[Wikimedia-l] fundraising status?

James Salsman jsalsman at gmail.com
Thu Dec 27 18:18:17 UTC 2012

On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Zack Exley <zexley at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> James -
> I don't fully understand all your concerns....

> I think you might have tried to contact me via IM. Sorry but I'm too distractible, so
> I limit my IM contacts. Just email me and I will try to respond promptly. Probably
> better to ask me on list though

Zack, is it inaccurate to say that you measured banners on May 11,
2012 which outperformed all of the banners used in last year's

And then a day later you renamed the page with those measurements to
"We Need A Breakthrough" and wrote in some detail about how you
believed you would not be able to "significantly" outperform last
year's fundraising?

When the 2012-2013 Annual Plan was drafted, was growth projected at
not just a slower rate, but less in absolute dollar terms than was
projected and occurred during the previous year?

Relative to that slowed budget growth, were even more programs from
the Annual Plan and Strategic Plan cut in the "narrowing focus"
changes a few months ago, with no wide announcement for community
consultation and less than two dozen community members providing
feedback, the vast majority of whom were opposed or strongly opposed
to the cuts?

Since May 11, have the baseline fundraising messages you were testing
performed as well or better than the tests of May 11, which
outperformed all of last year's banners?

And over the past year have pageviews continued to grow at their
longstanding exponential rate from 16 billion per month to 21 billion
per month?

Over the past year, have pageviews on non-mobile browsers also
strictly increased, with mobile page views under 2.7 billion per month
over the past twelve months?

During the past year has the ratio of the Foundation's top executive
pay to the pay of junior staff and contractors increased by more than

And during the past year has Foundation employee turnover risen to a
record high for at least the past five years on a percentage basis?

> Our tradition has always been to raise our budget and then stop asking as
> close to when we reach that goal as possible.

Has the Foundation ever forgone the most valuable last few days of the
year, even when the fundraising goal was already met? (As I believe
has happened at least twice in the past five years when non-web
donations are considered.)

> "Maximizing" for us means raising our budget
> with as little negative impact on the projects as possible

Where do you find that meaning or any suggestion of it in the
unanimous resolution of the board of 9 October 2010?


Has the Board deliberated or voted on any resolution which is
compatible with the meaning you suggest?

>  (and as much positive impact as possible!).

Given the answers to the questions above, how would you characterize
your impact this year?

James Salsman

> On Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 11:40 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
>> James,
>> Merry Christmas.
>> I feel most of your points have already been addressed.
>> Two quick comments, that others also asked about:
>> * As Zack noted earlier this month, banners are down until the end-of-year
>> push.  This has not changed.  "From December 26 to Dec 31 we'll begin
>> showing banners again to everyone for a final push to the year end goal."
>> * I was also confused by the slide on reserves in the November monthly
>> report, and looked into it.  Let me correct a statement I made yesterday:
>> reserves were projected to be at 6 months of expenses in October, and have
>> stayed above 6.3 months.
>> For the first time this year there are two different ways to measure
>> expenses, thanks to the FDC budget, which allowed the confusion.  For
>> details, see:
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Wikimedia_budget#Reserves
>> SJ
>> On Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > SJ,
>> >
>> > I have been looking for the commitment you mentioned in Board and
>> > related records, but I can not find it:
>> >
>> > > We have committed to ending the active banner-driven fundraising once
>> > > we
>> > meet our targets.
>> >
>> > Does that commitment take precedence over the unanimous resolution of
>> > the board of 9 October 2010 that Nemo pointed out at
>> >
>> >
>> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_fundraising_principles
>> > which directs the Executive Director to "implement ... 1) Maximizing
>> > public support: Fundraising activities in the Wikimedia movement
>> > should generally be directed at achieving the highest possible overall
>> > financial support for the Wikimedia movement, in terms of both
>> > financial totals and the number of individuals making
>> > contributions...."? If so, could you please share the background and
>> > Board deliberation records pertaining to it? I am concerned that the
>> > Foundation is bowing to the wishes of op-ed critiques in the press to
>> > the exclusion of the Board's unanimous resolutions.
>> >
>> > Again, I would not be so concerned if it were not for the evidence of
>> > the deception regarding measured fundraising message effectiveness,
>> > the nearly two million dollars in missing reserve funds, the sharply
>> > widening ratio between executive and junior staff pay, the high staff
>> > turnover, late vital projects, insufficient staff for the Education
>> > Program, employee dissatisfaction and below par compensation reported
>> > on Glassdoor.com, lack of a meaningfully wide call for community
>> > consultation or reasonable numbers of community members commenting on
>> > the recent "narrowing focus" changes, and lack of telepresence options
>> > for Wikimania attendees. Many of these issues dwarf the ignominious
>> > events of the Foundation's past, so I hope you, the other trustees,
>> > and the Foundation leadership will address all of them swiftly.
>> >
>> > Sincerely,
>> > James Salsman
>> >
>> --
>> Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266
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> --
> Zack Exley
> Chief Revenue Officer
> Wikimedia Foundation

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