[Wikimedia-l] Question: How much does administration in Chapterscost the Wikimedia movement?

Michał Buczyński sandbox at o2.pl
Fri Apr 19 13:37:15 UTC 2013

Hi there,
sitting in Milan myself, personally I do agree it would be helpful to have good benchmarks, for various reasons.
I share your belief we need to gather standardized data for that and this will not be quite easy.
One certain problem will be expenses covered by offices. That can be anything, from unavoidable expenses (obligatory reporting, bookkeeping etc. under a local law), all the nice-to-haves (coffees, business trips etc.), up to hidden costs of fundraising, outreach or content creation (e.g.: mail costs will include: obligatory reporting mail, mass fundraising mail, up to etc. books and materials sent for authors, coaches teaching how to edit etc. etc.).
Similar things can be said about salaries/working hours of contractors etc.
Thus, it will be pretty difficult to not compare apples and oranges. And if we start demanding highly detailed reporting, it can get both pretty tiring and arbitrary.
Having written that, gathering data with details like yearly office rental fee and staff expenses and trying to estimate how much goes for: content creation, recruitment, keeping excitement in the community, fundraising, external co-ops etc. is a good starting point.
However, to be really successful we would need to require chapters to conduct strict accounting, 
addressing particular expenses to proper endavours.
One possible solution helping with that has been just shown by Manuel Schneider. WMCH uses a CRM system,
 urging to match every expense with a proper project. Using this bookkeeping enhancement could greatly improve clarity of the books, help in keeping discipline, simplify auditing as well as reporting, e.g. for these benchmarks.
So far, pursued data is (quite chaotically) put into reports submitted by chapters. I guess it is a right thing to start with, improving together the framework and asking chapters to share data and give their input. I hope we find balance between flexibility and bureaucratic requirements. :) Isn't it as big challange the WCA researchers want to cope with? :) A different story are the differences among countries. I guess we should benchmark with some local NGOs as well.
Best Regards,
Michał "Aegis Maelstrom" Buczyński

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