On 8/9/11 4:46 PM, Kirill Lokshin wrote:
2011/8/9 Delphine Ménard<notafishz(a)gmail.com>
On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 4:27 PM, Kirill
Well, let's be clear here: in what sense are
the chapters "participating"
the fundraiser, rather than merely being its
fundraising work -- the actual solicitation of
donations, in other words
is performed by WMF staff directly. The chapters
do provide some level
administrative and accounting support, obviously;
but that could just as
easily be done by the WMF as well, and likely at lower cost.
Wow, this is a gross misrepresentation of the reality.
While Foundation staff has provided an invaluable support to make the
fundraiser a success, it probably wouldn't have been such a success
hadn't there been dozens of volunteers, among which _many_ chapter
board members and simple members who spent uncounted hours of
localizing and adapting messages, providing stories, refining landing
pages, answering donors questions etc.
You may want to look at the fundraising pages on meta to see the level
of involvement of the community as a whole in making it a success, and
even that does not give a real idea of how much chapters' communities
have participated (much happens on their chapters' mailing lists for
I'm not suggesting that the success of the fundraiser isn't due in large
part to broad community involvement; my assertion is that this community
involvement would take place whether or not a formal chapter was involved.
I think that on this very point, even the WMF would disagree with you.
Actually, the very fact that WMF explicitely put in the fundraising
agreement that the Chapter *has to* provide translations of the
fundraising messages (which include as well stuff such as Jimbo's
letter) suggests that translations may not as magically appear as we
would hope. It rather suggests that chapters actually do have an
invaluable role in making sure that the fundraiser is not 100% in
English langage (even though members of the community who are not
members of the chapter clearly help in translation). In short,
community, both within and not within chapter realm, support the entire
Aside from this, I am quite shocked when I read
<quote>in what sense are the chapters "participating" in
the fundraiser, rather than merely being its beneficiaries? The underlying
fundraising work -- the actual solicitation of donations, in other words --
is performed by WMF staff directly. The chapters do provide some level of
administrative and accounting support, obviously; but that could just as
easily be done by the WMF as well, and likely at lower cost. The only real
advantage a chapter's involvement can provide over a fully WMF-operated
fundraiser is the availability of tax benefits in a particular jurisdiction;
and, given the small size of the average donation, it's unclear to what
extent such tax benefits are a significant consideration for the average
But I'll forgive you because you obviously are not totally aware of
what's going in the various chapters. Having been involved in
fundraising for Wikimedia France, I can certainly assure you that the
chapter is not merely being a "beneficiary".
The actual sollicitation of donations is not only performed by WMF staff
(are you aware that chapters also provide a specific landing page for
sollicitation ? specific messages ? Localized press release ? payments
methods are adapted to local situation ? ). The one thing that chapters
can provide to donors in their geographical area that WMF will never
been able to provide (at least, not at any reasonable cost) is to talk
to them as citizens of the same country. Same langage. Same culture.
Local events happening HERE rather than on the other side of earth.
Local partnership with institutions they know about. It tells them about
THEM. It is about THEM. This proximity can only be provided by chapters.
Claiming that WMF would provide the same job for a lower cost is
actually quite laughable given that WMF is actually PAYING staff to do
this (it costs money) whilst the majority of that work is being done for
free by chapter members (it costs less money to work for free...).
And people have staff, in many (not all) countries, staff costs is
actually lower than in the USA.
So the "likely at lower cost" comes from nowhere and is unlikely to be
There is only one point which I will grant you. Some chapters offer tax
deduction to their donors. This indeed require work to provide hence
expenses. If WMF was receiving those donations with no tax receipt to
provide, it would indeed require less work. Hence cost less.
This said, in France, over 90% of our donors ask for this receipt. I
expect that many would not give money to an US organization with no tax
receipt at all. I have no figure to support this, but I am willing to
give it a go for a few weeks. Get the money from French people and tell
them afterwards, SORRY GUYS, NO RECEIPT. And then ask them if they will
give again next year. Of course, all the complaints will have to be
dealt by WMF staff.
Seriously, when it comes to fundraising, the first important thing to
keep in mind is that trying to maximize the money collected in a given
year is thinking short term. Trying to create a good relationship with
happy donors is the way to think long term. An upset or disappointed
donor will only give once. And you will only know one year later.
I would assume that the volunteers who contributed
to the effort presumably
did so because they believed in the goals of the project and the need to
raise funds to support them, not because their particular chapter stood to
collect a large sum of money in the process?
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