[Foundation-l] Report to the Board of Trustees: October 2008

Sue Gardner sgardner at wikimedia.org
Sun Dec 14 03:30:20 UTC 2008

Hey folks,

Here is the RTTB for October. November will follow soon :-)


Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Covering:          October 2008
Prepared by:    Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Prepared for:   Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees


1. Planning for Bangalore and Davos trips
2. Finalization of staff goals and performance check-ins
3. Planning for development of the strategic plan
4. Ongoing major donor solicitation and stewardship, foundation proposal
5. Bits and pieces (all-staff meeting, CPO recruitment, Wikimania 2008
postmortem, office space revamp, Board Nominating Committee, etc.)



The Board met the first weekend of October at the WMF offices in San
Francisco, with all Board members in attendance.  During the meeting, the
Board reviewed and approved the Gift Policy and Privacy Policy. As always,
these are posted at:


Treasurer Stuart West presented an update on the audit, informing the Board
that the audit is progressing much more quickly than last year, and that the
Board will receive the financial statements within a few weeks.  Vice-Chair
Jan-Bart de Vreede made a presentation on Open Standards and a discussion
was held about file formats.

Discussions were also held about Advisory Board and Board development, and
the formation of sub-national chapters. Erik Moeller gave updates and
answered questions regarding Wikimedia's technology priorities, and the
online fundraiser.  Minutes from the July meeting were approved.

The minutes of the October meeting will be approved and published following
the next board meeting, in January.


Extensive work was done by all departments on fine-tuning the various
components of the Annual Campaign in preparation for the  launch the first
week of November:

* Further testing and development of the CiviCRM donor database, including
e-mail capabilities – for the first time, we've got automated e-mail thank
yous set up for all donors
* Development of campaign management tools for sitenotice deployment, such
as scheduling and weighting of different sitenotices
* Lining up external support by design and PR firms; producing the first
sitenotices; developing audio PSAs
* Identifying core messages that need to be translated and coordinating
volunteer translations
* Streamlining and documenting all fundraising related procedures, such as
donor thank-yous
* Developing a fundraising agreement between WMF and the chapters which want
to participate in the online fundraiser
* Investigating historical PayPal data that hasn't been imported into the
* Inviting past $1000+ donors to make leadership gifts prior to the
beginning of the 2008 fundraiser.

For the first time, the online fundraiser is led and coordinated by a
dedicated staff member, Rand Montoya.

We followed up on leads from the Funders' Briefings in September, including
people who could not attend the briefings.

There were 935 donations made in the month of October for a total of USD


Frank Schulenburg worked with the Argentinian chapter to finalize plans for
the first Wikipedia Academy in Buenos Aires, to be held in early November.
 Frank also spoke at the FSCONS conference in Gothenburg, Sweden and
supported Wikimedia Germany's Zedler Medal article writing award as well as
the Quadriga Award ceremony.

Frank also participated in a dedicated meeting/conference where the current
state of Wikimedia was discussed among Wikipedians and

Sue spoke at conferences in Florida and Germany, and met with the Knight
Foundation in Florida.

SOS Children UK, in coordination with the Wikimedia Foundation, released a
complete 2008/9 revision of the Wikipedia Selection for Schools, which is
perhaps the most successful "checked content" project derived from the
English Wikipedia.http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/2008-9_Selection_for_Schools


We welcomed two additions to the technical staff: Trevor Parscal, who will
work as a software developer, and Ariel Glenn, who will do development work
but also help with technical support for the San Francisco office.

Thanks to a volunteer, Robert Stojnic, and the deployment of new search
servers, we've enabled new search features, limited to the English Wikipedia
for now:http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2008-October/040022.html

We've also enabled the PediaPress technology on all Wikibooks wikis. It
allows wiki-to-PDF export, wiki-to-ODT export, and print-on-demand delivery
of collections of pages. Pending further review, usability and scalability
improvements, we hope to deploy it on Wikipedia and our other projects soon.
This work is funded in part by the Open Society Institute and the
Commonwealth of

Brion has led development of a code review tool, which was deployed and has
seen rapid adoption, localization and improvement. The tool allows MediaWiki
developers to add comments and tags to code changes through a web-based
interface: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Special:Code/MediaWiki

Thanks to new dedicated hardware, the database dumps were restarted for all
languages. The English Wikipedia full-history dump continues to be
prohibitively slow; we're exploring solutions for this. Dump status is
visible here: http://download.wikipedia.org/  Concise summary:

We continued consolidation of our infrastructure to Ubuntu, and this process
received some media attention, including a widely quoted Computer World

Erik and Michael Dale attended the Open Media Conference at Yale

Rob has led the process of consolidating and tracking our domain name
registrations. We also continued our build-out of infrastructure in a new
data-center in Tampa, and we started to gradually phase in new Sun storage
equipment for media uploads.


During the week of October 20, the first Wikimedia Foundation Reader &
Contributor Survey was launched in 20 languages. Its goal is to collect data
about the demographic make-up of the Wikipedia community and audience, its
motivations, interests, and beliefs. 4000 completed responses had already
been received by October 24.

Erik Zachte's statistics server has been delivered and deployed, and Erik
 has started compiling some interesting reports for us. He has implemented
the first report on pageviews, based on Domas' pageview data:
http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesPageViewsMonthly.htm Related blog entry:

Erik has also taken a first stab at quantifying volunteer contributions made
during the fiscal year 2007-2008:
This data is important to put organizational spending in relation to our
global ability to achieve impact together.


The Wikimedia Foundation's first-ever Annual Report was finalized with the
audited financial information, published on the Wikimedia Foundation
website, and e-mailed to all past donors:
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Annual_Report  The report is a summary
of key activities of WMF in the fiscal year 2007-2008, an explanation of our
projects (including a two-page
"anatomy of a Wikipedia article"), an overview of our spending and the
2008-2009 budget, a brief look at the program activities of chapters around
the world, and a recognition of our supporters.

In the month of October, we participated in media interviews with Computer
World, a website of news and product coverage for information technology
managers and The Republican, a website providing coverage of the Western
Maryland town of Oakland, as well as of Garrett County.


Work continues on several grant proposals, including a major grant proposal
related to usability improvements. Sara compiled a spreadsheet of our
foundation prospects and rated them according to various criteria. She has
also started to consolidate all reporting requirements attached to current
grants so we can keep full track of our obligations.

Sara attended the Craigslist Non-Profit Bootcamp in San Mateo, where she
networked with individuals from other like-minded organizations.


The audited financial statements for the fiscal year 2007-2008 were
finalized and approved by the Board. A summary was included in the Annual
Report, and the full statements will be posted in November.

Work began on the 990 tax returns and continued on transitioning bank
accounts from Suntrust to Citibank.

On October 20, we welcomed Daniel Phelps as the new Office Manager.


Policies and agreements were reviewed and an audit resolution was drafted in
preparation for the Board meeting.   Work was done to follow up on
state-by-state registrations.

Negotiations continued with the Free Software Foundation regarding the
wording of the GNU Free Documentation License 1.3.


Work continued on two major leads and many smaller ones. In addition, some
older relationships were investigated or tied off. Some commercial trademark
uses were also investigated.

Kul has started building a sponsorship platform for events such as Wikimania
and Wikipedia Academies.


Sue attending Free Software, Free Society conference in India (Dec. 8 – 15)
Board Meeting, January 8 – 10, 2009
Sue attending World Affairs Conference in Davos (Jan. 28 – Feb. 1)

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