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phoebe.wiki at gmail

Aug 11, 2011, 7:08 PM

Post #51 of 147 (1271 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 10:46 AM, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:

> On 9 August 2011 18:29, geni <geniice [at] gmail> wrote:
> > On 9 August 2011 08:18, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:
> >> On 9 August 2011 05:13, Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin [at] gmail>
> wrote:
>
> >>> This is all very true, and very insightful; but what does it have to do
> with
> >>> chapters?
>
> >> That the message from WMF is about a decentralisation not working from
> >> their perspective, so recentralising fundraising.
>
> > However it was the WMF that created that particular model of
> > decentralisation in the first place.
>
>
> This is begging the question: it presumes ownership. It also assumes
> that destroying that decentralisation is symmetrical with having first
> allowed and encouraged it, which is not in any way the case.
>
> The real problem with the present approach is - *even if* it's a
> correct thing for the trustees to do (once we're actually clear on
> what it is they're doing) - is:
>
> * Number of chapters people who've gone "hey, great idea!": 0.
> * Number of chapters people who've gone "you're pissing us about so
> badly we almost can't work with you": quite a lot.
>
> Hi! It's a little hard to generalize, but this was not actually my
impression of the general tone at Wikimania, which was pretty different from
the list discussions. There, I had a few folks tell me that it was good to
try to crack down on problems that had occurred as a result of the
[past/current] fundraising model, and others said they agreed with the
intent [of improving financial controls] but thought our process sucked --
which I personally agree with; as I told several people, we felt a bit stuck
between a rock & a hard place in wanting to get this out quickly under the
circumstances. Several chapters are unhappy over logistics and timing, which
is understandable; a few feel their autonomy is being taken away, but many
are just as glad to not bother with fundraising.

Note that there are two questions raised in our letter -- one is the issue
of good stewardship of money coming in through WMF-trademarked websites,
which is an issue the Foundation Board does feel responsibility and
ownership for; and second is the question of chapter funding and budgeting,
which is a good deal more controversial and is certainly not a resolved
issue -- we have iterated funding models for many years. (NB for those who
aren't participating in current chapter fundraising, this year's agreement
is different from previous ones -- it requires a chapter budget to be
submitted to the WMF, with direct donation receipt up to that amount.)

I'd say the issues of chapter autonomy that Birgitte raised in her eloquent
mail, and as raised in other threads, do go well beyond the fairly technical
point of "whose bank account does the money enter when donors give through
Wikipedia?" As others have noted in this thread, "fundraising" encompasses a
great deal more than that, which the WMF certainly recognizes. The question
"how should chapters get funded, and how do they or anyone else decide how
much money they need?" is more general and important, but questions of
autonomy even go beyond that. It is my belief, from conversations with all
kinds of Wikimedians, that the fundamental question of "what should a
chapter be?" doesn't currently have consensus or agreement among all of the
stakeholders, including the various chapters themselves -- and it is this
point that will especially need deep and ongoing conversation as we continue
to figure out what we're all doing.

Anyway, thanks for raising the importance of decentralization. The Board
agrees: there's a reason it was first in our list of principles. To my mind
"decentralization is important" raises a whole bunch of other important
questions: is decentralization more important than efficiency as a working
principle? How do we also implement decentralized dispute resolution when
two entities disagree? How do we make sure people who don't consider
themselves aligned with any particular body, including readers and donors,
are represented in decision making? Who allots funds; who makes sure funds
keep coming in? Who is responsible for keeping wikipedia.org up and alive?
How do we align the WMF's specific legal responsibilities with those of a
decentralized movement? (These and many more questions are also part of the
movement roles project discussions, btw; see meta).

One thing that struck me about reviewing chapter financials was that there
are 20+ chapters that don't directly receive donations and haven't applied
for many grants to date, and thus have little to no money to support program
work. Though mostly outside the scope of the Board's letter, this is for
instance one part of our model that I would like to see change --
Wikimedians everywhere should have better access to resources to get things
done. On this specific point, I do disagree with Birgitte -- I think a
well-developed grants program [.and it's true we're not there yet, but want
to be soon] could actually help us decentralize faster, in that to obtain
money needed for program work chapters or other groups wouldn't have to
develop the (increasingly difficult) infrastructure needed to directly
fundraise with all the attendant legal and fiduciary concerns.

The point raised by Anthere and Delphine elsewhere that developing
fundraising capabilities helps chapters mature is worth noting and certainly
historically true, but is that the best course of affairs, or are there
other paths of development that would be better? I do agree wholeheartedly
that the WMF should invest in helping everyone get better at fundraising and
management (and PR, and other essential skills...)

-- phoebe, speaking for herself not the board or staff
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rupert.thurner at gmail

Aug 11, 2011, 10:00 PM

Post #52 of 147 (1269 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 14:53, Jimmy Wales <jwales [at] wikia-inc> wrote:
> On 8/10/11 8:56 PM, Kirill Lokshin wrote:
>> Perhaps I'm missing something, but where has it been suggested that chapters
>> would not remain free to raise funds independently of the WMF?  My
>> impression was that the change being discussed here would merely remove
>> participation in the WMF fundraiser as a funding source and replace it with
>> direct WMF grants; presumably chapters could seek funding elsewhere?
>
> That's right, but the reality is that using the website wikipedia.org is
> the single overwhelming source of funds available to chapters, and very
> little is likely to change about that anytime soon.

that is true. it is efficient.j the model proved to deliver income for
the whole movement. how to spend the money efficient as well, without
too much administrative costs, according to the bylaws? all the
chapters are quite efficient, very low administrative costs.

wikimedia deutschland, wmde, e.g. showed three efficient ways to spend:
1. direct transfer of 50% to the wmf
2. direct uncomplicated support of other chapters
3. community project budget, 5-10 times more than the wmf invests
in grants (percentage of total income that is)

rupert.

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wikipedia at frontier

Aug 11, 2011, 10:13 PM

Post #53 of 147 (1280 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 8/11/2011 7:08 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
> Anyway, thanks for raising the importance of decentralization. The
> Board agrees: there's a reason it was first in our list of principles.
> To my mind "decentralization is important" raises a whole bunch of
> other important questions: is decentralization more important than
> efficiency as a working principle?
I think it is, at least up to a point. We need to have a diversity of
tools and actors involved in fundraising, and decentralization should
help that if done well. Also, we do not have an obligation to maximize
revenue, so efficiency is not necessarily a cardinal virtue. I don't
mean that we should disregard efficiency, but we can choose to sacrifice
a bit of efficiency if, as a tradeoff, this benefits some other value we
think is important like decentralization.
> One thing that struck me about reviewing chapter financials was that
> there are 20+ chapters that don't directly receive donations and
> haven't applied for many grants to date, and thus have little to no
> money to support program work. Though mostly outside the scope of the
> Board's letter, this is for instance one part of our model that I
> would like to see change -- Wikimedians everywhere should have better
> access to resources to get things done. On this specific point, I do
> disagree with Birgitte -- I think a well-developed grants program [.and
> it's true we're not there yet, but want to be soon] could actually
> help us decentralize faster, in that to obtain money needed for
> program work chapters or other groups wouldn't have to develop the
> (increasingly difficult) infrastructure needed to directly fundraise
> with all the attendant legal and fiduciary concerns.
I like the sound of this, but with a note of caution about a
"well-developed" grants program. In many contexts, as grants programs
develop and mature, grantees end up needing to develop increasingly
complex infrastructure to secure and manage grants. At that point, it
may not be any more helpful to these objectives than the model we are
trying to move away from.

--Michael Snow


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phoebe.wiki at gmail

Aug 12, 2011, 6:13 AM

Post #54 of 147 (1279 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia [at] frontier>wrote:

> On 8/11/2011 7:08 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
> > Anyway, thanks for raising the importance of decentralization. The
> > Board agrees: there's a reason it was first in our list of principles.
> > To my mind "decentralization is important" raises a whole bunch of
> > other important questions: is decentralization more important than
> > efficiency as a working principle?
> I think it is, at least up to a point. We need to have a diversity of
> tools and actors involved in fundraising, and decentralization should
> help that if done well. Also, we do not have an obligation to maximize
> revenue, so efficiency is not necessarily a cardinal virtue. I don't
> mean that we should disregard efficiency, but we can choose to sacrifice
> a bit of efficiency if, as a tradeoff, this benefits some other value we
> think is important like decentralization.
> > One thing that struck me about reviewing chapter financials was that
> > there are 20+ chapters that don't directly receive donations and
> > haven't applied for many grants to date, and thus have little to no
> > money to support program work. Though mostly outside the scope of the
> > Board's letter, this is for instance one part of our model that I
> > would like to see change -- Wikimedians everywhere should have better
> > access to resources to get things done. On this specific point, I do
> > disagree with Birgitte -- I think a well-developed grants program [.and
> > it's true we're not there yet, but want to be soon] could actually
> > help us decentralize faster, in that to obtain money needed for
> > program work chapters or other groups wouldn't have to develop the
> > (increasingly difficult) infrastructure needed to directly fundraise
> > with all the attendant legal and fiduciary concerns.
> I like the sound of this, but with a note of caution about a
> "well-developed" grants program. In many contexts, as grants programs
> develop and mature, grantees end up needing to develop increasingly
> complex infrastructure to secure and manage grants. At that point, it
> may not be any more helpful to these objectives than the model we are
> trying to move away from.
>
> --Michael Snow
>

Fair point. By "well-developed" I just meant "something that works well."
One of the criteria of working well could be low overhead... Again, the idea
of supporting grants is not exclusive to the WMF: I am so pleased to see the
expansion of the WMDE program, as well.

-- phoebe
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birgitte_sb at yahoo

Aug 12, 2011, 7:06 AM

Post #55 of 147 (1277 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

>________________________________
>rom: phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki [at] gmail>
>To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l [at] lists>
>Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 8:13 AM
>Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Chapters
>
>On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia [at] frontier>wrote:
>
>> On 8/11/2011 7:08 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
>> > Anyway, thanks for raising the importance of decentralization. The
>> > Board agrees: there's a reason it was first in our list of principles.
>> > To my mind "decentralization is important" raises a whole bunch of
>> > other important questions: is decentralization more important than
>> > efficiency as a working principle?
>> I think it is, at least up to a point. We need to have a diversity of
>> tools and actors involved in fundraising, and decentralization should
>> help that if done well. Also, we do not have an obligation to maximize
>> revenue, so efficiency is not necessarily a cardinal virtue. I don't
>> mean that we should disregard efficiency, but we can choose to sacrifice
>> a bit of efficiency if, as a tradeoff, this benefits some other value we
>> think is important like decentralization.
>> > One thing that struck me about reviewing chapter financials was that
>> > there are 20+ chapters that don't directly receive donations and
>> > haven't applied for many grants to date, and thus have little to no
>> > money to support program work. Though mostly outside the scope of the
>> > Board's letter, this is for instance one part of our model that I
>> > would like to see change -- Wikimedians everywhere should have better
>> > access to resources to get things done. On this specific point, I do
>> > disagree with Birgitte -- I think a well-developed grants program [.and
>> > it's true we're not there yet, but want to be soon] could actually
>> > help us decentralize faster, in that to obtain money needed for
>> > program work chapters or other groups wouldn't have to develop the
>> > (increasingly difficult) infrastructure needed to directly fundraise
>> > with all the attendant legal and fiduciary concerns.
>> I like the sound of this, but with a note of caution about a
>> "well-developed" grants program. In many contexts, as grants programs
>> develop and mature, grantees end up needing to develop increasingly
>> complex infrastructure to secure and manage grants. At that point, it
>> may not be any more helpful to these objectives than the model we are
>> trying to move away from.
>>
>> --Michael Snow
>>
>
>Fair point. By "well-developed" I just meant "something that works well."
>One of the criteria of working well could be low overhead... Again, the idea
>of supporting grants is not exclusive to the WMF: I am so pleased to see the
>expansion of the WMDE program, as well.
>
>-- phoebe
>I can't help but point out that is begging the question. [1] It is a logical fallacy to say in answer to concerns that a grants program won't work well that you are supporting well-developed grants program (defined as something that works well).  It is just wishful thinking.

BirgitteSB


[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
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phoebe.wiki at gmail

Aug 12, 2011, 7:21 AM

Post #56 of 147 (1265 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 7:06 AM, Birgitte SB <birgitte_sb [at] yahoo> wrote:

>
>
>
>
>
> >________________________________
> >rom: phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki [at] gmail>
> >To: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List <foundation-l [at] lists>
> >Sent: Friday, August 12, 2011 8:13 AM
> >Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Chapters
> >
> >On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia [at] frontier
> >wrote:
> >
> >> On 8/11/2011 7:08 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
> >> > Anyway, thanks for raising the importance of decentralization. The
> >> > Board agrees: there's a reason it was first in our list of principles.
> >> > To my mind "decentralization is important" raises a whole bunch of
> >> > other important questions: is decentralization more important than
> >> > efficiency as a working principle?
> >> I think it is, at least up to a point. We need to have a diversity of
> >> tools and actors involved in fundraising, and decentralization should
> >> help that if done well. Also, we do not have an obligation to maximize
> >> revenue, so efficiency is not necessarily a cardinal virtue. I don't
> >> mean that we should disregard efficiency, but we can choose to sacrifice
> >> a bit of efficiency if, as a tradeoff, this benefits some other value we
> >> think is important like decentralization.
> >> > One thing that struck me about reviewing chapter financials was that
> >> > there are 20+ chapters that don't directly receive donations and
> >> > haven't applied for many grants to date, and thus have little to no
> >> > money to support program work. Though mostly outside the scope of the
> >> > Board's letter, this is for instance one part of our model that I
> >> > would like to see change -- Wikimedians everywhere should have better
> >> > access to resources to get things done. On this specific point, I do
> >> > disagree with Birgitte -- I think a well-developed grants program [.and
> >> > it's true we're not there yet, but want to be soon] could actually
> >> > help us decentralize faster, in that to obtain money needed for
> >> > program work chapters or other groups wouldn't have to develop the
> >> > (increasingly difficult) infrastructure needed to directly fundraise
> >> > with all the attendant legal and fiduciary concerns.
> >> I like the sound of this, but with a note of caution about a
> >> "well-developed" grants program. In many contexts, as grants programs
> >> develop and mature, grantees end up needing to develop increasingly
> >> complex infrastructure to secure and manage grants. At that point, it
> >> may not be any more helpful to these objectives than the model we are
> >> trying to move away from.
> >>
> >> --Michael Snow
> >>
> >
> >Fair point. By "well-developed" I just meant "something that works well."
> >One of the criteria of working well could be low overhead... Again, the
> idea
> >of supporting grants is not exclusive to the WMF: I am so pleased to see
> the
> >expansion of the WMDE program, as well.
> >
> >-- phoebe
> >I can't help but point out that is begging the question. [1] It is a
> logical fallacy to say in answer to concerns that a grants program won't
> work well that you are supporting well-developed grants program (defined as
> something that works well). It is just wishful thinking.
>
> BirgitteSB
>
>
> [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
>
>
Sorry, I didn't intend to beg the question. Maybe I misread Michael's
comment. I thought he was saying that a high-overhead grants program, such
as many granting organizations end up with after a few years, would not be
helpful. My response is that we should strive to build a functional
low-overhead grants program. Yes, that is "wishful thinking", since it's an
aspirational goal, but it's also in response to concern over a hypothetical
future... I think it's totally fair to think about what kind of criteria we
would like to see in a grants program generally (e.g. low overhead, open to
all, etc.), since the program will need to be expanded quite a bit if it
covers funding many more chapters and groups. Now if people don't think it's
*possible* to build a low-overhead grants program, that's a fair point :)

best,
phoebe
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robin at slmr

Aug 12, 2011, 10:06 AM

Post #57 of 147 (1273 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Perhaps we might reflect on all the mistakes made by far older global
NPOs - the Catholic Church and all the younger proselytizing churches
are good examples.The mission has always been the dissemination of
knowledge (of a specific sort), so it has experiences that might be
helpful - what not to do, etc.

They've always had wealthy and poor locales. A large part of their
efforts have been devoted to raising money from the wealthy to fund
programs for the poor. They all have had to learn how to meet the legal
obligations of whichever states they are located and have evolved
systems to manage their money - some of which work better than others.


On 8/12/2011 7:21 AM, foundation-l-request [at] lists wrote:
>>> On Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 10:13 PM, Michael Snow<wikipedia [at] frontier
>>> > >wrote:
>>> > >
>>> > >
>>> > >Fair point. By "well-developed" I just meant "something that works well."
>>> > >One of the criteria of working well could be low overhead... Again, the
>> > idea
>> > the
>> > logical fallacy to say in answer to concerns that a grants program won't
>> > work well that you are supporting well-developed grants program (defined as
>> > something that works well). It is just wishful thinking.
>> >
>> > BirgitteSB
>> >
>> >
>> > [1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question
>> >
>> >
> Sorry, I didn't intend to beg the question. Maybe I misread Michael's
> comment. I thought he was saying that a high-overhead grants program, such
> as many granting organizations end up with after a few years, would not be
> helpful. My response is that we should strive to build a functional
> low-overhead grants program. Yes, that is "wishful thinking", since it's an
> aspirational goal, but it's also in response to concern over a hypothetical
> future... I think it's totally fair to think about what kind of criteria we
> would like to see in a grants program generally (e.g. low overhead, open to
> all, etc.), since the program will need to be expanded quite a bit if it
> covers funding many more chapters and groups. Now if people don't think it's
> *possible* to build a low-overhead grants program, that's a fair point:)
>
> best,
> phoebe

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gerard.meijssen at gmail

Aug 13, 2011, 7:35 AM

Post #58 of 147 (1273 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Hoi,
There is fundraising together and there is fundraising perse. What is at
issue is that chapters are and have always been expected to disclose their
activities, providing financial statements. They are expected to be
accountable and many chapters have largely not been accountable.

The consequence is very much that the decentralisation is not working
because chapters are not committed to fulfil their obligations as is clear
from their actions. What is at stake is the involvement and the benefits of
chapters to the annual fundraiser. When chapters fund themselves in other
ways (as well), then my understanding is that they are welcome to that
particularly where they raise funds for particular named activities.

Wikimedia and any of the projects is a global affair and we need a global
movement that includes the WMF, the chapters, the communities, the
associated projects. We will and do benefit from being open transparent and
accountable. The people who fund us have to appreciate us as a global
movement and not as an organisation with tons of money hoarded by secretive
people, in the nooks and crannies of our movement.
Thanks,
GerardM

On 9 August 2011 09:18, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:

> On 9 August 2011 05:13, Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin [at] gmail> wrote:
>
> > This is all very true, and very insightful; but what does it have to do
> with
> > chapters?
>
>
> That the message from WMF is about a decentralisation not working from
> their perspective, so recentralising fundraising.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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ft2.wiki at gmail

Aug 13, 2011, 8:04 AM

Post #59 of 147 (1271 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Basics:

- WMF is a US charity. Funds collected by, or through its website (even
if legally collected by affiliated organizations) will be exposed to
US-style scrutiny and need to be able to withstand that for the reputation
of the movement as a whole.
- Wikimedia is a worldwide charity. People who donate locally want to
know their funds are supporting Wikimedia and not vanishing into pockets or
being wasted. Chapters not yet able to provide and demonstrate that
assurance are a risk if they take funds that become unable to be accounted
for or where the accounting is not transparent and independently verified.

- It's easier to set good practices in place early on. It should have
been a prequel to the agreement last year on direct payment/allocation, to
ensure 6 figure cash from donors worldwide was only passed to chapters that
were verified and agrred as being capable of responsibly handling it,
criteria in place for that. Not a "catch up" afterwards. But good call to
fix it now, at least.


WMF bears actual or perceived responsibility to ensure correct use of
collections via *.wikimedia.org wiki fundraisers and WMF efforts. Those
monies (as opposed to funds collected by local chapters' own efforts) are
donated to support the wider project goals. Because of this, WMF cannot
simply shrug it of or say "they are allocated to outside body X so we have
no interest or role in checking their appropriate ultimate use."

It doesn't matter the legal relationship, WMF has a perceived responsibility
to live up to, that even if the funds are used at chapter discretion, it
should be clear they are being reasonably and completely used for the
mission.

Alternative ways to approach decentralization might have included a ramp-up
over a 2-3 year period, or funds transfer on a requisition basis, allowing
each local organization to be gradually established and mature (which takes
time). But better late than never. It would have been much harder and more
painful to correct a chapter that was "difficult" in those areas, once
established a few years down the line.

At least criteria are to be put in place now than never. For chapters in
good order they should not be an issue.

FT2


On Sat, Aug 13, 2011 at 3:35 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<gerard.meijssen [at] gmail>wrote:


> Hoi,
> There is fundraising together and there is fundraising perse. What is at
> issue is that chapters are and have always been expected to disclose their
> activities, providing financial statements. They are expected to be
> accountable and many chapters have largely not been accountable.
>
> The consequence is very much that the decentralisation is not working
> because chapters are not committed to fulfil their obligations as is clear
> from their actions. What is at stake is the involvement and the benefits of
> chapters to the annual fundraiser. When chapters fund themselves in other
> ways (as well), then my understanding is that they are welcome to that
> particularly where they raise funds for particular named activities.
>
> Wikimedia and any of the projects is a global affair and we need a global
> movement that includes the WMF, the chapters, the communities, the
> associated projects. We will and do benefit from being open transparent and
> accountable. The people who fund us have to appreciate us as a global
> movement and not as an organisation with tons of money hoarded by secretive
> people, in the nooks and crannies of our movement.
> Thanks,
> GerardM
>
> On 9 August 2011 09:18, David Gerard <dgerard [at] gmail> wrote:
>
> > On 9 August 2011 05:13, Kirill Lokshin <kirill.lokshin [at] gmail> wrote:
> >
> > > This is all very true, and very insightful; but what does it have to do
> > with
> > > chapters?
> >
> >
> > That the message from WMF is about a decentralisation not working from
> > their perspective, so recentralising fundraising.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > foundation-l [at] lists
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
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>
>
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lodewijk at effeietsanders

Aug 26, 2011, 12:44 PM

Post #60 of 147 (1230 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Hi Jimmy,

There are several side effects to the idea of not allowing chapters at all
to fundraise (I note that boardmembers and staff members have a different
take on this, so I'll keep it general - keeping in mind there are many other
aspects to be considered, such as transparancy. However, imho fundraising
through chapters should remain the best way).

* Having one organization spreading around money is going to lead, sooner or
later, to that organization solely making decisions on what is important and
what is not. Centralized decision making, centralized prioritising.
* Forcing chapters to abide the WMF cyclus is centralization - an efficient
grant system likely includes fixed moments to ask for grants. Many chapters
currently still have a lot of flexibility to try out programs. If we would
not have had such flexibility, we would not have had Wiki Loves Monuments
for example - a lot of the budget part happened late in the execution
because 95% happens with volunteers.
* Asking grants automatically means language issues. Chapters not having
English as a mother tongue, *will* be more hesistant, no matter what help
you put in place. It will be a big effort, because more bottle necks
(English speakers) are introduced.
* Asking for external grants is much harder - many Dutch grant organizations
for example have a requirement that maximum x% of your budget can come from
grants (For example, Mondriaanstichting has a maximum of 40% grant money).
If we are forced to grant request to the foundation, that cuts off that
income source too.
* Not giving chapters access to donor data has many side effects - because
they will no longer be the organization responsible for communicating with
them. Sure, they would need to be responsible in that too, but denying them
access also means they cannot communicate their activities at the same time,
and get more volunteers involved from externally.

Maybe centralization is not your goal, but it is what you are doing. Having
a non-grant funding just makes an organization more independent, and makes
it more flexible and responsible. That organization is more likely to
develop itself professionally.

That does not leave out that there are many problems with the current
distribution system (50/50 etc) but that is a whole other discussion.

Lodewijk

2011/8/11 Jimmy Wales <jwales [at] wikia-inc>

> On 8/10/11 8:51 PM, Birgitte_sb [at] yahoo wrote:
> > I don't think chapters are being cut off I think they are being
> > centralized. Centralization, not lack of funding, is what I believe
> > will make chapters ineffective.
>
> Chapters are not being centralized. I don't know how I can be more clear.
>
> The idea that the only thing that can make chapters really decentralized
> is the very narrow question of who actually processes the donation is
> mistaken.
>
> --Jimbo
>
> _______________________________________________
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>
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nawrich at gmail

Aug 26, 2011, 2:26 PM

Post #61 of 147 (1233 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Lodewijk <lodewijk [at] effeietsanders> wrote:
> Hi Jimmy,
>
> There are several side effects to the idea of not allowing chapters at all
> to fundraise (I note that boardmembers and staff members have a different
> take on this, so I'll keep it general - keeping in mind there are many other
> aspects to be considered, such as transparancy. However, imho fundraising
> through chapters should remain the best way).
>

Lodewijk,

I don't think the chapters are barred from all fundraising... At most,
they are at risk of not being able to participate in the global WMF
fundraiser. They can still raise funds on their own through other
methods. Maybe such other methods are more time consuming, difficult
and less lucrative... But there are innovative substitutes for the WMF
annual fundraiser, I'm sure.

In any case, the barriers to participation relate to the
organizational capacity of the chapters and the associated risks. A
chapter that has financial controls and active leadership should be
able to meet the WMFs requirements (with the exception of tax
deduction eligibility, based on jurisdiction); a chapter that does not
puts both their funds and their public reputation at risk. As the
host of the fundraiser and the mark owner, the WMF shares in that risk
- and it is both reasonable and necessary that the Foundation adhere
to and require minimum standards of accountability in order to
mitigate the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.

If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
sense.

Nathan

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anthere9 at yahoo

Aug 27, 2011, 11:45 AM

Post #62 of 147 (1224 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

> 2011/8/11 Jimmy Wales<jwales [at] wikia-inc>
>
>> On 8/10/11 8:51 PM, Birgitte_sb [at] yahoo wrote:
>>> I don't think chapters are being cut off I think they are being
>>> centralized. Centralization, not lack of funding, is what I believe
>>> will make chapters ineffective.
>>
>> Chapters are not being centralized. I don't know how I can be more clear.
>>
>> The idea that the only thing that can make chapters really decentralized
>> is the very narrow question of who actually processes the donation is
>> mistaken.
>>
>> --Jimbo

Decentralization would be possibly maintained if grants were
unrestricted ones.

But this is not what is being done. Grants are restricted.

When chapters used to fundraise themselves, they had the power to decide
their programs, as fit an organization that is independant.

Chapters are losing that power. From the moment Wikimedia Foundation
gives grants according to specific projects they approve or do not
approve, they actually decide what the chapter does or does not.

Chapters are being centralized. I don't know how we can be more clear on
that.

Florence


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saintonge at telus

Aug 27, 2011, 3:53 PM

Post #63 of 147 (1219 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 08/26/11 2:26 PM, Nathan wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Lodewijk<lodewijk [at] effeietsanders> wrote:
>> Hi Jimmy,
>>
>> There are several side effects to the idea of not allowing chapters at all
>> to fundraise (I note that boardmembers and staff members have a different
>> take on this, so I'll keep it general - keeping in mind there are many other
>> aspects to be considered, such as transparancy. However, imho fundraising
>> through chapters should remain the best way).
> Lodewijk,
>
> I don't think the chapters are barred from all fundraising... At most,
> they are at risk of not being able to participate in the global WMF
> fundraiser. They can still raise funds on their own through other
> methods. Maybe such other methods are more time consuming, difficult
> and less lucrative... But there are innovative substitutes for the WMF
> annual fundraiser, I'm sure.

I agree with that much. Chapters should be warned not to become
dependent on the WMF fundraiser. Information about such innovative
substitutes may need to be more freely shared. The result may indeed be
decreased revenues, but if one of the complaints is that some chapters
are sitting on piles of money that they don't use there may not be much
harm to that.
>
> In any case, the barriers to participation relate to the
> organizational capacity of the chapters and the associated risks. A
> chapter that has financial controls and active leadership should be
> able to meet the WMFs requirements (with the exception of tax
> deduction eligibility, based on jurisdiction); a chapter that does not
> puts both their funds and their public reputation at risk. As the
> host of the fundraiser and the mark owner, the WMF shares in that risk
> - and it is both reasonable and necessary that the Foundation adhere
> to and require minimum standards of accountability in order to
> mitigate the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.

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 within
particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
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 cash
will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
to help these chapters find competent help in their own countries than
to play the role of a distrustful parent.
>
> If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
> they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
> organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
> organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
> sense.
>

There's a difference between organizational support and organizational
takeover. One possible solution might be to not allow chapters to
participate in the global fundraiser unless they already have a suitable
organization in place, but that could make it more difficult for the WMF
to take a piece of the chapter's action.

Ray

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notafishz at gmail

Aug 27, 2011, 4:34 PM

Post #64 of 147 (1226 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

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 within
> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
> 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 cash
> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
> 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?


>> If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
>> they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
>> organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
>> organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
>> sense.
>>
>
> There's a difference between organizational support and organizational
> takeover. One possible solution might be to not allow chapters to
> participate in the global fundraiser unless they already have a suitable
> organization in place, but that could make it more difficult for the WMF
> to take a piece of the chapter's action.


Which brings up the question: how do chapters ever get to the point of
being organisationally ready if they never take a crack at doing
fundraising on their own? Pleasing donors near you brings on an
incomparable motivation to do great things and adapt our mission to
what is expected and needed in a given region. Pleasing the Wikimedia
Foundation somehow does not, seem to me to have the same potential.
You know, the very old parable of giving a fish and teaching to
fish...

Best,

Delphine

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thomas.dalton at gmail

Aug 27, 2011, 4:42 PM

Post #65 of 147 (1230 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

2011/8/28 Delphine Ménard <notafishz [at] gmail>:
> I'm still baffled at the Wikimedia Foundation wanting to go against
> what other international organisations are doing, ie. they fundraise
> locally.

Is that what the WMF wants? I know it's what Sue said the plan was,
but then Ting clarified that no such decision had been made. I haven't
seen anything since then about what the long-term system will be. I
suspect everyone is concentrating on the next fundraiser rather that
subsequent ones, and that's understandable. We do need to work out
what we're going to do after this one sooner rather than later,
though.

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notafishz at gmail

Aug 27, 2011, 4:46 PM

Post #66 of 147 (1236 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 11:26 PM, Nathan <nawrich [at] gmail> wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Lodewijk <lodewijk [at] effeietsanders> wrote:
>> Hi Jimmy,
>>
>> There are several side effects to the idea of not allowing chapters at all
>> to fundraise (I note that boardmembers and staff members have a different
>> take on this, so I'll keep it general - keeping in mind there are many other
>> aspects to be considered, such as transparancy. However, imho fundraising
>> through chapters should remain the best way).
>>
>
> Lodewijk,
>
> I don't think the chapters are barred from all fundraising... At most,
> they are at risk of not being able to participate in the global WMF
> fundraiser. They can still raise funds on their own through other
> methods. Maybe such other methods are more time consuming, difficult
> and less lucrative... But there are innovative substitutes for the WMF
> annual fundraiser, I'm sure.

Yes, there are. But no, there aren't. For anyone who's been involved
in grants proposals, the Wikimedia Foundation included, it is clear
that grants are often restricted, or come with strings attached, and
that you end up building an ugly statue in front of your local
swimming pool to please a very generous but extremely demanding big
donor. Not that these ways shouldn't be explored, but I find the idea
that "community" donations (or to put it more broadly: individual
donations) are much more powerful to bring forward what we're doing
than mega grants that will ever only tackle one side of the mission.
Grants monitored by the Wikimedia Foundation will, yes, go towards the
mission as a whole, but what about local specificities? Will they be
considered "part of the mission"? Wait and see...

>
> In any case, the barriers to participation relate to the
> organizational capacity of the chapters and the associated risks. A
> chapter that has financial controls and active leadership should be
> able to meet the WMFs requirements (with the exception of tax
> deduction eligibility, based on jurisdiction); a chapter that does not
> puts both their funds and their public reputation at risk.  As the
> host of the fundraiser and the mark owner, the WMF shares in that risk
> - and it is both reasonable and necessary that the Foundation adhere
> to and require minimum standards of accountability in order to
> mitigate the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.
>
> If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
> they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
> organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
> organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
> sense.

Seriously, one does not go without the other. You can't really
organize to do something if you don't ever do it. Learning by doing is
the best school, and while we can't let people fail, surely we can
help chapters succeed, and not by assuming that they're unable to
start with, on the contrary.

Cheers,

Delphine

--
@notafish

NB. This gmail address is used for mailing lists. Personal emails will get lost.
Intercultural musings: Ceci n'est pas une endive - http://blog.notanendive.org
Photos with simple eyes: notaphoto - http://photo.notafish.org

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saintonge at telus

Aug 27, 2011, 5:19 PM

Post #67 of 147 (1218 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 08/27/11 4:42 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:
> 2011/8/28 Delphine Ménard<notafishz [at] gmail>:
>> I'm still baffled at the Wikimedia Foundation wanting to go against
>> what other international organisations are doing, ie. they fundraise
>> locally.
> Is that what the WMF wants? I know it's what Sue said the plan was,
> but then Ting clarified that no such decision had been made. I haven't
> seen anything since then about what the long-term system will be. I
> suspect everyone is concentrating on the next fundraiser rather that
> subsequent ones, and that's understandable. We do need to work out
> what we're going to do after this one sooner rather than later,
> though.
>

If Sue and Ting are so much at odds, maybe the rest of us should duck.

Long term funding is a matter of great interest to all of us, and it's
discussion should be ongoing without regard to the current campaign.

Ray

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saintonge at telus

Aug 27, 2011, 5:29 PM

Post #68 of 147 (1232 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 08/27/11 4:34 PM, Delphine Ménard wrote:
> On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 12:53 AM, Ray Saintonge<saintonge [at] telus> wrote:
>>> If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
>>> they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
>>> organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
>>> organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
>>> sense.
>> There's a difference between organizational support and organizational
>> takeover. One possible solution might be to not allow chapters to
>> participate in the global fundraiser unless they already have a suitable
>> organization in place, but that could make it more difficult for the WMF
>> to take a piece of the chapter's action.
> Which brings up the question: how do chapters ever get to the point of
> being organisationally ready if they never take a crack at doing
> fundraising on their own? Pleasing donors near you brings on an
> incomparable motivation to do great things and adapt our mission to
> what is expected and needed in a given region. Pleasing the Wikimedia
> Foundation somehow does not, seem to me to have the same potential.
> You know, the very old parable of giving a fish and teaching to
> fish...
>
Legal and financial arguments aside, if the perception grows that the
WMF is trying to concentrate decision-making in San Francisco it is
bound to inspire nationalist sentiments in many countries. I really
don't think it's prepared to handle that.

Ray


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thomas.dalton at gmail

Aug 27, 2011, 5:29 PM

Post #69 of 147 (1223 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 28 August 2011 01:19, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus> wrote:
> If Sue and Ting are so much at odds, maybe the rest of us should duck.

I think it was a misunderstanding on Sue's part, rather than any
actual disagreement.

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rupert.thurner at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 1:47 AM

Post #70 of 147 (1217 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

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 within
>> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
>> 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 cash
>> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
>> 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.


>>> If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
>>> they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
>>> organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
>>> organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
>>> sense.
>>>
>>
>> There's a difference between organizational support and organizational
>> takeover. One possible solution might be to not allow chapters to
>> participate in the global fundraiser unless they already have a suitable
>> organization in place, but that could make it more difficult for the WMF
>> to take a piece of the chapter's action.
>
>
> Which brings up the question: how do chapters ever get to the point of
> being organisationally ready if they never take a crack at doing
> fundraising on their own? Pleasing donors near you brings on an
> incomparable motivation to do great things and adapt our mission to
> what is expected and needed in a given region. Pleasing the Wikimedia
> Foundation somehow does not, seem to me to have the same potential.
> You know, the very old parable of giving a fish and teaching to
> fish...

i like that :)

additionally we should not forget the entry point to reach a person.
building up additional fundraising procedures means additional ways to
contact people. do people really want to get spam mail from wikimedia
affiliated organizations, plus see people on the street asking to sign
long term donation contracts, plus experience other means common with
other NGO's? currently i did not hear the foundation is unhappy about
the income. so why bother so much tinkering with the status quo?

but i heard that wmf is, at least in some cases, unhappy with
spending. there should be more intelligent ways to improve spending
than micro managing the chapters spending via grant requests, also at
a timeline more appropriate to wikipedia ... which is made to stay
around at least for a couple of years.

imo, it would be wise to take our assets into account when designing
the next steps, no matter if it is on the donation side, or on the
spending side:
1. a globally visible web page, where a banner is sufficient to reach everybody
2. a culture of byte sized volunteering, everybody doing a little bit
but it fits at the end
3. "wiki", i.e. make quick, small, non interruptive improvements to
finally become the best

rupert

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nawrich at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 6:40 AM

Post #71 of 147 (1231 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Has it been worked out how many chapters will be affected by this
change? Of those that will be excluded this year (if any decisions on
that have been made or are anticipated), how many can expect to meet
the requirements for participation next year? Figuring this out may
have been part of the Board's research before announcing this change,
if so perhaps its been discussed elsewhere. If anyone has the details,
I'd be interested to see them.

Nathan

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risker.wp at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 7:46 AM

Post #72 of 147 (1231 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

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 within
> >> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
> >> 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 cash
> >> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
> >> 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 objectives
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 on
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 Foundation's
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 size
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 existing
chapters, and for the Global South chapters that are currently in early
development.


Risker/Anne
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valdelli at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 8:25 AM

Post #73 of 147 (1231 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On 28.08.2011 16:46, Risker wrote:
> On 28 August 2011 04:47, rupert THURNER<rupert.thurner [at] gmail> wrote:
>
>> 2011/8/28 Delphine Ménard<notafishz [at] gmail>:
>>
>> +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.
>>
>>
>
> 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 is incorrect because to receive tax exemption a person doesn't need
to have a receipt.

At least for Switzerland the donor can only indicate to have donate an
amount to one national charitable association. A receipt is not
requested if the donation is lower than a fixed amount (200 CHF ~300 USD).

http://www.wikimedia.ch/index.php?title=Donate/en&setlang=en

In general this is valid also for other countries (and in some of them
it's sufficient to have a receipt of the transaction).

I don't know who has said that the tax receipts have not been issued and
the persons were not able to receive the tax exemption, but this is
incorrect.

In WM CH some receipts have not been issued *automatically* because we
have received donations with incomplete data (the address for example),
but these persons have never requested one. In general some of them
prefer to donate locally because they would be sure that the money is
spent for local projects and not for tax exemption.


Ilario

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rupert.thurner at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 8:36 AM

Post #74 of 147 (1232 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 16:46, 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 within
>> >> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
>> >> 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 cash
>> >> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
>> >> 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 objectives
> 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 on
> 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;

what theoretical brainwash is this? we are working since 2005 towards
local landing pages, every year little bit more, and we finally got
there 2010, including the option to donate to the chapter or the
foundation. which proved to be successful. the targets were of course
not done via scientific research, but on the back of an envelope. we
tried asking the people passing by to give to wikipedia. and they were
prepared to give one CHF without thinking, but not 10. so we know
quite sure that the donation potential for switzerland might max out
at 2 mio CHF / year - if we reach a penetration of 50% of the working
population. and of course, have good progress.

what we do with the money? have more money than we can deal with? you
are joking! did you at any time in your whole life have difficulties
to spend money, or did somebody closed your bank account because it is
too full? we wire a big chunk of the money to the foundation where it
is 0.X % of their income. we wire it despite it feels like spitting
into the ocean.

the main challenge is then to _not_ spend it, or in other words, not
waste it to not go in prison. the board decides on the details and
proposes the way to go, the general assembly (all members) decide on
the strategy, and the bylaws state the goals. our board is legally
responsible towards the swiss law and its easy to just walk to the
other side of the street and sue in case of money waste or spending
not within the bylaws. to see an example how the spending is
scrutinized, subscribe to the german mailing list. this by far
superiour cost control than what is existing at the wikimedia
foundation and, i would say 99.9 % of the other "standard ngo's".

we are slow in spending, true. but the donors, at least in
switzerland, prefer slow spending to waste. do you know how many
employees wikimedia switzerland has? ZERO. we cannot tell if it will
make sense that it stays like this, but we are proud that we are
better and have less waste than other charities :) we do not need to
stand under bridges and in train stations, paying contractors 100% of
the first year, 75% of the second years donation and so on so they
hunt donators which then make a long year contract to pay us
regularly. we do not need to write spam mails to get donators. we do
not need to do all this "usual ngo" thing. we "only" need good work,
and spend wisely. and i guess many people have fun with it, and are
proud of it. at least i am. btw, how many new articles did you create
on wikipedia the last couple of months? none? i created 4, at least!
did you visit a museum to negotiate some glam projects? no? i visited
at least two. did you work on the internationalization project (aka
global south)? no? i helped organizing at least one meeting and one
project. did i get money? no!

over and out,

rupert.
-----------------------
http://wikimedia.ch/Donate - just so you may look the foundation is
there, _without_ an additional click.k

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de10011 at gmail

Aug 28, 2011, 9:01 AM

Post #75 of 147 (1240 views)
Permalink
Re: Chapters [In reply to]

Hi Risker

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.

Theo

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
> within
> > >> particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting
> laws
> > >> 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
> cash
> > >> will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do
> better
> > >> 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
> objectives
> 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
> on
> 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
> Foundation's
> 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
> size
> 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
> existing
> chapters, and for the Global South chapters that are currently in early
> development.
>
>
> Risker/Anne
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l [at] lists
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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