[Foundation-l] Report to the Board (March)
sgardner at wikimedia.org
Mon Apr 14 22:15:47 UTC 2008
Weeks of: March 1 to March 31, 2008
Prepared by: Sue Gardner
Prepared for: Wikimedia Board of Trustees
MY CURRENT PRIORITIES
last updated April 13
1. Finalization of fundraising strategy
2. Launch of preliminary foundation investigations
3. Establishment of the new SF headquarters, including set-up of meeting
4. Bits and pieces (990 wrap-up, further hires, potential partnerships,
5. Goal setting for final two quarters of FY 07-08
6. Continuation of major donor initiatives already underway
On March 4, we invited a group of friends and potential supporters to
visit the San Francisco office. This event was professionally planned
and executed, including lighting, real-time data displays, catering,
music (courtesy of Pandora), a wiki-guestbook, etc.
On March 25, 2008, the Sloan Foundation announced it would award USD 3
million of support to the Wikimedia Foundation. The funding will be
received over three years, at one million dollars per year. It is
“institutional funding” - and will go towards the Wikimedia Foundation's
key goals, including its continued organizational development. One
specific initiative it will support is the FlaggedRevs revision-tagging
technology, which we hope to deploy across projects in order to allow
project communities to systematically assess the quality of specific
article revisions. It will also help support the expansion of outreach
initiatives such as Wikipedia Academy, and the distribution of
educational content from Wikipedia and its sister projects in
non-web-based formats such as DVDs and books, to reach people who are
On March 27, 2008, we announced that we have received a $500,000
unrestricted donation from philanthropists Vinod and Neeru Khosla.
During March, we developed our new fundraising strategy. It focuses on
targeting multiple revenue streams to achieve stability and
sustainability, including a balance of major donors, “smaller”
donations, grants from foundations, and earned income. Work is ongoing
developing a list of major donor prospects, implementing standardized
fundraising procedures, and acknowledging both past and current gifts.
And, several staff members have received fundraising training.
BOARD MEETING PREPARATION
A Board meeting is scheduled for April 5-7, the first to take place in
San Francisco. Preparation for the Board meeting included development of
the agenda, making arrangements for Board travel and accommodation, the
scheduling of meetings with candidates for the position of board
treasurer, and the development and presentation of the following documents:
* A presentation summarizing key achievements since the last
face-to-face Board meeting in October 2007; describing revenue and
hiring plans, and summarizing the Wikimedia Foundation staff goals
development process and the 2008 goals.
* A postmortem document analyzing the organization's response to recent
media events and making recommendations for the future
* An update on the Wikimania security situation
* The IRS form 990 for FY 06-07
* The FY 06-07 audit firm “management letter”
* A draft non-disparagement agreement and pledge of personal commitment
* A draft resolution on data retention
Thanks to everyone who participated in preparations for the meeting.
ACCOUNTING TRANSITIONS TO SAN FRANCISCO
On March 7, we announced the hiring of Mary Lou Secoquian, our new
accountant in the San Francisco office. Mary Lou has a degree in
accounting, and more than 20 years experience with financial
recordkeeping, management reporting, partnership reporting, payroll,
audit and tax work. Mary Lou replaces Oleta McHenry, our St. Petersburg
accountant. We are enormously grateful to Oleta for her dedication and
hard work on behalf of the Foundation.
In mid-March, we announced that Frank Schulenburg has agreed to lead the
Wikimedia Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Frank is well-known
as the founder of Wikipedia Academy and vice chair of Wikimedia
Deutschland. In his role as public outreach coordinator, Frank will
stage more Wikipedia Academies, and will develop and implement other
strategies designed to encourage contributions from targeted
underrepresented groups – which may include, for example, small-language
speakers, people in developing nations, and older people. (Our general
survey, in development with UNU-Merit, will help us solidify the
demographics we want to target.) Frank will also design other outreach
events, templates and support materials aimed at raising public
awareness and understanding of Wikimedia projects. In all of this, he
will work closely with the chapters.
We've identified a candidate for a software developer position, and will
re-advertise the junior developer / IT support position.
We've also developed draft job descriptions for all fundraising
positions, and hope to begin hiring for these in April.
Significant staff energy was spent developing responses to various media
and blog coverage (Marsden/Wool/Merkey). The Los Angeles Times and the
New York Times covered Wikimedia's fundraising plans, resulting in a
brief spike of public support. We identified and announced the 10
millionth Wikipedia article, a biography of English painter Nicholas
Hilliard from the Hungarian Wikipedia. Preparations were made for the
launch of an official Wikimedia Foundation blog.
All existing deals are being reassessed, and some contracts cancelled
because they have been under-valued. The live feed service in particular
has been evaluated in some detail, with review of documentation and
quality of service, and initial planning regarding the future nature of
the service. The business development strategy is being developed, and
will be finalized in June.
[At this time, the monthly report only covers work done by paid staff,
and a lot of technology work is done by volunteers. A good way to track
key technical changes is to read the Wikipedia Signpost's weekly
Erik and Mark met with Kennisnet in the Netherlands to discuss the
future of the Kennisnet/Wikimedia partnership. Mark continues to explore
additional sponsorship options in Europe. Erik also met with Erik Zachte
to discuss Wikistats and other data analysis and visualization projects.
Test wikis for the FlaggedRevs extension have been deployed in English
and German, and an announcement has been distributed in many languages.
The German community in particular has very actively pushed the
extension, and deployment on the German Wikipedia is expected to follow
The first stage of Single User Login has been deployed. Administrators
on all Wikimedia projects can migrate their user accounts to the new
global login system. For now, sessions are still separate, i.e., it's
necessary to log into each project separately. After appropriate
testing, access to the migration tools will be given to non-administrators.
The PediaPress PDF library and collection manager are in local testing;
first report available at:
first real world deployment to happen in April.
The search engine has been improved: the front-end has been
standardized, and the search now supports media thumbnails, which is
particularly valuable for Wikimedia Commons.
The WAP mobile phone gateway has been improved, and Brion has
implemented an experimental location-based Wikipedia search.
ORIENTATION AND NEW OFFICE SET-UP CONTINUES
Health insurance for North American staff will be in place in early
April. We are beginning to set up schedules of meetings, such as a
weekly revenue meeting, fundraising meetings, technology meetings, and
so on. Many people's goals for the current fiscal year have been
finalized. The office is starting to become not just usable but in fact
a friendly and pleasant, collaborative space. Photos of and by
Wikimedians are very present, creating a sense of immersion in the
Work on the UNU-Merit survey is ongoing and a first round of feedback on
the draft survey questions has been exchanged.
Wikimania 2009 will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina –
congratulations to the bidding team!
Planning for Wikimania 2008 continues
Planning towards the chapters meeting in the Netherlands continues
Hiring for software developer, fundraising, partnerships positions
UNU-Merit survey questions to be finalized and distributed for translation
Early meetings with grant-giving foundations
Major donor cultivation and stewardship
Analysis and consolidation of fundraising data from past fundraisers
Phasing out old 32-bit machines from server farm
Migration to new version of Asterisk for office phone system
Further deployment and testing of FlaggedRevs, PediaPress PDF library
Security of Intranet wikis to be increased
Major hardware order and deployment, including a dedicated server for
Permanent set-up of data displays in the office and other prettification
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