[Foundation-l] Fundraiser update

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Thu Jan 8 02:29:38 UTC 2009

2009/1/7 Dan Rosenthal <swatjester at gmail.com>:
> Anecdotally, I thought it was about the same, but I did notice a LOT
> more questioning of what the money was going to. Like you, just
> impressions, no facts to back it up.

Perhaps so - an absolute increase of scrutiny is certainly to be
expected as the overall number of donations nearly tripled, i.e. we
have asked for, and received, a lot more attention than ever before.
The upside and downside of the growing blogosphere with millions of
micromedia is the same: There's a lot more voices and opinions. Rumors
spread much more quickly, and false claims can be repeated (and
monetized) much more easily than ever before. So can important
statements of fact.

If we empower our volunteers through a high degree of operational
transparency, facts should prevail. That principle has informed many
decisions we've made this year: hence the detailed Q&As on the budget
and the financial statements, the detailed Annual Report, etc. Overall
we're very happy with these materials, and in my opinion they
represent the highest degree of operational transparency that we've
ever had.

In some areas, we've found our materials to be worthy of improvement,
and I think it'll become clearer what those areas are as we further
analyze the fundraiser as a whole. For example, while we've tried to
explain that expense categories in the pie charts represent entire
departmental budgets rather than individual salaries, they were still
often misunderstood or misconstrued to be the latter. Being more
specific and providing further data on how money is spent in each
category should help both readers and volunteers who want to correct

The flip side of the coin is communicating impact through hard data
and personal stories. That, too, is an area in which we can improve,
especially if we continue to grow operationally. How many more people
edit due to usability improvements? What, if any, was the positive
impact of the FlaggedRevs extension? Has site responsiveness and
uptime increased? How many more videos have been uploaded thanks to
new capacity? How many books have been printed via PediaPress? How
many people have attended Wikipedia workshops around the world? How
many static copies of Wikipedia are circulating as DVDs, on laptops,
etc.? And how are people's lives transformed through our work?

As a 23-people organization, it's clear that our communication efforts
need to culminate in volunteer-driven efforts of both a proactive and
reactive nature. That's already the case to a great degree (thanks to
volunteers like yourself), and I hope that we will continue to improve
in that regard.
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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