[Foundation-l] Putting the Foundation back in WMF

Anthony wikimail at inbox.org
Sun Nov 18 13:27:23 UTC 2007

On Nov 18, 2007 1:34 AM, Robert Rohde <rarohde at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Nov 17, 2007 7:54 PM, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:
> > The budget wasn't met last time either, was it?  Looking back it seems
> > like less than half the budget was raised during the entire fiscal
> > year, and the foundation only spent about half of that ($1.4 million
> > raised, only 0.7 million in expenses).
> >
> > These supposed budgets look completely unrealistic to me.  I assumed
> > that was intentional.  Ask for way more than you need, and then settle
> > for half that.  It's a common strategy.
> One can pad the budget with programs that you might hope to pursue if there
> was enough money, but you can't simply inflate the numbers for no reason.

I don't claim they're inflated for no reason, I only claim that
they're inflated.

> Soliciting donations with a budget you know is misleading constitutes
> fraud.

A budget is by definition a forward-looking statement.  Obviously it
is dependent, among other things, on actually receiving the money
requested.  Proving fraud would be impossible.  Besides, the $4.6
million dollars doesn't even call itself a "budget".

If the percentages are known to be misleading, that might constitute
fraud, although proving it would still be impossible.  But asking for
way more than you need and more than you ultimately get is not
fraudulent even if it could be proven.

> I'd like to assume that the $4.6M in "planned spending" is not so
> ridiculous that it would still be reasonable to have less than $1.5M in
> fundraiser income.
Less spending on capital expenditures, along with other cuts (the
board certainly doesn't need anywhere near $200K/year, Wikimania costs
should be borne by the participants, etc.) would probably make $1.5
million reasonable.  Capital expenditures are always optional, after
all, since they're an investment in the future as well as an expense.
How reasonable depends in part on how much is in the bank and how many
servers were already bought in the current fiscal year.  The current
figures being released by the foundation are woefully inadequate to
tell for sure.

The figures for the finance and administration are at $700,000/year.
Maybe that's necessary, but with that much being spent I sure hope we
start getting those regular financial reports that were promised
something like two years ago.

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