[Foundation-l] An article to read

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Mon Apr 14 00:04:07 UTC 2008

On Sun, Apr 13, 2008 at 5:00 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>  >>  I figure the WMF would excel at that. Maybe still too small to avoid
>  >>  fluctuations, I would nevertheless put this number out, track it over
>  >>  the years, and compare it with other charities.
>  >>
>  >
>  > The way the WMF works, pretty much all the money goes on
>  > administrative stuff - everything else is done by volunteers. You'd
>  > have to decide what administrative stuff directly furthers the goals
>  > of the foundation and what stuff just keeps the foundation going (the
>  > hosting would probably fall into the former category, and is a very
>  > large proportion of spending).
>  >
>  You're right.  The Wikimedia Foundation is an unusual charity in that
>  almost all of its mission-related (project-related, program-related)
>  work is done by the volunteers. The staff essentially does whatever's
>  left over - core technical functions, legal support, keeping the books,
>  coordinating media and public relations activities, etc.
>  Generally, what Dirk says is true - the smaller the percentage of a
>  charity's budget going to overhead, the leaner and more efficient the
>  charity is.  But in this regard, we're not comparable to other
>  charities, because our spending on overhead is completely dwarfed by the
>  massive amount of mission-driven work going on, that's not visible in
>  the financial records.

Yes -- we are one of those rare organizations where we want as much of
the donation dollar as possible going to overhead, rather than the
other way around!

-- phoebe

More information about the foundation-l mailing list