Grants:APG/Proposals/2015-2016 round1/Wikimedia Nederland/Staff proposal assessment
The staff proposal assessment is one of the inputs into the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) proposal review process, and is reviewed by the FDC in preparation for and during the in-person deliberations each round. The purpose of the staff proposal assessment is to offer the FDC an overview of the expert opinions of the FDC staff team about this annual plan grant proposal, and includes (1) An overview about all applications in the current round; (2) A narrative assessment; (3) An assessment that ranks each applicant according to specific criteria in program design, organizational effectiveness, and budgeting.
Overview for all assessments edit
High quality of proposals and annual plans edit
Proposals in this round have significantly improved in quality. Proposals are accompanied by detailed strategic plans, and some strategic plans include ways to monitor long term progress over time. With a few exceptions, proposals have been more focused and organized into 2-3 programs with common objectives. Most proposals have been more clearly focused on program work and have included less of an emphasis on operational details. Organizations have included logic models and other clear explanations (e.g. needs assessments and community surveys) to demonstrate why their work is needed and how proposed activities are likely to lead to results.
We appreciate the significant effort that has gone into these proposals, and also believe that the high quality of these proposals will aid the Funds Dissemination Committee in their understanding of each organization’s planned work. Furthermore, quality proposals with clear objectives will provide a strong foundation for each organization’s evaluation of their results in the coming year.
Better targets and effective storytelling edit
The inclusion of global metrics targets for each proposal has enabled a better understanding of the entire portfolio of Annual Plan Grant proposals in Round 1, and should help show the impact of Annual Plan Grant organizations as a group in a few key areas.
We know global metrics don’t tell the entire story of an organization’s impact. Organizations have included program-specific metrics that measure results that are specific to their work. We see organizations thinking about ways to understand the quality of the content contributed through their work, as well as ways the content is used by contributors (e.g. use rates for media), or readers (e.g. pageviews). Organizations are doing important work that is not yet reflected in global metrics, such as work in the areas of policy advocacy, building the MediaWiki community, and attempts to address community health. Organizations are striving to find good ways to show their achievements in these areas, and to link these achievements to online impact. We appreciate the different ways organizations are working to show the impact of their programs through metrics that are specific to their contexts, and we know this work will continue to be important moving forward.
Beyond the metrics, organizations are improving in their abilities to effectively tell stories and document lessons learned, both in terms of organizational learning and program learning. We have seen significant improvement from last year, with several organizations becoming systematic in the way they document and share their stories. We appreciate where organizations have highlighted important aspects of their work through effective storytelling.
Community health edit
This year, several organizations are using the lens of community health to structure their work with online contributors. Wikimedia Nederland is doing innovative work around training Arbitration Committee members and administrators. Amical Wikimedia, Wikimedia Nederland, and Wikimedia Israel are addressing online conflicts in their communities. We encourage them to share what they learn about this developing approach with the broader movement and Wikimedia Foundation, as we all stand to gain from these experiences.
Beyond this work, we have seen many organizations implement community surveys to gain a better understanding of the communities they work with and their specific characteristics and challenges. We see movement organizations as clear leaders in this area, since most have direct relationships with their communities and are well-equipped to address challenges that are specific to the geographies and languages they work with. We appreciate that learning how to address challenges in specific Wikimedia communities may be used to improve our understanding of community health in the broader Wikimedia context, which is one reason we see this work as so important.
Many organizations are looking beyond Wikipedia and Commons communities, to focus on other projects. Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia CH are both focusing on Wikidata this year, and Wikimedia Israel and Wikimedia Serbia are continuing their strong work on Wiktionary. A number of organizations are focusing on other projects like Wikisource and Wikivoyage, which may offer significant opportunities for improving content and increasing participation and reach.
Policy and legal work edit
Organizations are focusing on policy areas like copyright reform in a consistent and coordinated way. Wikimedia organizations already have a track record of participating in policy discussions. Some organizations, like Wikimedia Sverige, are seen by others as policy experts in their regions.
However, organizations do not yet have a strong track record with influencing policy, as it remains a nascent area of work. Plans focus on processes and mechanics of policy works rather than identifying specific and achievable policy goals.
Outside of policy work, organizations are also working on supporting contributors with legal expertise (e.g. Wikimedia CH and its work on copyright guidance for users on Commons).
In general, we see this policy work as well-aligned with Wikimedia Foundation’s strategies in these areas. We encourage organizations to continue to articulate how these policy goals benefit Wikimedia projects. We acknowledge that it is challenging to measure the outcomes of this work, and encourage further discussion.
Technology work edit
Organizations are continuing to request funding for technical work, with a focus on technology tools. In general, we have seen an improvement in plans for technology work and have seen these projects proposed on a smaller scale. Some organizations already have expertise in these areas, while others are working to build more expertise. Beyond Wikimedia Deutschland’s software development plans, Wikimedia Sverige is working with its community to address bug reporting, and Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia CH are building relevant tools to expand the use of Wikipedia (text-to-speech, Kiwix and Wikimini). Wikimedia UK is also continuing work on VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and QRpedia. Wikimedia Israel is working on ways to support technical contributors to MediaWiki, and Wikimedia Ukraine is planning to support the development of gadgets relevant to its community.
Coordination among organizations edit
Organizations are continuing to coordinate with one another to improve movement practices and accomplish shared goals. Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Österreich, Wikimedia Ukraine, and Amical stand out as high performers in documenting learning and improving movement practices, and Wikimedia Israel, Wikimedia Argentina, and Wikimedia Sverige, are making important contributions too.
Wikimedia Argentina and Wikimedia Ukraine are taking leadership roles in regional collaborations like Iberocoop and the CEE regional group. Organizations are collaborating across languages (e.g. Amical and Wikimedia Sverige), as well as within languages (e.g. DACH). A number of organizations are supporting international program groups and convenings, including Wikimedia Ukraine (Wiki Loves Earth), Wikimedia Nederland (GLAM conference), Wikimedia Österreich (Wikisource conference), Wikimedia Israel (Hackathon). Organizations in Europe are coordinating around EU advocacy issues.
Beyond technology tools, organizations like Wikimedia Österreich, Wikimedia Nederland, Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Israel are working on tools for advocacy work and education work that can benefit the broader movement. Organizations are also engaging actively with the Community Engagement team at Wikimedia Foundation to coordinate with Wikimedia Foundation on movement learning.
Quality of budgets edit
Budgets in this round varied in quality. Some organizations are still struggling to include an appropriate amount of detail in their budget. We believe more conversation is necessary to agree on the level of detail needed in these budgets, and to establish shared norms for good practices in budgeting and financial reporting. WMF plans to provide more in-depth guidance for budgets in the future.
Wikimedia Sverige and Wikimedia Nederland have performed consistently in the area of making quality budgets and offering transparent financial reporting, and we’ve also seen significant improvement from smaller organizations like Amical and Wikimedia Serbia. Several organizations included staff time and costs for each program. This is a good practice, which can help organizations demonstrate how staff are contributing to different program areas, and tracking this closely will also help organizations understand how their resources are being allocated.
In some cases, however, we received budgets that included line large line items without sufficient detail for understanding the costs. This means that we could not draw strong conclusions about how budgets were weighted toward impact in many cases.
Finally, we noticed large amounts allocated to travel expenses, printing and promotional materials, and it is sometimes difficult to link these significant expenses to commensurate impact. Where expenses are significant, we would like to see clearer links to impact.
Pilot: one restricted grant request edit
The FDC makes general support grants to support programmatic and operational costs. For the first time, the FDC has received a request for a restricted grant, from Wikimedia Deutschland. We are piloting this approach to specifically support Wikimedia Deutschland’s software development focus. In a restricted grant, funds are allocated to specific line items in an organization’s budget.
|Proposed change (as a +/- percentage)
FDC or PEG funding
Overview of strengths and concerns edit
This section summarizes the strengths and concerns identified by staff, which are explained in the detailed narrative section of this assessment.
- Thoughtful program design and strategy
- Thoughtful approach to community health
- Learning organization that improves movement practices
- Targets too low with respect to funding requested
- Past results not commensurate with past funding
- Increasing reliance on Annual Plan Grant funding or diversifying funds
Staff proposal assessment narrative edit
This section takes an in-depth look at this organization's past performance and current plans.
Context and effectiveness edit
This section takes a close look at this organization's context. Here are some questions we will consider:
How does this organization's environment (including its local context and its community) enable this plan to succeed and have impact?
- Wikimedia Nederland is working in the Netherlands, where Dutch Wikipedia is very large relative to the size of the population.
- Wikimedia Nederland relies on a small but committed community of volunteers. We need to see this community of volunteers growing alongside increases in program activity and budget. Planned work in community health may enable that.
- Wikimedia Nederland continues to pursue and explore opportunities that are relevant in their context, such as their new approach to community support and research into areas like quality.
Past performance edit
Will this organization's past performance with program implementation enable this plan to succeed?
- Wikimedia Nederland has a history of setting low goals, and so has already exceeded their 2015 goals. For media uploaded, the target was set at 3,000 but they achieved roughly 7,800 by mid-2015. Since this is the first year Wikimedia Nederland set clear targets in these areas, they may be able to more effectively calibrate targets in future years.
- Despite exceeding their goals, we still have concerns that content achievements are not high enough with respect to past grant amounts. According to data submitted in mid-2015, about 1,300 articles had been created with the support of Wikimedia Nederland, which received a grant of about $341,000 in 2015.
Organizational effectiveness edit
Will this organization's overall effectiveness enable this plan to succeed?
- Wikimedia Nederland has stable and effective leadership, both staff and board.
- Wikimedia Nederland has built a strong learning culture over the past several years. Growing from an organization that is reluctant to discuss failure directly in their progress and impact reports, Wikimedia Nederland now excels at documenting learning and applying lessons learned directly to the design of their programs in strategic ways.
- Wikimedia Nederland continues to model good practices in governance and financial management. Wikimedia Nederland has been impressively consistent in these areas.
- Wikimedia Nederland has made significant contributions to improving movement practices, including hosting the international GLAM conference, and supporting the internationally successful program Wiki Loves Monuments.
Strategy and programs edit
This section takes a close look at this organization's programs. Here are some questions we will consider:
Does this organization have a high-quality strategic plan in place, and are programs well-aligned with this strategic plan?
- Wikimedia Nederland has a detailed strategic plan in place, and programs in this proposal are well-aligned with this strategic plan. Wikimedia Nederland is currently engaged in a process to develop their new strategy.
- Programs are well-aligned with movement strategic priorities.
- Wikimedia Nederland is using tools such as cost/outcomes analysis to prioritize activities over the long term.
Do proposed programs have specific, measurable, time-bound objectives with clear targets, and are program activities and results logically linked? Are there specific programs with a high potential for impact?
- Wikimedia Nederland has included clear and relevant goals for each of their programs, with strong logic models explaining why each activity is needed and how activities will lead to the desired results.
- Wikimedia Nederland’s approach to community health is thoughtful, and if successful, learning in this area could benefit the broader movement. We are very interested in monitoring Wikimedia Nederland’s new metrics that measure attitudinal shifts through their community health work.
- We have not yet seen evidence that face-to-face work will mitigate editor attrition and increase motivation, and so we encourage Wikimedia Nederland to pursue these activities selectively.
- Wikimedia Nederland is researching ways to better understand quality on the Wikimedia projects. This research, if actionable, could be helpful to Wikimedia Nederland and the broader community. This work may be critical to better showcasing the value of Wikimedia Nederland’s work, as current use rates for images contributed through their programs are not yet impressive.
- Targets for the education program are also low, and we hope Wikimedia Nederland continues to monitor the expense of this program (both financial, and in terms of organizational focus), as they continue this work and build on their pilot, to ensure that outcomes increase to more proportional levels.
- Communications is not a standalone program and should be included as a component of other programs for clarity and consistency.
Is this plan and budget focused on the programs with the highest potential for online impact?
- Wikimedia Nederland is proposing to increase their grant from $341,024 to $381,408, or by 12%, and is increasing their overall budget by 6%. This means Wikimedia Nederland is increasing their reliance on Annual Plan Grant funding, growing their budget, and growing their grant request.
- We realize fundraising is a substantial challenge, but we have concerns that Wikimedia Nederland is continuing to rely on Annual Plan Grant funding, and is requesting an increase in funding this year. In past years, we have expressed concerns about the lack of diversity in funding sources, and we have not seen significant progress in this area.
- Wikimedia Nederland continues to do a good job managing their finances, and reporting effectively in this area.
- In the past, we have expressed concerns about Wikimedia Nederland’s large reserves, and we are glad to see that Wikimedia Nederland does not plan to increase their reserves in the upcoming year and intends to spend them down.
Summary of expert opinions (if applicable) edit
This section will summarize any expert opinions or other research.
Staff proposal assessment framework edit
This framework assesses annual plan grant proposals across the three dimensions of (1) Program design, (2) Organizational effectiveness, and (3) Budgeting. To complete the assessment, we identify whether each criterion is a strength or a concern:
- Major strength
- Neither a strength nor a concern
- Major concern
|WMNL has a quality strategic plan that includes ways to evaluate long term progress and has been doing so for a number of years, and all of its programs are strongly aligned with this strategy and with movement priorities. WMNL continues to improve its strategic planning process as part of making its upcoming strategic plan. Rationale for strategic alignment is clearly explained for each program.
P2. Potential for impact at scale
|WMNL's plan builds on past program experience and learning. WMNL is likely to meet the targets set. Thoughtful work in areas like community health may benefit the larger movement in the long term. Yet, the amount requested is very large with respect to the targets set.
P3. Objectives and evaluation methods
|WMNL has a clear plan in place to evaluate its work, and has a strong track record of effective evaluation in the past. WMNL monitors its ongoing progress according to goals set, and uses tools like the cost / impact chart for programs to prioritize organizational focus. WMNL's objectives go beyond global metrics to provide useful insights into its programs that are important to the organization's specific work.
|WMNL is one of few APG funded organizations with a program specifically targeting the gender gap, with clear goals and targets set in this area.
O1. Past results
|Despite WMNL receiving large grants year over year, we have not yet seen online outcomes commensurate to these large amounts of funding.
|In a few short years, WMNL has moved from being an organization reluctant to discuss learning in its proposals and reports, to a model learning organization that does an effective job documenting program and organizational learning and applying lessons learned to the design of its programs.
O3. Improving movement practices
|WMNL has contributed significantly to movement learning by developing international programs (WLM), hosting convenings on international topics (GLAM), and being a thought leader in timely and important areas like community health.
O4. Community engagement
|In the past, WMNL has worked hard to engage its community more effectively, and plans to work on community health in the coming year. WMNL surveys its community to better understand them and designs programs with those needs in mind.
|WMNL has proposed a clear plan with a strong basis in past work, and has the resources to do this plan.
B1. Past budgeting and spending
|WMNL has had trouble meeting past fundraising targets, but otherwise has a strong history of effecitve bugeting. Past spending has not led to commensurate impact.
B2. Budget is focused on impact
|WMNL has not decreased its reliance on APG funding this year. At the same time, WMNL has significant costs set aside for community events.
Staff proposal assessment framework edit
- Major strength. This is something the organization does very well, and this is a strong indicator of future success.
- Strength. This is something that the organization does well, and this could indicate future success.
- Neither a strength nor a concern. This is something that does not indicate future success or make funding the application a risk, or aspects of this criterion conflict.
- Concern. This is something that the organization does not do well, and this could make funding the application a risk.
- Major concern. This is an area where the organization is not strong, and this could make funding the application a serious risk.
The organization has a quality strategic plan in place, programs are aligned with this strategy, and this strategy is aligned with online impact.
P2. Potential for impact at scale
Programs could lead to significant online impact at scale, and corresponding to the amount of funds requested.
P3. Evaluation methods
Programs include a plan for measuring results and ensuring learning, and employ effective evaluation tools and systems. Programs include SMART objectives, targets, and logic models.
Programs will expand the participation in and reach of the Wikimedia movement, especially in parts of the world or among groups that are not currently well-served.
O1. Past results
This organization has had success with similar programs or approaches in the past, and has effectively measured and documented the results of its past work.
This organization is addressing risks and challenges effectively, is learning from and documenting its experiences, and is applying learning to improve its programs.
O4. Improving movement practices
This organization effectively shares learning about its work with the broader movement and beyond, and helps others in the movement achieve more impact.
O5. Community engagement
This organization effectively engages communities and volunteers in the planning and implementation of its work.
This organization has the resources and ability (for example, leadership, expertise, staff, experience managing funds) to do the plan proposed.
B1. Past budgeting and spending
This organization has a history of budgeting realistically and managing funds effectively in the past.
B2. Budget is focused on programmatic impact
Based on past performance and current plans, funds are allocated to programs and activities with corresponding potential for programmatic impact.