Resource allocation, grantmaking, money
- principles of equity in our structures for distribution and use of our financial resources within and beyond our movement;
- local, regional and global responsibilities for resource allocation and grantmaking across the movement, incl. grantmaking bodies and decision making processes;
- evaluation of global and local resource allocation models;
- the impact of funds spent, and accountability of movement entities.
The Wikimedia Foundation with its grant programs is currently the primary point of worldwide resource allocation in the movement. Most of the funds are currently awarded to organizations and groups in established and well resourced communities. Although some of these organizations are giving out (micro)grants to their local and project communities, we are far from an equitable model for resource allocation. As a result our historical structures and processes are currently reinforcing the concentration of power and money in the movement, while not serving adequately our vision of a world where every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
Most of the movement money comes from donors, and we need to ensure that funds are handled in a responsible way and create the best possible impact for our movement. The movement lacks a shared approach of how accountability can be ensured in a transparent yet efficient way. The movement has introduced practices, structures and participation models as a first step towards better accountability, but those now need to be revisited to adjust them to the strategic priorities.
With the now improved relationships and level of trust across the movement, it is time to interrogate what works and what doesn’t. This means that all privileges and historically evolved strategies are back on the table, so that roles and responsibilities related to resource allocation can be adjusted according to our strategic priority of equity.
These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.
- Resource allocation
- What are the movements resources that can be allocated?
- What is the movement’s definition of equitable resource allocation?
- What do we need to adjust or introduce (e.g. in terms of processes, structures, culture, roles, power dynamics, incentives or understanding of impact) to ensure equitable resource allocation?
- What could be the impact of our resources, with regard to our Strategic Direction?
- How can we support innovation to move in this direction together?
- What are movement funds and how do we manage them to ensure accountability to the movement for all funds spent?
- Which (movement) bodies should take on what (local, regional, global) responsibilities in grantmaking and resource allocation? And how can these efforts be coordinated to ensure the best possible impact?
- Do we need to connect or align our strategic approaches for resource allocation with those for revenue streams? And if so, how do we do this?
||Organization / project
||Open Foundation West Africa
||Open Foundation West Africa
||North America, Australia
||Australia, Western Europe
||Wikimedia Polska, FDC
||Central and Eastern Europe
Please take a look at the draft recommendations (September 2019):
- Set Common Framework of Principles for Resource Allocation
- Design participatory decision making for Resource Allocation
- Recognize privileges / Design for equity
- Distribute existing structures
- Build Thematic hubs – to provide services to the free knowledge movement long term
- Ensure flexible approach to resource allocation in a complex, fast moving and changeable space
- Allocate resources for capacity and sustainability
- Allocate resources to new types of partners/organisations (essential infrastructure of the free knowledge ecosystem)
- Include knowledge consumers
First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).
There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.
Activities and reports
Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report (2018)
This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Resource allocation at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. There was no conversation about Revenue streams, as no one volunteered to participate in the discussion group.
- Focus of the conversation
The group discussed what the scope of this thematic area should be, but they did not discuss who should be in the Working Group and how they should work (which all groups were encouraged to). However, the group did underline that in the Working Group people must make an effort to set aside personal or organizational preferences, and during the discussions think of what might be the best working structure and model for the whole movement.
The group formulated questions related to:
- equity in grantmaking, incl. reducing entry barriers for smaller and emerging communities, ensuring better communication around grants and thus providing access for more diverse groups of stakeholders
- decentralization of grantmaking to provide better and more relevant support in local communities through participation of people and organizations who know the local/regional context.
If you would like to know more details about the WMCON discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.
This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.