[Foundation-l] [announcement] new staff member in business development

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Sat May 19 02:43:37 UTC 2007

On 5/18/07, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 5/18/07, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
> > On 5/18/07, George Herbert <george.herbert at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > On 5/18/07, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
> > > > The WMF is not a business.  It's a publicly supported charity.  As
> > > > such, I think the proper solution is to limit business activities as
> > > > much as possible.
> > >
> > > This is insane and irresponsible; any organization with this much
> > > activity and financial throughput not run as a business (in terms of
> > > professionalism), specifically INCLUDING real charities, is insane.
> > >
> > > The charities and nonprofits I know of all enthusiastically hire
> > > professional business people to do business stuff... because it's how
> > > you get things done at that level.
> > >
> > This is really a matter of terminology, which I'm not interested in
> > getting into.  However, the job description of the business developer
> > makes it clear that this position goes beyond the necessities of
> > running a charity.
> >
> > Obviously the WMF needs to be responsible and professional.  Obviously
> > they need to hire experienced professionals to do things which can
> > casually be referred to as "business stuff" (collecting donations,
> > applying for grants, producing financial statements, writing to
> > donors, reviewing contracts, etc.)  If the announcement was the hire
> > of a new grants coordinator, or a controller, or a new legal
> > coordinator, my reaction would have been completely different.  I'm
> > not objecting to the job title, I'm objecting to the job description.
> >
> > Anthony
> You don't wish Wikipedia to be involved in business income ventures
> other than pure donations type relationships?
I'm not sure the foundation should actively avoid it, but I don't
think they should be hiring someone to focus on it, especially not at
this time, when so many more important areas need to be taken care of.

> Most big charities engage in "real business" relationships (selling
> services, intellectual property or content, training, consulting
> relative to the charities' activities interactions with the world,
> etc) as well as asking for donations.

Not to a significant degree they don't.  Shall we choose 10 US-based
501(c)(3) public charities and look at their financial statements, to
see what percent of their revenues come from donations, and what
percent comes from business activities?


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