Grants talk:Project/MSIG/Building a CEE Hub

Questions from CEE/CA Regional Committee edit

@Philip Kopetzky: Thanks for your proposal to support the initiation of the CEE Regional Hub. The Regional Committee has initially reviewed the proposal, and has some feedback and questions for your review:

Thank you for providing a summary of the prior research conducted by the CEE Hub group as well as the expanded research page, and detailing that this includes 21 affiliate/community interviews and survey responses from 11 individuals. Aside from this formal research, are there other sources of information or discussions (even informal or less structured ones) that helped inform the priorities for the CEE Hub?

Relatedly, we appreciate that the needs and priorities of the proposed Regional Hub are supported through direct research, and were designed to be aligned with a number of 2030 Movement Strategy principles. Our understanding is that there are two core purposes of the Regional Hub: to 1) to provide bureaucratic relief along several lines across CEE communities and 2) be a connecting force so that communities need not rely on incidental friendships and connections to work together and get support. Are there other strategic ideas or principles that helped inform your proposed activities or ideas?

We appreciate the outline of staffing needs for this initial foundation for the CEE Hub. It is understandable that the Regional Support staff role would need to be somewhat less-defined given the need for specific regional assessment around communications needs. Regarding the Administrative/Communications staff member, we would like to understand more about their role. The proposal has named a large number of important and complex communication/connecting roles it can play during the funding period, (e.g. trainings on budget creaton, information exchange, conflict resolution). What proposed areas will this staff member be involved in, and how will their work be prioritized to ensure the scope of their work is clear and manageable?

Please let us know if you need any clarifications around the questions above. Your responses are requested by 2 May 2022 to help support a formal decision from the Regional Committee. Thanks again for your hard work on the proposal, and we look forward to your responses. On behalf of the Regional Committee, MikyM (talk) 19:07, 20 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@MikyM: Thank you for the questions, they are very helpful in talking about areas that weren't highlighted enough yet. The interim steering committee will meet next Tuesday, after which we (probably me) will post the answers on this talk page. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 19:32, 20 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@MikyM: Please find the response below, they correspond with the first three paragraphs of your feedback. Please let us know if it's confusing or doesn't answer the questions you set out above :-)

Q1) Concerning your question as to how the CEE communities involved, there have been regular meetings with the CEE community over the last two years:

All of these meetings included discussion and feedback from the CEE community in terms of what might be a priority or what the concerns or other ideas might be in the proposal towards the end of the process. During the whole process it was also apparent that theoretical discussions didn’t garner much feedback because there is an issue with how much time and information most affiliates can process at one time, so we expect the feedback to become more specific and targeted once the first steps of the program will be rolled out.

Q2) In the short term, there is also an aim of capacity development which has been the focus of the CEE Meeting for the last 4 to 5 years, including sustainable work, diverse participation, board trainings (as has happened at previous CEE meetings in coordination with WMNL and WMDE) and better governance in general, building an organisational memory and enabling these communities to take part in trans-local and regional collaborations.

In the long term, we think regional hubs should ideally support most areas of movement strategy in their region (some are mentioned in our presentation to the CEE community on page 16, though the list is not meant to be exhaustive). The CEE Hub will look at these long-term goals regularly and determine the priorities of the hub together with the CEE community, so as to develop a clear prioritization for the longer term. We will do so taking into account the developing governance structures that will come into place over the next few years.

We also think that hubs need to grow into their role gradually, short-term plans and flexibility are preferable for that over long-term plans, and the initial focus should be on finding rapport with the local communities and affiliates. Thus, for the first year we want to focus on supporting the local groups with what we see as the most important pain points, and during that establishing channels of communication, building trust and raising capacity for movement-level work.

The short-term plans that fit best with this focus and with the limited initial capacity of the hub were bureaucratic relief, community capacity building and capacity exchange, and research into funding options for affiliates which cannot receive WMF funding.

To clarify, the work outlined in the paragraphs above will be conducted by staff and volunteers together with gradual steps towards staff members becoming more integral to the processes than the volunteers who have done this kind of work for the last few years.

Q3) The metrics from the proposal can be used as an indicator as to what the administrative/communications (A/C) person will be focussing on in the first year. This includes the administrative metrics around centralizing bureaucratic efforts as well as coordinating support efforts for writing grant applications and other potential funding. The same goes for the communication efforts, where the A/C staff member will be involved in establishing a more centralized communication platform for the region.

The A/C person will report to the CEE Coordinator and therefore will not be solely responsible for these tasks. While they will be directly working with affiliates in the region, the goal is not to just offer affiliates an administrative help, but to collect information on what the current landscape is and determine from that point onwards how to best support communities in this work.

All of these tasks will not be the responsibility of the A/C person alone, but will be undertaken together with the other staff members, especially the CEE Coordinator, and the volunteers of the CEE Hub. Ideally all of these tasks would be fulfilled at the end of the year, but there will be regular evaluation every three months to see what the progress is on the tasks. Depending on that evaluation there can be changes to which tasks we cover and it might also change the priorities of the hub as well.


That's our response so far, thanks for the feedback, I'm sure the strategy team will be able to incorporate it into their evaluation :-) Philip Kopetzky (talk) 17:49, 2 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for grant extension / budgetary inflation adjustment edit

Hello!

Based on yesterday's meeting with the WMF strategy team, we would like to request an extension to this grant.

The main reasons for this lie in the fact that the hiring process of the first employee, the CEE Coordinator, was delayed at various times during the summer. Initially we planned to be supported by a staff member of WMPL to faciliate this process, but unfortunately that staff member became unavailable at the end of July. Therefore the CEE Hub Steering Committee needed to run this process themselves, having to work around summer holidays, setting up the interview panel (including the involvement of members and partners of the CEE region to participate as panelists) and coordinating the interviews with the candidates. We are currently in the process of conducting the secound round of interviews.

This means in terms of our timeline we are about 2 months behind schedule and at the current speed will probably take 3-4 months before the coordinator can start work (depending on when they would be able to leave their current employment). We would therefore like to request an extension by at least this amount of time, ideally extending the grant period until the end of 2023. There is also the option of a rolling start, based on when the coordinator will start, but we are not sure that is easily manageable from the WMF side.

Considering the extension of the grant period, another aspect is the current inflation rate - we would also like to request a budget adjustment in line with the average inflation rate in Poland in recent months and what is projected for the following few months, although not all budget items will not be equally affected by a rising inflation rate.

I think that is all that is relevant to the actual grant, there are other topics from yesterday's meeting (like a regular meeting between the CEE Hub group and the WMF strategy team and a clearer separation of roles between the CEE Hub Steering Committee role and the WMPL fiscal sponsor role) that we will need to follow up on as well. (CC @YPam (WMF):)

On behalf of the CEE Hub Steering Committee and with kind regards, Philip Kopetzky (talk) 18:54, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello @Philip Kopetzky!
This request for a grant extension is duly noted, and as we work through the process, some clarity is needed.
Regarding the project timelines and the extension requested. Is this an immediate request for a specific extension period (i.e. 6 months), based on the explanation provided? Or are you requesting to fix project implementation timelines, with the activator being the start date the CEE coordinator you are in the process of hiring?
Regarding the budget adjustment requested. The inflation considerations are the sad reality of our world today, and this is a reasonable request. Considering that project timelines will be shifting, does the team envisage that this could further impact inflation projections? If so, is the request for the adjustments to be made immediately or following full project kick-off?
Just to reiterate appreciation to the CEE Hubs Piloting for team proactively learning and sharing throughout the process and we are excited about being a continued thought partner-in-progress. YPam (WMF) (talk) 10:55, 26 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi @YPam (WMF),
regarding the two points you raise:
  • Regarding the project timelines and the extension requested: If we extend it to the end of 2023, would this also include an increase in the budget for the extra months (for example if the grant starts in November, will the grant budget include 14 months of the same funding?), or would it be set to a 12 month period?
  • Regarding the budget adjustment requested, it would be great if the WMF could earmark the funds necessary to adjust the grant budget to the 12.7% salary inflation in Poland that has happened over the last year (stat.gov.pl). This inflation adjustment would affect all budget items aside from the travel item.
Since these two points are not very urgent if the WMF agrees to the extension and inflation adjustment in principle, it might make sense to revisit this in our monthly meeting after the CEE Meeting?
BR, Philip Kopetzky (talk) 12:18, 29 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hello @Philip Kopetzky
On the project timelines, I guess we are asking the same questions :). If project timelines are not fixed, then the extension is on the overall project. This also means that some argument might be made regarding any work (extra or unplanned initially) that happened in the initial months, bringing us to the need for a project extension. Given that this will likely impact the budget adjustments as well, I will look forward to our next monthly meeting to dive into the details.
Thank you YPam (WMF) (talk) 09:39, 5 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Permission to regrant part of the project grant edit

Hi @YPam (WMF)!

Following up on our conversation today, the CEE Hub would like to ask permission to regrant up to 25,000 € of the CEE Hub project grant to Shared Knowledge to pay for the second employee's salary of the CEE Hub. We are currently in the process of setting up the legal framework for this and calculating the exact amount for the grant.

Kind regards, Braveheart (talk) 16:07, 12 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello @Philip Kopetzky, summing up now the responses to two major requests that have been made regarding both regranting and and the extension of the project deadlines, after a series of conversations :).
  • The request to extend the project end date to December 30, 2023 is approved.
  • The request to subgrant to Shared Knowledge is also approved. You will receive an amended grant agreement which will reflect specific details of the sum that is approved for regranting.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you! YPam (WMF) (talk) 16:24, 10 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just noting here that the new grant report due date is 30 January 2024, which was also included in the signed amendment. Thank you. -- JTud (WMF), Grants Administrator (talk) 17:21, 8 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Budget reallocation edit

Dear @YPam (WMF)


following up on our meeting last week, as well as our email correspondence, the CEE Hub would like to ask permission for budget reallocation. Our newly proposed budget is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VODPYYQYnRoUO5CyNK7edfsZ8pEtW84F/edit#gid=1474248584. In this table you can see all budget categories with proposes changes and here below I will explain the logic behind all reallocations.

1. AA1 – Administrative / Legal expertise on funding and international collaboration: instead of initially planned €4,455.19, in this budget line we need only 915,14. The rest will be reallocated to the budget lines where we are missing funds (G2, Staff & volunteer travel).

2. G2 – Travel & Events / Staff & volunteer travel: instead of initially planned €5,568.99, in this budget line we need €12,188.76. € 6,619,77 that we are missing will be reallocated from budget lines AA1 and G5. We need more money for this budget line because organizing steering committee meeting(s) costs more than predicted and it is necessary to have at least 1-2 such meetings per year. When this grant application was written it was impossible to know how many/from where SC will be. We have 9 SC members who travel from various parts of Europe, some cover their travel costs on their own or from other funds but some need to be covered by this grant. Apart of this Hub’s staff also needs to travel to some meetings that matter to the Hub. Also, we would like to give out 1-3 merit scholarship for the CEE meeting (this year in Tbilisi) to community members whose perspective and knowledge would be of great importance and who did not manage to acquire scholarships in the framework of the CEE meeting grant.

3. G4 – Equipment & Materials / Electronic equipment – €2,227.60 – Unchanged budget line. 2 laptops for Hub staff were purchased.

4. G5 – Administrative / Administrative overhead for affiliates – instead of initially planned €4,455.19 we only need €400.00 in this budget line. The remaining sum will be reallocated to G2.

5. G6 – Administrative overhead fiscal sponsor – Instead of initially planned €2,227.60, we need €4,727.60 for this budget line. € 2,500.01 will be taken from G5 and from G7. In this budget line the cost of grant administration was underestimated, and FS needs more money for the grant administration.

6. G7 – Other / On-demand promo materials: instead of initially planned €4,455.19, in this budget line we need only €1,503,31. After the first call for communities regarding purchasing on demand promo materials we realized that we do not need this whole sum for promo materials.

7. S8 – Salary / Salary CEE Hub Coordinator – €39,500.00: This budget line remains as agreed since first Hub employment.

8. S9 – Salary / Salary Administrative/Communication staff member: instead of initially planned €16,038.69, the cost of this budget line is €20,341.00. The missing sum is taken from G7 and S10. The planned sum for this budget line was not realistic for gross salary including all taxes for this position in N. Macedonia. At the time of writing grant application no one could know from where the future employee will be, so it was difficult to precisely estimate the budget line.

9. S10 – Salary / Salary Regional Support staff member; this budget line will not be used as Hub will not employ the third staff member this year. After employing 2 people and assessing the project progress, we realized how instead of 3rd staff member it would be more efficient to spend this money on several freelance assignments. €16,038.69 which were planned here will be reallocated to S9 and to the new budget line: ‘Freelancers (research and support)’. Also, another new budget line ‘Community exchange (travel budget)’ will be partially covered from S10.

10. VAT-EU – VAT costs WMPL – €10,580.90 – This unplanned cost is fiscal sponsor’s VAT (value added tax) and the money is taken from contingency.

11. New - proposed budget line: Freelancers (research and support). The funds for this new budget line are taken from S10. After realization that instead of hiring 3rd staff member it would be more efficient, for achieving our goals, to spend money on freelancers we were proposing this new budget line.

12. New - proposed budget line: Community exchange (travel budget). We are also proposing this new budget category. The funds for this line are reallocated from what remains in S10 and from Contingency. During the project implementation we realized that having some funds for community (knowledge) exchange would enable us to stimulate and support some new regional cooperation processes and connecting Wikimedians who without Hub and our facilitation of the this process would not be able to cooperate/create something (new) together.

If you have any questions about reallocation proposal, please let me know.

Looking forward to your feedback!

Best wishes, BKlen-CEEhub (talk) 10:32, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello @BKlen-CEEhub, your request to repurpose the total of up to $33,829.2 (i.e. €31,598.09) is approved. Highly appreciate the detailed breakdown of the expenses so far and how the funds will be reallocated to continue to ensure success for the Hubs pilot's planned activities. Best! YPam (WMF) (talk) 09:53, 5 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for grant extension and budget reallocation edit

Dear @YPam (WMF)

Following up on our online conversations, as well as our in person meeting last week, the CEE Hub would like to:

1. Request an extension to this grant: The main reasons for requesting the extension lie in the fact that that we need more time to round up all activities that we started to implement during our piloting period. As you know, our first employee started to work on December 1st, 2022, and it took more than 2 more months for the second employee to start working. Although we never employed the third planned staff member (due to the lack of resources and time), we did our best to implement as much as possible from the list of all planned activities. We also initiated few more activities which were not on our initially planned project activities list e.g. CEE Youth group. To sum it up, this was a pilot project, and it was difficult to precisely plan the exact project duration when our starting point was having 0 employees and having to recruit/on board staff too. Also, we submitted a grant request for the CEE Hub Year 2 project, and we would like to ensure project continuity i.e., no gap between these two projects in case the new project is approved. This extension would enable us to accomplish that in case the new project can start on January 1st, 2024.

2. Propose our final budget reallocation: Our newly proposed budget is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Q-IG97DnaDKauPnIvSFATVRL2cfY_GFD6KIBz2bpAzA/edit#gid=1425942661 (in the tab: budget correction October WMF)

In this table (in the tab: budget correction October WMF) you can see all budget categories with proposes reallocation and here below I will explain the logic behind all reallocations.

1. AA1 – Administrative / Legal expertise on funding and international collaboration: instead of planned € 915.14 we need € 42.80 more as the project will last for one more month which means more monthly legal/accounting costs.

2. G2 – Travel & Events / Staff & volunteer travel: instead of €12,188.76 we need the total of € 14,008.14 in this budget line. It was simply not possible to precisely plan Tbilisi CEEM cost as we did not know how many Steering Committee and CEE Hub staff members would be covered by CEEM scholarships. Also, we did not know how expensive the flights for scholarships will be as we did not know from where the scholarship recipients would be.

3. G4 – Equipment & Materials / Electronic equipment – final status of the budget line will be €2,214.54 – we bought 2 laptops and one laptop bag. The remaining € 13.06 will be used for budget lines where we miss funds.

4. G5 – Administrative / Administrative overhead for affiliates – We will not use € 200.00 from this budget line, it will be used for budget lines where we miss funds.

5. G6 – Administrative overhead fiscal sponsor – On top of the planned €4,727.60 we need € 431.40 more as our Fiscal Sponsor has to administrate the grant for one more month (due to the requested project extension).

6. G7 – Other / On-demand promo materials: instead of planned €1,503,31 we need € 1,231.00 more as there were more demands for swag from the CEE communities and we wanted to accommodate all reasonable requests.

7. S8 – Salary / Salary CEE Hub Coordinator – Instead of €39,500.00 we need € 42,800.00 to cover expenses related to project extension.

8. S9 – Salary / Salary Administrative/Communication staff member: instead of €20,341.00, we would need €1,343.00 more to cover this employee during one more month (due to requested project extension).

9. S10 – Salary / Salary Regional Support staff member; this budget line was not used.

10. VAT-EU – VAT costs WMPL – instead of €10,580.90 we need the total of € 11,396.00. It was not possible to predict the total final VAT related cost.

11. New from May: Freelancers (research and support). We will have € 692.94 remaining in this budget line which we will use for budget lines where we miss funds.

12. New from May: Community exchange (travel budget). We will need € 6,337.00 in this budget line; the remaining amount will be used for budget lines where we miss funds.


Newly proposed budget reallocation would enable us to implement the CEE Hub project till the end of December 2023.


If you have any questions about proposed project extension, as well as suggested budget reallocation, please let me know.


Looking forward to your feedback!

Best wishes,

BKlen-CEEhub (talk) 12:33, 27 October 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello @BKlen-CEEhub please share some more specifics are regarding this request.
The current grant completion date for this granted project is December 31, 2023. Are you requesting to extend the project end date to January 31, 2024 instead? Additionally, would you want the project report due date to remain January 31, or are you also requesting to move the report due date to February 29, 2024? Additionally, please specify the total amount you are requesting to repurpose. The activities mentioned are clear enough at the moment, but the total amount is difficult to calculate based on the breakdown. Thank you! YPam (WMF) (talk) 21:19, 12 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dear @YPam (WMF),
Thank you for your feedback!
  1. I am sorry but there was a misunderstanding on our part. The project end date should be December 31st 2023 thus no need to extend anything. Please note that unlike the budget proposal from May, which was not based on planning till 31st December, this new budget proposal is based on project end date December 31st.
  2. To complete the project we need to re-purpose 8,982.68 EUR. 3,569.00 would be used by reallocating previously planned budget lines and 5,413.68 would be used from the contingency. This means that we would use/spend the total budget i.e. 115,797.99 EUR. Looking forward to your feedback and thank you! BKlen-CEEhub (talk) 14:53, 13 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the clarification @BKlen-CEEhub. The request to reallocate the current underspend of 8,982.68 EUR, is approved. Thank you for your hard work and dedication! YPam (WMF) (talk) 06:44, 15 November 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
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