On 08/26/11 2:26 PM, Nathan wrote:
On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:44 PM,
There are several side effects to the idea of not allowing chapters at all
to fundraise (I note that boardmembers and staff members have a different
take on this, so I'll keep it general - keeping in mind there are many other
aspects to be considered, such as transparancy. However, imho fundraising
through chapters should remain the best way).
I don't think the chapters are barred from all fundraising... At most,
they are at risk of not being able to participate in the global WMF
fundraiser. They can still raise funds on their own through other
methods. Maybe such other methods are more time consuming, difficult
and less lucrative... But there are innovative substitutes for the WMF
annual fundraiser, I'm sure.
I agree with that much. Chapters should be warned not to become
dependent on the WMF fundraiser. Information about such innovative
substitutes may need to be more freely shared. The result may indeed be
decreased revenues, but if one of the complaints is that some chapters
are sitting on piles of money that they don't use there may not be much
harm to that.
In any case, the barriers to participation relate to the
organizational capacity of the chapters and the associated risks. A
chapter that has financial controls and active leadership should be
able to meet the WMFs requirements (with the exception of tax
deduction eligibility, based on jurisdiction); a chapter that does not
puts both their funds and their public reputation at risk. As the
host of the fundraiser and the mark owner, the WMF shares in that risk
- and it is both reasonable and necessary that the Foundation adhere
to and require minimum standards of accountability in order to
mitigate the risk of fraud, waste and abuse.
If the question is one of "minimum standards of accountability" the
WMF's first obligation would be to publish the standards which it
requires, presumably consistent with IFRS. Chapters incorporated within
particular jurisdictions will be subject to the financial reporting laws
of their respective jurisdictions. These are more important than the
FUD and distrust at the heart of recent proposals. There is no doubt
that a small band of individuals unaccustomed to large infusions of cash
will have challenges to face, but in these cases the WMF would do better
to help these chapters find competent help in their own countries than
to play the role of a distrustful parent.
If it were only the chapters themselves at stake (as is the case when
they raise funds independently), then they could get money first and
organization second. But the WMF shares in the risk, and is offering
organizational support to chapters, so cart before horse does not make
There's a difference between organizational support and organizational
takeover. One possible solution might be to not allow chapters to
participate in the global fundraiser unless they already have a suitable
organization in place, but that could make it more difficult for the WMF
to take a piece of the chapter's action.