Grants:APG/Proposals/2015-2016 round1/Wikimedia UK/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.
- Wikimedia UK is documenting learning, sharing widely with the movement
- Opportunities for GLAM partnerships and increased support through partnership packages
- Reducing the number of metrics will make evaluation more feasible
- Targets are too low with respect to grant amount and number of staff
- Minimal past results are not a strong basis for future success
- Unplanned staffing changes led to significant costs and instability
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 UK has opportunities to work on English Wikipedia, the Wikimedia project with the largest reach of any project, although we have not yet seen this opportunity realized.
- There are also significant opportunities to do more with gender, minorities, underserved groups in Wikimedia UK’s context, that Wikimedia UK is not yet emphasizing, beyond involving more females directly in chapter work. We don’t see targets here that relate to online impact, although we note that Wikimedia UK plans to do more in this area.
- Through GLAM institutions in the UK, good opportunities for releasing and using content are available.
- Wikimedia UK has significant opportunities for institutional fundraising, which we have not yet seen come to fruition.
Past performance edit
Will this organization's past performance with program implementation enable this plan to succeed?
- In the current year, Wikimedia UK is not on track to exceed their targets for online content compared with 2014 results, or meet their current content-related targets in 2015.
- Based on past performance, targets in the proposal may not be achievable.
- GLAM is Wikimedia UK’s best-performing program, showing a percentage of donated media in use on Wikimedia projects, while other programs are not achieving significant results. This makes Wikimedia UK’s results appear less than or comparable to those of smaller organizations receiving significantly less funding.
- Past achievements are not commensurate with funding requested, with low outcomes year over year. By mid-2015, Wikimedia UK had reached 33 active editors involved, 184 new editors, 511 individuals involved, 733 images in use, and 414 articles added or improved. Many of these are the lowest global metrics achievements of any Annual Plan Grant organization in Round 1.
Organizational effectiveness edit
Will this organization's overall effectiveness enable this plan to succeed?
- Wikimedia UK has done significant work on improving governance. At the same time, Wikimedia UK has recently undergone a costly staff restructuring, and the ultimate impact on the organization is unclear.
- Wikimedia UK is working on volunteer engagement, hosting a series of meetings to discuss their volunteer strategies with stakeholders.
- Wikimedia UK is doing a good job documenting their work and sharing learning with the broader movement.
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 UK has a detailed strategic plan, which includes ways to track progress over time. Wikimedia UK’s goals are clearly rooted in their strategic plan, although not all elements of their strategy are closely aligned with Wikimedia movement priorities.
- Wikimedia UK’s GLAM work is well-aligned with Wikimedia movement priorities, and their work with volunteers could enable online outcomes. Other programs such as governance and technological innovation are less clearly aligned.
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?
- Presentation of programs conflates operational goals and activities with program activities, which gives the impression that Wikimedia UK may not be prioritizing effectively. For instance, Wikimedia UK’s goals on internal governance and Wikimedia UK volunteers may be enablers for other work, but are not directly relevant to movement goals.
- We continue to see strong potential in Wikimedia UK’s GLAM work. Wikimedia UK’s partnership approach will address internal organizational policies and procedures through Wikimedian in Residence projects.
- Through the program “Develop open knowledge,” Wikimedia UK will focus on quality, and has a goal to increase their files in use from 3.6% to 10%. Increasing the number of media files in use will be important for showing how useful content donations are to the Wikimedia projects.
- As articulated, advocacy and technology work on ‘tools’ are too vague to be effective. It is unclear how the camera loaning (technology pool) and QRpedia will lead to innovation. While there are many use cases for patches for MediaWiki to allow 3D images, the long-term maintenance plan isn’t clear.
Is this plan and budget focused on the programs with the highest potential for online impact?
- Wikimedia UK is proposing a 1% reduction in their grant, along with a 1% reduction in their overall budget. Wikimedia UK’s grant request is $477,365.
- We have serious concerns about the size of Wikimedia UK’s grant request. Given Wikimedia UK’s current targets and past performance, outcomes will not be commensurate to the size of this request or to the number of staff Wikimedia UK has.
- The budget is weighted toward Wikimedia UK’s more impactful programs, including GLAM and volunteer engagement.
- Wikimedia UK could take more advantage of opportunities for institutional fundraising in the UK, and we know the organization is thinking about this.
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
|WMUK has a good strategic plan and has been making efforts to improve its strategy process in recent years and has created a proposal that is aligned strongly with this plan. Other than GLAM work, however, some programs are not strongly aligned with movement priorities.
P2. Potential for impact at scale
|Considering the amount requested, we are concerned by the low targets presented in this proposal and this organization's past performance is not a good indicator of future success at scale. Targets of programs with potential to have impact at scale, like advocacy and technology work, are not clearly articulated.
P3. Objectives and evaluation methods
|WMUK has clear objectives for its programs and is including quality logic models alongside these objectives. WMUK has improved significantly in this area, as reducing the number of targets they are tracking will make their evaluation plan more feasible.
|Diversity is not emphasized in WMUK's plan, and we would expect more at this level of funding. Online gender-related targets are not included beyond volunteer involvement with chapter activities. Work on minority languages is included but not yet definite. We encourage WMUK to consider these issues in the year ahead.
O1. Past results
|WMUK has shown few results in terms of online impact, with respect to past funding received.
|WMUK is a learning organization that has greatly improved its ability to effectively document and share its work, both within the organization and in the broader movement.
O3. Improving movement practices
|WMUK has developed and shared learning materials, including case studies, infographics, and stories. WMUK engages in sharing its learning through international work on learning led by the WMF.
O4. Community engagement
|WMUK works with its community; however, the organization can still become more strategic in its engagement. WMUK's volunteer engagement work is a positive sign, and WMUK should continue to build effective engagement strategies that will result in online impact.
|WMUK has gone through some challenging staff transitions recently, and these continue to present ongoing capacity concerns.
B1. Past budgeting and spending
|Past spending has not led to significant impact, and unplanned staff transitions have been costly. WMUK may break even in the current year, though they ran a significant deficit in the previous year.
B2. Budget is focused on impact
|Costs are well-aligned with the most impactful programs, but proposed impact is not commensurate with funding. Staff costs are high relative to proposed impact.
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.