Project Grants Committee

getting started

Welcome, new members! Now that you've joined, here is what you need to get started.

Step 1. Read through the orientation to the committee.

The orientation page is here: Grants:Project/Committee/Orientation

Step 2. Learn about how we work

Read the responsibilities, guidelines and review sections of this page to learn more about the selection process and your duties as a committee member.

Step 3. Signup for a working group

We divide proposals up by methodology or theme, so you can focus on scoring proposals in your area of expertise. Feel free to join more than one group! Join a working group.

Step 4. Give early feedback to proposers

It's never too early to start reading proposals and share your feedback to help improve them. Tips for giving early feedback.

Step 5. Got questions?

You'll get an email when it is time to start scoring proposals or begin other committee tasks. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to post them on the Workroom talk page.


Primary roles:

  1. Provide feedback on the talk page of grant proposals in all 3 stages: ideas, drafts, and final submissions.
  2. Evaluate finalized proposals: Review finalized proposals and community input, and score proposals according to rubric determined by selection criteria.
  3. Recommend proposals for funding: Recommend a shortlist of proposals for funding based on the available budget and projects.
  4. Organize into working groups to accomplish all of the above.

Secondary roles:

  1. Help recruit new proposals and ideas, and spread the word about Project Grants and committee openings during open call periods.
  2. Make recommendations to WMF about grantmaking practices and help improve the Project Grants program and committee process.
  3. Become a project advisor. If you’ve become familiar with a project and we’ve funded it, following its progress to completion is a great way to stay involved between open call periods. Read reports, highlight results, check-in with grantees from time-to-time about what they’re producing, help troubleshoot or connect them to others if needed, etc.


communication guidelines

The committee communicates using a variety of channels, including:

  • Proposal talk pages
  • This meta Workroom and the Workroom talk page, for discussion and organizing
  • projectcom(_AT_) (currently private)
  • Google Meet or other platforms may also be considered if voice becomes necessary to meet to reach consensus

Some guidelines we've agreed to during the review period:

  • Members are strongly encouraged to communicate directly with grant proposers in the proposal discussion pages, to make suggestions, to ask questions, and give feedback.
  • Members are also encouraged to communicate with grant proposers after grants are announced to discuss how proposals that were not selected could be improved or to share revision suggestions if the proposal may be submitted in future rounds.
  • Active committee members should not communicate with recused members or grant proposers regarding private committee discussions about specific proposals during the scoring and recommendation periods.
  • WMF grantmaking staff, with the assistance of the committee, will post a one-time release of aggregated scores and comments after the scoring phase has concluded.

conflict of interest guidelines

The committee handles conflicts of interest from active members who submit proposals as follows:

  • Members may continue to serve on the committee during a round in which they have submitted a proposal by continuing to participate in public discussions and other on-wiki activities.
  • Members who have submitted a proposal will recuse themselves from all working groups that formally review proposals in the same category during that round.
  • Members who have submitted a proposal may continue to serve in a working group reviewing a category of proposals for which their own proposal is not included.
  • Members who have submitted a proposal will recuse themselves from the final deliberation and recommendation of all proposals when their own proposal has moved from a working group to the all-committee shortlist.
  • Committee members and WMF grantmaking staff who take on a role of advisor to the point of becoming a champion for any given proposal should recuse themselves from the process of reviewing or giving final approval on the proposal.
  • Committee recusal includes abstaining from scoring and formally recommending proposals, and removal from the committee mailing list and any other private channels or documents in use throughout the formal review period.
  • Committee members should follow the WMF Conflict of Interest Guidelines, which is currently in a draft form at Guidelines on potential conflicts of interest. Any potential or perceived COIs must be first and foremost disclosed proactively to the Supervisor of the allocation of funds. The Committee must be informed of any recusals that take place, but not necessarily of the reasons involving them.


Step 0: Give early feedback.

When: year round.

  • Check for new ideas and drafts submitted to the IdeaLab, and for complete proposals in the Project Grants space.
  • Give feedback and ask clarifying questions to help improve proposals and projects for which funding is sought. It would be rare for a submission to be absolutely perfect from the start. Some may need tweaking to become really good usable project plans, and we can help nudge them in the right direction. Point proposers to the Proposal guidelines and other documentation when needed.
  • Encourage good ideas to move to status=PROPOSED before the deadline for each round.
  • Ensure that sufficient information is provided and that goals and estimates are realistic and well-defined. If scope or budgets need to be adjusted up or down, the appropriate time to request this is before a project is recommended for a grant.
  • Check on the community discussion around each proposal. Make sure community notification happened. If not, suggest or help grantees to do so.
  • Encourage proposers to be bold, experimental & aim to have a targeted impact. In Project Grants, we believe it is ok to fail, as long as we learn something new from each attempt.
  • Remember that submitting a grant proposal can be intimidating for people! Please be kind as well as honest in your feedback :)

Step 1: Prepare for review.

When: from when the working groups form until the end of the comments period.

  • Join a working group based on your area of interest or expertise.
  • Familiarize yourself with the set of proposals your group will be responsible for reviewing. Read the proposal and its associated discussions. Ask clarifying questions or make suggestions on the talk page to improve the proposal.
  • Check that relevant communities have been notified, budgets make sense, and so forth.
  • Do any necessary background research to help you learn more about the project plan. If you feel additional expert input is needed to help evaluate a proposal, let Project Grants program staff know.

Step 2: Score eligible proposals.

When: scoring period.

  • Read the proposal and its associated discussions one more time to refresh your memory.
  • Continue to ask clarifying questions or suggest changes on the proposal talk page as needed.
  • Reach out to your fellow working group members to discuss proposals as needed (can use any communication channels of the group's choosing)
  • Use the scoring tool to individually submit your scores and comments for each proposal assigned to your group, based on the rubric below. Indicate in your review whether you would recommend funding for it, given the limited budget described.
  • Each working group may want to check in as a group mid-way through the scoring period. Staff can assist with scheduling if needed.

Step 3: Synthesize scores and feedback for proposers.

When: aggregation and public feedback period.

  • Review the aggregate scores (link will be sent via email by Staff) for your working group.
  • Work with your group to prepare a the feedback template for each proposal the group is responsible for.
  • On the template, list the proposal's score for each criteria.
  • Also on the template, synthesize the group's comments into a list of qualitative feedback. Remember that this feedback will be shared with proposers, so it should be clear, concise, thorough, honest and kind.
  • Support the Review Coordinator to ensure each feedback template is posted to the proper proposal's talk page

Step 4: Deliberate to form a committee recommendation.

When: committee deliberation period.

  • Before this step begins, staff will share with the committee a ranked list of proposals based on the committee's scores, and then performs due diligence on all proposals that have a majority of individual recommendations from committee scorers.
  • Staff will share the outcomes of WMF's due diligence, sharing what's been learned about each proposal along with staff suggestions.
  • Contribute your thoughts to the discussion on the committee mailing list, or by joining the group deliberation Skype call.
  • Once the Review Coordinator closes the discussion and we've reached consensus, celebrate with great joy, because we're ready to announce a new round of grantees!


  • The committee may continue to post feedback, questions, or requests on proposals throughout the review period. Plans can be updated and improved in response to committee requests until a project is selected for funding.
  • The committee may decide to recommend a proposal as-is, or make recommendation contingent on some adjustments (to scope, budget, etc). Comments should be including in the scoring form to reflect any contingent recommendations.


Proposals are scored according to the following criteria.

Evaluation criteria Considerations 1 = Weak alignment 10 = Strong alignment
Impact potential
  1. Does it fit with Wikimedia's strategic priorities?
  2. Can it be sustained, scaled, or adapted elsewhere after the grant ends? If it cannot, does it make a substantial enough contribution to the movement that it warrants funding or continued funding anyway?
Projects receiving this score may...
  • have no clear fit to strategic priorities
  • lack ability to sustain, scale, or be adapted elsewhere after the grant ends AND otherwise fail to make a substantial enough contribution to the movement to warrant funding
Projects receiving this score may...
  • directly address one or more strategic priorities.
  • make a change that can be sustained over time, potentially scaled, adapted elsewhere AND/OR make a substantial enough contribution to the movement to warrant funding
Innovation, iteration and learning
  1. Does it either: take an innovative approach to solving a key problem, or iterate on a proven solution?
  2. Is the potential impact greater than the risks?
  3. Does the project have an evaluation plan that can measure whether the project was successful and capture learning for the movement?
Innovative projects receiving this score may...
  • replicate past solutions and teach us little that is new/useful
  • involve risks that outweigh its potential for learning or impact
  • give no indication of an evaluation plan to measure outcomes and meaningfully capture new learning

Iterative projects receiving this score may…

  • demonstrate little potential for impact, relative to investment
  • give no indication of an evaluation plan to measure outcomes and meaningfully capture learning
  • are unlikely to sustain impact over time

Innovative projects receiving this score may...
  • be the next Big Idea for solving a key Wikimedia problem
  • risk very little compared to the large potential for impact (a higher threshold of risk may be acceptable for projects seeking to innovate)
  • have realistic measures of success and clear targets for evaluating impact and capturing learning

Iterative projects receiving this score may…

  • have an efficient and effective plan for replicating known solution(s) with high potential for impact
  • have realistic measures of success and clear targets for evaluating impact and capturing learning
  • are well-positioned to create long-term impact
Ability to execute
  1. Can the scope be accomplished in 12 months?
  2. How realistic/efficient is the budget?
  3. Do the participants have the necessary skills/experience?
Projects receiving this score may...
  • have an unrealistic scope
  • have significantly over- or under-budgeted
  • lack the necessary skills or experience on the team, with no plan to fill these gaps
Projects receiving this score may...
  • be completed in 12 months
  • have a clear and reasonable budget and cost projections
  • have the necessary skills and experience on the team, and a plan to fill any gaps
Community engagement
  1. Does it have a specific target community and plan to engage it often?
  2. Does it have community support?
  3. Does it support diversity?
Projects receiving this score may...
  • lack a plan to engage with a specific target community.
  • not have any community discussion or endorsements
  • not support diversity in the movement in terms of projects, languages, or demographics
Projects receiving this score may...
  • have identified a specific target community and proactively plans to engage it
  • have notified members of the relevant target community and have significant interest/endorsements
  • support or grow diversity in the movement in terms of projects, languages, or demographics