Fundraising 2011/Chapters/FAQ and deadlines

By running annual fundraising campaigns, the Wikimedia Foundation can continue pursuing its mission to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. This page serves as a portal to the 2011 campaign.

Fulfilling Fundraising Agreement for 2011


This section essentially restates components of the agreement that we are all familiar with. By laying out the timeline, we hope to enable a simply, friction-less process. We will create a table on Meta to provide for transparent tracking. It is important to note that WMF wants to be helpful in completing the requirements in a timely fashion, however it is the duty of each organization to meet the deadlines (whether there are further reminders or not) and proactively report on problems that arise in advance of deadlines.

Revenue reporting:


The agreement commits us all to publicly report revenues in a timely manner. It also commits us to report our revenues to each other within four weeks of month end. While the agreement is silent on “a timely manner”, let’s have public reporting happen shortly after we report to each other, so by the 15th of the following month i.e., by the 28th of each month.

Program plans with budget:


These are due in a timely manner coincident with the start of the organization's fiscal year. A well-functioning organization should ideally publish this before the commencement of the fiscal year. Let’s set the deadline as no later than the end of the first month of the fiscal year.

Acknowledge and thank donors:


We all commit to thank all donors within six months of their donation. As such, each organization must certify that they have thanked all donors who gave during the fundraiser by no later than June 30, 2011.

Revenue sharing commitments:


Payment is due to WMF on April 1, 2011 for all funds raised between November 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011. Since reporting on revenue through January31, 2011 is due February 28, 2011, we must finalize the payment amounts by March 15, 2011* so that payments can be wired by the deadline.

Payment is due to WMF on September 1, 2011 for all funds raised between February 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011. Since reporting on revenue through June 30, 2011 is due July 28, 2011, we must finalize the payment amounts by August 15, 2011* (chapters where August is a holiday month might want to expedite their process) so that payments can be wired by the deadline.

  • Note: The Wikimedia Foundation will be submitting grant requests to Wikimedia UK by these dates (*).

Chapter Fundraising Agreement 2011/12


A draft of the FR agreement is found here

Below are common questions that chapters would have regarding their legal, admin and reporting issues related to the annual fundraiser, kindly take a moment to review them and feel free to post additional questions that might arise with time. A schedule of deadline throughout the upcoming year is found at the end of the document, please review carefully.

The first deadline, for chapters to send revenue reports to the Wikimedia Foundation, has already passed. It was January 30. If we missed that deadline, are we already at risk of not being approved to participate in the 2011 campaign?

No. The onus is on you to understand and comply with the deadlines, but it’s okay if you missed that first one, as long as you can comply quickly. The problem will arise if you miss repeated deadlines. This will indicate that your organization does not have the processes in place to manage the full set of requirements of the agreement and we will not be able to enter an agreement for 2011/12 in good faith.

What is a “revenue report”? What format should it be in, and what information should it include?

The revenue report presents the total funds raised during the month. At a minimum, it would be one number. Ideally, it would include information that would be helpful to the chapter and your members. Information such as the number of donors, the average donation amount, amount from recurring gifts.

Who can help me arrange the “revenue transfer”? Each chapter will be responsible for calculating the revenue sharing amount, as you have most of the required information. Total donations for the period, allowable expenses and other exclusions. WMF will provide you with the amount we raised in your geography to assist in the calculation. The calculation should be total funds raised online (chapter + WMF) minus fundraising expenses and other allowable expenses. The net amount should then be multipled by 50% to calculate the revenue share amount. Moushira will provide support to calculate the revenue sharing amounts.

Our accounting department will provide you with invoices for the amounts and the bank instructions for payment. You will need to work with your own bank to process the wire transfer.

My chapter is still having difficulties figuring out how to legally transfer money to the Wikimedia Foundation. Who can help us figure that out?

We have worked with all chapters who have identified issues to resolve the problems with legal transfer of monies. We also specified that you needed to be able to complete a transfer of money to participate, so we hope that this will not happen. However, if it is an issue. It will be important for you to indicate the problem to us as soon as possible and we will work with you to resolve it. We have provided legal support in the past and will do so.

My chapter did not participate in the 2010/11 agreement, but we will probably want to participate in the 2011/12 agreement. Of the deadlines laid out in this timeline, which apply to us?

If you did not participate in the 2010/11 agreement and you want to participate in the 2011/12 agreement, your first deadline will be May 1. By that date, you will need to formally assert your desire to participate in the 2011/12 agreement, enter a testing agreement with WMF and pass a live payments test. It may sound like you’ve got lots of time to ensure you’re compliant with the agreement, but you may find it’s harder than you think. We urge you to start now to familiarize yourself with the 2010/11 agreement, and work towards getting compliant with it, because many of the conditions will be the same or similar. Please review the deadlines that are presented in the section of the memo focused on the 2011/12 agreement.

I don’t understand why there are three deadlines for demonstrating compliance with the 2011/12 agreement: May 1, Jun 30 and Sep 1.

The multiple deadlines will help you to get everything in place in time to participate in the agreement. By May 1, chapters will need to assert that they intend to participate in the agreement, they will be able to be in compliance with the agreement and have an action plan to get there. We need this to be able to commence testing. June 30 is the deadline to sign the agreement and to provide an updated action plan on areas where you are not yet in compliance. Sept 1 is the date that you must be in compliance to participate.

What does demonstrating/asserting compliance mean? Is it enough for us just to tell you that “yes, we’re in compliance”? Or do we need to prove compliance, and if so, how? If we don’t say anything to you at all, will you assume we’re in compliance?

There are three ways that we will use for compliance. 1. The easiest is compliance on requirements that have a specific action by a specific date that has past. For example, payment of revenue sharing by April 1, 2010. 2. Demonstrating compliance requires you to be able to show that you can do it, when asked. Processing a test payment is an example of this. 3. Asserting compliance is a proactive statement on your part that you will be able to meet a commitment. For example, thanking donors in the time allotted. We cannot ask you to demonstrate this, but we will expect that you will act in good faith to only state that you are in compliance if you are sure that you will be able to meet the requirement when required.

How many deadlines can we miss, before we will risk not being approved to participate in the 2011 campaign? We reserve the right to decline to sign an agreement even if you miss only one deadline (with the exception of the first revenue report: if you miss that, that’s okay). Having said that, if you miss only a few deadlines, and by only a few weeks, and you have a good justification, that is probably fine. If you miss a lot of deadlines though, or a few deadlines by months, or you have no justification, it’s much less likely we’ll be willing to enter an agreement with you in the future.

Everyone involved with my chapter is busy, and we don’t necessarily have the time to adhere to all these obligations.

Fundraising carries important responsibilities and you entered the agreement with full knowledge of the responsibilities to donors, your members, the movement and WMF. If your chapter is really busy, or doesn’t have the technical ability to participate in the fundraiser, or has other priorities, then it shouldn’t participate in the campaign. It is not a requirement that chapters fundraise and we think it is totally fine to have chapters who choose to focus the energy of their volunteer time on programmatic work rather than fundraising. The Wikimedia Foundation is happy to help fund your programmatic activities through the grants program.

Will the terms of the 2011/12 agreement be significantly different from those of the 2010/11 agreement?

We will be sharing a draft of the 2011/12 agreement by Feb. 15 for input. Many of the obligations will be the same or similar with some adjustments based on the experience from 2010/11. There will be areas with more significant changes including the approach to revenue sharing which we would like to refine to better match funding to programmatic needs.

If I have questions about the deliverables laid out here, or about the timelines or any of this, who should I talk with?

Your first point of contact should be Moushira. We will also host two IRCs soon to provide a forum for discussion.

If I know for sure, or can anticipate, that I’m going to miss a deadline, who should I tell and when?

Please inform Moushira as soon as you are aware that you will miss a deadline. Note: All information about the status of the process will be catalogued on Internal. Please also add notes to the Internal page as appropriate.

How can I find out more about the work Sebastian is doing?

Sebastian will be sharing more about the pilot in the next few days.

How can I find out more about the work Asaf is doing?

Asaf will be in attendance at the chapter’s conference in Berlin and we will share more about his role and plans there. He will also participate on the IRC discussion.

I don’t agree that donors want us to spend their money. I believe that many donors want us to build a strong reserve fund, or possibly even an endowment. What evidence do you have to support the contention that donors want the money to be spent in the same year it was given?

First point on this question is that we should be doing what we have told donors we would do, so if we haven’t mentioned a strong reserve fund or an endowment, then we shouldn’t be spending that way. This is the reason we want to have plans available before the fundraiser, so that donors can clearly see how we intend to spend their donations. Typically, large reserve funds are needed in situations where an organization maintains critical infrastructure that would be placed at risk should there be a temporary drop in revenues. Chapters do not have responsibility for critical infrastructure that would require a large reserve fund. In general, prudent nonprofits do maintain a reserve that can assist in sustaining programs during temporary downturns in revenue. There is a wide range of opinions about what size of reserve fund a healthy non-profit needs, but a best practice is typically believed to be somewhere between three and 12 months of average monthly spending. Endowments are a different issue. When nonprofits want to raise an endowment, they create a specific campaign focused on building an endowment in which they can explain the rationale for the creation of the endowment and how it will be managed over time including the investment strategy to earn income on the endowment, the rules for what the endowment income may be spent on and rules for spending down the principal of the endowment (should that be necessary). This long answer can be summarized by saying that chapters should be spending most of their funds on programs in the current year, with some modest reserves to be prudent.

Quick reference table of milestone and deadlines

Date Requirement
Feb 15, 2011 WMF to share draft of 2011/12 fundraising agreement
Feb 28, 2011 Revenue report through Jan 31, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Mar 15, 2011 Revenue share transfer amount due on Apr 1, 2011 calculated and agreed
Mar 15, 2011 WMF to share final 2011/12 fundraising agreement
Mar 28, 2011 Revenue report through Feb 28, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Apr 1, 2011 Revenue share transfer amount from chapters to be paid to WMF
Apr 28, 2011 Revenue report through Mar 31, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
May 1, 2011 All chapters who wish to enter an agreement for 2011/12 need to demonstrate they have the technical infrastructure in place to accept live online donations
May 1, 2011 Chapters who do not have a 2010/11 agreement must sign a testing agreement with WMF
May 1, 2011 All chapters who intend to sign an agreement for 2011/12 with WMF need to indicate this intention via posting on Internal (template to be provided) with statement of the areas they are not in compliance as well as the action steps to achieve compliance
May 28, 2011 Revenue report through Apr 30, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Jun 28, 2011 Revenue report through May 31, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Jun 30, 2011 Deadline for all 2011/12 fundraising agreements to be signed
Jul 28, 2011 Revenue report through Jun 30, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Aug 15, 2011 Revenue share transfer amount due on Sep 1, 2011 calculated and agreed
Aug 28, 2011 Revenue report through Jul 31, 2011 to be shared publicly; WMF/chapter to exchange reports
Sep 1, 2011 Revenue share transfer amount from chapters to be paid to WMF
Sep 1, 2011 Deadline for achieving compliance with 2010/11 agreements and certification that the chapter is in compliance with terms of 2011/12 agreement.
Oct 1, 2011 Deadline for WMF/chapters to publish program plans and budgets with a fundraising target.
1 month after org’s fiscal year begins; No later than Oct 1, 2011 Chapter/WMF publicly shares plan and budget for new fiscal year