IRC office hours/Office hours 2009-10-01

[11:05am] cary: Please preface all questions with QUESTION:
[11:05am] cary: Like so:
[11:05am] randmontoya: Welcome all to WMF's IRC Office Hours. Today is my glorious opportunity to answer questions from you and try my best to answer them. My name is Rand Montoya and I'm Head of Community Giving...meaning that I'm in charge of raising about $6.5 million in small gifts (under $10,000 USD). Most of this money comes during our Annual Fundraiser.
[11:05am] Philippe|Wiki: Well, with that in mind.... Rand is here. There's your fancy schmancy intro, unless cary wants to say something.
[11:05am] Amgine: So, is there a discussion/create questions channel?
[11:05am] cary: QUESTION: Rand, how is the fundraiser coming along?
[11:05am] randmontoya: I'll let Cary and Phillippe moderate for me.
[11:06am] randmontoya: Fundraiser is going decently...we had big plans coming into this year and much has been accomplished from last year.
[11:06am] cary: Amgine, #wikimedia-office-talk
[11:06am] cary: or #wikimedia
[11:06am] randmontoya: We expect to have many additional features up for this year's fundraiser (Credit Card processing, mobile giving, etc.).
[11:07am] randmontoya: You can find much of my plans and actions here:
[11:07am] randmontoya: next question?
[11:07am] Bodnotbod: QUESTION; Is it predicted the economic downturn will adversely effect contributions?
[11:08am] Philippe|Wiki: QUESTION: You've been around for a full fundraising cycle now, can you share whether the job is what you expected? How is it different?
[11:08am] Philippe|Wiki: (Bodnotbod's question is next tho)
[11:09am] randmontoya: Yes and no. I think that there is a sense that the global economy is improving, but not enough to really spur free spending. However, I believe our donors will give what they can because they believe in our mission.
[11:09am] Ziko: Question: In previous fundraisings the idea came up to use testimonials or wikipedian's protraits. how about that this time?
[11:10am] randmontoya: My job keeps getting bigger and bigger...which I like. The amount of money that I need to raise continues to grow and there are always new avenues of revenue to explore.
[11:10am] cary: STATUS: 1 question being answered, two in queue (Phillipe|Wiki and Ziko)
[11:10am] randmontoya: I knew this job would be amazing when I's been that, so it was what I expected.
[11:11am] randmontoya: Bodnotbod, Philippe: have I answered your quesitons?
[11:11am] Philippe|Wiki: I'd like to know if anything challenged/surprised you?
[11:12am] Bodnotbod: You've answered mine, Randmontoya.
[11:12am] randmontoya: Ziko: I don't think we're going to be able to make that happen with this fundraiser. We have enlisted a quality PR/marketing team to help us determine the optimal pitch and message...those testimonials aren't on the agenda this year. Certainly, we'll try in the future.
[11:12am] randmontoya: Philippe: to be honest, I'm not sure I ever recognized how big Wikimedia was or how's ginormous and I keep having to learn every day to keep caught up.
[11:13am] Ziko: ok
[11:13am] Philippe|Wiki: Yeah, i agree, thanks
[11:13am] Bodnotbod: QUESTION: Is the PR outsourced? Which company is handling it?
[11:13am] Amgine: (softball) QUESTION: Is there a breakdown of fundraising methods to funds raised from the last cycle? That is, do we know what worked, and how do we know that?
[11:14am] randmontoya: A company called Fenton Communications, based out of SF, is the company that we are working with. PR has not been outsourced, but they are helping me and Jay put together a great plan for the Annual Fundraiser. Fenton won out over about 25 different agencies wanting to work with us. I'm excited about their input.
[11:14am] randmontoya: Bodnotbod, that answer it?
[11:15am] Bodnotbod: Yes thanks
[11:15am] Philippe|Wiki: (the guy from Fenton has the Best. Name. Ever.)
[11:15am] Ziko: sounds great
[11:15am] eekim: great name, good guy too
[11:16am] Philippe|Wiki: (his name is "Jelly". I love that.)
[11:16am] randmontoya: Amgine: Admittedly, we didn't have perfect tracking last year for gifts and where they came from. We're working hard to improve that. Since last year's fundraising was almost entirely online, the thing we tracked most was the effects of the site notice.
[11:16am] guillom: QUESTION: I'm surprised that there are few chapter people around here, but... how will the chapters be involved in this year's fundraiser?
[11:16am] randmontoya: Amgine: I have several posts in the Wikimedia Foundation blog in November and December that will show you those results....they are very interesting.
[11:16am] • cary goes to internal to remind about the office hours
[11:17am] randmontoya: Amgine: that answer it?
[11:17am] ashyrokova: has a good summary of what was learned in the 2008 fundraiser too
[11:17am] randmontoya: Guillom: I'm surprised's odd that Lodewijk and Liam aren't here to heckle me
[11:17am] Philippe|Wiki: For those don't know, that's the lovely and talented Anya, who has a new role with the Foundation....
[11:17am] Amgine: <grins> Reasonably, yes.
[11:18am] cary: Liam is probably asleep
[11:18am] henna: dinnertime in .nl
[11:18am] Amgine: for foundation blog
[11:18am] ashyrokova: hehe thanks philippe, ill hopefully be doing more stewarding
[11:18am] randmontoya: Guillom: Chapters will be more involved this year compared to last. If you look here: you'll see how we are designing a donation page that will highlight Chapter giving nicely.
[11:19am] randmontoya: henna: there is no way i'm not taking affront that dinner is more exciting to Lodewijk than me.
[11:19am] guillom: randmontoya, oh, neat!
[11:20am] Philippe|Wiki: Question: So, how's CiviCRM working? That was a big push last year, yes?
[11:20am] randmontoya: Would all of you please join #wikimedia-office-talk? I'd like to ask some questions of YOU and will be posting them there for YOUR responses. Please!
[11:21am] randmontoya: Philippe: we've made great strides in improving CiviCRM...we've added some reporting and exporting features. We still have work to do, but it's getting better.
[11:21am] Philippe|Wiki: Cool.
[11:22am] Philippe|Wiki: ooooh, interactive office hours. Rand's setting the bar.
[11:22am] cary: Seriously
[11:22am] Ziko: Question: If there is a Wikipedia language edition which cannot be reasonably linked to a chapter (e.g. yiddish, latin, esperanto), will there be only a link to the foundation to donate?
[11:22am] randmontoya: Ziko: yes.
[11:23am] randmontoya: I don't expect more than 10 chapters to sign on to the Chapter Fundraising Agreement this's a big responsibility for chapters to undertake. One of my focuses in the coming year will be helping more chapters to be better fundraisers.
[11:24am] randmontoya: Next question?
[11:25am] Philippe|Wiki: Question: What will next year look like? Five years from now?
[11:25am] randmontoya: A' turn to stimulate: What are your thoughts on the long term strategic fundraising goals for WMF?
[11:26am] randmontoya: Where do y'all think we should be in 5 years? 10 years? In terms of finances?
[11:26am] Philippe|Wiki: lol.... see my question, other room
[11:26am] Dragonfly6-7: gold should be oozing from our pores
[11:26am] randmontoya: Dragonfly6-7: agreed
[11:26am] Ziko: has there ever been plans for offline fundraising
[11:26am] cary: Ziko, please preface the question with QUESTION:
[11:27am] Ziko: sorry
[11:27am] randmontoya: Ziko: yes and no. I'd love to have the donation button update happen (, but we've had a heck of a time getting it to work on the tech side.
[11:28am] Ziko: rand: oh, i mean fundraising that does not approach people on the wiki, but on conferences etc.
[11:28am] randmontoya: Ziko: I think I misread your
[11:28am] cary: welcome peteforsyth_
[11:28am] peteforsyth_: thx cary
[11:29am] cary: welcome Huib
[11:29am] Huib: Thank you cary
[11:29am] randmontoya: We already do some small scale offline fundraising, but it's really inefficient compared to the Annual Fundraiser. We hit our goal so quickly, we don't need to be super aggressive outside the fundraiser.
[11:30am] ashyrokova: rand if you want her to be more visible in the community you have to give her some credit
[11:30am] randmontoya: lol, true
[11:30am] randmontoya: i think i mis-understood the question in more ways than one
[11:30am] brianmc: QUESTION: What's the current situation on getting merchandise off cafepress as a fund generation/allow people to show support thing?
[11:31am] randmontoya: brianmc: I don't have any's not in my ballpark. Kul and Jay are the ones in charge of that...and I haven't heard a thing about it recently.
[11:32am] brianmc: okay, I knew Kul was on that, but haven't heard anything for a long time
[11:32am] randmontoya: me neither
[11:32am] cary: Kul is super super super busy
[11:32am] cary: I mean, more so than the rest of us
[11:32am] effeietsanders: QUESTION in which ways is WMF planning to recognize donors?
[11:32am] randmontoya: ooh...i think Jay wins the busy prize
[11:33am] cary: effeietsanders, so glad you could make it.
[11:33am] randmontoya: Lodewijk! We aren't doing too much differently from last year for small donors (donor comments will be highlighted in a few spots), but Major donors and Foundation donors will be highlighted on the Foundation donation site.
[11:33am] effeietsanders: cary: I'm glad too
[11:34am] randmontoya: I'm so glad that I'm more important than dinner, effeietsanders
[11:34am] effeietsanders: randmontoya: but I also mean on the one-person-level
[11:34am] effeietsanders: ie, non-publicly
[11:34am] randmontoya: OH!
[11:34am] effeietsanders: (email, direct mail, presents, personal visit from Jimbo)
[11:35am] Philippe|Wiki: (Cary will clean your apartment)
[11:35am] effeietsanders: yes~!
[11:35am] effeietsanders: well..
[11:35am] effeietsanders: hmm
[11:35am] effeietsanders: not mine
[11:35am] effeietsanders: but I might pick someone elses appartment
[11:35am] effeietsanders:
[11:35am] Dragonfly6-7: 'clean' can mean many things
[11:35am] Dragonfly6-7: not all of which are pleasant
[11:35am] cary: 'clean out'
[11:36am] randmontoya: Right....we expect every small donor (under $500) to get a TY letter, 4 pieces of cultivation email, and the Annual Report this year. Donors of $500 or more will get the above *AND* the care and attention of Anya Shyrokova, Stewardship Associate.
[11:36am] randmontoya: Effeietsanders: does that answer the question?
[11:36am] effeietsanders: snail mail or email?
[11:36am] effeietsanders: (the letter and report)
[11:36am] randmontoya: email mostly
[11:36am] effeietsanders: and what kind of care?
[11:37am] Philippe|Wiki: ahem
[11:37am] brianmc: Cary will hig them, and squeeze them, and call them George
[11:37am] randmontoya: Anya may do some snail mail...we are encouraging her to do some testing with how she develops her program. Snail mail, personal invites to online chats, etc...
[11:37am] effeietsanders: brianmc: you do realize that no all donors might appreciate that?
[11:37am] brianmc: Hence the emoticon
[11:38am] effeietsanders: randmontoya: will the processes be summarized online beforehand?
[11:39am] effeietsanders: so that chapters, even if not formally participating, can enjoy your thoughts too?
[11:39am] randmontoya: effeietsanders: we'll make that happen...but maybe not beforehand. I'm sure that Anya will be delighted to share what she is doing when we know what is effective.
[11:39am] effeietsanders: (and implement it where relevant )
[11:40am] • randmontoya hopes ashyrokova doesn't kill me.
[11:40am] ashyrokova: no i like sharing
[11:40am] ashyrokova: and testing
[11:40am] effeietsanders: ashyrokova: you could also share it on internal
[11:40am] effeietsanders: if you feel uncomfortable with it being visible to donors
[11:40am] ashyrokova: good idea
[11:40am] ashyrokova: yeah....
[11:40am] randmontoya: We feel that we have tremendous opportunities for growth in our $500 to $9999 range...we hope that Anya will steward and cultivate those people to be $10K+ donors.
[11:40am] ashyrokova: *cringes
[11:41am] effeietsanders: is there anything known about a theme for this year?
[11:41am] Ziko: Question: what are the precise motives of the major donors?
[11:42am] randmontoya: 2 big ones: 1) recognition and wanting to tie themselves into the WMF mission and 2) pure belief in the WMF movement
[11:42am] randmontoya: There are more motives, but those are primary: Major donors give to be a part of something successful or because they believe in something. It's either status or generousity.
[11:43am] Ziko: i see. and can you define cultural differences between US and other donors, or is that irrelevant?
[11:43am] brianmc: Can we make sure this year that it's impossible to give such a small donation that the processing fees eat it up? Last year there was an attempt to do that for USD, but you just needed to change to JPY and make a small donation there
[11:43am] Amgine: (silly question) QUESTION: Will there be a Wikimedia Gala Event (red carpets, photo ops, publicity, probably low investment return...)
[11:44am] Dragonfly6-7: I should hope not
[11:44am] randmontoya: Ziko: that's a good question, but not one I can answer yet. Every culture has different motives for giving and I haven't quite mastered giving in every one (yet). There is a difference, but we're still exploring approaches for them.
[11:45am] Ziko: ok
[11:45am] peteforsyth_: QUESTION: Do you see promise in the notion of local or topical affiliates soliciting funds on behalf of the foundation?
[11:46am] peteforsyth_: Is that something that's been explored? (I ask because I'm working on a proposal for strategy.wikimedia, but don't want to re-invent the wheel if there's already work being done on that)
[11:46am] randmontoya: brianmc: Last year we made a conscious decision to accept, even though it might cost us money, from everyone who wanted to give. We wanted the world to participate and the $.25 from a 3rd world country is every bit as important to our movement than $30 gift. We want participation. I'm not saying we're not going to change that, but I really liked that we tried to be inclusive.
[11:48am] effeietsanders: followup on minimum gift: Does that include the 1 yen gifts that were used in the past to test stolen creditcards?
[11:48am] peteforsyth_: randmontoya: That's a very beautiful principle, and I admire the idea. However, if I gave 25¢ and later found out that it cost the Foundation $1.25 to process my donation, I might feel weird about that...
[11:49am] randmontoya: peteforsyth_: I absolutely believe that local groups will do a better job of soliciting funds locally. I believe that chapters will be primary fundraisers in some countries in a few years as they are better situated to know local customs and culture and make better fundraising appeals.
[11:49am] Lijealso_: QUESTION: is the Chapter Fundraising Agreement document done?
[11:50am] Bodnotbod: Hopefully, in future, micropayments will be cheaper to run... there's increasing demands for them, what with newspapers trying to figure out how to monetarise online content.
[11:50am] randmontoya: peteforsyth_: my example may have been extreme, we lost very little $ on the transactions, but I understand your point.
[11:50am] cary: Lijealso_, that should be directed at effeietsanders
[11:50am] brianmc: randmontoya: I'd also add that for local chapters doing fundraising there will be tax benefits for donors where the chap. is registered as a charity
[11:50am] peteforsyth_: QUESTION: I'm curious about topic areas, too -- e.g., cancer research, or anthropology, etc.
[11:50am] effeietsanders: cary: not so sure actually
[11:50am] randmontoya: brianmc: exactly, too, also!
[11:51am] randmontoya: Lijealso_: if I didn't have a fever, the 'final' version would have been up yesterday...I'll try to get it up today.
[11:51am] peteforsyth_: randmontoya: for instance, a formal group of Wikimedians working on cancer-related content might be well-equipped to pursue grants from a cancer-funding organization to host a Wikipedia Academy for cancer researchers
[11:51am] Lijealso_: OK
[11:51am] effeietsanders: peteforsyth_: is that fundraising related?
[11:51am] effeietsanders: sounds more like a grants issue
[11:51am] Bodnotbod: Wouldn't aht be original research, peterforsyth ;o)
[11:52am] brianmc: I'd think funds for Academies are outwith the main fundraiser which is for no-strings-attached funding
[11:52am] cary: Bodnotbod, Original research is allowed on some projects...
[11:52am] effeietsanders: peteforsyth_: still interesting though, but doesn't sound like rands cup of tea at least
[11:53am] cary: Wikiversity, Wikibooks, Wikinews...
[11:53am] peteforsyth_: effeietsanders: Yes, I think so -- appeals to individuals could fall on topical lines too.
[11:53am] ashyrokova: ive been getting a few requests from university students to do small scale fundraisers in their schools
[11:53am] randmontoya: peteforsyth_: that's a good question, but not something we've thought about or pursued. Sounds like a great topic for a STRATEGY PROPOSAL for the STRATEGIC PLAN.
[11:53am] ashyrokova: we've started to looking into methods to empower those
[11:54am] peteforsyth_: Bodnotbod: a Wikipedia Academy is more for training up a group of people to get involved -- it's not research for any specific content.
[11:54am] Philippe|Wiki: Thanks for the plug
[11:54am] Bodnotbod: Hey! Maybe we could have "sponsored" style bounty boards; which is to say someone might offer $5k if we get all articles on x topic up to featured article status?
[11:55am] peteforsyth_: randmontoya: Yes, that's what I'm working on. Just wanted to know if I was duplicating efforts -- glad to know I'm not! Thanks for the feedback.
[11:55am] randmontoya: Slowly, we are crafting a set of downloadable online materials for those who want to do some small scale fundraising for us. We expect to flesh out the program after the Annual Fundraiser.
[11:55am] randmontoya: peteforsyth_: rock on
[11:56am] Bodnotbod: Randmontoya, are those downloadable online materials part of "The Bookshelf Project"?
[11:56am] randmontoya: Bodnotbod: maybe or maybe not. I meet with Marlita, our new WMF project person, on the subject next week.
[11:56am] Bodnotbod: 'K, thanks.
[11:57am] cary: randmontoya, any final words?
[11:57am] cary: seeing as we're short of time?
[11:58am] Ziko: i have found that wikimedia flyers are not always consequently advocating for an action of the reader, that donating or joining is more mentioned aside
[11:58am] randmontoya: Thanks to everyone for participating and asking questions. The Annual Fundraiser starts November 2nd.
[11:58am] randmontoya: As always, I'm happy to answer your questions.
[11:58am] eekim: thanks, rand. nicely done.
[11:58am] Philippe|Wiki: you go, rand
[11:59am] Philippe|Wiki: and with a fever too
[11:59am] You demoted yourself from operator.
[11:59am] • cary claps
[11:59am] randmontoya: w00t: a fever for fundraising
[11:59am] cary was demoted from operator by cary.
[11:59am] Philippe|Wiki: ****************END