[Foundation-l] January 2010 Report to the Board

James Owen jowen at wikimedia.org
Wed Mar 17 17:40:38 UTC 2010

Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Covering: January 2010
Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Prepared for: Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

1.Wikimedia's most successful fundraiser wraps up, raises $8 million (USD)
2.Wikimedia Foundation hires Danese Cooper as Chief Technical Officer
3.2008-09 Annual Report released
4.First hiring interviews for Chief Development Officer

1.CDO hiring continues
2.Review of strategic plan recommendations at San Francisco Board meeting
3.Preparation begins for five-year business plan



Reach of all Wikimedia Foundation sites:
365 million unique visitors (rank #5)
+25.8% (1 year ago) / +5.1% (1 month ago)
Source: comScore Media Metrics

Pages served:
11.1 billion
-3.1% (1 year ago) / +6.4% (1 month ago)
Active number of editors (5+ edits/month): 98,597
-1.4% (1 year ago) / +5.0% (1 month ago)

Source: January 2010 Report Card


Operating revenue year to date: USD 11.4MM vs. plan of USD 8.6MM
Operating expenses year to date: USD 4.9MM vs. plan of USD 5.5MM
Unrestricted cash on hand as of 2/17/10: USD 14.2MM


This month marked the end of the second phase for Strategy development
process. The team is now halfway through the process, and are moving
into the third and final phase. On January 12, nine Task Forces
delivered recommendations. A few weeks later, The Bridgespan Group
delivered a synthesis of the strategic planning process thus far and its
immediate implications for the Wikimedia Foundation's strategy. That
synthesis drew from the recommendations and research on the wiki, and
was also published on the wiki.

Feedback to the work thus far has been positive, and seeing an increase
in participant growth on the wiki for the first time in several months.
The end of this January saw the wiki surpass 900 contributors, and about
80 new contributors to the LiquidThread discussions.

Moving forward, the strategy team will focus is on evaluation,
prioritization, synthesis, and activation, with a goal to create
consensus on the movement's priorities over the next five years. In
order to do this, the team has formed a Strategy Task Force, which will
focus on these issues using the same open methodology that the previous
Task Forces used. The team are also working hard to bring even more
participants to the wiki process.


In January, the Wikimedia Foundation completed its search process for a
Chief Technical Officer, following the departure of former CTO Brion
Vibber late last year. The new CTO is Danese Cooper. Danese has a wealth
of experience in open source technology. Most recently, she developed
open source strategy for the tech start-up REvolution Computing. Prior
to that, she was Senior Director of Open Source Strategies at Intel from
2005 until 2009, and Chief Open Source Evangelist at Sun Microsystems
from 1999 to 2005. In those roles, she led or supported major open
source initiatives, including Sun’s OpenOffice.org application suite,
the Java platform, JXTA, NetBeans, GridEngine, OpenSolaris and Intel’s
Channel Software Operations and Moblin platform initiatives. Prior to
working at Sun, she managed technology teams at Symantec and at Apple
Computing for a total of nine years.


The search process was supported on a pro bono basis by Walker Talent Group.

Wikimedia Foundation contract project manager William Pietri posted a
detailed update on the development and deployment of the Flagged
Revisions technology, and the specific functionality requested through a
community poll in the English language Wikipeda. Development and testing
of the new functionality continues and can be tracked through a public
project tracker.

Newly hired Code Maintenance Engineer Priyanka Dhanda completed her
first project and upgraded Wikimedia's bug tracker, BugZilla. Priyanka
is also evaluating alternatives to BugZilla and open source project
management tools.

The GlobalUsage extension, which shows where in the Wikimedia universe
multimedia files from Wikimedia Commons are used, was re-activated. This
led to the development of new community scripts and hacks to make use of
that data for statistical purposes.

Static files such as CSS and JavaScript files were moved to a dedicated
set of cache servers to optimize performance:

A set of new search servers was deployed, which made it possible to lift
previously implemented restrictions on the number of search results:

Code review continued for the MediaWiki 1.16 release.


The usability team continued its development work for the scheduled
release on January 27th. This release replaces the plain-old text
editing window with an HTML IFrame element , which allows more precise
addressing of text for purposes such as navigation and formatting. It is
also the foundation for the next release, Citron, which will collapse
complex syntax such as templates to reduce the immediate complexity of
wiki editing for first-time editors. The release also includes
language-specific icons for formatting.

Due to an overwhelming amount of cross-browser testing for introducing
the Iframe element, the release was delayed for a week and was released
on February 4th.

Evaluation of usability research firms for the third usability study
which is scheduled in March 2010 started. Three qualified usability
firms were contacted for proposal submission, based on the evaluation
from the submission in response to call for proposal for the second
round of the usability study in August 2009.

In January, beta usage continued to increase. As of January 31, 2010, a
total of 512,000 users have tried the beta. Out of these users, 409,000
have kept using the beta, a retention rate of 80%. In January, the
monthly retention for all Wikimedia projects was 81.5%. This is down
slightly from December 2090, where the incremental retention was 82.4%.
This slight decrease is mainly caused by the decline of the retention
rate of English Wikipedia, which was 84.3% in January compared to 85.6%
in December. The retention of Japanese Wikipedia in the month of January
has increased to 72.1% from 64.9% in December.


A simplified and streamlined new upload interface design and user flow
was proposed for discussion by Guillaume Paumier, product manager of the
multi-media usability project. The next step is to prototype the new
design and refine the user flow.

Neil Kandalgaonkar, software developer for the multimedia usability
project, completed his relocation to San Francisco.

The call for proposals for the first multimedia usability study has
started. The plan is to conduct the study with ten study participants in
March 2010.

A project update was posted to the WMF blog by Naoko Komura. The story
of successful multimedia assets donated from Galleries, Libraries,
Museums and Archives, made possible by chapters and volunteers, and how
these assets are integrated into Wikimedia projects, was told in a blog
post by Erik Moeller.


During January, Frank Schulenburg and Pete Forsyth wrote a report about
the first phase of the Public Policy Initiative, a pilot subject matter
improvement initiative. The document gives a summary of the results of
the planning phase (November/December 2010) and draws first conclusions
for the design of the quality improvement phase (February 2010–September
2011). It documents the outcome of conversations with over 40 professors
and other academics at nine major universities. The document is freely
accessible on the outreach wiki:


To keep in touch with the participants of phase I, Pete wrote a
newsletter that informed all faculty members about the current status of
the project. As part of the planning for the second phase of the
initiative, Pete reached out to retired faculty associations as an
additional potential target group.

Marlita and Frank continued to work with the Bookshelf Project vendors.
They finished the work on the video script about NPOV and Verifiability
and reviewed the first version of the Welcome Packet content design.
Marlita started to create the infrastructure for working with secondary
school teachers and reached out to a number of institutions in order to
create interest and to recruit volunteers. Finally, Marlita kicked off
the relationship between WestEd, a national non-profit research and
service agency working with education and human development communities,
and the Wikimedia Foundation. As a result, Frank and Pete started a
conversation with WestEd about the evaluation of Wikimedia's educational

Frank attended a meeting organized by the Craigslist Foundation and
discussed – with a group of changemakers from the Bay Area – how to
increase the impact of communities by sharing success stories online. As
a follow-up, Frank and Kathrin met with Peggy Duvette from Wiser Earth,
a user-generated online community space for the social and environmental
movement, and shared experiences about ways to document best practices.

Cary attended the Wikimeetup in Washington DC, the tour of the Library
of Congress and dinner with numerous functionaries from English
Wikipedia. Customer service and OTRS were among the discussion topics.
Cary had meetings with Thomas de Souza Buckup about Wikimedia Brasil's
future and relationship with the chapters and Siska Doviana from
Indonesia about their upcoming contest and Wikimania sponsorship.


The 2008-09 Wikimedia Foundation Annual Report was published online.
This is WMF's second Annual Report, and one of its key instruments of
accountability and transparency to donors, partners and stakeholders.
The report is a summary of the organization's financials, program
activities, milestones and accomplishments for a fiscal year.

The report was designed by Exbrook in San Francisco. It includes a
timeline of Wikimedia milestones together with significant world events,
a spread focusing on Wikipedia's coverage of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist
attacks, a global traffic chart comparing Wikipedia against other
informational websites, feature pages about Wikimedia Commons, Wikimania
2008 and “Wikis take Manhattan”, as well as specific summaries of WMF
and chapter activities. It was e-mailed to all Wikimedia Foundation donors.

The communications team in January was also busy following up on a very
successful fundraiser, and preparing for major announcements in January
and February.

Major Press Announcements:

January 5-
Wikipedia Annual Fundraiser Goal Supported by Record Number of Donors

January 28-
Wikimedia Foundation Hires Danese Cooper as Chief Technical Officer

January blog posts

Major coverage through January

1. Wikimedia beats its USD 8,000,000 goal (January 5)
Less coverage of our major fundraiser success this year than last, but
still a lot of positive blog and mainstream media mentions. With the
goal being met over the late December holidays, several key blogs drove
coverage in December ahead of the press announcement on Jan 5.

2. Hebrew Wikipedia pushes past 100,000 articles (January 12)
Hebrew Wikipedia's 100,000 article milestone made waves in a number of
major Hebrew dailies and blogs, driven largely by the initiative of
Wikimedia Israel. Coverage ranged from the ongoing question of
credibility of information and facts on Wikipedia to the range of topics
now covered.
(HE) http://www.calcalist.co.il/internet/articles/0,7340,L-3385795,00.html

3. Wikipedia's 9th birthday (January 15)
Media outlets, bloggers, and microbloggers covered Wikipedia's 9th
birthday again this year, with positive tone reflection on the value of
the project. Coverage in India and southeast Asia focussed on related
meetups and discussions about expanding the presence of Wikipedia in the

4. Coverage of our new Chief Technical Officer (January 28)
Upbeat coverage of the hiring of Danese Cooper as CTO. Microblog traffic
highlighted the very probably fact that Danese is the first female CTO
of the top ten web giants.

Other worthwhile reads:

Communications campaign update, January 2010:
Fenton shifted its annual campaign work towards post-event reporting in
January, and is now in the process of developing a survey and report on
our now 240,000 strong donor base, building on a previous effort to
launch a donor survey. The report/analysis will provide us with
direction and thinking about best methods for outreach and engagement
with the donor base.

Fenton's work is also shifting towards a series of key communications
products: a short, modular video project that will be used in major
Wikimedia presentations, and for on-line sharing; a refined Wikimedia
presentation system for use by staff and volunteer spokespersons, and a
'leave-behind' printed product intended to shed light on
Wikimedia/Wikipedia history, movement, and direction.

During January, the Wikimedia Foundation participated in interviews with
Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina, USA); NewTeeVee.com (San
Francisco, California, USA); TheStreet.com (New York, New York, USA);
Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Copenhagen, Denmark); New York Times
(New York, New York, USA); CNN (Atlanta, Georgia, USA); El Universal
(Mexico City, Mexico); History Channel (New York, New York, USA); Mail
Today (New Delhi, India); The Daily Record (Jacksonville, Florida, USA).


On January 5, WMF closed its 2009-10 annual campaign, its most
successful fundraiser ever. We're grateful to every donor, and to
everyone who helped to make the campaign a success:

A comparison of the 2009-10 campaign with the previous two campaigns can
be found on this reporting page:

The Wikimedia Foundation received 19,522 donations in January, totaling
approximately USD 844,423. Year-to-date, the Foundation has raised USD
9,150,343 in individual donations, 22% above its annual goal of USD
7,500,000. Including revenue from restricted and unrestricted gifts the
Wikimedia Foundation has raised USD 10,700,343, 15% above the goal of
USD 9,297,000.

Within the first few weeks of the fundraiser, the Wikimedia Foundation
met the conditions for a challenge grant of USD 500,000 from the Omidyar
Network, by raising matching donations for every gift between USD 100 to
USD 9,999. This matching grant proved an effective tool in raising the
average dollar amount of a donation during the time it was offered.

During the campaign the Community Gifts and Communications teams saw
positive results through enhanced marketing through Social Networking
sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). The messaging displayed on the
donations portal, site notices and Social Networking sites combined to
provide a cohesive communications effort to our donors via multiple

On the donations processing side, this year Wikimedia was able to offer
donors the options of donating by credit card and via Mobile Phone (in
US only). Donors located in the same country as a participating chapter
also had the option of donating directly to their local chapter. We
believe that an expanded array of donations options enabled the
Foundation to increase its ability to appeal to a larger population of
first time donors.

With the increase in donations the site also received an equal increase
in direct donor communications. Over the few months, Anya and Megan have
responded to over 1,000 OTRS questions and more than 200 phone calls
from donors and non-donors on issues from refunds over technical issues
to matching gifts inquiries. An estimated amount of over 5,000 emails
from donors was received and responded to during the annual fundraising
campaign by a dedicated team of four OTRS volunteers.

In January, Rand and the Community Giving team continued work on
follow-up to the Annual Fundraiser: entering offline transactions,
cleanup of donor records, and preparing reports. Rand also conducted
several postmortems regarding the Annual Fundraiser and will compile
those results into planning for the 2010 Fundraiser.

After an extensive search process, interviews began for the Chief
Development Officer position, a leadership position for the fundraising
department. The search process is supported by m/Oppenheim Associates:

In the area of major gifts, Rebecca held several prospect & donor
meetings throughout the month of January, including six in New York City
where Jimmy joined her. She worked on finalizing details of a large gift
(to arrive soon), and participated in the financial sustainability task
force. Planning began for fall cultivation event in NYC hosted by two of
our current funders.

With regard to Foundation Relations, Sara has been working with the
public outreach team on developing a major grant proposal for foundation
support for the aforementioned subject-matter improvement pilot program.
Grant reporting to foundation funders also continued throughout January.

In support of the strategic planning process, Rebecca and Rand
participated in the Financial Sustainability task force, which
collaboratively developed several recommendations. Sara developed a
proposal for a general partnerships strategy, in support of the
Partnerships and Alliances task force.


Business development finalized the Wikimedia Foundation's second major,
multi-national telecom and mobile partnership with Telefónica, a Fortune
500 global telecommunications company. Telefónica is one of the largest
in the world - with a major presence in Europe and especially throughout
Latin America. This is a three-year worldwide deal where Telefónica
operates: Spain, Europe (select territories), Latin America and US
(Spanish speaking population only). Telefónica also runs a non-profit
Foundation that supports non-business activities to promote education in
Spanish and Portuguese languages and, with good faith efforts, will find
ways to help us with the development of content in those languages (via
chapter activities, etc). Telefónica companies will create new tools and
applications to improve the functionality and accessibility of Wikimedia
content on their multiple platforms such as mobile, web, IPTV, and other
internet devices. Telefónica will also explore the development of
offline readers for Wikimedia content.


Veronique Kessler and the finance team completed the client worksheets
for the 2008 Form 990. She also researched cash management strategies
and investment policy proposals.

Daniel Phelps kicked off an internal staff compensation committee. The
committee consists of 9 Foundation staff representing different
departments (technology, administration, programs, and fundraising). The
committee will provide the Foundation's management team with a list of
recommendations which could be implemented to improve recruitment and
retention of skilled employees. Daniel has contacted a variety of like
minded organizations to review monetary and non-monetary compensation.


In January Mike Godwin finalized and posted the new trademark policy,
and authorized the obtaining of Cyrillic versions of the leading
Wikimedia domain names in the .ru domain. He has also been interviewing
candidates for summer legal clerkships.

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