I’m sorry to tell you that Zack Exley has decided he wants to leave
the Wikimedia Foundation, although I am glad to say he’s planning to
continue contributing his prodigious creative and analytic talents to
our fundraising. As of August 30, Zack will no longer be Chief Revenue
Officer, but will instead be a part-time consultant and advisor to the
WMF fundraising team, in addition to other consulting work he’s
planning to take on.
We all owe Zack enormous thanks and praise.
The year before Zack joined us, the WMF raised USD 16 million in
donations, and three years later that has more than tripled to USD 56
million -- and we are doing it in a way that’s 100% consistent with
our mission, vision and values. The many-small-donors model preserves
the Wikimedia movement’s independence by preventing over-reliance on a
small number of people, it enables the WMF to focus on readers and
editors without having their needs drowned out by other stakeholders,
and it makes us the largest amount of money at the smallest-possible
cost. Zack has earned his place in the histories of Wikimedia yet to
be written: for the past three years, he has been the single person
most responsible for funding the growth of resources for the global
Zack is leaving the WMF fundraising team in terrific shape, and I’m
very happy to announce I’ll be promoting into the position of Chief
Revenue Officer the deputy head of the department, Lisa Seitz Gruwell.
Since Lisa joined in 2011, both Zack and I have come to heavily rely
on her leadership, managerial and strategic abilities. Lisa has been
responsible for foundations and major donors as well as being Zack’s
deputy, and over the past two years she and her team have
significantly grown revenues without increasing the costs to the
organization. This is a big deal: most non-profits need their
non-fundraising staff to participate in fundraising efforts, and it’s
to Lisa’s credit that her team has figured out how to raise money
without that. Lisa is widely respected and trusted. I look forward to
her leadership and am confident she will continue Fundraising’s track
record of success.
We are also promoting Megan Hernandez, who has been the
behind-the-scenes creative talent of our last two online campaigns.
She will become Director of Online Fundraising, leading all our online
work. And we are promoting Sara Lasner to the role of Development
Director, where she will lead the foundations and major gifts team
that has been Lisa’s responsibility. Congratulations to Megan and
Our fundraising strategy will not change. We will continue to focus on
the many-small-donors model, supplemented by unrestricted grants and
major gifts. Everything takes effect immediately, except Zack’s
official departure which will be August 30. He won't be at Wikimania,
but people in the San Francisco Bay Area will get a chance to see him
when he comes to town in early September. And of course we'll continue
to see him afterwards, in his new relationship with us.
I’m very confident in the trio of Lisa, Megan and Sara to lead
fundraising for the movement, and I’m delighted Zack will continue to
lend his guidance and creativity to our campaigns. Please join me in
thanking Zack for everything he has done for the Wikimedia movement
and for his continued involvement. And congratulations to Lisa, Megan,
and Sara on their well-deserved promotions.
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