de10011 at gmail
Aug 28, 2011, 9:01 AM
Post #75 of 147
I would like to ask your opinion on WMF's stewardship of the money. The
Foundation has fulfilled its legal obligation as a non-profit but as a
community member from english wikipedia, do you feel it has been accountable
to you or spent it on worthwhile activities for the community? the reality
is WMF raised several times more money than all chapters combined, this
year's target is 30% or so more than previous year's. Do you think
concentration of all that money with one organization and one entity is a
smart idea with a global movement like ours?
You are taking broad strokes here with chapters, It was a handful of
chapters that were allowed to fundraise last year (maybe 8 or 10 at most).
Not all of them were rolling in money instantly. it was going to be rolled
out to several more chapters this year or so was the plan, until
the fundraising summit this year, which everyone from the staff and most of
the interested chapters attended.
As for generalizations about chapters use of donor money, off the top of my
head, I can think of several projects that were possible because of the last
fundraiser, Wiki loves Monument, which was eventually rolled out to several
other chapters, there were multiple GLAM related activities- Wikipedian in
residence programs in Germany and France supported by the chapters this past
year. We can't forget the annual cost of Toolserver which was made possible
by WMDE's independent fundraising. There were probably more local projects
that were planned that we never heard about. I know there were discussions
about expanding several projects but now those chapters have all held
themselves in light of an uncertain future.
Its going to be the end of activities and projects like those, if chapter
independence to raise funds is taken away. I completely agreed with Birgitte
SB's take on the matter earlier.
Do you want WMF to be the sole and only authority for what the entire
movement does? Every project, every little activity in their slice of the
world or their online community has to be individually approved and
sanctioned by WMF. It's taking away independence of these small groups in
deciding what's best for their own part of the world or community, somewhere
along the line this is getting conflated into issues of accountability that
no one really disagrees with, not the chapters themselves. the only solution
because of certain chapters mismanagement, is to make every chapter more or
less a branch office of WMF.
On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM, Risker <risker.wp [at] gmail> wrote:
> On 28 August 2011 04:47, rupert THURNER <rupert.thurner [at] gmail> wrote:
> > 2011/8/28 Delphine Ménard <notafishz [at] gmail>:
> > > On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 12:53 AM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > >> If the question is one of "minimum standards of accountability" the
> > >> WMF's first obligation would be to publish the standards which it
> > >> requires, presumably consistent with IFRS. Chapters incorporated
> > >> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting
> > >> of their respective jurisdictions. These are more important than the
> > >> FUD and distrust at the heart of recent proposals. There is no doubt
> > >> that a small band of individuals unaccustomed to large infusions of
> > >> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do
> > >> to help these chapters find competent help in their own countries than
> > >> to play the role of a distrustful parent.
> > >
> > > +1
> > > I'm still baffled at the Wikimedia Foundation wanting to go against
> > > what other international organisations are doing, ie. they fundraise
> > > locally. (Take a look at the international pages of oxfam, wwf,
> > > médecins sans frontières, etc.). Who are we to know better than these
> > > people who've been around for like... ever? Surely there is a reason
> > > for them doing this the way they do?
> > +1.
> > in switzerland we feel that a good target is to get 1 CHF per user and
> > year as donation. not having a better means of calculating the users,
> > we took 10% of the working population as guess. for switzerland that
> > means, 8 mio inhabitants, 4 mio working, 400'000 users, i.e. 400'000
> > donation.
> > any measure that brings down the donations means that we are failing
> > to make the people happy about wikimedia projects, and thats a path we
> > probably do not want to walk.
> See now, this is the kind of thinking that raises a lot of questions about
> chapters receiving the very large amounts of money that many got the last
> time around. In the "real" world, charities determine what their
> are for the year, cost them out, and then fundraise with that specific
> dollar objective in mind. What, pray tell, will the Swiss chapter do with
> the equivalent of half a million US dollars? And was that "target"
> established by any particular research, or was it some figures worked out
> the back of an envelope? It's certainly not the way that any other charity
> I know of develops its targets. Now, last year was the first time this
> process was tried, so nobody was really quite sure how to manage things;
> however, with the 2010 fundraiser under our belts, not much has happened at
> the chapter end to examine the models being used. Indeed, many chapters
> still haven't worked out what to do with last year's windfall, let alone
> done any advance planning for next year.
> It's my contention that a very significant percentage of last year's donors
> in particular believed that they were donating to the Wikimedia
> local office, not to local independent groups, many of which are quite
> adamant that they are *not* the WMF. Did anyone run a fundraising campaign
> last year where donors had the choice of whether to donate to a local
> organization versus the global one? ("Donate here to support Wikimedia
> Chapter activities in XXX country - tax receipt issued" vs "Donate here to
> support Wikimedia activities around the world - no tax receipt available")
> Did local messages clearly delineate how the funds would be distributed, or
> what the chapter's objectives and activities were? In other words, were
> donors fully informed about what their donation would be used for?
> I see last year's fundraiser as an experiment. In some ways, it was
> amazingly successful - more funds were raised, in total, than ever before.
> But in other ways it was not - most of the chapters raised far more money
> than they were in a position to deal with, and the lack of advance planning
> in this area has raised a lot of questions within the Wikimedia community,
> and could easily lead to concerns from outside agencies and individuals as
> well. The hypothetical that we were "losing" donors because in many
> countries tax receipts could not be issued has turned out to be false -
> because many chapters that received a percentage of local donations were
> still not able to issue tax receipts last year. Realistically, given the
> basic chapter agreement, there are many that will never be able to obtain
> the local equivalent of "charitable organization" status.
> This isn't a swipe at chapters at all - without exception, the chapters are
> enthusiastic local drivers of the Wikimedia vision, regardless of their
> or location. I have the sense that several chapters have found themselves
> overwhelmed by the volume of donations they've received, and are genuinely
> trying to be good stewards of those funds, but the structures simply aren't
> in place for them to do so. I'd like to see some very serious effort on the
> part of the WMF to help chapters develop these structures, both for
> chapters, and for the Global South chapters that are currently in early
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