[Foundation-l] Report to the Board: December 23 to January 29

Sue Gardner 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

Current priorities:

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.)

Starting soon:

1. Davos follow-up

Recent weeks

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 
support person 
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 
chapters :-)

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 
here http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2007/Notes.

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 
early March.

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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