[Wikimedia-l] Comments on compliance and the FDC Round 2 decisions

ENWP Pine deyntestiss at hotmail.com
Thu May 9 19:02:49 UTC 2013

Thanks a lot for the replies, Anasuya and Jessie. It will be interesting to see the evolution and impact of WMF grantmaking in the months and years ahead.


> Date: Wed, 8 May 2013 15:43:15 -0700
> From: Anasuya Sengupta <asengupta at wikimedia.org>
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Comments on compliance and the FDC Round 2
> 	decisions
> Message-ID:
> 	<CAKK0PRxtmW8tyq=O_bCyCA696H8ObvCtgBTm==4wFpOeTH3rLw at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Hi Pine,
> My apologies for the tardiness of this reply; I've been away in India with
> family and am only just back.
> It's an important question to ask, because the Grantmaking team's programs
> - including the FDC process - have and are being set up with a strong
> self-evaluation component. We exist to support our movement through grants
> and shared knowledge as key resources, and we can only do this well if
> we're good at listening and learning ourselves.
> Overall, we're looking at multiple feedback mechanisms (including surveys
> and discussion groups at conferences like WMConf, Wikimania). As an
> example, we did a survey of the FDC Round 1 process which we shared in
> Milan, and used as a way to get more face-to-face feedback. This helps us
> know both broad and specific areas that we need to improve on and to do so
> quickly and appropriately. One thing to keep in mind with grantmaking
> programs is that process feedback is easily and quickly incorporated (like
> wiki-tables that made life miserable for FDC Round 1 applicants and we
> could improve for Round 2 applicants). However, substantive feedback (like
> the nature of questions, or entirely new sections of inquiry) need to be
> incorporated at the end of the year for the new year, so that the nature of
> the proposal doesn't change dramatically over the year, or from one round
> to the next: it's not fair on either the new folks applying, or the
> committee reviewing the proposals. We intend to do surveys of all our major
> grantmaking programs over the next few months, so that we have a good
> baseline against which to measure our progress as a team.
> Again, it's useful to remember that our proposal processes might seem
> 'heavy' to many in the movement, but they're pretty light-weight (with the
> possible exception of wiki-tables) in comparison to other grantmaking
> processes that are far more demanding for far smaller grant amounts. As a
> comparison, in the human rights and social justice grantmaking world, most
> grants are in the range of 5,000-50,000 USD.
> For the FDC in particular, the FDC Advisory Group will assess the first
> year, and towards the end of the second year (March 2014), give the Board a
> recommendation on whether the mechanism works (or not) and should continue
> (or not).  The FDC Ombudsperson also gives an annual report which is
> independent and autonomous on the FDC process.[1] With these various
> inputs, the staff and FDC will create a report for Year 1 which we hope
> will be shared back with the community at Wikimania.
> Other forms of external or independent assessments will also be part of our
> process: Kevin Gorman's retrospective of the grants program so far, for
> instance, was really useful and we've already incorporated several of his
> recommendations.[2] With the Program Evaluation team, we're also going to
> get much better at sharing the good and best practices that already exist
> in the movement, and at pointing out work that's relevant from other
> movements.
> Finally, we're planning some internal and external research to better
> provide guidance to grant applicants on issues like potential growth
> trajectories and useful ways of thinking about moving from entirely
> volunteer to staffed groups. We're obviously not working on this in
> isolation - there has already been some good thinking within the movement
> on this - and we'd be glad to be in conversation with anyone who wants to
> work with us on these issues.
> The Grantmaking team is a work in progress - we didn't exist in our present
> form last year, we've essentially restructured and reconfigured ourselves
> over the past few months, set up the FDC and IEG processes, and learnt
> rapidly about what works (and what might not) - and we're always open to
> feedback. If people are uncertain about who to reach out to, please do get
> in touch with me: as the person who heads the Grantmaking team, (some
> element of) the buck does stop with me. :-)
> thanks,
> Anasuya
> [1]
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Funds_Dissemination_Committee/Framework_for_the_Creation_and_Initial_Operation_of_the_FDC#FDC_Ombudsperson
> [2]https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Retrospective_2009-2012

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