
> > The current funding model has chapters rely totally on the vagaries of
> the
> > funding committee.
> >
>
> As an elected member of that Committee, I should point out in fact that
> many chapters do not rely on funding via the Annual Plan Grant process.
> Some don't use it at all because they obtain all of their funds
> independently (e.g. Indonesia, Poland); some use it as a major, but not
> sole, source of income (e.g. UK, France); and some access WMF-funding
> through other grant processes (e.g. by combining a series of "project and
> event grants" or like Spain, Estonia in this year's newly created 'simple
> APG' process https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/Simple/About ).
>
> Legally they are distinct and fundamentally they may want to do things
> > different for reasons of their own. Now they cannot or do not because of
> > the additional stress involved.
>
>
> Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations for
> applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
> investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and their
> success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been quite
> successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
> Wikimedia Sweden: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Connected_Open_Heritage
>
> -Liam / Wittylama
>
>
> wittylama.com
> Peace, love & metadata
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants?

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
Hoi,
Remember Professor Tannenbaum of Minix fame. He also worked on distributed
Wikis.
http://fed.wiki.org/view/welcome-visitors/view/smallest-federated-wiki
Thanks,
     GerardM

On 3 February 2016 at 17:00, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]> wrote:

> (anonymous) wrote:
>
> > […]
>
> > But 'getting big' is maybe not the most important thing in the world.
> > Working on our mission, is. And part of that, is security. The WMF is not
> > in this world to play the odds, but rather to ensure that knowledge is
> > freed, and stays free - most specifically by securing Wikipedia's
> continued
> > availability (at least, that is what our deck of cards looks like now).
>
> > Fully focussing on one sigle stream of money may indeed allow you to get
> > more out of it. But the question here is rather, how to you tackle the
> > situation when that stream dries up? And for that question,
> diversification
> > is actually key.
>
> > […]
>
> I don't agree with that.  From the Library of Alexandria to
> the Duchess Anna Amalia Library it has always been a mistake
> to keep knowledge in one place and try really hard to keep
> it from falling apart.  The biggest advancement in that
> field probably came from Gutenberg's press which allowed
> knowledge to be spread around and resist attempts of censor-
> ship.
>
> When cinema and television came along, the ancient pattern
> repeated: Cultural goods are lost today because the broad-
> casters put them in one vault and then did not maintain the
> fire alarm properly.
>
> We have the same issue now with streaming services: During
> dictatorships, you could hide books and jazz records.  Net-
> flix or YouTube just stops serving videos some entity does
> not like, and Amazon can wipe your Kindle clean of anything.
>
> So the diversification for the purpose of the advancement of
> knowledge should not lie in making WMF immortal, but ensur-
> ing that it survives WMF's death.
>
> Tim
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Sydney Poore
In reply to this post by Dariusz Jemielniak-3
On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 11:02 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> >
> >
> >
> > Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations for
> > applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
> > investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and their
> > success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been
> quite
> > successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
>
>

> I can also add that AFAIK the Foundation has never made the
> diversification of funds for chapters a hard rule. Rather, it encouraged
> organizations to seek alternative funding, when feasible. We have had
> historically cases of chapters that admitted they could relatively easily
> get external support, but just have preferred not to try to get it.
>
> All in all we should balance two things: (a) resources are finite. If we
> can easily get additional funding, especially in the Global North
> countries, that's great! We'll have more to do core work in the areas
> where it is not possible. (b) applying for external funding should not
> divert us from our main mission, and should not make chapters jump the
> loops of insane bureaucracy, irrational strain of effort, etc.
>

Speaking as a former member of the FDC and current member of Simple Annual
Plan grant committee, I agree with Dariusz but add that a good use of
external resources can add more value than just the funded dollar amount.

Instead of speaking of "funding" we should substitute "resources".   By
seeking out external resources, which is more than external grant money,
the wikimedia affiliates can build much greater capacity in a particular
region or topic area (GLAM or STEM or Healthcare.)

>
> I believe we have been relatively successful so far. However, I agree
> that the Foundation perhaps is not using its full potential in engaging
> chapters in a dialogue how to effectively address the local supporters
> (both individuals and on an institutional level). We should use the
> extensive network of committed organizations to our advantage.
>

It is key to the future of the wikimedia movement to identify institutional
partners (big and small) who  can advance the wikimedia mission.

It is happening now with many affiliate organizations, and growing, but it
is not well documented or analysed yet. We need better analysis about the
ways that external partners are benefiting from their relationship with the
wikimedia movement and the wikimedia movement is benefiting from
relationships with external partners.

This needs to be a joint dialogue between WMF and the affiliated
organizations including User Groups. I hope that people will join the WMF
strategic planning discussions and include their thoughts about developing
external resources that can benefit the wikimedia movement. Also, this is a
topic for Wikimedia Conference in Berlin.

Warm regards,
Sydney Poore
User:FloNight
Wikipedia in Residence
at Cochrane
WikiWomen's User Group
Wiki Project Med Foundation User Group
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Pine W
I have a couple of comments, mostly directed to WMF, about fundraising and
governance matters:

As a matter of good governance, I would not encourage WMF to be seeking
large external partners who do solid due-diligence about their grantees
until WMF demonstrates that it can complete an annual planning process that
is aligned with the good practices already being demonstrated by affiliates
and aligned with the expectations of the FDC. I feel that an external
partner who conducted a thorough evaluation of WMF's current annual plan
would find it to be mediocre at best and I question whether a large
institutional partner would be willing to invest six-figure or seven-figure
sums in WMF given the state of WMF's current annual plan. I am glad to see
that WMF is in the process of addressing this shortcoming, and I hope for
good outcomes this year.

Another issue that WMF needs to address is the state of its board. The
handling of the situation with respect to two board members (the removal of
James for opaque reasons, Jimbo's unprofessional comments about the removal
of James, the appointment of Arnnon, and the Board's apparent decision not
to remove Arnnon even after learning of his role in illegal activities)
demonstrates significant problems in the board, and if I had millions of
dollars to give in grants I surely would not entrust those funds to the WMF
until there is a major overhaul of the board. Also, if I was an affiliate,
I would have a lot of questions about the wisdom of fundraising on behalf
of WMF given the serious PR liability that WMF has become, and I tend to
think that at this time affiliates would be wise to put a considerable
distance between ourselves and WMF because of the PR and fundraising
collateral damage that we could receive from problems at WMF.

WMF needs to get its house in order.

Speaking in my personal capacity only,

Pine



On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 9:23 AM, Sydney Poore <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 11:02 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations for
> > > applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
> > > investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and
> their
> > > success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been
> > quite
> > > successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
> >
> >
>
> > I can also add that AFAIK the Foundation has never made the
> > diversification of funds for chapters a hard rule. Rather, it encouraged
> > organizations to seek alternative funding, when feasible. We have had
> > historically cases of chapters that admitted they could relatively easily
> > get external support, but just have preferred not to try to get it.
> >
> > All in all we should balance two things: (a) resources are finite. If we
> > can easily get additional funding, especially in the Global North
> > countries, that's great! We'll have more to do core work in the areas
> > where it is not possible. (b) applying for external funding should not
> > divert us from our main mission, and should not make chapters jump the
> > loops of insane bureaucracy, irrational strain of effort, etc.
> >
>
> Speaking as a former member of the FDC and current member of Simple Annual
> Plan grant committee, I agree with Dariusz but add that a good use of
> external resources can add more value than just the funded dollar amount.
>
> Instead of speaking of "funding" we should substitute "resources".   By
> seeking out external resources, which is more than external grant money,
> the wikimedia affiliates can build much greater capacity in a particular
> region or topic area (GLAM or STEM or Healthcare.)
>
> >
> > I believe we have been relatively successful so far. However, I agree
> > that the Foundation perhaps is not using its full potential in engaging
> > chapters in a dialogue how to effectively address the local supporters
> > (both individuals and on an institutional level). We should use the
> > extensive network of committed organizations to our advantage.
> >
>
> It is key to the future of the wikimedia movement to identify institutional
> partners (big and small) who  can advance the wikimedia mission.
>
> It is happening now with many affiliate organizations, and growing, but it
> is not well documented or analysed yet. We need better analysis about the
> ways that external partners are benefiting from their relationship with the
> wikimedia movement and the wikimedia movement is benefiting from
> relationships with external partners.
>
> This needs to be a joint dialogue between WMF and the affiliated
> organizations including User Groups. I hope that people will join the WMF
> strategic planning discussions and include their thoughts about developing
> external resources that can benefit the wikimedia movement. Also, this is a
> topic for Wikimedia Conference in Berlin.
>
> Warm regards,
> Sydney Poore
> User:FloNight
> Wikipedia in Residence
> at Cochrane
> WikiWomen's User Group
> Wiki Project Med Foundation User Group
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants? (was: Can we see the Knight grant application and grant offer?)

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
You know, when the WMF is to be judged as an organisation, I would never
judge on a few incidents. I would judge it on its intrinsic value.
Personally and that is the highest level of commitment, personally I find
that we are doing a sterling job. Wikipedia is a top ten website in the
world. It runs it on an extremely low budget compared to other top ten
websites. This week a new WIkipedia is ready to become the next iteration
and as it is a rate occasion, it is a reason to celebrate. It is for the
talking heads to update their power points <grin> for me to make a power
point </grin>.

When people consider how well how well others do from our work. Do consider
that we are in the business of disseminating knowledge. When others make a
lot of money and we are still a top 10 website, we are doing extremely well
indeed. When others do well by us, and serve oodles of information, we are
a clear winner.

Our fundraising is great. It makes us lots of money and there are lots of
worthwhile things we can do with it. It is all part of the same relatively
low budget.  We could do more. We choose to focus on Wikipedia. That is a
mistake but ok. We could do better as a result and not spend more money.

When we make more money, when we operate an endowment fund, it makes us an
investor. We should not invest in oil, guns ... we could invest in green
energy, it would offset the damage the Internet, our work, does through CO2
everywhere. It would show our responsibility now and for the future.

When we think that we have a PR disaster on our hand, do consider the
extend it is one of our own making.. Personally speaking I find the
continuous sniping a disgrace. So much time and effort is wasted because
shit happens. It does, get over it. Do better next time and the next time
is always more convoluted and impossible to achieve. Assume good faith,
expect that things go wrong, deal with it, clean up the mess and move on.
Do not continuously sing the refrain of what went wrong.

It truly makes us miserable.
Thanks,
      GerardM

On 3 February 2016 at 18:38, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I have a couple of comments, mostly directed to WMF, about fundraising and
> governance matters:
>
> As a matter of good governance, I would not encourage WMF to be seeking
> large external partners who do solid due-diligence about their grantees
> until WMF demonstrates that it can complete an annual planning process that
> is aligned with the good practices already being demonstrated by affiliates
> and aligned with the expectations of the FDC. I feel that an external
> partner who conducted a thorough evaluation of WMF's current annual plan
> would find it to be mediocre at best and I question whether a large
> institutional partner would be willing to invest six-figure or seven-figure
> sums in WMF given the state of WMF's current annual plan. I am glad to see
> that WMF is in the process of addressing this shortcoming, and I hope for
> good outcomes this year.
>
> Another issue that WMF needs to address is the state of its board. The
> handling of the situation with respect to two board members (the removal of
> James for opaque reasons, Jimbo's unprofessional comments about the removal
> of James, the appointment of Arnnon, and the Board's apparent decision not
> to remove Arnnon even after learning of his role in illegal activities)
> demonstrates significant problems in the board, and if I had millions of
> dollars to give in grants I surely would not entrust those funds to the WMF
> until there is a major overhaul of the board. Also, if I was an affiliate,
> I would have a lot of questions about the wisdom of fundraising on behalf
> of WMF given the serious PR liability that WMF has become, and I tend to
> think that at this time affiliates would be wise to put a considerable
> distance between ourselves and WMF because of the PR and fundraising
> collateral damage that we could receive from problems at WMF.
>
> WMF needs to get its house in order.
>
> Speaking in my personal capacity only,
>
> Pine
>
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 9:23 AM, Sydney Poore <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
>
> > On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 11:02 AM, Dariusz Jemielniak <[hidden email]>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Quite the opposite. For several years now, the FDC recommendations
> for
> > > > applicant who come from rich countries have requested the Chapter
> > > > investigate diversifying their funding sources. All have tried, and
> > their
> > > > success has varied depending on many factors. Some have actually been
> > > quite
> > > > successful - I refer in particular to the recently announced grant by
> > >
> > >
> >
> > > I can also add that AFAIK the Foundation has never made the
> > > diversification of funds for chapters a hard rule. Rather, it
> encouraged
> > > organizations to seek alternative funding, when feasible. We have had
> > > historically cases of chapters that admitted they could relatively
> easily
> > > get external support, but just have preferred not to try to get it.
> > >
> > > All in all we should balance two things: (a) resources are finite. If
> we
> > > can easily get additional funding, especially in the Global North
> > > countries, that's great! We'll have more to do core work in the areas
> > > where it is not possible. (b) applying for external funding should not
> > > divert us from our main mission, and should not make chapters jump the
> > > loops of insane bureaucracy, irrational strain of effort, etc.
> > >
> >
> > Speaking as a former member of the FDC and current member of Simple
> Annual
> > Plan grant committee, I agree with Dariusz but add that a good use of
> > external resources can add more value than just the funded dollar amount.
> >
> > Instead of speaking of "funding" we should substitute "resources".   By
> > seeking out external resources, which is more than external grant money,
> > the wikimedia affiliates can build much greater capacity in a particular
> > region or topic area (GLAM or STEM or Healthcare.)
> >
> > >
> > > I believe we have been relatively successful so far. However, I agree
> > > that the Foundation perhaps is not using its full potential in engaging
> > > chapters in a dialogue how to effectively address the local supporters
> > > (both individuals and on an institutional level). We should use the
> > > extensive network of committed organizations to our advantage.
> > >
> >
> > It is key to the future of the wikimedia movement to identify
> institutional
> > partners (big and small) who  can advance the wikimedia mission.
> >
> > It is happening now with many affiliate organizations, and growing, but
> it
> > is not well documented or analysed yet. We need better analysis about the
> > ways that external partners are benefiting from their relationship with
> the
> > wikimedia movement and the wikimedia movement is benefiting from
> > relationships with external partners.
> >
> > This needs to be a joint dialogue between WMF and the affiliated
> > organizations including User Groups. I hope that people will join the WMF
> > strategic planning discussions and include their thoughts about
> developing
> > external resources that can benefit the wikimedia movement. Also, this
> is a
> > topic for Wikimedia Conference in Berlin.
> >
> > Warm regards,
> > Sydney Poore
> > User:FloNight
> > Wikipedia in Residence
> > at Cochrane
> > WikiWomen's User Group
> > Wiki Project Med Foundation User Group
> > _______________________________________________
> > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> > New messages to: [hidden email]
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> > <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: [Wikimedia-l] Why take grants?

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Tim Landscheidt
Potato potato - availability can be interpreted in many different ways.
Thanks to the free license, we've covered a big part of that by design.

What activities the WMF should be doing wasn't quite the core of the
discussion though, but rather how big the WMF should be.

Lodewijk

On Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 5:00 PM, Tim Landscheidt <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> (anonymous) wrote:
>
> > […]
>
> > But 'getting big' is maybe not the most important thing in the world.
> > Working on our mission, is. And part of that, is security. The WMF is not
> > in this world to play the odds, but rather to ensure that knowledge is
> > freed, and stays free - most specifically by securing Wikipedia's
> continued
> > availability (at least, that is what our deck of cards looks like now).
>
> > Fully focussing on one sigle stream of money may indeed allow you to get
> > more out of it. But the question here is rather, how to you tackle the
> > situation when that stream dries up? And for that question,
> diversification
> > is actually key.
>
> > […]
>
> I don't agree with that.  From the Library of Alexandria to
> the Duchess Anna Amalia Library it has always been a mistake
> to keep knowledge in one place and try really hard to keep
> it from falling apart.  The biggest advancement in that
> field probably came from Gutenberg's press which allowed
> knowledge to be spread around and resist attempts of censor-
> ship.
>
> When cinema and television came along, the ancient pattern
> repeated: Cultural goods are lost today because the broad-
> casters put them in one vault and then did not maintain the
> fire alarm properly.
>
> We have the same issue now with streaming services: During
> dictatorships, you could hide books and jazz records.  Net-
> flix or YouTube just stops serving videos some entity does
> not like, and Amazon can wipe your Kindle clean of anything.
>
> So the diversification for the purpose of the advancement of
> knowledge should not lie in making WMF immortal, but ensur-
> ing that it survives WMF's death.
>
> Tim
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at:
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l,
> <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
_______________________________________________
Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
New messages to: [hidden email]
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:[hidden email]?subject=unsubscribe>
12