[Wikimedia-l] fundraising status?

James Salsman jsalsman at gmail.com
Thu Dec 27 22:50:13 UTC 2012

On Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
>On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Zack Exley <zexley at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>>> "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?
>> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_fundraising_principles
> That is in fact what was meant (evident on the discussion page on Meta):
> the foundation should aim to maximize fundraising efficiency; or support
> raised per unit of fundraising activity.

That appears to be a draft which was never deliberated by or approved
by the Board of Trustees. Is there any reason it should take
precedence over the Board's unanimous resolution to achieve "the
highest possible overall financial support for the Wikimedia movement,
in terms of both financial totals and the number of individuals making

> Maximizing the activity itself - fundraising 24/7/365.2524 - would reduce
> the usefulness of the projects.

I am certainly not suggesting that fundraising occur 24/7, but only
that it follow our established traditional patterns in a manner which
allows us to pay salaries competitive with similar labor performed in
the same area. It is quite clear that relying on "the mission" in lieu
of competitive pay for junior employees does not support the kind of
employee retention and satisfaction which the Foundation has enjoyed
in the past.

On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Matthew Roth <mroth at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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
>> 50%?
> James, I'm not going to get too far into the other specifics of this really
> (for me) perplexing and troubling thread, but I personally wish this piece
> of your litany would stop....

Matt, the rest of your message had absolutely nothing about the
Foundation's salary ratios in it, but I can understand why it might be
the most troubling for you because of the problems that income
inequality is causing in society in general. There are three times as
many homeless children today as in 1983, a new record high this year:
But how often do we hear about that on the news?

> salaries have been pegged to be somewhere
> between similar non-profits and similar tech companies, understanding that
> our sweet spot is both as a tech company and also as a mission-driven
> change-the-world type of place.

Is this a data-derived conclusion, or was this "sweet spot" which has
resulted in record employee turnover derived without measurement?  Can
you find any San Francisco nonprofits with worse employee satisfaction
scores on Glassdoor.com than the Foundation's? I haven't been able to.

> We also have excellent benefits. I was recently married and my wife will be
> joining my health insurance on January 1 because it is more generous than
> hers (she works at an emergency room in the premier hospital in the area).

As someone who believes that Canadian style single payer health care
is the only reasonable option for the U.S. at this point, I wonder how
much this desensitizes you and your colleagues. Please see

> this is the most current iteration of a type of thread
> that I find contributes a great deal of stress to my work here. There are a
> number of assumptions that strike me as bad faith and many of them are
> targeted at people I work with (some of them I consider friends), so it is
> very difficult for me to read this

I find it extremely difficult to believe that anyone could think my
proposal that the salaries of Foundation employees be increased so
that none of them are less than 50% of the top executive salary is
made in bad faith or "targeted" towards anyone.

James Salsman

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