This page documents a process common to all or most of WMF's grants programs. Please don't edit this page, but please do leave a comment on the discussion page instead.

Purpose and background


Remaining (unspent) grant funds must be returned according to the instructions in your grant agreement. Consult your executed grant agreement for details specific to your grant and your program. Grantees are responsible for any legal or regulatory requirements associated with returning grant funds and should make sure they are able to return any remaining unused grant funds or make other appropriate arrangements to ensure that they can return funds before receiving any funds.

Report the total amount spent and the total amount remaining to WMF along with the details of your grant expenses at the same time that your final report for a grant is submitted.

Remaining funds


Remaining funds (sometimes also referred to as "underspend") may be defined as:

  1. any grant funds not used to implement the activities of the grant (e.g. if your project was achieved under the estimated budget or some expenses were not needed)
  2. any grant funds not spent on approved expenses or in line with the purposes outlined in each grantee's agreement and approved budget in the grantee's grant application
  3. funds that are not sufficiently documented or reported on by the grantee
  4. funds for a grant that has been cancelled
  5. funds that need to be returned by WMF in the event that a grant is terminated
  6. any other funds to be returned as requested by WMF

Remaining funds under US$20 or its equivalent in another currency do not need to be returned if the cost of returning funds is greater than the amount of funds remaining. Work with your Program Officer[1], who may approve the use of these funds for mission-aligned purposes, and you typically would not need to submit another report on how these funds were used.

If remaining funds are not (1) returned, (2) reallocated to approved mission-aligned activities, or (3) retained with WMF's explicit written permission, the grantee will be out of compliance with program requirements and will not be eligible to receive future grants through any WMF program. This non-compliance may also affect grants a specific individual is involved with in another capacity or role. WMF may also take necessary steps to recover remaining grant funds.

How to return remaining funds


Grantees may have several options for returning remaining funds.

  1. Return to WMF: Return your unspent grant funds to WMF according to the instructions here and notify WMF by sending an email to grantsadmin and your Program Officer[1].
  2. Request to use funds for other mission-aligned activities: This option is only available for funds remaining from Rapid Grants. See instructions below.
  3. Retain with permission: In some cases, remaining funds may be retained by the grantee with WMF's permission for up to 21 days until they may be deducted from a scheduled disbursement of another approved grant, to save on transaction fees. In order to retain funds with WMF's permission, most cases will require the grantee to have another grant request already submitted and "under review" or already approved at the time the report is submitted for the grant with an underspend. This option is only available if you request and receive written permission from WMF to retain the funds. At the time the request to retain funds is approved, WMF will inform you of the amount of time you may retain the funds and under what circumstances you may retain them.
  4. Transfer to a third party: In very rare cases, WMF and the grantee may agree to transfer remaining funds to a third party or to retain the funds for the purpose of an upcoming transfer to a third party. In this case, WMF will help the grantee document the funds transfer to show that the funds have been returned.

Request to use remaining Rapid Grant funds for other mission-aligned activities


If you have remaining funds from a grant through the Rapid Grants program, you may submit a request to use these funds for other approved mission-aligned activities instead of returning them to WMF.

To request to use of unspent grant funds for other mission-aligned activities, please post a message on the discussion page of your grant report:

  1. A budget outlining how the underspend will be used, including the total amount of the underspend that you will use for for these new activities.
  2. A brief description of the mission-aligned activities that you plan to use the underspend on and an explanation about how these activities are related to the Wikimedia mission.
  3. Include a start date and a completion date for your activities. The start date and completion date should each include a day, month, and year (format: DD Month YYYY; e.g. 1 January 2020).

Upon review of your reallocation request, WMF staff will either request a new grant proposal for the additional activities or approve a reallocation of funds under the current grant. Reporting requirements will be set based on the project scope. In most cases, the grantee is still required to submit a list of expenses and scanned receipts after the completion of the approved activities.

If you have funds remaining from another type of grant, you must return the funds to WMF.


  1. a b Contact list: by Region for Community Resources (CR) grant programs: Non CR grant programs Grant administrators (for all grant programs): grantsadmin