The recent interest in grants is super!, as is the enthusiasm to apply
for our first grant as soon as possible. Moreover, the requirements for serious
grants tend to be good metrics for the successful and organized completion of
subprojects, so the effort required to fill out these applications is
I am excited for the near future.
That said, please let us not use this particular grant to get our feet
wet. It would
require multiple heroic efforts to submit an application in time, and
this grant isn't
designed for projects at our stage of development. We need to pace
the long haul, not burn out our grant enthusiasts in the first sprint.
agree, which is why this thread died?)
Remember also that these organizations have personality and
memory (despite their assurances that if you apply for two different grants,
you must resubmit all materials the second time) -- submitting an inappropriate
or hasty application to an organization is not only embarrassing; it can damage
our chances of persuading them of our seriousness in the future, when a grant
suits us perfectly. The NEH is large and generous; that would be a shame.
Our ideal first grant application would be
+ a simple descriptive application,
+ for a small and specific grant,
+ after consultation with the granting institution or with expert
+ for a project which is *already* being coordinated by a few wikimedians,
+ who know how they aim to accomplish it.
The NEH /reference materials/ grant is none of these things.
- It requires a complex, persuasive application - fifty pages long,
general budgeting, and personnel information, none of which have ever
for Wikimedia before.
- It is for a large and general grant, not specific to any of our
previously-discussed subprojects [say, wikifamily or slotipedia or WP 1.0]; we
came up with a new and vague project on the fly -- 'develop ten
Humanities & Arts
Wikireaders, in subjects with good WP coverage' -- to complete the application.
- Wikimedia has no consultants or relevant advisors yet, and is two
weeks too late
to have the recommended draft-review by an NEH officer.
- As we had no project in motion which meets their grant requirements, we
have no obvious choices for key qualified project staff -- in this case, subject
experts, print professionals and executive editors -- with resumes on file and
time to devote in earnest to such a two-year effort.
- Moreover, we have no draft
timeline, implementation plan, or comparative analysis of the benefits of our
proposed project over existing alternatives.
Finally, as Wikimedia grant-writing is still in its infancy, there is
rhythm to the collaboration on grant writing -- on- and off-wiki, and over this
mailing list; with the board and community for content approval; or
and copyeditors (for wiki drafts, layout drafts, and print proofs) for
For a 50-page application, each of these steps is a significant effort.
A few specific comments:
On Sat, 3 Jul 2004 11:47:42 EDT, daniwo59(a)aol.com <daniwo59(a)aol.com> wrote:
Gentgeen has spoken with them, they are familiar with
and they encouraged us to apply for the grant.
My impression was that they knew WP well enough to know we were an
and respond with appropriate materials, not that they had any idea for
we would be applying, nor that they particularly encouraged us to apply.
We are asking for $500,000. This is a lot of money,
but we believe that it will cover
This is a huge sum, as much as I estimated a few months back for printing *and
distributing* 100,000 copies of Wikipedia 1.0. Why so much? What kind of
distribution are you envisioning? Note that the grant requires that
we share at
least 33% of projected costs.
We can do some amazing things with half a million
In particular, we can get completely wrapped up in one subproject for
the next two
years. If we budget for $500k, they will give us at most $340k and expect us to
raise (and spend on this project) the rest. Is developing ten
WP-subsets how we want to spend our time and effort and other fundraising over
the coming months?
Perhaps we can apply for probe grants to help us gather usage
statistics and publish
wikimedia collateral, acquire advisors, and investigate new project
deciding to invest in a specific project*.
hoping we move patiently from strength to strength, without overextending or
* A suitable 5-10 page, $5-$10k NEH grant, due at the start of September,
requires we be an official 501(c)3. Are we in the middle of our
waiting period for
approval, or still processing paperwork? I know that can take a year
or more; how
far along are we? This smaller grant may be flexible on the matter; we should
inquire and explain our circumstances.