Talk:Fundraising 2011/Chapters/Fundraising Agreement

Things that could be clearer

  • Have agreed to and signed a Chapter Agreement with WMF that is in force
    • "that is in force" seems an odd phrase. "that is currently active" might be better.
  • Receive and deposit online donations into a dedicated bank account ...
    • Is this a dedicated bank account for the fundraiser? or a chapter-owned bank account? It isn't clear - and obviously the latter would be better/more sensible.
  • ... commitments to the 2010/11 by September 1, 2011 ...
    • "2010/11 fundraiser by" ?
  • Each party will publicly release a full accounting of revenues collected and spent. This will be released in a timely manner[6] in[7]
    • Presume that this sentence wasn't meant to end abruptly with a footnote?
  • This includes publicly posting all mass direct communications (email and mail) for comment before implementation.
    • It would be good to define, or at least give examples of, what 'publicly posting' means. Will this be on a wiki, or by designated mailing list, or ...? It's very possible to publicly post something in an obscure location that no-one will see. ;-) It's very good to see this point included in the agreement.
  • ... with WMF fundraising team during the duration of this agreement. Chapters who have not ...
    • "during the duration"? "throughout the duration" would be better grammar. Also, chapters are a "that" rather than a "who" - let's not personify organisations. ;-)

Mike Peel 09:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

"Provide sufficient volunteers to handle its customer service related functions" - should be "sufficient volunteers or staff", unless we're very insistent on them being volunteers... (we hired a part-time office manager last year to help with the process of responding to donor queries). Mike Peel 16:53, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Thanks Mike! All suggestions have been incorporated except the point about public posting. Will address this one once I have guidance on where the posting should be from the WMF fundraising team --Bnewstead 20:23, 3 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Revenue sharing


While I'm glad to see a move away from 50:50 towards setting fundraising targets, I'm very wary of one phrase: "This target shall be no greater than 150% of the chapter's 2010/11 share of online fundraising after revenue sharing." There will be chapters that want to grow quicker than this, particularly in their initial stages - e.g. WMUK for these last few years, and also the Foundation for a long time - and this seems like a huge constraint that is being applied to the growth of a chapter. Put another way, the maximum budgets for new chapters participating for the first time will be:

  • 2011-2012: $50k
  • 2012-2013: $75k
  • 2013-2014: $112.5k
  • 2014-2015: $168.75k
  • 2015-2016: $253.125k


Are there chapters that feel they will want to grow quicker than this next year (and in future years), for which this might present a problem? (WMUK isn't aiming to grow by this much in the next fundraiser. ;-) ) Mike Peel 09:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

I'll be reviewing the agreement in detail this week-end, but this clause, as far as I'm concerned, is a no go. Not so much because of the number itself, which seems quite reasonable, but because of the principle behind it. What independant organisation in their right mind would actually sign an agreement with a third party that defines how much they are allowed to grow? This decision is not to be taken by the WMF for independant chapter organisations, it lies in the hands of the boards/general assemblies/members/{{insert decision-making body here}}, certainly not in the hands of the Wikimedia Foundation. The phrasing shall be no greater than needs to be changed. At the very worst it could be a guideline (chapters might want to aim at no greater than...), at best it needs to disappear completely. Delphine 15:25, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
To Mike's point: if a chapter made less then $50k in the first year, it would be constrained to an even slower growth path. (E.g. $15k; $22.5k, $33.75k if we take WMHU's 50% share of last year.) --Bdamokos 19:10, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
See comments below following Anthere's comments --Bnewstead 19:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Requirements and methods for informing the other party of noncompliance, and mediation


This was a point that was raised last year at the fundraising meeting, and needs to be sorted out for this fundraiser. What happens when something goes wrong, and either party doesn't meet some aspect of the fundraising agreement? How and who should be corresponded with on either side of this, and what are the escalation options if disagreement occurs? Mike Peel 09:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hey Mike, I believe the answer to your question could be found here: Thanks! --Melamrawy 01:32, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

I don't see a mention of mediation and non-compliance process; except for the note that if too many deadlines are missed in reporting after one year's fundraiser, the WMF might be wary about entering into future agreements (presumably including the following year). Perhaps a mediation question could be added to the FAQ. SJ+ 22:14, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
Also, a FAQ is hardly binding, is it? Delphine 10:09, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
It would be good to figure out an approach here, though I wouldn't hold up the agreement for this as we could add new provisions later if there is general agreement on a better approach. Some preliminary thoughts: Typically, contracts between two organizations have some provision for dispute resolution either via mediation, courts or both. While we might want to add this type of provision to this agreement, I think it would be better if we could figure out an internal way to work on disputes within our agreements. Something better than shouting at each other on mailing lists. The first step would be proactive self-reporting on noncompliance and action steps to fix deficiencies (which is already a provision in the agreement). It would be great if there was a place on Internal where a chapter or WMF could report their own noncompliance and actions to fix it (in addition to the requirement that a chapter report their noncompliance to WMF - via Moushira)
This proactive effort should be coupled with timely responses to issues of noncompliance raised by other parties. We might also generate some guidelines over time about general expectations for how certain issues should get resolved - both actions expected and possible remedies. Remedies require some thought (and I'm not even sure it makes sense to have remedies). As of now, the only remedy within the term of an agreement for chapters if WMF is noncompliant would be to withhold revenue sharing. For WMF, the only remedy is to stop directing traffic to a chapter. Both actions would be outside of the agreement and would be very damaging to the other party, not to mention to the relationship. Would be great to hear proposals on this question and possibly have some external examples from other global NGOs. --Bnewstead 20:48, 3 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
I presume the "provision in the agreement" is the section on "Future fundraising agreements"? It would be good to pin this down further, e.g. add something like "In the event of noncompliance by either party, the opposite party's fundraising contact must be immediately informed upon discovery of that noncompliance."
I think that something like the 'mediation committee' on the English Wikipedia would be a useful structure in the general case of disagreement between the Foundation and a chapter, as well as in the specific case being discussed here, if such a committee could be set up such that it was independent of both the Foundation and the chapter (i.e. there would be no foregone biases present). Mike Peel 21:56, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Comments by Anthere


<will add provision on sharing of donor information under certain conditions>

waiting for more information about this point....
Moushira is going work on adjustments to the privacy policy of WMF that would enable sharing of donor information that would allow us all to better communicate with donors who might be sitting in either the WMF or a chapter's CRM --Bnewstead 19:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Provide sufficient volunteers to handle its customer service related functions: answering questions about donations, refunds, etc, in a timely manner through the OTRS system or other jointly agreed upon system."""

unclear or badly phrased. I presume that chapters are free to choose any CRM and HelpDesk they wish for their internal organization. Why would that to be commonly agreed upon ? I suggest the following rephrasing Provide sufficient volunteers to handle its customer service related functions: answering questions about donations, refunds, etc, in a timely manner through an OTRS system or other appropriate system."""
Made the change --Bnewstead 22:37, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

This target shall be no greater than 150% of the chapter's 2010/11 share of online fundraising after revenue sharing.

No. This is not negotiable. It is up to members and board members of each organization to decide what their planned programs are and as such up to members and board members to vote a budget to support their program. There is no reason for WMF to have the authority of deciding of chapter program and budget, or we will enter in an entirely new type of relationship where chapters are affiliates. With all the neat consequences such as being directly suable on the territory. So, this sentence has to go out entirely.
Besides, we might meet a problem for shares beyond 50%. Under 50%, transfer is non taxable and the chapter is recognised as an independant entity. Beyond this value, the chapter is considered to be merely a channel to siphon funds. So, fiscally talking, we will not transfer much more than 50% directly. This does not mean we can not use some of the amount beyond the 50% to cover international costs. But the amount above the 50% will probably have to be restricted funding for specific projects. In short, beyong the purely ethical position which is not ok (we are independant chapters, WMF has no authority over our budget), practically speaking, we will not sign an agreement making it an obligation to transfer possibly more than 50%

There are two options for operationalizing the sharing to be agreed upon by both the Chapter and WMF before signing this agreement: Option A: Donors are directed to the chapter until the chapter reaches their target after which they are directed to WMF. Option B: Donors are directed to the chapter until WMF meets its target and all amounts raised beyond the Chapter's fundraising target shall be transferred to WMF in support of the WMF's charitable mission and the global infrastructure of the Wikimedia projects.

Option A is probably fine for chapters not proposing tax deductibility
Option B might be fine ONLY IF the chapter sets up its own target

Contributions should be made by April 1, 2012 and September 1, 2012, and should account for revenue received up to January 31, 2012 and June 30, 2012 respectively.

I know that in our case, it will be too short. May 1 and October 1 would be more reasonable. Otherwise... well, we'll simply be late each time :)
These are the same dates that chapters and WMF agreed to in the 2010/11 agreement, so hope that this doesn't mean that you will miss these this year too? We can probably work with a May 1/October 1 number - though there will be even less wiggle room, as WMF will not be signing agreements for participation in subsequent agreements for the following year, if we haven't received our revenue sharing on time. --Bnewstead 19:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I understand that these are the same dates. And I say that indeed, these dates are too short given our accounting obligations; But this can be solved by agreeing that each year transfer is an estimation, to be finetuned one year later when final data are certified by accoutants/general assembly of members/external auditors. Now, with slightly more time (one more month), it will be much easier to give a better approximation to the true amount to transfer (my argument being that for more developped chapters, accounting is closed every trimester). At worse, we can also make a pre-transfer with rough estimates of figures. Anthere
Yes, would make sense to do transfers based on best estimates and then make adjustments (which would likely be very small) based on audited results --Bnewstead 00:15, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

The WMF will publicly acknowledge the amount of money transferred by the chapter to WMF as part of this agreement, in its Annual Report. The WMF will also provide a monthly summary of activities (such as its Report to the Board) along with a brief summary (no more that 1 page), to document the general uses of Chapter contributions by the WMF.

unsufficient for our fiscal administration
Same language as 2010/11 agreement, so not sure why it wouldn't work. Please suggest alternatives. --Bnewstead 19:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I am waiting for Thierry's feedback on this. Anthere

Work with the Chapter fundraising contact to provide data related to fundraising in the Chapter's geography, as requested by the Chapter fundraising contact. This may include the number of donations to the WMF, the average size of the donation, donation origin and donation source (such as by check or wire transfer).

good reminder ! I think the WMF is also late in their reporting of donations from chapter countries :)
We will be on time for 2/28 deadline. Per the note, January deadline is a free pass for all ;)
yeah. No big deal

There are good points in that new proposals. There are also points to change. And there is one big non-negotiable part. To avoid being only critical, I have a suggestion

The sentence This target shall be no greater than 150% of the chapter's 2010/11 share of online fundraising after revenue sharing could probably be replaced by a sentence upon which chapters fully agree to provide a fundraising target (something that has not really been enforced till now), with the obligations to provide program and budget associated to the program. If the chapter is unable to say how they plan to use the money, it might make sense to say "eh, what about you guys having a rather low target then" and discuss that. If the chapter provides a good program and budget associated, go along with their proposed fundraising target. And if the chapter provides a totally weird and unreasonable program and budget (such as planning to organize Wikimania the following year and estimating it will cost 2 millions dollars), then rework with them for more reasonable targets.

One thing I would find really cool to see before the fundraising is indeed fundraising targets provided by all organizations; along with at least rough programs and rough budget (probably not an approved budget since it is too early for most chapters, but at least a prospective one). Every year, rough comparison between programs and budget of each organization and analysis to see how far from the plan each of us was. Good practice anyway.

I would also suggest that the fundraising target should be fundraising targetS and globally shared (which we have not done until now). I would even go as far as suggesting something such as a "fundraising target committee", which would be in charge of collecting and reviewing each organization "program/budget/target". I do not think this committee should be making decisions (such as "this chapter targets are unreasonable, please change them"), but rather be an advising committee (such as identifying chapters whose programs are poorly defined, chapters whose budget are unsufficiently worked out, chapters whos e fundrasing targets are completely out of the blue). I know it might seem to be additional (and undesirable) bureaucracy and more work. But I think it might have the benefit of providing a clearer picture of the "big thing" and it might be an alternative to the current proposition which is essentially to let Wikimedia Foundation in charge of not only organizing but also regulating our global mouvement. What do you think  ?

Anthere 10:25, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hear you all on the 150% point and I like the suggestions regarding ways to get to good quality fundraising targets that match programs. That is really consistent with where we should be headed. Core principle IMHO: We raise funds to support great programming ...and we have mechanisms for allocating money across the movement, so that we can ensure priorities are funded and we don't privilege chapters with generous donors over other chapters, by default. Let's work on the process and language that gets us to a good solution - we will need to get it worked out by March 15, so we can have it included in the agreement. --Bnewstead 19:38, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I find two things a bit troubling here. One is that there are currently no "mechanisms for allocating money across the movement" and it's quite questionable whether that would indeed be good. It certainly won't be particularly efficient as uncounted reallocation schemes have shown. It's also unlikely that such mechanisms will appear short-term, unless of course one considers the Foundation's grant request program as one. Based on the rules of that program though, I wouldn't want to call it that. I'm also not sure what it means to say to "privilege chapters with generous donors over other chapters, by default". There's a multitude of reasons why chapters raise funds at different levels. Some of them are endogenic and thus (theoretically) controllable, some of them are exogenic. It needs to be understood about each organization what the actual causes are and how providing outside funding will influence them. If that isn't known, funding through reallocation might actually destroy whatever incentive is left to become self-sufficient.
The other troubling aspect is the rush of it all. The changes in the draft, compard to last year's version, touch on fundamental aspects of the chapter-Foundation relationship. Yet it seems only very limited time is provided to actually discuss them, not just between chapters and the Foundation, but also internal to the chapter. As experience has shown, decision-making processes within chapters often take a long time. By giving a four-week window, it almost ensured that most chapters won't have time to come to some form of internal understanding and position on the changes proposed here.
Now, personally, I find the 50/50 split quite perfect and see actually no reason to move away from that. It's simple, provides the right incentives to raise funds and to grow, and makes sure that chapters contribute to activities beyond their own reach. Aside from that, I think it would be worthwhile for better mechanisms to exist so chapters can receive funding from the Wikimedia movement if fundraising from the general public just isn't a viable option due to external circumstances. Such mechanisms don't really exist yet but, for them to become effective, there need to be more than one and they need not be concentrated anywhere. That may appear counter-intuitive to some but, as long as there is no group and no person with omnscience, they only way we find out what works and what doesn't is by having several (competing) mechanisms providing options. sebmol 18:05, 21 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I think the big rush reason is that some brand new chapters are likely to join the fundraiser next year, who will probably be hardly organized at all, and who could find themselves completely under water by the number of donations. Specifically, I am thinking for example of the spanish chapter or probably even more to the canadian chapter. Anthere
Well, since I am one of the strongest advocates of moving from the 50/50 scheme into a thoughtful different split, I'll add my comments here. I don't agree with Sebastian that 50/50 is perfect. In my opinion, it is simply not. It has worked for some, less well for others, and while at this stage, it gives predictability to the whole thing, I am not sure that it is a scheme that we want to keep for the future by default. So, personally, I am happy to see us moving towards other possibilities, as I believe that they will allow us to make sustainable growth happen across the board. This said, I am not exactly impressed with the implementation that is foreseen in this fundraising agreement. Moving away from a 50/50 agreement per default should come with safeguards, possibilities to work together on targets and assess them, not in a way that goes "you make your targets and everything that comes above that goes to the Foundation" (just to make one thing clear, my problem is not so much that it goes to "the Foundation", it could go to X or Z for all I care, it would be the same). I do think that there should be mechanisms that allow money to flow where it is needed in the movement and I do think that it is a good thing (tm) as a basic principle. I am not sure however that at this stage, we have the necessary mechanisms in place to allow this to happen in a way that would really maximize cross-movement development, and I am definitely sure that this fundraising agreement does not provide such safeguards and mechanisms.Maybe we should work on those before we rush into an agreement that lacks them completely. -- Delphine
Another thing. Barry's email of February 7th (which I don't find anywhere on a wiki) which is kind of summarized in the FAQ on meta states:
  • We want to say that it is important that, over the coming year, the fundraising-participant chapters effectively spend the revenue that you received through the fundraiser on programs that support the movement's priorities which served as the basis for our pledge to donors in Jimmy's letter and the information we have shared about our funding needs. Donors give money to non-profits to fund good programmatic activities: they don’t give money so that the non-profit can spend it in ways that are not consistent with the “ask” or stockpile it.
  • If there are chapters who believe that they will struggle to spend greater than 75% of their revenue from the 2010/11 fundraiser over their fiscal year, we would appreciate discussing options for reallocation of those funds within the movement with you. This might include providing additional funds for the chapter grant making program or co-funding of WMF initiatives either on technology or programs.
The phrasing of the email (on the contrary to that of the FAQ, btw) shows a will to cooperate and see how potential "extra" funds could be allocated, which I find good. This is not, however, reflected in the fundraising agreement, which states all amounts raised beyond the Chapter's fundraising target shall be transferred to WMF in support of the WMF's charitable mission and the global infrastructure of the Wikimedia projects.. In short, chapters have no choice. I like the first approach better, of course. -- Delphine
On top of that, I'll just add to the choir that 4 weeks to sign an agreement that basically decides of any participating chapter's survival/development for the year to come is simply not realistic. Delphine 09:13, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I am not sure that it is a scheme that we want to keep for the future by default. - Could you provide some arguments please to support this position? Ideally, we make these decisions based on cost/benefit analysis rather than personal preference. The questions we need to look at is what options are available for sharing fundraising proceeds and which, considering incentives and the law of unintended consequences, lead to maximum effect for all parties involved, with a strong focus on long-term rather than short-term effects. Otherwise we'll be doing this exercise of reworking the fundraising agreement every year, with all the inefficiency, uncertainty and potential for conflict associated with that. sebmol 21:02, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
For the same reason that the 150% cap does not work, actually. If Wikimedia organisations are going to evolve and develop, we need to make sure that they do so in the best of possible way. An arbitrary 50/50 split of funds may not be the best course of action to ensure either survival or development, depending on which is needed at a given time. There might come a time where Wikimedia Deutschland (to take one chapter out of the blue) will need to get more than 50% of the amount of the funds they raised, as there may be a time when the Foundation will need more than just 50% of chapter-raised funds. Whether it is to ensure survival or ensure sound development, I think we should be flexible as to what split might occur between different organisations. It might indeed require negociations every year and revision of the fundraising agreement, but that's part of the game. Sticking to 50/50 "just because" does not strike me as exactly being the result of a thorough cost/benefit analysis. I am not excluding that year after year, the average split between Foundation and chapters will be something around 50/50 actually, I think that setting it in stone without a clear explanation of why this is necessary and how advantageous it really is does not seem very productive. But surely you have arguments supporting the 50/50 split as "quite perfect"? Delphine 21:30, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

General wording


Intro: you could shorten

"This partnership is founded on shared principles of fundraising in the Wikimedia movement, which have been articulated at by the WMF Board of Trustees.[1] More specifically, these principles include:"

to something like:

"This partnership is founded on shared principles of fundraising in the Wikimedia movement,[1] including:"

The footnote should be to the best available articulation of our shared fundraising principles. Hopefully we will improve on the Board's statement, which was meant to motivate a more detailed formulation of principles by the movement as a whole (Foundation, Chapters, and all). If the best articulation available is still the Board resolution, that's fine, but this agreement need not limit that articulation in the agreement itself to the first partial expression of those principles.


  • Include a definition for "the parties".

Bullet points:

  • The use of "Both" or "Each" can be unified to one or the other.
  • Unify punctuation at the end of bullets.
  • Bullet points under 'Prerequisites' should be made parallel to one another so they are grammatical.

Revenue sharing: can Option B be simplified? It is worded awkwardly.

Actually, I would even say that it makes little sense, if any sense at all. The first part is really weird. I wouldn't know what Option B is all about if I had to choose it. Delphine 09:16, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Obligations of the WMF: should it also "gather and share daily fundraising data" as the Chapters do?

Will incorporate wording adjustments. Thanks SJ. --Bnewstead 00:19, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply


  • Currently, the only mention of the language in which reports are to be shared is in one bullet under shared obligations, though I believe it was meant to apply to all reports:
    "Each party will publicly release a full accounting of revenues collected and spent. This will be released in a timely manner"
      (in the Chapter's primary language (if not English) with an appropriate summary in English.)

--SJ+ 22:14, 18 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

This is a tough one and I'm not keen to tackle it under the fundraising agreement (we have enough to cover already). The reason it is touch is that there is no agreed upon set of languages that we should be translating into. Maybe there is another forum in which the question of which languages WMF should be translating a certain set of materials into...and how much money WMF should be spending on translation services. --Bnewstead 00:19, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
<nod> Did you mean this to apply to the subsection below? The statement quoted only asks Chapters to release summaries of reports in English. The other report to which this clause might apply is in a separate bullet on reports of fundraising successes and failures.
I separated out the comment below because you're right that the broader translation question is more complex; perhaps it can be moved to a translation talk page. SJ · talk | translate 20:01, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Translation of report summaries


Just as the Chapters should include a summary in English, perhaps the Foundation can include a summary of its reports in the local language of each Chapter partaking in the agreement. This is more than a wording change, but the cost would be small, and the contribution to improved communication across the movement large. SJ · talk | translate 05:46, 1 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Comments from Craig


I'm distilling this from the discussion that occurred on the fundraising list, if I have missed any concerns that anyone has, please feel free to trout me and add them :-)

  • Tax Implications: under Australian law, only money that is to be spent in Australia for 'charitable' purposes is tax deductible, unless a special exemption is made (which is how groups like the Red Cross operate). We are unlikely to get that exemption. Previously, with a clear 50/50 split it was easy for potential donors to know how much they could claim on their tax, and how much they couldn't. The proposed new revenue sharing formula changes that from a simple call to a complex calculation that can only be made once the fundraiser is complete. Not only is this potentially going to annoy donors, it would also add a significant administrative burden to our chapter to work it all out.
I would imagine that this is quite normal for charities with an international mission in Australia. Wouldn't a simple answer be to include the percentage in the thank you letter/donation receipt? Alternative would be to have a fixed arrangement with WM-Australia to fundraise to a certain level with a X0/Y0 split and once we reach that target, WMF does any additional fundraising required directly (might also solve the incentive problem - see below) --Bnewstead 00:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • PR Implications: this was also echoed by someone from the Swiss chapter: people like to hear that some of their money will be spent locally, and maybe some will also go to the servers. A 50/50 split is easy for us to explain. A vague "oh, some of the money will go to local projects, but we don't know how much" is not, and again may potentially annoy donors.
I don't know that this is really a big issue since there isn't any magic to a 50-50 split from a donor perspective. IMO we have a stronger message to donors if we can point them to the program plans that their donation supports - at WMF and at the chapter, which is what we'll be able to offer next year. --Bnewstead 00:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Disincentives to work on the fundraiser: the inclusion of donation caps is troubling, as it provides disincentives for chapters to work hard and help WMF reach its target as soon as possible. In a worst case scenario, a chapter might, after reaching their cap, decide to pull down banners altogether and go their merry way. If WMF hasn't yet reached its target, this is obviously not a good outcome. There was some disbelief on the mailing list that this might happen, but pulling down banners is in many chapters going to be politically popular, and some might feel that taking that attitude will result in more votes for them at the next general assembly. Far more likely in my mind is the possibility that a chapter will simply not work on the fundraiser after reaching their cap, preferring to work on local projects and programmes. While the donations will still flow through, they'll do so more slowly than if the chapter's full attention was on the fundraiser.

    To mitigate this, I'd at the very least suggest that an exemption clause is written into the standard fundraising agreement that chapters who have plans and properly formed budgets for the coming year that exceed the arbitrary 150% cap will be permitted to fundraise to the full extent of that budget. The question of whether the plan is realistic should be a joint call between the chapters and the WMF.Lankiveil 01:38, 20 February 2011 (UTC).Reply
  • I don't agree with you. If a chapter is there to only look at their own stuff and does not work for a greater (hear "more international) goal, then I believe that they have nothing to do in Wikimedia in the first place. While I understand that chapters have a primary responsibility to their own membership and sustainability, I believe that it is of the essence that they be conscious of the need for a sustainable Wikimedia "movement", and really think through the implications of letting any other Wikimedia organisation down because "they've done their stuff". Call it optimistic... :) Delphine 09:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I can see Craig's point that on a practical level a cap system is a disincentive (where you have to balance the actual free time and enthusiasm of the volunteers) to maximizing total fundraising revenue. I don't think it too helpful to consider ideal (the) volunteers who always put the global good in front, or that anyone not doing so is in the wrong place: people have volunteered to help the fundraiser in the past from all over the world whether there was a local chapter or not and whether that local chapter got any share of the proceeds and they will continue to do so. The question is the percentage of free time a given volunteer would spend on fundraising as opposed to time allocated to local projects.
I am sure chapters would not pull down the banners after reaching their targets if the WMF still had not reached theirs (this would surely be clear from the agreement), but they (at least those without ideal volunteers) would spend less time and energy on translating, customizing and finetuning new banners and appeals once they have reached their cap. --Bdamokos 23:46, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
Delphine, as we say in Australia, "hope for the best, prepare for the worst". As Bence has said, I hope that a chapter wouldn't deliberately stiff WMF, but there is still a lot of potential for them not to do their best to help WMF reach their targets. This hasn't been a problem in the past, as chapters have had financial incentives to help WMF reach their targets as quickly as possible. Lankiveil 07:56, 23 February 2011 (UTC).Reply
I hear your concerns Craig and Bence, though I hope we don't have this problem as Delphine says. I also think it is an insufficient reason to stick with the status quo. If a chapter doesn't feel that they can sustain volunteer interest to support WMF to get to our target once they have reached there's, then we should use the option for WMF to take over fundraising in that geography after the chapter has reached its target. While this isn't necessarily ideal, WMF is already fundraising in a lot of countries so it wouldn't be too much of a burden.--Bnewstead 00:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Even more comments


Fundraising process

  • The parties will jointly decide on the text for banners and donation landing pages for the chapter's geography based upon highest potential revenue, fidelity with the Wikimedia brand and values, or other factors that might be agreed upon. Data from test runs and live performance during a fundraising campaign should be used to guide and revise these decisions during the agreement period.
Why does the Foundation have a say in this? If the tests are run the right way (and not just one test per 3 months) I think we can trust the chapters to make the right decisions?
Actually, this is better explained and better phrased here: Both parties will collaborate on geography-specific and global campaign messaging, to promote both short-term and long-term fundraising success and the stewardship of a strong donor community, consistent with the values of the Wikimedia movement. as it involves global messaging as well.

Rephrase to take the global thing in the first part as well. Also moderate the impact of "testing", if a banner were to perform tremendously well but were to alieniate the whole community in the process, it should not be implemented. Introduce safeguards here that say that the second best performing banner might be chosen for good reasons, or something. Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Mutual obligations

  • Both parties will share fundraising, stewardship, and cultivation events, along with reports of both successes and failures. This includes publicly posting all mass direct communications (email and mail) for comment before implementation.
Yay to that! However, maybe be more specific?
  • No mass emails to a database in the chapter's geography in English by default
  • No mass email in another organisation's geography without an official OK on the messaging from said organisation.
This may be too detailled, but you get the gist. Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
I doubt that sharing and documenting relevant information of all fundraising acitivities is realistic for chapters fundraising the whole year. Till Mletzko (WMDE) 09:10, 18 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Please, can somebody define mass communication. Is sending an emailing or a postal mailing to 500 people mass communication? And where are we suppose to post this communication for comment? If we do it in a wiki, I would probably see a learning effect for everybody doing fundraising. Till Mletzko (WMDE) 08:44, 7 June 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • <will add provision on sharing of donor information under certain conditions>
This should probably have the following:
  • No mass email sent to a random database without crossing it with other organisations' databases. This can easily be done by a third party without violating any privacy laws, for example with hashes of email addresses etc. I'm not a technical person, but I know it can be done. Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Agree totally with this. When it happened last year, John Vandenberg and I had a lengthy discussion about how the problem could be solved in the future without violating anyone's privacy policies. There are ways that it could be done using trusted third parties and hashes of donor's email addresses. You'll still get some false positives, but there won't be any crosstalk for the vast majority of donors. Lankiveil 07:59, 23 February 2011 (UTC).Reply
I assume it is clear how we ended up in having duplicate donors between WMF and chapters data bases. Those are donors from past years where chapter countries were not raising funds or donors from a chapter country who were physically located outside their countries during the last fundraiser, so their emails ended up in WMF's databases once and in their chapters countries another time, or even only in WMF's. There is no intended violation of information of chapters' donors. While it is theoretically-technically possible to match donor data (even though the same donor's data doesn't always match!) and exclude duplicates, the question remains about allocating resources required to do so, given that it is not a super easy process, at least at the moment. The same effort would be required to analyze donors and send emails in multiple languages. My suggestion is: Can we add a footnote to WMF emails explaining how duplication happened, how the fundraiser process works and how that the money raised and that at the end it is going to the entire global movement in a way to another? Would this give a better clarity to donors? Melamrawy (WMF) 16:52, 21 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
To keep things simple here, WMF could notify chapters ahead of time about any mass emails to the donors in our database and give chapters the decision of whether or not WMF sends emails to donors in individual chapter countries. If a chapter prefers that WMF not send emails to contacts in their region, WMF will exclude donors from that region from receiving emails. It is really important for everyone to understand that we cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that no donor from a chapter country will receive an email from WMF due to database & technical issues that will likely arise. Are chapters planning to send their own emails to their donors, or is this something chapters want WMF to help with? Meganhernandez
On donors contacted by the WMF: Moushira, you're right about the reasons why some people were contacted twice, but there is another thing that happened last year, ie. donors were sollicited who had already given that year through a chapter, and were told "you haven't given this year, why don't you give now?" by the WMF, this shows a great lack of coordination and really makes us look bad. This I found to be the most problematic issue. notafish }<';> 14:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
On the deduplication of databases: Seriously, allocating resources to deduplicate a database is super easy. It may cost money, but that's about it. I've done it countless times through third party providers whose job it is to do such things, and it is as simple as simple can get. I am aware that deduplication is not always 100% accurate, and that's ok, we can live with this. notafish }<';> 14:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Moreover, I don't agree with the idea that we're going to confuse donors with strange footnotes about possible duplication. If we're not going to deduplicate, I find Megan's approach to be the right one, ie. exclude donors from a region to start with. However, we might want to put stuff in place to send a joint message to people in a geography with a chapter, so that they also have the opportunity to choose to give where it might be best for them. As for sending messages through the WMF database for specific regions, I suppose this can be done on a per-region basis in coordination with the relevant chapters (in particular those who might not have the means to send a message out). notafish }<';> 14:34, 6 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Related to the email issue, we also should discuss merchandise. During the 2010 fundraiser, we began discussions around WMF offering t-shirts by email to past donors as well as by banners. We're thinking about doing this outside of the year-end fundraising campaign. I suggest chapters have the option to have WMF exclude donors from chapter countries from receiving t-shirt emails. If chapters want donors in their countries to receive the shirt offer, WMF will send emails to donors in WMF database from those countries. Again, we would all have to understand that if a chapter opts out from having contacts in their countries receive emails, we cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that no donor from a chapter country will receive an email from WMF due to database & technical issues that will likely arise. Meganhernandez 02:51, 7 April 2011 (UTC)MeganhernandezReply

Obligations of the chapter

  • Provide for the translation of landing pages and supporting materials (banners, etc) into both the primary language of its geography and English.
I understand where this comes from, but wow, the WORK! What kind of problem is this supposed to solve? Reaction is of the essence when testing and such, having to translate everything back into English is, in my opinion, a loss of time and resources.Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Needless to report the amount of inquiries and requests received on OTRS wondering about the absence of an English page making it difficult for them to donate, especially in countries with high immigrants rate, Netherlands, Germany or Austria for instance. --Melamrawy (WMF) 16:27, 2 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

WMDE has not received that many requests for an English translation as a matter of fact (less than 20). I support the effort of translated landingpages though but bear in mind that if you start with it, you have to do it right, meaning: every single page has to be available in English. Therefore I don´t know if it is reasonable making this point obligatory. I would rather see this a desirable point. Till Mletzko (WMDE) 13:54, 11 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Remember that the Foundation received far more than those 20.  :) Philippe (WMF) 03:07, 12 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Provide for translation capacity for the WMF's hosted landing pages, including responsibility for translation into the primary language of the chapter.
Not clear what that means. What are "WMF's hosted landing pages" in that context exactly? Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

WMF's hosted landing pages are the languages pages displayed outside countries were chapters are raising funds for themselves, for instance, the German landing page displayed for users in the US, which is the German translation for WMF's landing page and not what WMDE created for users in Germany. --Melamrawy (WMF) 16:27, 2 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

a "fundraising good practices" document?


On the subject of "fundraising practices", it might be a good idea to develop some kind of collaborative document that details the kind of practices that are deemed "good" and others that are deemed "bad". This could be a document that is amended each year with past experiences, showing what worked and what didn't, and what lessons we can draw from that. It would allow to avoid mistakes being made twice. Delphine 10:20, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

It has already been complied after the fundraiser. Should be on meta soon..--Melamrawy (WMF) 16:31, 2 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Revenue sharing

  • Individual donations given directly to the Chapter and not resulting from online fundraising;
How do we plan to track this? Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Option B: Donors are directed to the chapter until WMF meets its target and all amounts raised beyond the Chapter's fundraising target shall be transferred to WMF in support of the WMF's charitable mission and the global infrastructure of the Wikimedia projects.
not clear. Donors are directed to the chapter until WMF meets its target, what? How does the WMF meeting its target decide when "extra money" is going to the WMF? I'm confused (see above Sj's comment also) Delphine 09:38, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
My understanding of this is as follows: "The worldwide fundraising campaign ends when the WMF reaches its target. The chapter will have reached its target by then, and raised extra money on top. The extra money will then be transferred to the Foundation." The assumption being that all of the chapters will have reached their targets by the time the WMF does... Mike Peel 09:44, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
OK, it's still problematic insofar as it assumes chapters will have reached their target at the same time the WMF does (or before) but does not state this explicitely. Delphine 10:06, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

The 50000 USD cap for first year participating chapters


Anthere mentions it above, arguing that new chapters may not be in a position to deal with too much money at the beginning. I wanted to comment on this. I think this is a very good provision, actually. With time, some chapters will appear in geographies where the potential for fundraising is huge. If we still want to foster the development of chapters as grassroots organisations, I think it can be assumed that a budding organisation will be at a loss of what to do with 500k USD in its first year. Having followed the development of chapters in the making through the work of the chapters committee, and having been around to see the now-big chapters develop, I think the assumption makes sense. I am not sure what WMFR, WMDE, or WMNL would have done with 500k USD in their first year. My take is it takes the daunting part of "omg, what are we going to do with so much money?", while allowing for a real increase and development in the first year (50 000k USD is a fair amount of money to start asking yourself the right questions about which path you want to take to develop).

Michael Peel made a good remark about this, which is that 50000 USD does not give the same potential for growth in different geographies (you can do much more with $50k in India than you would in Japan, for example). True enough, I am not sure if that could be taken into account (or whether it needs to), but putting it out here as food for thought. Delphine 10:06, 22 February 2011 (UTC)Reply


  • A chapter that is ready to handle the responsibilities of fundraising is unlikely to be a "first year" chapter. Rather it's one that is a bit further developed and organized. It would probably be a good idea to have some hired help for accounting and some tasks, probably on a part-time or consultant basis to start out with. Not sure how many hours we would need, but think it could be sizable? (how have other chapters done this? how much volunteer time vs. how much professional paid help needed?) I think Wikimedia NYC and DC will share some of the fundraising efforts, much as possible to reduce the overhead, but still there will be overhead and accounting costs. -- Aude
  • We would also like to hire 1-2 interns / Wikipedians in Residence and give them a stipend and support some kind of "ambassadors" outreach effort. Also, some $ to support our events, some $ for travel (e.g. to attend chapters meeting, maybe Wikimania scholarships, to attend other relevant conferences), we might need to get some co-working office space (a desk [1]) to support our activities, etc. We'll (Wikimedia DC & NYC?) already be doing a bit of this (supported via grants) by the time we're ready to participate in the fundraiser. In the end $50,000 really may not be much and don't want rigid restrictions on any chapters,
    Growth of a chapter has lots to do with money available. A chapter may have handled grants (of any size, really) before, which gives them a head start in handling money at all, but even if they are ready to "fundraise", going from one day the other from 0 "own money" to 50000 is already a lot. Capping directly incoming fundraising does not (at least not in the way I understand it), prevent a chapter from actually requesting grants for specific projects though, so it shouldn't be seen as a "cap" as such. Note that since we're focusing on small donations, the hardest thing to actually manage in a fundraising campaign (and the one that takes most resources) is the handling of donors. Capping at 50000 also caps the number of donors, so gives a good test run for a more important fundraising campaign a year later. notafish }<';> 11:40, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
    It's stipulated that new chapters participate in banner tests, for months prior to the launch of the fundraiser. That would be a good test of the chapter's ability to handle donors. (would be ~1,400 donors for $50,000, but what comes in during testing can be significant part of that) If the chapter passes the test and has a well-planned and outline budget for the following year that exceeds the cap, then the chapter should be allowed to raise higher amounts beyond the arbitrary $50,000 cap. We should not need to wait an entire year for that "more important fundraising campaign". Aude 13:37, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
    Actually.... since I have been involved in Wikimedia France fundraiser for several years, I think I can say that "participating in banner tests" will in no way be a test of the chapter's ability to handle donors. For example, last year, "banner testing" in our geographical area ended in being somewhere like a 3 times test of 2 hours in the evening (not exact figures, but roughly). It was possibly 50 donations to handle. There is NO WAY we can test the ability of a chapter to handle 11 000 donations (our case this year) with a 50 donations test. 50 donations is handled by hand by a volunteer. 11 000 needs a little bit more organization.
    I also agree that $50 000 dollars cap is a bit ridiculous (if only because in some countries, $ 50 000 is a hell of a sum), but practically speaking, a chapter with no infrastructure to handle donations simply can NOT handle 11 000 gifts. And the embarassing thing is that to set up the infrastructure... one needs the money. Heck. Anthere 10:02, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
    I don't know how much banner testing would result in for us? But, what if we end up deciding to go with a US chapter for fundraising, with WM NYC and WM DC as subunits? I think what donations come from the US is substantial enough that the banner tests could be quite significant. Re: infrastructure and handling donors -- Is there info somewhere on what's all involved with handling each donation? a thank you note? tax receipt? being available to answer questions? the infrastructure -- civicrm and payment -- paypal + credit cards payments, via payflowpro (paypal). And $50,000 USD (+150% each year after) would be rather insufficient compared to what our needs and capabilities may be. The caps should rather not be set as hard numbers, or have provisions for chapters to demonstrate they have a plan + infrastructure for handling donors and to use the funds, and be allowed to raise more $ accordingly. Who knows, maybe $50,000 will be okay (as WM DC), but I'm not comfortable being locked into that amount and flexibility is important. Aude 14:08, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Also don't like the cap on growth. Really, $75,000 USD cap for our second year participating in fundraising? Then $112,500 for our third year?
    That one is, per Barry's comment above, now burried. notafish }<';> 11:40, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
    I still see "This target shall be no greater than 150% of the chapter's 2010/11 share" in the Fundraising 2011/Chapter Fundraising Agreement. What comment are you referring to or what am I missing? Aude 13:37, 4 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
  • Over the longer run, things might work out being 50-50 but think the agreement needs to be less rigid and allow flexibility, in regards to the split, the growth cap, and cap on first year to match level of program activity and development of a chapter. Cheers. Aude 02:29, 25 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Where is the timeline and Q-and-A document?


Barry sent out a timeline and Q-and-A document in his mail to internal-l on February 7: is it posted somewhere on this wiki?

I thought I saw it earlier, but can't re-find it now. If anyone can point me to it, I'd be grateful. Thanks, Sue Gardner 01:28, 24 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

It is right here  :) --Melamrawy 01:02, 25 February 2011 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Melamrawy :-) Sue Gardner 01:52, 25 February 2011 (UTC)Reply

Continuing the revenue sharing discussion - 150% cap options


I've been reflecting on your comments above about revenue sharing.

On the 150% cap... there are a few options I've been thinking about (haven't reviewed this with others at WMF yet, so consider this brainstorming):

a) Shift the cap to a requirement to have WMF approval for targets that are over 150%: Chapters with very large growth plans would need to consult with WMF to review the viability program plans. WMF would not withhold approval from solid plans, but would have the discretion to lower fundraising targets to the 150% level for plans that are not solid.
b) Eliminate the cap altogether, but add a requirement that fundraising targets need to be agreed with WMF (basically, this would create a situation where we would negotiate the revenue share with each chapter based on their plans)
c) Create a small review committee (3-4 people) to review all program plans and grade them as strong, solid, needs improvement - for those in the needs improvement category, they would be capped at what they raised in the previous year. (this is similar to what Anthere proposed above, though not quite as elaborate yet)

Some thoughts: a) would be a flexible arrangement that would add rigor to the planning process for those who want to grow a lot. This seems reasonable as it would incentivize chapters that want to grow a lot to do their prep work to figure out how to manage the growth; b) would leave it up to bilateral discussions between organizations and would enable WMF/specific chapters to discuss ways to support certain global activities. The problem with b) is that this would create extra workload; c) would move us toward a movement review mechanism and would subject all chapter plans to a review process. The problem with c) is I doubt we could implement such an arrangement this year. It might also raise all sorts of political challenges. I'm leaning toward something like option a), but feel free to suggest other arrangements --Bnewstead 23:53, 7 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

I would be okay with option A. Of course, managing donations responsibly, with solid plans is key and something I think all chapters (esp. a chapter growing more than 150%) should do. I would like to see a similar provision for the 1st year fundraising cap ($50,000)? Who knows where Wikimedia DC (and NYC) will be when we are ready for our first fundraiser, but probably will already have organized Wikimania ($100,000-200,000 budget), participated in fundraiser testing, be capable of managing donors, and have strong and proven capacity to carry out useful, well-managed programs and activities, quite possibly beyond $50,000. I really hope that we are not restricted. Cheers. Aude 01:08, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Option C could also be good, if it can work. It would be good for such review of targets exceeding 150% be undertaken jointly by WMF and chapters, through the small committee. Aude 01:10, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

A and B, in my opinion, do not address the independance of chapters and further a trend that has been showing throughout this discussion, ie. the WMF has the power to decide on behalf of chapters, therefore effectively substituting itself to their internal democratic mechanisms. These, for me, are no options. Option C, if it is implemented well, could work, but it needs to be made clear that the "committee" or whatever we want to name it, has a power to propose, not a power to impose. I am all for concerted growth and collaborative mechanisms, but we can't go backwards and make the Foundation the beginning and the end of everything in terms of decision making within the chapters. I am aware that ultimately, the WMF has the option of saying "yay" or "nay", and to not sign a fundraising agreement, but doing so at their own discretion only strikes me as a step backwards rather than forward. notafish }<';> 07:55, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

The WMF does have an obligation to make sure its sites are used appropriately. The WMF would be in error if it allowed a chapter to fundraise recklessly using its sites. I think it is best to have a clear idea of how the WMF will decide whether it is appropriate to let a chapter fundraise on the WMF sites rather than pretending the WMF will let chapters do whatever they like and then have a big mess when that proves not to be the case. I like option (c), but Barry is right, we couldn't set that up in time for this year (the review committee ought to review the Foundation's spending plans too, for completeness, although their decision would be advisory only). For this year, option (a) works for me. --Tango 12:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
After I hit save, I thought about the same concerns about "WMF has the power to decide" and agree a joint-review of plans (that exceed 150% growth). I would favor option C, but would be okay with A for this year until we can get a better approach like C for next year. Aude 16:44, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

Revenue sharing - a possible modification


I have an idea to modify the revenue sharing system that should reduce the "chapters won't be motivated to fundraise as hard as possible once they've reached their target" problem. Have fundraising go like this:

  1. The chapter gets all the money until it reaches its target
  2. The WMF gets all the money from then until it reaches its target
  3. Then the money is split 50/50

The third stage would likely be quite short, since we would stop the fundraiser not long after the WMF reached its target. There are usually a few days, though, especially if we reach the target early, and could be longer if some chapters haven't reached their targets yet. This system feels a little fairer (in the current proposal, the WMF is the only part of the movement that can go over target) and would motivate chapters to help the WMF reach their target so they can get a few days extra fundraising at the end. Working out the exact formula for the sharing will be complicated (there will be interactions with other chapters, since the WMF gets money from all of them in addition to its own fundraising), but we could work out something manageable (I would suggest something based on just final dollar amounts rather than switching at specific times - we all fundraise flat out until the end and work out who gets what then. That might not work for chapters that just let the WMF take control of the fundraiser once they've reached their target, but they don't need the motivation anyway.). --Tango 12:58, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

I don't think we can prioritise the chapter's target over the Foundation's target like that. In an ideal situation, both organisations should have 'shared risk' throughout the entire fundraising period, so both organisations have incentives to make the fundraiser as successful as possible.
Perhaps this will need the Foundation to provide individual fundraising targets on a per-country basis, based on the fundraising performance in the previous year (and taking into account the existence of chapters in those countries); the ratio of the targets could then be used as the ratio of the fundraising share. There would need to be some fudge factors here, though, to cope with some geographies receiving more or less donations than expected, i.e. to cope with a system in a non-equilibrium state. Mike Peel 22:10, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Prioritising the chapter's target is the WMF's proposal, not mine. Only the third stage is my proposal. The WMF has a more diverse revenue stream, so it is better able to take on the risk (it can make up for poor performance in one country in other countries, but a chapter can't). --Tango 22:45, 8 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Commenting because I just saw Thomas's note on internal referring to this page. I think Mike Peel is correct that both organizations (chapter and WMF) should assume risk. The WMF should not bear all the risk. IMO the correct order of prioritization should likely be something like this: 1. core operations, 2. high-priority activities, 3. medium-priority activities. There are two challenges in that. First, we would need to figure out what is core. Bandwidth, servers, legal defence, etc. are obviously core, but there is a host of stuff that's debatable. The most conservative position would be that only activities essential to keeping the projects going are core, but a more expansive view would argue that e.g., all fundraising expenses are core, new features development is core, and so forth. The second challenge of course would be prioritization of activities, which I would argue should be done on the basis of likely impact relative to our goals.
I would also note here that the Wikimedia Foundation is currently funding some high-priority work in high-potential geographies (e.g., India). So, WMF spending is not monolithic -- it is not all core. Some WMF spending, in the construct I laid out above, would fall into category one, and some would fall into category two. I plan to divide it that way as we move into planning for 2012-13, on the assumption that will be useful for future funds dissemination conversations.
I also think that percentage revenue shares are not a great idea. the good thing about them is that they align incentives: chapters might be presumed to work harder to achieve high revenues, if they will have a share in the proceeds. But personally I think the downside probably outweighs the upside. I don't believe that Wikimedians in wealthy countries should have a bigger voice in the movement relative to Wikimedians in poorer countries, just by virtue of their wealth. It seems to me that a Wikimedian in India or Turkey or Brazil or Russia or Indonesia, ought to have just as much say in how the movement spends its money, as a Wikimedian in the UK or the US or Germany or Canada or France. So any solution that would give more control to people in wealthy (or fundraising-receptive) countries than to their counterparts in poorer (or non-fundraising-receptive) countries, feels to me to be morally questionable. Sue Gardner 19:01, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
I want to take more time to reply and energy to this than I have right now, but I just want to point out that having Wikimedians in India, Australia, UK, France, Germany etc. having a voice/control over the Wikimedia movement's finances is a lot better than Wikimedians in the US (or, more specifically, San Francisco) having all of the control (caveat the distributed WMF board members, of course). Sure: it's not ideal, and we should be striving to have Wikimedia chapters in all the countries that exist, and be using that structure to try to equalise control and ensure that money is spent the best way possible - but the WMF on its own isn't the long-term answer here. Mike Peel 22:11, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
Yep, definitely. I feel compelled to point out (because I am proud of it) that the Wikimedia Foundation staff is about 40% non-American, and 70% has lived or worked extensively outside the United States. I know that because we track it in the hiring process, because it's important to us that we be an internationally-focused and internationally-intelligent organization. Some of us wouldn't even be in the United States if it weren't for the Wikimedia Foundation: people have moved to San Francisco to work for us from Canada, Germany, France, Israel, Italy and the Netherlands, and people work for the Wikimedia Foundation in India, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and probably other countries I'm forgetting. But!, your main point is nonetheless entirely true: I don't think anybody wants the Wikimedia Foundation to be a solitary decisionmaker on how the money is disseminated. Mike, if you want to talk more about this when you have more time, please feel free to come over to this page, where I'm beginning to kick around the long-term discussion about "2012 and beyond" -- how funds, ideally, should be raised and disseminated. Sue Gardner 23:22, 16 October 2011 (UTC)Reply
In the other hand it's like an handicap put on an horse that would run. If wealthy countries are sufficient mature, it doesn't make sense to me that these countries must be blocked. If a people donate to the local chapter probably they would have this money managed locally and would be confident that the local General Assembly is able to take an appropriate decision even if they would finance an international project. I would suggest to give to this horse the possibility to run until he has sufficient energy. --Ilario 20:45, 28 October 2011 (UTC)Reply

What will be the outcome of this approach?

  1. It seems that the biggest cut of the pie will go to a handful of countries not matching the movement priorities. In fact the money will go exactly to the opposite side of the world where we have identified our priorities.
  2. The money go to the countries where the donors live not where the writers live. For example in Spanish Wikipedia only 39% of edits are done from Spain but 66% of the money will go to Spain. It seems we are restating the colonialism where people from Mexico and south America will be working to create an encyclopedia that generates money for the Spaniards.
  3. As it stated in the document, each chapter has a primary language. People reading Wikipedia in a country but in other languages will be addressed to give money to a chapter whose primary language is not the language they are reading Wikipedia. In some cases this will be opening a can of worms.

--Gomà 23:39, 16 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

I do agree that there should be provisions to redistribute some resources towards outreach efforts and supporting chapters in countries that can't raise as much (e.g. Kenya, perhaps). Also, keep in mind, perhaps $1000 USD would go way farther in such places than in the US. I'm not sure what the right formula or approach to deal with this is and perhaps it shouldn't be rigid. Aude 14:23, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
I can imagine a lot of parameters and methods to distribute the money among chapters: According to the results obtained in the previous year, according to the approved working plan, according to the contributions done by the authors of the language/country of the chapter, according to the level of priority we assign to each region of the world, or just don't care if they are a chapter or not, accept proposals for projects (no mater if they are presented by chapters o by wikimedians) define for each project the budged and the expected results and organize a pool among wikimedians to decide which projects receive financial support. But fixing a % of the donations done in a geographic area seems the less efficient and fair of all. If people in Kenya are able to obtain more and better results with 1000$ than the people in USA we should give much more money to the people in Kenya than to the people in USA. If one $ can provide more and better results in Uruguay than in Spain Uruguay chapter should receive much more money than Spanish chapter no mater if the money risen follows the reverse pattern.--Gomà 23:07, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Excuse me, but I don't understand... If the donations are distributed by IP geolocation, an Argentinian IP will land in the WM-AR landing page and the money will go to he chapter and a Spanish IP will donate to the spanish chapter, even if the two of them have made click in the "Donate" link in es.wikipedia. To promote the mission of WM in other countries, those without chapters, is a responsibility of the WMF (and there will be provisions for that). Where is the colonialism? Regards, --Lucien leGrey (m · es) 18:02, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
Colonialism is were the colonies do the job (write Wikipedia) and the metropole receives the money (fund raises).--Gomà 23:13, 17 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
And... Where are the parallels between colonialism and the discussion on the allocation by GeoIP? --Lucien leGrey (m · es) 23:51, 18 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

March 21 Version Update


I made several changes to the agreement today:

  • Added Legal stuff that clarifies that WMF and Chapters are not agents for each other; adds a mediation/legal action clause that is taken directly from the chapter agreements (I sincerely hope that these are never needed, but wanted to respond to the note above)
  • Updated revenue sharing to soften the 150% cap to enable chapters to exceed that level if they have good plans in place for the use of funds. This should provide for flexibility for Chapters to define their own budgets, while providing a bit of protection against overreaching. I am open to suggestions on an appeal process, if we can determine a feasible structure.
  • Per Moushira's comment above, I removed the point about changing the privacy policy, as it isn't clear that there is sufficient reason to change our respective policies to share donor information at this stage. Welcome further comment on this.
  • Did some minor language tidy up on the agreement and respond to SJ's comments
  • We still need to figure out the options for operationalizing the process. There are Pros and Cons to each with the biggest issue being our ability to offer tax deductibility and a consistent donor experience, if we have donors split between the Chapter and WMF
  • We still need to think about the language points SJ raised --Bnewstead 23:33, 21 March 2011 (UTC)Reply
If we are persisting with the 150% cap (in whatever softened form), then please can it be applied symmetrically to the WMF based on its current spending levels, with the chapters reserving the right to review the Foundation's plan and reduce its target if a participating chapter deems it necessary?
I'm making this tongue-in-cheek comment to highlight why this point is very problematic, even in its current form. I would suggest removing it; otherwise, it should be symmetrical between both parties. Thanks. Mike Peel 07:50, 1 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

We just received comments from our WMF outside counsel, which we will be incorporating into this draft today. High level, the provisions confirm that:

  • Chapters should use industry standard security infrastructure for data collection, including payment data;
  • Chapters should ensure against malware, viruses, etc.,
  • Chapters should comply with various policies or laws, such as privacy and data security laws and our trademark policy;
  • Chapters should report malfeasance, including the misappropriation of donations, to WMF;
  • WMF may terminate the agreement due to such malfeasance and ask for an audit; and
  • Parties cannot assign or transfer the agreement.

We did delete the clause to use "best faith efforts to meet mutual and individual obligations under this agreement" because such language is too confusing and ambiguous; in short, both parties are expected to comply with the provisions of the agreement (and not simply use their "best efforts").

There were other edits throughout the document, most of which were wordsmithing.

Geoffbrigham 00:34, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Not very important, and perhaps somewhat silly, but shouldn't the WMF do the same things regarding malware etc? It would make more sense to me to put it under mutual obligations (although I do think that those practical details do not belong in such agreement, but rather in a manual of some kind). I do agree on the removing of "best efforts" - this is what we expect, and if there is a difference with that, that has to be discussed. Very practical: I see that you also changed the wording around receipts in the agreement, making it obligational to send such receipt. Please note that the rules surrounding those receipts are different in each country, and that some people do not even submit enough information to send such receipt (their bank account statements might serve as such). This might be typically something to use vague wording like "where required & to their best effort"Effeietsanders 19:16, 13 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Many thanks for the good comments. In the end, we decided to leave the malware language as it was. On the receipt issue, if a country has a specific legal requirement, we could address that depending on the country. Geoffbrigham 15:54, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

I have to agree with Effeietsanders. In particular, why should the WMF not ensure against malware etc.? It makes a lot of sense for this to be a shared obligation by both chapters and the WMF. Mike Peel 22:11, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Opinion from WMIL


Hi all, after much discussions internally, I'm writing my own point of view, not necessarily representing our chapter point of view. Personally, I'm somewhat disturbed from the wind coming from this agreement. I feel that someone in WMF has decided that they have better management skills than the guys in the chapters. Otherwise, I can't understand what good will the movement gain by giving more power to the WMF over chapters than before. This started with the draft of this agreement containing in somewhat surprised manner the 150% cap issue and it continues with the fact that although many objections has been raised this issue has not been fully addressed yet (or at all).

another thing that bugs me is that "the WMF reserves the right to review the chapter's program plan" - since when does the WMF have this right? I feel that the WMF is trying to create this right from nowhere. Of course that we do not mind sharing our program plans with the rest of the movement and we would appreciate any feedback that can be given by anyone, but we do not plan to let anyone approve our plans.

few more things that needs a rethinking:

  • "Gather and share daily fundraising data with WMF and other participating chapters" - other than a handful, most chapters does not have employees. We do not have sufficient manpower to provide updates on a daily basis nor do I see a good reason to do so.
  • "Provide for the translation of landing pages and supporting materials (banners, etc) into both the primary language of its geography and English" - why? We have suggested many banners this year, none of them was used, I'm in doubt if we can get people to suggest new materials after last year's disappointment.

In the bottom line, we're still considering whether we are going to sign the agreement this year, I know that if the current wording would come to a vote in our board I would vote against it. I would appreciate if other chapters would share their thoughts about signing the agreement. Tomer A. 17:23, 16 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Barry? moushira? anyone? [[User:תומר א.|Tomer A.] 17:38, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
Hi Tomar, Thanks for the comments. I'll respond shortly. --Bnewstead 18:00, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Let me share some thoughts on the rationale (from my own perspective - others at WMF might articulate it differently) behind the sharing of program plans and the review/approval of plans that propose to spend more than 150% of the prior year's amount.
  • The expectation that all organizations should prepare a program plan along with an associated fundraising target is intended for two purposes. The first is to provide clarity how much the organization is looking to raise and what the organization proposes to do with the funds for prospective donors and the community. In prior years, WMF has done both of these by preparing a budget in advance and only fundraising to meet the amounts required in the plan. The goal of this element of the agreement is to align us all on a similar setup, which will enhance our transparency and will shift us from a "what do we do with all of this money?" approach to one built from "what are the important mission-aligned activities that we have the capabilities to implement and how much money should we raise to support these activities?" The second purpose is to enable the allocation of funds between a chapter and WMF. Regardless of our mutual desire for "independence", the reality is that we are dividing a pie of funds between us and an extra dollar, Euro, shekel, etc. for WMF is one less for the chapter and vice-versa (assuming we don't have unlimited donor funds or that there is a point where it becomes too costly in terms of community aggravation to raise an additional amount). In this agreement, WMF is basically agreeing to a situation where a chapter gets first rights to meet its budget needs from donors in their area and then we will meet our budget needs from the excess. However, I think it is reasonable that there be a limit above which we should have a negotiation about whether an additional amount for the chapter is money better spent vs. having that amount support WMF's fundraising target. Note: The bigger our overall targets, the longer and more painful the fundraiser for everyone, particularly the community. That is the purpose of the 150% threshold. It is not a cap. It simply serves as a point after which we want to get into the details and come to an agreement.
  • On the point that a chapter shouldn't have to ask approval of their programs from an "outside body", I just don't think that is a realistic assumption that a nonprofit has total internal control over everything. Every organization is subject to external constraints. Almost all other nonprofits do have to seek some measure of approval for their plans in seeking funds from governments, foundations, etc. In many ways, we (WMF and chapters) are pretty fortune to have a situation where we can rely on the generosity of many small donors who don't ask tough questions or restrict our activities (not something we should ever take for granted, by the way). We also have a relationship here where we need to divide resources between organizations and, in some cases, a decision needs to be made on what that division should be? IMHO the arrangement as proposed isn't overly onerous, since the threshold is quite high at 50% growth over last year (how many nonprofits regularly grow over 50% per year?) and there may actually be relatively few instances where chapters propose to go over that threshold (I'd guess most of those chapters would be small ones, where it would likely be relatively easy to review and probably approve). We do need a party to have the approval right in order to creates a mechanism to operationalize the decision process and ensure we come to a resolution. It seems reasonable for WMF to have this function, as WMF has a governance structure that has representation from our global community (including chapters) which helps us to focus on the global needs of Wikimedia and also serves as a check on our actions. If we started making decisions that are causing harm to chapters or aren't advancing the mission, we'd hear about it ;) and our board would take appropriate action (or the community/chapters could use the board election process to elect reps who would take appropriate action). This is an important safeguard for those who are concerned about what we might do.
I hope these thoughts add some further reasoning to the components of the agreement that you refer to. I sincerely think that it will be an exceptional situation where we would reduce a chapter's target. I have not addressed the two operational issues that impact day-to-day management of the fundraiser, since I'm not involved there. Will ask Megan to respond. -- 23:44, 27 April 2011 (UTC) Oops - wasn't signed in. This is Barry --Bnewstead 23:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
What Tomer A. says alarms me.
In my opinion the requirements stated in the agreement are a very small portion of the responsibilities acquired by those who accept to collect and administrate the money of the movement, responsibilities in front of the donors who give to support the projects not to support the chapters, responsibilities in front of the WMF and the community of authors who make the projects and who keep the infrastructure running. That money comes to you because the WMF and the community of each project accept to host the banners in the project for a period of time.
The only formal tie between the chapters and the Wikimedia movement is a couple of agreements they sign with the WMF.
Today WMF is the only entity where the community of authors of the projects has its representation. And in my opinion it has the obligation to set the mechanisms to guarantee that all those responsibilities are honoured.
If you are not completely convinced that those requirements are extremely soft then you shouldn’t sign the agreement and let other chapters or organizations or WMF do the job.
--Gomà 06:39, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
"Today WMF is the only entity where the community of authors of the projects has its representation." - I find this to be an absolutely incredible statement that seems to lack any basis in reality. Consider that every single Wikimedia chapter in existence has a membership-based organisation that is 95% comprised of Wikimedia editors or otherwise very active contributors, who participate in the elections of 100% of the chapter board members, and have roles in pretty much every other aspect of chapter governance. Compare that, if you will, with the elections of Foundation board members - where ~50% of the board members are elected directly by the community (with the remainder of the seats being filled by experts appointed by the WMF board), and there is no membership-based community to fall back on in the case of problems. Additionally, donating to chapters provides funds directly to volunteers in a specific country, who can then deploy those funds in the best ways conceivable, within a globally distributed organisational model formed by non-profit/charitable companies that are run by those same volunteers - rather than donating to a single, centralised organisation which could conceivably then have absolute power over the Wikimedia projects. I'm not speaking against the WMF here - far from it, as I think that they are an excellent organisation, with a huge amount of community involvement - I'm instead pointing out that any argument that says that chapters are not community backed is an argument against reality. Mike Peel 22:04, 28 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
I am sorry if I have not been able to express it with precision. I completely agree that the chapters are part of the movement and they are backed by some wikimedians. What I wanted to say is that the community of editors has not its representation in them as it has in WMF. At least in none of the chapters I know. And so there is not any formal tie between the chapters and the movement except the agreements they have with WMF. Although in some cases there may be more or less informal ties. In my opinion the chapters should be thankful to the WMF by imposing in the agreement as much requirements as possible to help them to carry with the high responsibility of administrating the money of the movement. --Gomà 09:20, 29 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
I find funny the statement “donating to chapters provides funds directly to volunteers in a specific country, who can then deploy those funds in the best ways conceivable “ This is true. But it is also true that: “donating to WMF provides funds directly to volunteers all over the world, who can then deploy those funds in the best ways conceivable “.
But you continue alarming me even more than Tomer A when you say “rather than donating to a single, centralised organisation which could conceivably then have absolute power over the Wikimedia projects”. We have been donating for years to a single, centralised organisation and it has been working pretty well. If you think that WMF or the chapters could have absolute (or any) power over the projects then you have a serious problem. Those organizations are to serve the projects not to have power over them.
I think that this issue is much more complex or much more simple if you want. We are neither donating to WMF not to the Chapters. We are donating trough WMF and trough the chapters to the projects. If we agree with this then we can design the path that provides more advantages to the donors (for example by applying tax deductions or own language personal communication), the mechanisms to redistribute the money to support the projects in the areas of the world where it is more effective, and the mechanisms to guarantee all the system is transparent and works reasonably well. I think this is reason for this agreement. --Gomà 07:46, 30 April 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hi Tomer,
Checking the fundraising total every morning or evening should only take a few minutes. And that's a much smaller time commitment than other parts of fundraising such as thanking all donors, answering donor questions by email, maintaing a secure donor database etc... These are unavoidable tasks that go along with processing payments. Chapters shouldn't feel any pressure to process payments. WMF is happy to process payments from any country and my understanding is that this year chapters will be given block grants for as much or more than they are able to raise in their country.
Regarding the translations of banners, I hope people aren't too discouraged from last year. Believe me, we were just as discouraged that NONE of the banners we all came up with came anywhere near the "Personal Appeal" banner during the testing phase. We really wanted to get away from that old banner but it turned out to be our strongest message to launch the fundraiser. I think it was great that so many people participated. We all tried really hard. We didn't learn what would work better than using the "Appeal" banner for the majority of the fundraiser, but we did learn a lot about what doesn't work. And that is still very valuable. Based on that experience, this year we'll make sure no one spends time translating banners until they've been shown to work well in at least one language! Meganhernandez 00:20, 29 April 2011 (UTC)Reply
Hi all, I just wanted to let you know that I didn't quit from the discussion, I've passed the task of negotiating the agreement to someone else in the chapter. I wish to stress that I'm still very unpleased from the answers I get here but that'll be Amir's problem from now on. תומר א. 16:33, 24 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Meaning of "online fundraising"


Can I just ask a question about the meaning of the phrase "online fundraising". Is this intended to only mean online fundraising conducted via fundraising messages on Wikimedia sites, or is it intended to encompass all online fundraising regardless of whether it's part of the "Wikimedia fundraiser" or not?

Say a chapter sent an email appeal to donors who had participated in the fundraiser regarding a specific chapter project, and some of those donors made a donation in response. Would that count as "online fundraising" subject to revenue sharing? Regards, The Land 09:44, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Since donors will eventually go to one of the localized donate links, whether the donate link on the side menu or the donate landing page on your chapters hosted page, then revenue is subject to sharing, given that the validity of the agreement extends throughout the whole year, not only the campaign weeks. Sending emails to donors is outreach, while the actual act of donation is part of an online fundraising process. Thanks. --Melamrawy (WMF) 23:48, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
I was asking myself a similar question: Producing printed flyers with a direct bank account number for donations it is certainly not online fundraising. But writing a special donation landing page like donate.wikimedia.xx on all printed materials seems to be considered as online fundraising. What about donations in connection with membership fees if the membership is renewed online? --Prolineserver 20:37, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
According to the agreement, donations excluded from sharing are: 1) Restricted gifts, such as grants by foundations or governments. 2) Individual donations given directly to the Chapter and not resulting from online fundraising). Same as above, printing the flyer is outreach to the url where the donations coming through are subject to sharing. Receiving special gifts where the donor denotes that they are made exclusively to the chapter or to one of its projects, or funds that are a result of a separate fundraising proposal from chapters's government or local organization is not included in this agreement. Membership fees are excluded as well. Thanks --Melamrawy (WMF) 23:48, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply
hey, we are an online organization. Everything is resulting from online fundraising somehow. For example, WMDE receives about 20 % of the total during the fundraiser by bank transfers. This income would be excluded from the revenue share. But the driving force behind the donation is certainly our (online) Fundraiser. Personally, I think this paragraph is more confusing than clear (except the exclusion of gifts which is quite clear). The point with the denotion of the donation purpose is confusing aswell. Where is the line between Wikipedia and a chapter specific offline project which supports writing skills which in the end contributes to Wikipedia? Would the latter be excluded, if a donor denotes that the donation is solely for this project? Till Mletzko (WMDE) 13:16, 6 June 2011 (UTC)Reply
In reading the paragraph, I agree that the wording is confusing. I'm going to change it to simplify things. The two exclusions shall remain the same, but I'll take out "online" in the earlier paragraph. Should make things clearer. Note: bank transfers that result from the online fundraising appeal should be included in the revenue share amounts. Simply put, the only exclusions are direct efforts on the part of the chapter to raise funds offline, such as applying for a grant from a foundation or government or an in-person fundraising event. --Bnewstead 17:27, 6 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

email appeals and premium offer


WMF may make email appeals or offer a premium[4] to donors in our databases. Chapters have the option to opt-out of these offers for their geography. If a Chapter opts-out, WMF will make efforts to exclude donors from that geography within reasonable technical and operational limits.

In that text, what does our databases refer to ? Is that WMF databases or is that a collective "WMF + chapters" databases ? Normally, I guess it refers to WMF database. If so, could the text be changed from our database to WMF databases ?

Second, I just want a clarification about the process itself. Do I understand well that it means

  1. WMF has a database of donors, located worldwide
  2. WMF will offer incentives and reach out to those donors worldwide to get a donation
  3. A chapter can request that WMF does NOT do email appeals or incentives offers within its geography (eg, Wikimedia France can ask that WMF does not make email appeals to donors living in France and WMF will try to the best of its ability to respect that request)

Is that correct ?


Hi Florence, I replaced our with its and the language should read more clearly now. Your understanding is correct, including the part of trying our best, tech-wise, with excluding chapters' requested territories. --Melamrawy (WMF) 22:40, 25 May 2011 (UTC)Reply

Comply with WMF trademark policy


I see this line was added

Comply with the WMF Trademark Policy.

Unfortunately, no chapter has ever approved (I think) that trademark policy. It is actually not acceptable in the current state and I consider that adding in a very discreet manner the little item to the fundraising agreement a quite tricky way to indirectly force us to approve a policy that can not be approved in its current state. I would like to recommand changing this link for now in something quite general and drop the request to approve a policy that can not be approved. Let WMF new lawyer the time to work on something acceptable and get the policy approved in the DIRECT manner during 2011. Anthere

Translation of budget plan


I think it would be a step forward if the chapters have the WMF annual budget plan translated into their language. Since communicating the 150 % threshold to donors is not that easy, it would be good to have a clear and transparent (non-English) document for the utilization of the donations by WMF. It is also a good way to better show the international scope of the donation made in the specific country. Translating the plan could be done by chapters and be covered by the fundraising expenses though. Everything else must be provided by WMF. Till Mletzko (WMDE) 09:33, 7 June 2011 (UTC)Reply

Letter from BoT


In case anyone has missed it, the Board has issued a letter which appears to alter the wording of this agreement. John Vandenberg 03:59, 6 August 2011 (UTC)Reply

A letter from the Board is not binding and so could not alter the wording of this agreement. If anything, it suggests ways in which future agreements might be changed; the only thing it says about current agreements is a request that their details be respected by all parties ("all parties to live up to current fundraising agreements including full compliance with all reporting deadlines"). SJ talk | translate   07:54, 10 August 2011 (UTC)Reply

Option A


A thought.... in case Option A is chosen, how is the sharing done for funds collected online "outside" of the nov-january timeline ? Anthere 15:12, 18 September 2011 (UTC)Reply

Prevent Cross-Site Tracking


Team Jchassery (talk) 07:13, 25 April 2020 (UTC)Reply

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