Archive:2010-2011 Annual Plan Questions and Answers

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Spending by functional area
What's an annual plan?
An annual plan is an organization's financial plan for the year. This year, the annual plan is rooted in the five-year (2010-15) Wikimedia Foundation strategy, which has been developed collaboratively on the strategy wiki over the past year. That work formed the basis of this plan, which was created by the Wikimedia Foundation's senior leadership, with support from The Bridgespan Group and the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The annual plan of the Wikimedia Foundation is an operating budget, which means the plan doesn't include restricted grants, or any work that will be done as a result of restricted grants. In 2010-11, the Foundation will continue working on the Public Policy Project funded by the Stanton Foundation, but this is not included in the 2010-11 annual plan.
In addition to reflecting only unrestricted spending, the operating budget is primarily a cash-basis budget, so it doesn't include in-kind revenue and expenses, nor non-cash expenses such as depreciation. This is fairly common for budgeting purposes. Of course, our annual audited financial statements do reflect restricted funding as well as non-cash revenue and expenses, in order to conform to generally accepted accounting principles.
What's the upshot here; how has the organization and the annual plan changed from last year?
Last year's plan, the 2009-10 plan, reflected continued growth in revenue and spending with an emphasis on key initiatives such as the strategic planning process, development of public outreach resources, and a new chapters grants process. (Not reflected is a large restricted grant, the Wikipedia usability initiative, which was concluded in April 2010, with work in this area continuing in the operating budget going forward.)
The organization successfully executed these and other programs, doing more than ever before to serve its mission. It also achieved record revenue, far exceeding plan targets. The 2010-11 plan is rooted in the research, community collaboration, and strategic planning that took place during 2009-10. It represents the first year of the five-year plan developed through the strategy process. It calls for a significant increase in spending, and a moderate increase in revenue.
You say this plan reflects the first year of the five-year strategic plan. How does the strategy plan fit in, and where can I find out more about it?
This past year, the Wikimedia Foundation facilitated its first-ever strategic planning process. The strategy plan was developed collaboratively on a public wiki, with more than 900 participants working in 59 languages. It has incorporated an unprecedented effort to gather available research and data, conduct interviews, and develop case studies. The work done through this process enables the Wikimedia Foundation to now articulate and execute its agenda with new confidence.
There's no precedent for what Wikimedia is doing. We don't pretend to have all the answers, but we're happy that consensus seems to have developed around the future direction of the Wikimedia movement. This annual plan is sharply focused on advancing the Wikimedia mission, and is more ambitious in scope than plans in previous years. We believe that this renewed ambition is justified by the quality of data and analysis and discussion that underpin the new strategy.
Read more about the strategic planning process here:
What's the total budget in this year's annual plan and how does it compare with previous years?
The total operating budget for the 2010-11 annual plan is $20.4 million. In comparison, 2009-10 projected spending will be $8.7 million (against a plan of $9.4 million). In 2008-09, the Foundation spent (cash expenses excluding depreciation and in-kind expenses) $5.2 million; in 2007-08, $3.0 million; in 06-07, $1.4 million; in 05-06 $0.5 million; in 04-05 $0.1 million. In general, spending has increased every year, as the projects and the organization have grown.
What is the big picture of the organization's revenue and spending?
The Wikimedia Foundation's mission is to bring the sum of all knowledge to every person on the planet. Its web properties reach 388 million people every month. We're embedded in a movement of more than 100,000 active volunteers who collaborate to develop free knowledge in every language, which we make and keep available free of charge and free of advertising. This is possible thanks to many people, including hundreds of thousands of individual supporters who make financial contributions to the Wikimedia mission.
The Wikimedia Foundation's continued growth reflects the investments we must make to serve our mission, and to touch the lives of hundreds of millions more. At the same time, we budget conservatively, and we do not posit goals that we cannot reach. The overall increase in revenue in the 2010-11 is relatively modest, from $15.9 million to $20.4 million (28%). By comparison, the increase of 2008-09 revenue actuals to the 2009-10 projections represents a 107% increase.
By contrast, the change in spending from 2010-11 to 2009-10 projections is a 134% increase. That's a good thing: The organization is growing its ability to put funds to use to expand its global program activities, thanks to capacity investments in senior management and program management functions, and general expansion of its program staff.
While we are projecting to underspend relative to plan by $0.7M, most of this underspend took place in the beginning of the fiscal year, and plan spending targets were reached or exceeded in the last months of the fiscal year. In 2010-11, much of the increase in spending reflects additional staffing.
What is the strategy for achieving the revenue increase?
We are focused on growing the number of people who donate to Wikimedia (what we call "community giving"). The plan is to increase revenue from community giving by improving our messaging for the annual campaign, launching e-mail campaigns asking for donations, increasing user-friendliness of the donation pages, introducing recurring giving programs, and engaging past donors in ways that will increase their support of us.
Based on our momentum thus far, and the continued growth in the Wikimedia readership, we believe that increasing donations by 28% --as called for in the plan-- is doable.
How has the revenue strategy changed from previous years?
The Wikimedia Foundation first hired professional fundraisers in 2008-09. Ever since, we've been experimenting, with the goal of figuring out what revenue sources suit us best. Here's our current thinking: We are increasingly planning to focus on "community giving" (small gifts, online, from individuals), and we intend to --relatively speaking-- de-emphasize major gifts, foundation grants, and earned income (business development income). That's because we believe that the many-small-donations model does the following:
  • It aligns fundraising with the rest of the Wikimedia movement: it's global, and it empowers ordinary people;
  • It enables the organization to stay focused on its own mission and strategy rather than being pulled by large funders' needs and desires -- basically, it enables independence;
  • It creates the correct incentives: Wikimedia should be accountable and responsive to readers;
  • The “small donor” focus reduces the risk that donors will inappropriately grow to become more valued by the organization than editors;
  • It's highly efficient and effective: by far the most scalable model;
  • It's highly stable and predictable -- it minimizes our risk;
  • It's a highly replicable and transferable model: it enables the Wikimedia Foundation to help equip Wikimedia chapters to fundraise.
We believe major gifts have the potential to provide transformative and permanent funding (e.g., an endowment), and, that it makes sense to have support for major gifts. We believe that foundation grants provide credibility, and that some foundations also provide useful non-financial connections and support. Therefore, we will continue to seek unrestricted and conditional grants. As a matter of general practice, we will no longer accept restricted grants other than those currently in the pipeline. We also believe that business interests in general are not normally very aligned with ours – but, certain types of deals have potential to tap into market energy that could significantly accelerate our work. Therefore, in 2010-11, we plan to reorient business development away from revenue generation, and towards the goal of increasing reach, particularly in the Global South, and with a particular emphasis on mobile and offline.
The Wikimedia Foundation is really happy to be able to be uncompromising in its revenue generation activities. We are happy that readers enjoy the projects and find them useful, and that they are willing to pay for the costs associated with supporting them.
You say that you're moving away from restricted grants. Why is that?
The Wikimedia Foundation has executed a couple of projects based on restricted and semi-restricted grants. The process was fine, and we are very happy with the outcomes. Having said that, grants create administrative overhead -- time spent researching foundations, writing proposals, tracking grant spending and reporting on activities. Restricted grants also create some risk of reducing our organizational flexibility, if not carefully managed. All this work is often additional to the normal administration the Wikimedia Foundation would otherwise do: for example, restricted monies are required to be tracked and reported separately from operational monies. There's nothing really wrong with that, but we would like --as much as possible-- to reserve our energy for work that directly advances the mission. Because we are able to raise sufficient donations from the annual campaign, we do not need to seek funding via restricted grants, which means we don't have to take on the administrative overhead associated with restricted grants. We are happy to have received grants in the past, and we may seek them again in future, but at this point we prefer to focus our attention on the annual campaign.
You say that you'll be reorienting business development away from revenue generation, and towards increasing reach. Why is that?
The Wikimedia Foundation invested in business development several years ago, for two main reasons. 1) We wanted to be receptive in the event that unsolicited proposals offered us the opportunity to tap into market energy that could significantly accelerate our work. And 2) we were not sure how effective our fundraising activities would be, and we wanted to offset risk during our experimental phase, by having multiple revenue sources. Therefore, our business development strategy has been to seek out deals which would earn income, while being mission-neutral or mission-friendly. Happily, our fundraising activities have been extremely successful. That enables us to tighten focus. Our business development activities will no longer be required to have a revenue generation component: instead, they will focus solely on mission advancement. Starting in 2010-11, business development will focus mainly on the creation and dissemination of products aimed at people who have no Internet access, and the creation of deals with mobile companies, with an emphasis on increasing reach in priority Global South geographies such as India. We are happy to be able to make advancing the mission our top business development priority.
What are the main increases in spending for 2010-11?
The total increase in spending compared with 2009-10 is $11.7 million. Of that, $9.7 million or 83% will go to activities that directly support the Wikimedia mission. That amount includes 31 new staff positions. And, $2.0 million or 17% will go to indirect support of the Wikimedia mission. That amount includes 13 new staff positions.
The top five spending increases for 2010-11 are: 1) An additional $3.8 million will be spent on technical operations. This will include funding to establish and maintain a new data centre, increased spending on bandwidth to support our growing readership, and five new positions supporting technical operations. 2) An additional $2.6 million will be spent on ten new (non-ops) technology positions such as a QA engineer and a community liasion position, annualization of salaries of existing tech positions including some positions that were previously paid under restricted grants as well as development of a database to track relationships with editors, readers, donors and others. 3) An additional $1.3 million will go towards administration supporting all Wikimedia Foundation activities. This will include rent for additional office space, plus nine new support positions to support the work of staff and community members. 4) An additional $1.1 million dollars will be spent on community outreach and volunteer convenings. In recent years, the Wikimedia Foundation has been increasingly offering financial support for, and/or staged itself, volunteer convenings of various kinds, including for example the Berlin chapters/developer meetings, as well as paying some travel costs for volunteers, including more funding for Wikimania scholarships. We intend to do more of this in 2010-11 as key activities to grow and strengthen the movement. 5) In 2010-11, the Wikimedia Foundation plans to spend $400,000 on various forms of support for the chapters. This will include an expanded grants program for mission activities, staff positions supporting our chapters network, and a board-sponsored project designed to help the Wikimedia movement develop clarity around roles-and-responsibilities across the network.
There are also increases in spending targeted towards funding research and development of plans related to mobile technologies and mobile usage. Some spending will be put towards funding the development and dissemination of promotional items, as well as support for Wikimedia's 10th anniversary activities, starting in January 2010. There will be spending on on-the-ground geographic investments in India, as well as preparations for future experimentation in Brazil and the Middle East/North Africa. Money will be spent on a reader survey, and there will be some additional investment in fundraising.
The projected budget for the 2009-10 annual plan was $9.4 million: what were the actuals?
Fiscal year 2009-10 doesn't end until June 30, but we are projecting to spend $8.7 million in the operating budget (this does not include things like depreciation and spending on restricted grants). When the audited financial statements are available in Fall of 2010, the total expenses reflected there will be higher because they will reflect items such as depreciation which we don't include in plan or projections.
Why is 2009-10's projected spending lower than plan?
As indicated above, much of the underspending in 2009-10 was in the beginning months of the fiscal year. As the year continued, spending came closer to, and even over plan for some months. Underspending occurred mostly due to vacancies and slowness in hiring.
It's better to underspend than overspend, so we are not unhappy to have underspent in 2009-10. It's normal for very large and long-established organizations to be able to be extremely precise in their budgeting, but young and growing organizations don't have decades of history and predictable organizational patterns to draw upon -- both in budgeting, and in spending. The Wikimedia Foundation in particular is not following an established and well-understood path: it is breaking new ground, since most organizations don't work in partnership with a large global community of volunteers. So, precision in budgeting is less achievable for the Wikimedia Foundation than for more conventional organizations, and it is also less desirable. As long as donations are growing more quickly than spending, we are not going to expend too much energy worrying about achieving a high level of precision.
What's the revenue target for 2010-11, and how does it compare to previous years?
The 2010-11 plan posits revenue of $20.4 million, a 28% increase over projected revenue of $15.9 million for 2009-10. The 2010-11 plan assumes $16.5 million in individual donations (including $0.5 million share from chapters), $3.0 million in foundation grants and $0.9 million from mission-friendly business partnerships and licensing agreements. In 2008-09, revenue was $7.7 million; in 2007-08, it was $5.1 million (excluding $2 million of Sloan funding which is ear-marked for 2008-09 and 2009-10); in 2006-07 it was $2.7 million; in 2005-06 it was $1.5 million; in 2004-05 it was $0.4 million and in 2003-04 it was $0.1 million.
Is that target realistic?
Yes, absolutely.
Why is there a target for the chapters, and how was it developed?
Several Wikimedia chapters participate in the annual campaign, and share donations from it with the Wikimedia Foundation. Chapters' revenues from the annual campaign have grown annually, and seem likely to continue to grow. (In the 2009-10 annual campaign, the chapters brought in a total of 1.8 million dollars. In the 2008-09 campaign, chapters brought in about a half a million dollars.) In the past, the Wikimedia Foundation's annual plan didn't include a target for chapters' revenues, because the dollar amounts were quite small, and we were just beginning to experiment with chapters fundraising. Now that the dollar amounts are more substantial, it makes sense for the Wikimedia Foundation to build chapters targets into its own plan. This year's target is deliberately conservative. It's based on the assumption that the chapters will make roughly the same amount of money during the annual campaign in 2010-11 as they did in 2009-10, and it assumes that for various reasons, not all of the Wikimedia Foundation's share of those donations will be transferred to the Wikimedia Foundation in cash.
What will you do if there is a revenue shortfall?
We think that's very unlikely. Having said that, if we were to fall short, we have lots of mechanisms for ensuring we're financially okay. We could fairly easily defer large capital spending and other forms of one-time spending, defer hiring, and/or defer large projects such as the investment in India.
How many people are you planning to hire and when?
We plan to hire 44 people. See the Appendix in the 2010-11 annual plan for a listing of all positions and the expected hiring timing. Please be aware that some titles and timing will change, and we may end up hiring fewer than 44 people.
What are the risks in trying to hire so many people so quickly, and how will you mitigate against them?
The risk is that if we focus solely on hiring fast, we will hire poorly. This is a serious risk. A 2005 study of 20,000 new hires found that 46% failed within their first 18 months. By that standard, the Wikimedia Foundation has done well recruiting and supporting new staff. Having said that, Wikimedia is a fairly challenging environment with unique requirements, and hiring well for it is not easy. (Some examples: i) We are much more collaborative and transparent than other organizations, and not everyone is skilled at that or suited to it, ii) Wikimedia is pretty new and we are all still actively creating the culture and figuring out how to work well together: not everyone can thrive in an experimental/ambiguous environment, and iii) we often aim to hire people from countries outside the United States. That's important to us, but it can add months to the recruiting process while visas are arranged and relocation takes place.)
We don't want to hire poorly: it's expensive and time-consuming, and can be painful for everyone. We've discussed this internally, and have agreed to bias towards hiring excellent people who fit our culture, rather than hiring fast. That makes it fairly likely that we won't actually bring in the full complement of 44 additional people in 2010-11. Which would be fine. We've developed a plan that we think makes sense, and we'll do our best to meet it, but we won't sacrifice quality for speed.
What are the positions you will be hiring for, and what is the general thinking behind it?
The biggest increase in staffing is technology staff, which is planned to grow from 22 people to 38 people. This will include positions such as a Director of Operations, a bugmeister, a performance engineer, and a new data centre engineer. In general, we feel like we're in a pretty good position to grow technology staffing. There are quite a few obvious staffing gaps that need to be filled, and we expect that filling them will improve site performance and speed up MediaWiki code review, as well as improving our mobile presence. A little less than 50% of the staff are in the technology department: that's true at the beginning of 2010-11, and it'll remain true at the end of 2010-11.
The second-largest increase in staffing is in the “other program” area (the Community department and Global Programs department), which is planned to grow from 14 to 34 people. Some of this growth is fairly well-understood today: for example, we know that we want to hire staff in India to support volunteer self-organization there, and we anticipate wanting to hire some people to support chapter development. But Zack Exley (CCO) and Barry Newstead (CGDO) are very new to the Wikimedia Foundation, so some of the planned hires for their departments are to-be-determined as the year plays out. We are definitely planning to put increased resources towards internal Wikimedia communications, including supporting more translation work. But we don't yet know exactly what those roles will look like: we'll figure that out in the coming months. We want to be particularly cautious about growth in this area: we don't want to simply replace volunteer work with paid work, and we will need to experiment in order to figure out what kinds of roles and people can be most effective working with the community. This is probably the area in which we have the least certainty, and will deviate most from the plan.
The third-largest increase in staffing is in administration, which is planned to grow from 10 to 19 people. At the close of 2009-10, finance and administration staff make up just over 21% of the Wikimedia Foundation's total staff, and at the close of 2010-11, it's planned to make up just under 21%. So the ratio of admin staff to total staff is expected to stay flat. Having said that, it's worth pointing out that as the Wikimedia Foundation staff grows and is able to grow activities working directly with the Wikimedia community, we expect the administration staff to increasingly focus attention on supporting the community as well as the staff. That's starting to happen now: for example, in the past year, the Wikimedia Foundation's administrative staff helped support planning for Wikimania and other events such as the chapters fundraising summit in Oxford, the multimedia meeting in Paris, and the chapters/developers meetings in Berlin. They also arranged meetings and travel for individual community and board members for visits to the Wikimedia Foundation office, speaking events, and so forth. The Wikimedia Foundation expects that in coming years it'll be staging/supporting an increasing number of community-centric activities of various kinds: some of the growth in administrative staff is intended to support that work.
Will all the jobs be advertised publicly?
Yes. Our general practice, with rare exceptions, is to advertise all jobs on the Wikimedia Foundation website, as well as on relevant job sites. In 2010-11, we may decide in some cases not to post individual positions, but rather to announce general availability of vacancies in a certain area.
When do you expect to stop growing? In other words, how big do you plan to get, in terms of staff headcount?
We don't know yet, nor do we know what the final shape of the organization will look like. Wikimedia's work is highly unusual. We are the largest and most successful mass collaboration project in the world, and the only large Internet property run by a non-profit organization. Wikimedia volunteers and staff are collectively, every day, making progress figuring out how to work together well. None of us has all the answers, and there is no perfect roadmap for how to get to an ideal end state.
The strategy plan calls for us to have a total staff of 138 at the end of 2015, but that number will almost certainly be different by the time we get there. We'll course-correct as we go --maybe dramatically-- as our experiments either work or do not work.
How fast is this growth? Do other organizations generally grow this quickly?
Relative to older, more established organizations and organizations in declining industries, our growth is fast. Relative to successful tech start-ups, our growth is slow. Some comparatives, for what they are worth: Over the past year, Twitter has increased its headcount to 170 from about 45. LinkedIn has just announced plans to increase staff to 900 from 600 by 2011. Facebook currently has 1,300 employees, up from 1,000 last year. At the end of 2009, Zygna had 561 employees, up from 156 at the beginning of 2009. Google had 20,222 employees at the end of 2008, up from 10,674 at the end of 2006.
What are the risks of fast growth, and how will we mitigate against them?
For an organization like the Wikimedia Foundation, there are several potential risks. There is the risk of hiring poorly, as detailed above. There is the risk that the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation will develop an internal culture that doesn't fit with the culture of the Wikimedia movement. And there is the risk that the Wikimedia Foundation will end up simply replacing volunteers with staff -- rather than intelligently figuring out how the staff can add value and be helpful. We will manage all these risks by being watchful, and course-correcting/slowing down, as necessary. We will aim to hire people who --although they may be new to our world-- believe in the Wikimedia movement and in the community, and want to see it succeed. We will also aim to hire people who are flexible and experimental by nature.
If I am a Wikimedia volunteer, how will my experience of the projects and/or the Wikimedia Foundation change as a result of this plan?
Most volunteers work completely independently of the Wikimedia Foundation, and that won't change as a result of this plan. But in some cases, volunteers will be affected. The plan contains increased funding for scholarships to Wikimania and for volunteer meet-ups and travel. It is likely that the Wikimedia Foundation will help stage or support convenings of volunteers throughout 2010-11, in various locations. And, editors should find that the wiki software improves more quickly, and the underlying infrastructure is more stable.
If I am involved with a Wikimedia chapter, how will my experience change as a result of this plan?
There will be more money available to chapters via the chapters grant process, which will help support outreach and other activities. The Board of Trustees is leading a process (working title: Movement Roles II) designed to further agreement on the roles of the various organizational structures in the Wikimedia movement. And the CGDO is planning to hire new staff positions designed to support chapters that want to professionalize.
If I am a reader of the Wikimedia projects, how will my experience of them change as a result of this plan?
We're making investments to ensure that pages load as quickly as possible, to make our sites easier to navigate and search, and to support our volunteer community in providing you with high quality information. We're improving our mobile site, and we're partnering with developers of offline versions of Wikimedia content, to bring information to people without Internet connectivity. We are also going to try to engage more readers to be an active part of the Wikimedia community, including the development of new feedback and rating mechanisms.
What is included in Governance in the Annual Plan?
In 2009-10, Governance is projected to be $100K; in 2010-11, it is planned to be $300K. In 2010-11, Governance includes costs for the Board and the Advisory Board; including a consultant for Movement Roles II, four Board meetings per year (travel and facilitation), other travel costs (e.g., conferences), and an allocation for board development.
What is included in Technology in the Annual Plan?
In 2009-10, Tech is projected to be $3.3 million; in 2010-11, it is planned to be $9.8 million. In 2010-11, Tech includes salaries for the tech staff, costs for technical contractors, build-out costs for an additional data center, bandwidth and hardware costs.
What is included in the Other Programs budget in the Annual Plan?
In 2009-10, Other Programs is projected to be $2.2 million; in 2010-11, it is planned to be $4.2 million. In 2010-11, Other Program includes the salaries for the Chief Community Officer, the Chief Global Development Officer, the staff of the Communications department, the staff of the Public Outreach department, the Volunteer Coordinator as well as new positions. It also includes funding for community outreach and volunteer convenings, funding for grants to chapters and individuals, geographic investments and costs related to global development and analysis including an annual reader survey.
What is included in the Fundraising budget in the Annual Plan?
In 2009-10, Fundraising is projected to be $800K; in 2010-11, it is planned to be $1.4 million. In 2010-11, Fundraising includes the salaries for the fundraising staff (Community Gifts, Major Gifts and Partnerships/Foundations), design costs related to the annual fundraiser, Paypal fees related to donations, and fundraising expenses.
What is included in the Management, Finance & Administration budget in the Annual Plan?
In 2009-10, it is projected to be $2.3 million; in 2010-11, it is planned to be $4.7 million. In 2010-11, Management, Finance & Administration includes the salary for the Chief Financial and Operating Officer, the Accounting Manager, the Head of Office Administration and IT Support. It also includes general operating expenses such as rent and other facilities costs, some staff development and staff meeting expenses and the fees for the annual audit.
What will the Technology department be planning to get done in 2010-11?
The technology department is divided into three key areas, all of which are expanding and will be able to accomplish more in 2010-11:
Operations: The Wikimedia Foundation operates the fifth-most-popular website in the world with a tiny operations team. Which means that in emergencies, our response has sometimes been sub-optimal, simply because there weren't enough people available to respond well. The smallness of the team has also limited our ability to deploy software updates quickly, to properly monitor and systematically improve site performance, and to ensure that all our data is secure and that our operations infrastructure is resilient and future-proof. In 2010-11, we are focused on eliminating single points of failure (both in terms of staff and infrastructure), improving operations response, monitoring and optimizing site performance around the world, and supporting the software engineering team in its deployments. The single largest infrastructure project will be the build-out of a new data centre location, with the primary objective to ensure that we have full failover capacity in the event of a major disaster.
Features development: In 2009-10, the Wikimedia Foundation carried out its largest-ever software development project, the Wikipedia Usability Initiative, funded by a restricted grant of $890,000. Through that project, we developed and launched a new site layout and a simpler, more user-friendly editing interface. This year, we have made the staff hired for that project permanent, in order to continue activities aimed at improving the user experience, with a special focus on converting more readers to contributors. In 2010-11, we'll also begin research and development of the next-generation Wikipedia editing interface, which will include a rich-text editing component. Finally, we have budgeted improvements to our mobile site.
General engineering: The general engineering team ensures that all our software development is high quality, and that the underlying code-base is sane, maintainable, and future-proof: these are the "nuts and bolts" that make or break the long-term success of our projects. In 2010-11, we'll add significant staff to this area, in order to improve quality assurance (including code review, testing, and bug response), documentation, analytics, and interfaces with third-party applications like phone apps. We're also planning to hire a dedicated staff liaison to better interface with the Wikimedia volunteer open source community. All this will allow us to develop higher quality software more quickly.
In addition to these three areas, the technology department supports Wikimedia's fundraising efforts by developing campaign management tools, maintaining fundraising infrastructure, and directly supporting campaign execution. We've just added two full-time engineers to that area, and are not planning to make any additional hires there until the fiscal year 2011-12.
This year you have created a new "Community" department, headed by Zack Exley. What will the "Community" department be planning to get done in 2010-11?
The key job of the Community department is to grow the number of people actively engaged in the Wikimedia movement (this includes anyone developing material in our projects as well as people helping in other ways, including donors), and to support and empower that community. To do so, it employs strategies of mass outreach and mass communication, as well as targeted systematic experiments. The Community department is responsible for raising the bulk of Wikimedia's revenue, most of which will be generated in our annual giving campaign. It also organizes public outreach projects targeted at recruiting new editors, like the grant-funded Public Policy Initiative, and it creates outreach resources for the entire Wikimedia movement. Finally, the Community department supports and helps to organize volunteer responses to inquiries of any kind from our vast global readership.
This year you have created a new "Global Development" department, headed by Barry Newstead. What will the "Global Programs" department be planning to get done in 2010-11?
The key job of the Global Development department is to increase Wikimedia's presence in parts of the world where we're currently underperforming relative to our potential, and to grow the global organizational support network that sustains and drives Wikimedia's mission. To these ends, the Global Programs department will expand global grant-making activities that support activities organized by Wikimedia chapter organizations, volunteers, and other entities engaged in work that aligns with our mission. It will launch an on-the-ground team in India which will aim to help grow our community there, and it will lay the foundation for future teams in Brazil and Middle East/North Africa. Finally, the Global Programs department is responsible for exploring scalable strategies to disseminate Wikimedia content to people who are not likely to use our current websites: this may include, for example, offline deployments through schools and universities, and partnerships with large-scale technology programs targeting developing countries.
This year you have created a new "Human Resources" department. What will the "Human Resources" department be planning to get done in 2010-11?
The Human Resources department will focus on recruiting excellent people. This will be done with careful attention to the unique challenges we face in recruiting, as detailed above. The Human Resources department will also be responsible for skills development of staff, and for helping to establish and maintain a creative, engaged Wikimedia staff culture that fits with Wikimedia values and will flourish inside the Wikimedia movement.
What will the finance and administration department be planning to get done in 2010-11?
Finance and administration will provide excellent financial and administrative support to the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation, and sometimes also to Wikimedia volunteers. In 2010-11, the finance department will implement a new web-based accounting system enabling access to financial information by all staff, regardless of their operating system and/or physical location.
What are the biggest risks of this plan, and how will you mitigate against them?
A detailed risk assessment can be found in the appendix of the Annual Plan. The risk we are taking most seriously is the risk of expanding too quickly, and hiring poorly. We're taking a number of steps to help us hire well, but in the end, we will choose to hire slowly rather than poorly. So, it is fairly likely that we will end 2010-11 with a smaller staff than planned, and underspent.
It is also possible that revenues will fail to reach their targets -- although, as detailed above, we think that's fairly unlikely. If it happens, we will be easily able to curtail spending if necessary. We track spending and revenues on a monthly basis, and both our ED and CFOO are experienced cost-cutters. If reserves vary materially from the plan at the close of any quarter, the board will be immediately notified.