Board decisions on fundraising and funds dissemination

After a long and public discussion period, the Board has passed resolutions on two important topics for our movement: fundraising and funds dissemination. Ting just emailed them around to a few lists, and below is the text.

Funds Dissemination Committee

We affirm that all funds given to the Wikimedia movement are given in support of our global projects, in response to the value created by the global Wikimedia movement. Therefore, funds raised via the Wikimedia project sites should be considered to be movement money, not the entitlement of a particular organization or stakeholder. Decision-making about funds dissemination should be broad and inclusive, consistent with our mission, vision and values.

In acknowledgement of the above, the Wikimedia Foundation will set a global revenue target as part of its annual planning process, for all funds raised via the Wikimedia project sites. It will create an annual plan that divides the funds into three types:

  1. funds for core operations of the WMF. This includes the technical demands of running, maintaining and supporting the project sites, as well as maintaining the basic operations of the organization, such as legal, fundraising, accounting, HR, governance, and communications.
  2. funds for operating reserves of the WMF. This is to safeguard core operations in the event of unanticipated expenses or a shortfall in future revenues.
  3. funds for other movement spending. This is for dissemination to all movement entities, including individuals, chapters, other entities, and the Wikimedia Foundation itself, for activities that support our mission.

This revenue target and funds allocation will be approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board.

To support a broader and more inclusive decision-making process for funds distribution, the Wikimedia Foundation will create a volunteer-driven body (working title: the Funds Dissemination Committee, or FDC) whose sole purpose will be to make recommendations to the Wikimedia Foundation for funding activities and initiatives in support of the mission goals of the Wikimedia movement. All funds raised via the Wikimedia project sites will be distributed via the recommendations of the FDC, with the exception of Wikimedia Foundation core operating costs and the operating reserve as described above.

The work of the FDC should be guided by our principles for funds distribution (as laid out in our January 2012 resolution): to protect core operations, assess impact, promote transparency and stability, support decentralized programs, promote responsibility and accountability, and make decisions openly and collaboratively.

The Board supports the direction of the initial thinking provided by the Executive Director on the design of the Funds Dissemination Committee, and directs the Executive Director to lead the creation of such an FDC. A preliminary plan should be submitted to the Board by June 30, 2012, containing:

  • a description of how the FDC will function,
  • a transition plan for rolling it out, with a partial rollout in 2012-13 and a full rollout for 2013-14, and
  • a process for evaluating, reviewing and making refinements at several key stages.

Fundraising 2012

Entities that fundraise using the Wikimedia trademarks must follow our guiding principles for fundraising, as well as the Wikimedia trademark policy and any other applicable policies. All movement entities are free to fundraise outside of the Wikimedia project sites.

Some chapters have developed the capability to collect donations from visitors to Wikimedia project sites (“payment processing”), and other chapters have expressed an interest in doing so.

We believe chapter payment processing should be considered only where it adds sufficient value to the movement to offset the additional significant time and money required from both the chapter and the WMF.

The four chapters that processed payments last year (Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia France, Wikimedia UK, and Wikimedia CH) will continue to be able to payment process, as long as they meet the criteria laid out in the Board’s August 2011 letter and sign the annual fundraising agreement. Compliance with the criteria will be determined by the Executive Director.

We ask the Executive Director not to allow any additional chapters to process payments, until the Board revisits the framework for fundraising and payment processing in late 2015 in advance of the November 2016 fundraising campaign.

6 Replies to “Board decisions on fundraising and funds dissemination”

  1. I’m disappointed that there is no mention of the chapters getting more involved in the central fund-raising. There was an extensive discussion of how fund raising can be used as a local out reach tool and how this has not happened till now.

    This still sounds like a central power grab. Now you need to show that it isn’t. I hope that by the time wikimania starts you will have proposals in place for at least a million dollars of funds dispersal, all reviewed and ready to sign off. Cheques to go out as soon as Wikimania (or a wikivote to coincide with Wikimania) confirms approval to proceed. To achieve that the invites for chapters etc to submit grant applications will have to go out by the end of March.

    Even before then you could have pilot micro grants funds in place in various wikis or wikiprojects. It’s time to stop talking about funds dispersal and start doing it.


    1. Sorry if we didn’t include. It is certainly our intention to continue having extensive local involvement in fundraising. That is the model our movement has today — the fundraiser’s success depends in large part on local volunteers (including local chapters in some countries) for everything from messaging to donor relations. That will always remain the case.

      I hope you’ll join the effort to make things work best going forward. The success of the FDC and this new model requires everyone’s involvement and commitment.


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