Talk:WMF and local chapters

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How do we manage the existence of local chapters ?Edit

Local chapters might also have membership, and fees. Please note that the Foundation is not the same as a local chapter in the US. The physical location of Wikimedia is in Florida, but it will not be serving as a local point of contact for Wikimedians in that area. Any US chapters will be separate from the Foundation to the same degree that local chapters in other countries are.

  1. Should we ask local members to pay twice to be members both locally or globally?
  2. Should a percentage of local fees be given to the Foundation?
  3. Should the cost be the same amount if you join both a local chapter and the Foundation?
  4. How should money be transferred from the local chapters to the Foundation?
  5. How will membership data be shared between the Foundation and the local chapters?
  6. What will be the financial relationship between local chapters and the Foundation?

See also: FAQ


One thing I do strongly believe is that membership in the international foundation should be required. For legal and/or tax purposes I am not opposed to this being sold in a "package", where someone buys membership in a particular national foundation that comes with automatic international membership. But this should result in exactly the same dues being paid to the international foundation, as that's the one that pays to run the servers and so on. This could be done by having the national foundation transfer the funds to the international foundation, rather than requiring the actual user to register twice, so long as, if the international dues are $X, the international foundation gets $X for each member. If national foundations would like to charge more ($X+$Y) and keep the extra for local dues, that's their prerogative, or they may choose to run on a purely volunteer basis and charge no dues themselves. In either case, people should not be permitted to only pay dues to a national foundation, when it is the international foundation that is actually paying the bills.

Note that this isn't a US vs. non-US issue either. I envision a US national foundation being set up eventually, once Wikimedia is large enough, to deal with local US issues, just as other countries would have local foundations. But the international Wikimedia Foundation would still be the one holding the trademarks, running the servers, coordinating policy, and soon—national foundations would be responsible only for national issues. --Delirium 20:43, 17 Jun 200 4 (UTC)

About "crossing of membership data", I don't if this is the way to go. For example, in Belgium we have a very strong law about protection of private information contained in files or electronic database and I don't think that a local chapter in Belguim would have the right to share the member list with the global fondation (at least not with an acceptance clause in the adhesion form). Also, see in France where the local association should only be able to give 30% back to the global entity. Shouldn't be simpler to separate member fees of the global entity? Just a thought, I have not a clear view of all this. -- Looxix 13:09, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

a t on une meilleure idee des consequences diverses et variées de donner une partie des revenus de l association local a la foundation ?
fiscalement c'est difficile à évaluer mais le plus probable c'est qu'à supposer mis en place un système de déductibilité fiscale pour les dons faits en France au profit de l'association française le fait de se délester au profit de l'organisation américaine risque de conduire l'administration à requalifier et de conduire à l'impossibilité de déduire la seule manière d'intégrer les flus financiers et cumulant l'avantage fiscal

c'est que WFInc. est une stature non lucrative réputée au plan international du type ONG (Croix Rouge, etc) dans ce cas, la circulation de fonds serait inattaquable type pour la France "Aide et Action" et leurs homologues américaines, suisses etc les assoc. de patronage éducatif d'enfants sont un bon support

villy, qu entend tu par action de reconnaissance ?
il faut parvenir à la signature de convention de partenariat, c'est la meilleure solution, et - à défaut - ou dans un premier temps, à des déclarations de soutien avec possibilité de mettre des liens wikimedia sur les sites webs concernés ça serait l'idéal

j'ai un bon contact à l'UNESCO, un peu vieux mais encore possible à réactiver, et un autre possible à la direction "éducation" de la commission européenne une demi-douzaine de ce genre dans le cadre d'une action simultanée et concertée pourrait être un bon début

Il faut un plan d'action qui tient la route, un argumentaire soigneusement réfléchi et un mandat de repérésentation en bonne et due forme de WFInc.

La phrase "placée sous la haut patronage de l'UNESCO", c'est magique pour notre projet

  1. The local chapters should at least divide the money, half to the Foundation.
  2. Paying twice is the worst solution.
  3. No fee at all would be nice, maybe we should allow that for very active contributers. E.g. more than 500 edits each month and at least three months active, but how long would that contributers-membership last? Aren't they having a representative in the Board already?
  4. at German Verein we have Active Members (paying 24 Euros a year, can vote), Supportive Memmber (paying but no vote) and honourable members (i.e. Jimbo). Maybe that should be a good solution for the Foundation too. --TomK32 WR Internet 18:42, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Only a certain amount of money can be legally sent to another country foundation. For example, in France, it is 40% max. Anthere
The German Verein is not allowed to give money to organisations without assigning it to a specified use (except German non-profit organisations). But I'm sure we'll find enough purposes to give most of our money to the foundation. -- Akl 20:35, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Many federally-based membership organisations (for that is what we are effectively discussing here) review the remitted proportions each year and set payments in one direction against support payments in the other, setting the percentages by need at each end. --VampWillow 20:53, 17 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Could a German/French/British org buy something and donate that to the US foundation, say a server? Burgundavia 12:46, 19 Jun 2004 (UTC)

We need more fact-finding in order to make any decent decision, it seems. But here are some simple principles, as I see:

  • If the local chapter and Wikimedia Foundation are sharing the goals completely, then yes, the total amount of payment made by the member should be reduced.
  • If those organizations pursue different goals, then people pay two different fees.
  • If the two organizations goals are only partly overlapping, then the membership fees are only partly reduced.
  • There are many ways to "reduce" the fee. Which one of these will be used depends mostly on legal, accounting, and other administrative costs for the organizations and donor associated with different options.
    • Pay once to either organization, and the rest is taken care of by those two, through inter-organizational donations.
    • Pay separately, but you receive a discount if you payed to the other organization. Depending on which one you pay first, two organizations receive different amount of money. But they will figure things out later.
    • Pay to a particular organization because transaction fee is cheaper that way.

Tomos 06:50, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

  • option 1 : any paying member of a local association is made member of Foundation without any fee
  • option 2 : people pay locally, and a certain amount of the total income of the local chapter is given to the foundation
  • option 3 : during registration, they choose to join local and/or global, and pay both separately, but both to the local chapter (perhaps with a discount). Then the chapter send some money to wikimedia.
  • option 4 : they need to register separately

I would go a different direction and require that a contributing member be a member of a local chapter if one is available. The foundation can then charge a small charter fee or per capita fee or something from each chapter, based on it's membership total and local conditions (ie US residents should expect to pay more than folks from Myanmar), that is used for the administration of the foundation, while each chapter can then choose to give additional support to the foundation or particular projects, programs, ect, as they choose. Gentgeen 00:11, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Ultimately, I think it would be best if we can coordinate so that all dues are paid to the Foundation, rather than to any local chapters(1). I wouldn't require a contributing member to be a member of a local chapter as well, because I don't want local chapters burdened with a lot of members who aren't necessarily interested in participating at that level. However, I do think we should give all contributing members an option to join the appropriate local chapter. That would be easier if one payment of dues covers everything.

This is not to say that we should disallow things that have already happened, like the German Verein's dues. Also, I don't want local chapters to be left without funds that may be helpful to them, including startup costs. When the dues process is sufficiently organized, I think part of that money should be distributed to local chapters, and part of it used by the Foundation for general purposes. Local chapters could also raise their own funds toward appropriate objectives (just that these additional contributions would not be a requirement of membership in the chapter).

I firmly agree that any dues should vary based on the member's location. I would prefer that we calculate this based on local standards of living, rather than exchange rates(2). I'm not sure what would be the best data source to use in determining this, however. It also raises the problem of verifying location if the member would prefer not to disclose personally identifying information. I'm not sure that such disclosure is required, but I don't want to encourage people to circumvent dues by claiming to be from Cameroon instead of Canada (on the assumption that dues would be very low in poor sub-Saharan nations, if not waived altogether).(3) Perhaps we could base the dues on whatever local chapter the member wants to join. --Michael Snow 00:05, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)

(1)This will be irrealistic. When german people give to a german association, this is 100% deductible from their income tax. For a french, it is 40% deductible. If we are a global project, people will expect to be able to pay in their own currency (no charge, less scary) and in their own country (tax deduction). They won't pay to the global organisation if paying in another place is of no cost to them.
I certainly didn't mean to imply that people would all be paying in US dollars. The Foundation currently accepts donations in various currencies, and there's no reason this couldn't continue. But I apologize for not recognizing that tax deductions are easier to get with local chapters by country. In part, I was also thinking in terms of multiple local chapters within the US.
I think the most important thing is that we keep things simple for members, and part of that is that one payment of dues makes you a member of both the overall Foundation and any appropriate local chapter. In the US, I doubt there's much benefit in having people pay dues to separate chapters located in California, Texas, New York, etc. instead of having everyone pay to the main Foundation in Florida. However, if a German member needs to pay to a German association to get a tax deduction, then that's where all German dues should go. Same as the US, though, they should be paid to the main German branch of the foundation, not the local chapter for Berlin, Dresden, Stuttgart, or Hamburg. Though presumably Austrians and Swiss will need to pay to a separate chapter. So for this reason, chapters should be more by country and location, rather than language.
For people whose country has no separate chapter yet, they would pay to the Foundation in Florida. Also, the amount of dues needs to be determined by the Foundation overall, to make sure they are equitable for people in different countries. --Michael Snow 17:06, 28 Jun 2004 (UTC)
We should also keep in mind that redistribution is not something we can do freely, with no control. Be it in the Germany -> USA or in the USA -> Germany direction. There are laws which limit circulation of money I think.
(2)I agree with this. Does anyone has an idea on which data we could rely to roughly separate the nations in 3 groups in terms of average income ?
(3)But this is true for any donation, whatever the country. We should perhaps keep in mind three things. First, if donators want to receive a tax deduction sheet, they need to give their adress. Second, we should trust people, to join the association because they want to support us, not so much just for the pleasure of saying they are members. Third, even if "cheating" occur, is that a very negative consequences to us or not ? Also, there was a suggestion of scholarship for those not able to pay.

When the French organisation is not allowed to give more than a percentage to the Foundation, the French organisation could pay for the cost incurred by the Foundation for the French usage. This would be legal. The only thing required ting is an idea how much traffic in all projects is from France. We have an excellent idea..

The trick here is that each country would have as a goal to pay at least its own way. The Foundation is then payed for services rendered. When a country does not generate that amount of money, it does at least allow for the transfer of money to the Foundation. The costs for the traffic and maintenance can also be budgetted at "commercial" rates. This would also make perfect (legal) sense and it allows for the payment into the Foundation in excess of the actual costs, allowing for the support of the financially not so strong.

With the local organisations incorporated, they would be the ones receiving the money locally. They would also be the ones to confirm the payment re tax deduction. However, the donor may want to decide what the money is there for. Some purposes may not be tax-deductible. For instance Company A uses the Mediawiki software, he wants some changes and pays $xxxx,xx for the changes through the local organisation. This would not be tax-deductible. GerardM 09:41, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

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