[Foundation-l] Report to the Board: December 23 to January 29
sgardner at wikimedia.org
Thu Jan 31 22:22:54 UTC 2008
You may know that I send regular reports to the Wikimedia board.
Starting this month, I'm going to experiment with sending them here as
Why am I doing this? I generally want the work of the staff to be
visible & transparent to anyone who's interested. I don't see a really
compelling reason _not_ to send the reports to foundation-l, and I'm
assuming people here will appreciate being kept in the loop.
The arguments against it: It means I'll need to strip out from the
reports anything confidential - but this would mostly just be
information related to individuals, so I don't expect it to be much
work. I am a little leery it will stimulate long time-consuming
conversations with members of the staff, so I'd ask you to try to
respect that the staff needs to spend the majority of its time working,
rather than talking about its work :-) And, I won't be customizing or
reworking the content of the report - which means, for example, that
some links may not be accessible to everyone (e.g., on the office wiki).
I'd like to try this out for a couple of months and see what happens.
Let me know if you find it helpful :-)
Weeks of: December 23 – January 29, 2008
Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director
Prepared for: Wikimedia Board of Trustees
1. Establishing the new SF headquarters, including orientation of new staff
2. Planning major donor dinner & Wikimedia welcome party (both early March)
3. Financial reporting and audit wrap-up
4. Bits and pieces (Kennisnet, further hires, partnerships, etc.)
1. Davos follow-up
New San Francisco headquarters:
Although it is still very much a work in progress, the San Francisco
office has been up and running since Wednesday, January 23. Most
furniture has been delivered and set up, and the new VOIP phone system
is working, with calls now going to San Francisco rather than St.
Our mailing address:
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 78350,
San Francisco, CA
Our phone number:
415 839 6885
We are planning a welcome-to-San Francisco party for ourselves, likely
at the beginning of March. (The date is not yet locked down.)
Invitations will be sent to board and advisory board members, in case
anyone happens to be in the Bay Area, as well as to the Wikimedia San
Francisco mailing list, our friends at like-minded organizations, etc.
If you have people you would like to see invited, please e-mail me or
add them here http://office.wikimedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Welcome_Party.
* Veronique Kessler will be our new CFOO, starting February 4. Veronique
joins us from the non-profit Jewish Community Center of San Francisco,
where she was Director of Finance and, before that, Controller. Prior to
JCCSF, she has 15 years of managerial/financial experience with a wide
variety of organizations, including Stanford University, brokerage firm
Charles Schwab, the venture capital and investment firm Berkeley
International Capital Corporation, the Walden International Investment
Group, The Fremont Group, Wells Fargo bank, and Deloitte & Touche. She
is a CPA (certified public accountant) with lots of international
experience, who speaks and writes French. Veronique is just returning
from maternity leave and is spending this week wrapping up some work at
the JCCSF: for most of February, she will be with us only three days per
week. Her top priorities, in the beginning, will likely include: 1.,
hiring the fundraiser and the accountant, 2., ensuring the relocation
basics are okay (e.g., payroll is undisrupted, bank accounts set up,
etc.), and 3., getting to know her direct reports, Kul, Cheryl, Erica
and Oleta, and the areas they are responsible for.
* The Foundation has begun advertising to hire a software developer / IT
This is a relatively-junior position, based in the San Francisco office.
The advertisement has been sent to various mailing lists, and will
remain open until February 15. Please feel free to send it around.
* We plan to announce the head of development in February, and the new
accountant in March. For the time being, the position of head of
partnerships is on hold. (You may recall: this is partly a financial
decision and partly a “letting the team shake out before filling the
final position” decision.)
* Recapping the rest of us: Mike Godwin begins work in the San Francisco
office January 30. Jay Walsh, the new head of communications, started
January 10. Kul Takanao Wadhwa, the new head of business development,
started January 3. Erik Möller, deputy director, started December 31.
Erica Ortega and Cheryl Owens (formerly Steffen) have been on the job
as, respectively, office manager and PA, since December 10. Brion Vibber
(CTO) and Cary Bass (Volunteer Coordinator) arrived from St Petersburg
in December. Delphine Menard, Mark Bergsma and Tim Starling continue to
work normally from, respectively, Frankfurt, Eindhoven and Sydney. We
expect to be fully staffed by the end of March.
* We will be having a two-day staff orientation event with facilitator
Pat Hughes, February 11 and 12. You can see the agenda in development,
We've created a postmortem/summary report covering the 2007 fundraiser,
which ran from October 23 to January 3. In total, the fundraiser brought
the Wikimedia Foundation more than 45,000 donations totaling USD
2,112,251.73 (unaudited figures). This includes a contribution of USD
500,000, stock valued at USD 49,768, and a donation of USD 10,000.
The amount raised in the 07-08 fundraiser, compared with 06-07 which
raised just over USD 1 million, overperforms the traffic increase of
that same period. This is likely because the 07-08 fundraiser ran
significantly longer, initially picking up more slowly, but sustaining
donation growth better than the 06-07 fundraiser.
In addition, this fundraiser saw the most significant participation thus
far from the Wikimedia chapters, with active participation from Germany,
Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and Poland. Wikimedia Germany's
participation enabled it to purchase 15 servers for the Amsterdam
cluster: in the end, the German chapter will contribute to the
Foundation a total of approximately EUR 70K worth of goods and services
(the chapter will retain ownership of any purchased equipment). Also,
the Swiss chapter has made a contribution of CHF 5K. Many thanks to the
The report makes a series of recommendations for the next fundraiser,
including: 1., Change the sitenotice regularly to avoid 'banner
blindness'; 2., continuing to refine the Media-Wiki-based landing page;
3., improve donor thanking; 4., improve reporting and data capture; 5.,
enable recurring donations; 6., encourage community fundraising efforts
with network effects; 7., begin planning earlier. The full report is
Major donor dinner:
As you know, we've been on a tour of potential major donors. We continue
to follow up individually, and are also beginning to plan a dinner,
which will likely take place in early March. It won't be extravagant –
we just want to bring together ten or so interesting philanthropists to
the San Francisco office, to talk about Wikimedia's goals and plans.
The audited 2006-07 financial statements have been released by the audit
committee to the board. Once they are approved, we will release them
publicly. We owe a huge debt of thanks to the staff, particularly Oleta
McHenry, who worked long hours to get the audit completed.
* We announced a partnership with the Collaborative Creativity Group at
UNU-MERIT to conduct the first-ever comprehensive Wikimedia survey.
* We announced a beta program with Kaltura and WikiEducator to allow
users to collaboratively edit video and other forms of rich media.
* We signed the contract launching the PediaPress wiki-to-print project.
* We deployed new parser code that makes wiki syntax more consistent and
* We established peering arrangements with several new networks to
reduce the cost of traffic.
In coming weeks:
* The audited 2006-07 financial statements will be released publicly
once approved by the board.
* The board is also expected to approve the credit card usage policy
January 31. The final two “check cards” were retired last week, and
Foundation credit cards have arrived and are in use by a few staffers.
* As planned, 2007-08 financial statements will be released to the board
February 1. This will include a statement of cash flow, balance sheet,
income statement, overall comparison of budget-to-actuals plus some
detail, and a cash flow projection for the remainder of FY 2007-08. This
package will also include a text summary of the year so far.
* The head of development will be announced in February, and the
accountant in March. We will also soon begin interviewing software
* There will be a two-day staff orientation February 11 and 12.
* We continue to explore consortium options in Amsterdam and have
rescheduled our meeting with Kennisnet for end of February.
* There will be a welcome-to-SF party, and a major donor dinner, in
The St Petersburg office will shut down Thursday, January 31, and at
that point, we will say goodbye to Barbara Brown (office manager), Sandy
Ordonez (head of communications) and Vishal Patel (business
development). Our accountant Oleta McHenry will be with us until the end
of March, and Rob Halsell will remain as server tech out of Tampa. I
want to convey the organization's deep gratitude to the entire staff who
worked for us in St. Petersburg: Barbara, Sandy, Vishal, Oleta, Rob,
Cary and Brion. It was not an easy year: thank you for sticking it out.
We owe you, and we know it :-)
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