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What kind of events are funded through the conference grants program?
In general, we fund Thematic events; National and regional and Growth events. But we are open to hearing new and initiative ideas. Visit our Event Categories page to learn more.
What are the criteria for conference grants?
I’m interested in getting funding to organize a local event, but I don’t consider myself a part of my local community affiliate. Can I still get funding to my event?
Yes, we also allow Individual or Non-incorporated group grants under the eligibility criteria. Bur bare in mind that in some cases (depending on the scope of the event or the grant amount), we might ask you to work with a Fiscal Sponsor to administer the grant on your behalf.
Are you able to fund grantees from all countries?
There are varying complexities with grant making in the different parts of the world. Sometimes, the challenges and restrictions are because of US regulations (e.g. US sanctions). Other times, it can be funding challenges with the grantee's local jurisdiction. Please view this page to learn more.
How much time does it take for the grant funds to arrive?
Grant funds are usually sent within 30 days of signing the grant agreement. Please be mindful of that when planning and scheduling your event.
Do I need a bank account to receive funding for my event?
Yes, you do need a bank account. Please see Requirements by Grantee type.
What is a Fiscal sponsor and how would I know if I need one?
A fiscal sponsor is an organization that administers a grant on behalf of a grantee. Please view this page to learn more.
What should I do if I have an underspend from a current or previous activity funded by WMF?
I have an idea for a new kind of event, how do I know if it will be eligible?
What are the most common reasons that events are not chosen for funding?
Generally speaking, if it does not align with the Wikimedia Movement’s strategic direction, striving to be a robust and Thriving movement; When after a discussion with the potential grantee, we feel like the scope, goals or impact of the event are not clear; When we have a concern regarding the capacity of the organizing team, or when there are outstanding reports or documentation that are missing or haven't been submitted from previous grants. You can also read more about how do we prioritize proposals here.
Budget and expensesEdit
How do I build an event budget? What are the approved expenses? How can I plan the budget if I don’t know what the event will look like?
When planning an event's budget, start with the major budget categories such as travel/scholarships; venue, catering, accommodation, management etc. Include revenue as well. Then you should start adding specific and more detailed budget items to each category. Consider the amount of people you are planning to host (including organizing team) when budgeting for things like food and travel.
Start budgeting in your own currency. Try to base everything on real quotations and ask for more than one if it's a relatively big expense. Up to 10% unforeseen expenses can be included in the request.
Review past proposals and reports to see other events budgets and approved expenses. Here is a good example.
We encourage you to consider outsourcing some of the services so you as a volunteer, or affiliate staff, can focus on the core planning challenges like designing the program, creating partnerships and working with your community. Examples for things you can outsource: Travel booking; logistics and project management; Technical support; accounting; Facilitation and translation. For more budget guidelines see this.
What is the maximum/minimum amount of money I can ask for?
There is no maximum amount you can ask for. But obviously, when reviewing a grant proposal we consider which budget items are necessary and reasonable and we might ask you to remove specific items, to present or ask for more quotations, or to amend the budget. For grants under $2,000 USD, please see the Rapid Grants program
I want to submit a grant proposal but we only have volunteers on our organizing team. Can I outsource some of the planning and services, such as travel booking and administrative support?
Yes, and you are encouraged to do so when needed. Examples for things you can outsource: Travel booking; logistics and project management; Technical support; accounting; Facilitation and translation.
Whit that said, we want to be extremely mindful of the wellbeing, motivation and capacity of the organizing team and we really don't want to lead to volunteers burnout. So if you have any concerns regarding the team's capacity to organize the event, please don't ignore those and take the necessary actions (that might include publishing a 'call for volunteers', reducing the scope of the event or postponing it).
Guidelines on how to gather a strong organizing team, can be found here.
Can I ask for a swag budget (such as stickers; bags etc.)?
We all love getting swag from conferences and events -- it is a tangible way to share our love for Wikimedia and let folks know we are part of the community. However, over the last several years reports on event swag practices have made it clear that they have a very damaging environmental footprint. The damage is both environmental (water pollution, toxic chemicals, and waste) as well as human (workers at low-cost factories that often labor under inhumane conditions).
T-shirts make up more than 25% of swag sales, with bags, writing instruments, and tech accessories making up the rest.
We ask you to think hard about what is really necessary to make your event successful and consider both the environmental and human costs of producing such items. We might ask you to limit swag to low cost items like stickers. Thank you.
For references and further reading please see: "It's time to stop spending billions on cheap conference swag" -- Fast Company, November, 2, 2018.
Can I include an unforeseen item in my budget?
Yes, up to 10% unforeseen expenses can be included in the request.
What does a travel scholarship cover ? Can we allow partial scholarships as well?
A scholarship usually covers:
- Travel costs (international and/or domestic - Economy and preferably with Public Transportation).
Travel booking can be done by the organizers, or by the scholarship recipient according to a benchmark given by the
grantee. The booking method will be determined by the grantee.
- Accommodation (shared rooms, including 3 meals during the event)
- Visa costs and related expanses such as travel)
The grantee can decide on full or partial scholarships.
Where can I find past proposals and budgets?
All past proposals can be found here, you can use these for inspiration and reference but you are required to do your own local research and come up with your own budget numbers. Keep in mind that each event is different, has local context and needs, and there is not a one-size-fits all for our communities events. While making decisions on what to fund we will consider the local context and community needs for each event.
What should I do if I realize I need more funding or my plans have changed after my proposal was already approved?
We understand that even the best-laid plans sometimes need to change. Please discuss this with your program officer. For general practice when there are changes to a grant, see this.
Sponsorships and In-kind donations Edit
What are sponsorship in the context of events?
Sponsorship is a way for an organization or an individual to financially support or invest in an event. It can include promotional benefits and can cover any part of the event that is agreed upon the sponsor and the event organizer.
If I have local or independent sponsorships for my event, will they be deducted from my approved grant?
No. The approved grant is based on the total budget and proposal. We do highly encourage grantees to seek more funding resources because we believe it promote affiliates sustainability and independence, but we will not deduct them from your grant funds. That said, if the WMF grant funds were not fully used and there is an underspent, the grantee should relocate, or send the funds back.
How should I choose who receives scholarships to my event?
You should have a clear process and the preferred way should be with a scholarship committee. You should consider criteria such as diversity, newcomers, gender, Wikimedia experience, potential impact, region and other criteria relevant to your community and challenges.
Why does the WMF Trust and Safety team need to help review my scholarship list?
Individuals explicitly banned from attending events are listed under a restricted access list, maintained by the Support & Safety team. This is needed to make sure Wikimedia events are kept safe and welcoming for our community. Those who are under such an Event Ban can not be funded by a WMF grant and this is why the Trust and Safety team must review scholarship lists. This is a standard procedure and is under a 'must know only' policy. Event organizers will not be informed on any private or non-pubic violations.
What are in-kind donations?
In-kind donations are goods, services, and transactions not involving money or not measured in monetary term, given to a nonprofit organization. Some examples can be: Internet services; Technical support; food, venue costs, swag; Volunteer hours; counting and legal services; prizes; PR services etc. For more info, see a short guide to in-kind donations, and Estimating and evaluating in-kind resources.
Are In Kind donations considered part of the grant?
No, but we are always very happy to hear your stories and successes in asking for in-kind donations and we would be happy for you to report on those as part of the grant proposal/report. This will never be held against you, and will not be deducted from your approved budget. On the contrary - we want to know so we can evaluate and highlight your achievements.
We also strongly believe that creating new connections and partnerships through in-kind donations, promote affiliates sustainability and independence for the long run. If you want help in doing that, please reach out to us.
What kind of documents will I need to submit after my proposal is approved?
For more information on Grants privacy, what kind of information are we colleting; how do we use and store it, and more, please see Grants privacy FAQ.
What do I commit to when receiving a grant?
In terms of finance, you are committing to keeping records of all your expenses and presenting them if requested.
For more information on documenting expenses, please see this.
How much time do I have to submit my documentation after the event?
The financial and grant report is usually due 60 days after the end date of the project.