IRC office hours/Office hours 2009-12-17

cary: ====================

[11:01am] cary: Good morning everyone!
[11:01am] cary: Good morning Sara. (sfsarac)
[11:01am] sfsarac: Hi Cary! Hi all...whoever is around
[11:01am] cary: Sara Crouse is the Head of Partnerships and Foundation Relations
[11:02am] cary: She's been with us in some capacity since March of 2008
[11:02am] cary: And I'm going to let her say a few words about herself before we open this up for questions.
[11:02am] cary: and what she does.
[11:02am] sfsarac: Thanks, Cary. I manage the relationships with our foundation partners/funders...
[11:03am] Pyb joined the chat room.
[11:03am] sfsarac: And help ensure that we have funding in this area.
[11:03am] barras_ joined the chat room.
[11:03am] ashyrokova joined the chat room.
[11:03am] Huib joined the chat room.
[11:04am] cary: As usual, questions should be prefaced with "QUESTION:"
[11:04am] cary: and chatter should be confined to #wikimedia-office-talk
[11:05am] randmontoya: QUESTION: How did Pumpkin become the most awesome dog in the world?
[11:05am] sfsarac: Awww. Thanks Rand.
[11:05am] Philippe|Wiki: QUESTION: What's the "day in the life" like for you? What does the Head of Partnerships do?
[11:05am] sfsarac: This is highly relevant.
[11:06am] sfsarac: Hi Philippe. A day in the life would consist of...
[11:06am] sfsarac: (sorry, a little slow here)
[11:07am] Philippe|Wiki: no worries a softball question to get you started
[11:07am] sfsarac: Preparing a report on a grant we have received and working with our internal team here to collect information. For instance...
[11:08am] sfsarac: In the case of the Stanton usability grant, I work with Naoko and the team to ensure that we get the funder information about what has happened during the grant period, and progress that has been made
[11:08am] sfsarac: And any risks that we might perceive.
[11:08am] sfsarac: I also correspond directly with program officers at our various foundation funders and ensure that they are up to date on all things Wikimedia.
[11:09am] sfsarac: And develop proposals for upcoming projects.
[11:09am] sfsarac: So, those are a few things.
[11:09am] Philippe|Wiki: Yay for the usability grant And the new multimedia grant from Ford.
[11:10am] brianmc: is this the right room for an argument?
[11:10am] sfsarac: Yes, which is another foundation supporter that we work closely with. Those are our two main "restricted" grants i.e. project-specific grants.
[11:10am] sfsarac: It depends on what type of argument you wish to pose
[11:11am] brianmc: heh
[11:11am] brianmc: randmontoya: will we see the banners on sisterprojects further tweaked to deal with some of the contributor concerns?
[11:12am] sfsarac: Wrong room.
[11:12am] • randmontoya focuses on Sara. Ask me elsewhere.
[11:12am] brianmc: 'kay, sorry
[11:12am] cary: QUESTION: Sara, are you on Twitter?
[11:12am] sfsarac: Anyway, our project-specific grants are complemented by unrestricted grants for general operating support from supporters like Omidyar Network and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.
[11:13am] sfsarac: No, Cary.
[11:13am] Philippe|Wiki: QUESTION: So what's the future like for you? Will we see more work on grants that are specifically project geared (as with Usability and Ford), or are we going to see more broad general spending grants
[11:13am] sfsarac: I think we'll see an appropriate balance of both. While we prefer general operating support, as it supports our mission in its broadest sense...
[11:14am] RoanKattouw joined the chat room.
[11:14am] Natalie: brianmc: How dare you try to ask WMF-related questions to a WMF staffer in a WMF channel designed for this. Tsk, tsk.
[11:14am] sfsarac: It is important to have specific initiatives aimed at accomplishing things like making the site more user-friendly and improving our public outreach resources.
[11:14am] brianmc: QUESTION: We'd had a discussion about Wikimedia Radio a while back, a few "interests" this year. How firm a proposal would be needed to get a test server up, running, and streaming audio content?
[11:15am] brianmc: :[:[meta:Wikimedia Radio]]
[11:15am] Huib: QUISTION: Why do we need grants and partnerships. Can't the Foundation run on Community Donations?
[11:15am] sfsarac: I am not familiar with that project/idea.
[11:16am] sfsarac: Good question, Huib.
[11:16am] cary: Okay, we're queueing questions.
[11:16am] sfsarac: While community gifts are our primary source of revenue...
[11:16am] werdna joined the chat room.
[11:17am] sfsarac: We need to ensure that we have diverse funding resources and that we do not lean too heavily on one form of support.
[11:18am] sfsarac: So we also have grants, and a small amount of business development revenue.
[11:18am] Philippe|Wiki: QUESTION: Does it make sense to pursue government grants for Wikimedia? Why are Foundations a better source of funding, in your mind?
[11:18am] sfsarac: This also brings in additional "stakeholders" so to speak (foundations)
[11:18am] in2thats12 joined the chat room.
[11:20am] sfsarac: At this time, we don't pursue government grants: given our organizational size and priorities vis a vis the requirements of a government grant this would be difficult, for one.
[11:20am] sfsarac: More importantly, we pursue funding partners that have shared objectives and potential for partnership.
[11:20am] Philippe|Wiki:
[11:21am] sfsarac: And our current funders have missions that really sync up with ours.
[11:21am] sfsarac: Lastly, we don't always seek grants for their magnitude. Quality of partnership, not quantity of funding!
[11:22am] Philippe|Wiki: So our largest grants would be... stanton and ford? am i missing anything?
[11:23am] sfsarac: No, the largest grant is that from the Sloan Foundation. $3M over three years in general support.
[11:24am] sfsarac: They were the first funder to put a stake in the ground with us, and help us ramp up during our organizational growth.
[11:24am] Philippe|Wiki: ooooh, Sloan, of course. How could I forget them?
[11:24am] in2thats12: are the grant applications and the terms/goals of the grants available online?
[11:24am] sfsarac: He he. The Sloan Foundation aligns with us via their program for digital information technology and the dissemination of knowledge.
[11:25am] sfsarac: in2thats12, that's a good question because it is important for us to be open and transparent about our activities.
[11:26am] sfsarac: So, where a funder is amenable to this "radical" idea, we do publish as much information about the grant as possible.
[11:26am] sfsarac: The Ford Grant proposal is available online, linked to this press release:
[11:27am] sfsarac: And the Hewlett Foundation proposal should be available through their Open Educational Resources portal (or I'm happy to share via email if it is not up yet).
[11:27am] sfsarac: But in some cases, funders to want to keep some of the information private.
[11:28am] sfsarac: This is primarily because most funders have many grantees and they want to make sure their policies/processes are consistent across the board.
[11:28am] sfsarac: Is that helpful?
[11:28am] in2thats12: yes, thanks, but foir the most part the goals of the grants are published?
[11:29am] sfsarac: Yes, in some way shape or form!
[11:29am] sfsarac: (press releases, etc.)
[11:29am] eiaway joined the chat room.
[11:29am] in2thats12: I figured they had to be insofaras they affect the direction of Wikimedia
[11:30am] sfsarac: Well, one important thing to note is that we are under the direction of our funders.
[11:30am] sfsarac: Sorry we are NOT under the direction of our funders!
[11:31am] Philippe|Wiki: ... i was about to say....
[11:31am] sfsarac: one important word left off!
[11:32am] cary: Are there any more questions for Sara?
[11:32am] guillom: QUESTION: do you think Wikimedia chapters should seek partnerships as you do for the foundation? Or do you think it is too early, or they need more manpower?
[11:32am] guillom: with other foundations, etc., that is
[11:33am] sfsarac: I think Wikimedia chapters and volunteers even without that type of network should always seek to build relationships that they think would benefit the projects (for instance with museums, libraries, archives), but...
[11:33am] sfsarac: they need more support in terms of shared resources and direction on how to execute partnerships.
[11:34am] sfsarac: And we hope that the strategy plan will help determine ways in which WMF can help provide this support.
[11:34am] guillom: great
[11:34am] guillom: thanks
[11:34am] cary: At this time, while I'm going to leave the channel open for further questions to sara
[11:34am] cary: I'm going to give randmontoya the "microphone"
[11:34am] cary: to give a fundraiser update
[11:35am] randmontoya was granted voice by cary.
[11:35am] Philippe|Wiki: ...almost always a mistake. randmontoya wants to do Karaoke, I can tell.
[11:35am] randmontoya: You want me to sing?!
[11:35am] sfsarac: He's singing right now.
[11:35am] sfsarac: (please no)
[11:35am] • randmontoya is put on the spot.
[11:35am] cary: and answer questions.
[11:35am] randmontoya: $230,000 today after $430,000 yesterday
[11:35am] Philippe|Wiki: QUESTION: Tell us about your incredibly awesome today yesterday?
[11:35am] Philippe|Wiki: oh wait, you just did
[11:36am] werdna: what's he singing?
[11:36am] sfsarac: "today yesterday" is the best day of the week, Philippe
[11:36am] randmontoya: We still are only a bit beyond halfway for this campaign, btw.
[11:36am] sfsarac: Pennies from heaven
[11:36am] Philippe|Wiki: I meant "day yesterday" and I can't type.
[11:36am] randmontoya: We have a good measure to go.
[11:36am] mark joined the chat room.
[11:37am] ashyrokova: QUESTION: do you feel like we'll be able to reach our goal by the end of the fundraiser?
[11:37am] Natalie: Typing is hard.
[11:37am] randmontoya: Yes, i believe we will...we still have several 'tricks' up our sleeves.
[11:37am] randmontoya: Right now, the community is responding well and I believe we have reached many many new donors so far this year.
[11:38am] randmontoya: Also, it's a long time until 1/15/10 the stated end of the fundraiser unless we hit our goal. We'll make it.
[11:38am] ashyrokova:
[11:38am] werdna: QUESTION: what is rand singing?
[11:39am] sfsarac: "Pennies From Heaven"
[11:39am] Natalie: werdna: QUESTION:
[11:39am] dungodung is now known as dungodung|away.
[11:40am] randmontoya: I'm going to slink back to my other duties unless there are more specific questions for me.
[11:41am] RoanKattouw: QUESTION: "unless we hit our goal" --> why would we stop early?
[11:43am] eiaway: QUESTION: for sara, what do you experience is the largest motivation for partners to become a partner, and what are the biggest turn offs?
[11:43am] eiaway is now known as effeietsanders.
[11:43am] randmontoya: RoanKattouw: unless we have specific needs and spending plans, we shouldn't be asking for money.
[11:44am] mdale1 joined the chat room.
[11:44am] sfsarac: eiaway: I think the largest motivation for partners is the positive social impact that is possible.
[11:44am] RoanKattouw is now known as RoanKattouw_away.
[11:44am] sfsarac: A disproportionate impact to the size of the organization or partnership, because we have such an incredible global reach and capacity to do good
[11:45am] sfsarac: And as far as turn offs...
[11:45am] sfsarac: Well, some partners might not feel comfortable with the level of transparency and openness to all of our work.
[11:45am] sfsarac: That is not a bad thing, it just "is"
[11:46am] sfsarac: And some might not see eye-to-eye with how we are doing things, and want us to change (i.e. "put ads on the site") to do what they think is right. But we won't compromise on that type of thing.
[11:47am] geniice joined the chat room.
[11:47am] sfsarac: But for the most part we have very like-minded organizations reach out to us and want to partner with us.
[11:51am] cary: QUESTION: any plans for the New Year?
[11:51am] Philippe|Wiki: Champagne.
[11:51am] sfsarac: Big plans and champagne!
[11:52am] sfsarac: Really, though. In 2010 we have some good things in store.
[11:52am] sfsarac: Completion of the strategy plan, from which will emerge new projects and ideas, for one.
[11:52am] Huib left the chat room. ("ChatZilla 0.9.85 :[Firefox 3.5.5/20091102152451]")
[11:53am] Philippe|Wiki: < - shameless plug>
[11:53am] sfsarac: And it is a big year for public outreach.
[11:53am] fschulenburg:
[11:54am] sfsarac: exactly.
[11:54am] sfsarac: We'll complete the current usability work, and have some good improvements to Wikimedia Commons upload process as well...
[11:54am] Bilyeu left the chat room.
[11:54am] guillom: YEAH
[11:55am] guillom: we'll do a fantastic job and foundations will want to give us lots of bucks to do an even more fantastic job
[11:55am] Natalie: # I need to add "new wiki" to the list...
[11:55am] sfsarac: Well said, guillom!
[11:56am] Natalie: guillom: Lots of future tense there, eh?
[11:56am] cary: sfsarac, any closing remarks
[11:56am] cary: ?
[11:56am] sfsarac: Positive outlook, more like.
[11:57am] • randmontoya is a huge fan of sfsarac...good co-worker and friend.
[11:57am] sfsarac: I think I've extrapolated quite a bit but thanks to those who came and asked questions!
[11:57am] sfsarac: And to Rand for the props.
[11:57am] • Philippe|Wiki also thinks highly of Sara
[11:57am] guillom: Natalie, well, as far as the multimedia usability project is concerned, we just started
[11:58am] cary:
[11:58am] Natalie: Ayn Rand?
[11:58am] Natalie: The eminent 20th-century Russian-American philosopher?
[11:58am] geniice: die
[11:58am] Philippe|Wiki: macro misfire?
[11:58am] cary: Thank you sfsarac ! Thanks to all who participated!
[11:58am] cary: =============================