Archive:2015-2016 Annual Plan/Questions and Answers
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What's an annual plan?
An annual plan is an organization's financial plan for the fiscal year. This year the annual plan is rooted in the Call to Action 2015 which formed the basis of this plan. The plan was created by the Wikimedia Foundation's senior leadership based on guidance provided by the Board of Trustees, with support from the staff of the Wikimedia Foundation.
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, or non-cash expenses such as depreciation. This is a common practice 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 is the current state of the 2015-16 Annual Plan?
The 2015-16 plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on June 28, 2015. The 2015-16 fiscal year began 1 July 2015 and ends 30 June 2016. This plan is built consistent with WMF practice, under the supervision of the Executive Director, Lila Tretikov. Unlike prior annual plans, this annual plan will be reviewed quarterly and have a mid-year update if needed. With this methodology, we will be able to move staffing and funding to projects that are achieving their goals and reduce the underspend in the budget that typically occurs at the end of each fiscal year.
What role do volunteers to the Wikimedia projects have in the annual plan process?
With the approval of the annual plan by the Board of Trustees, our plan is to have three follow-up 30-day community review cycles: the first one with the publishing of the annual plan on June 30, the second during the mid-year review of the annual plan, and the third will be a community review of the Version 1 annual plan for FY 1617. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation will be posting the results of its quarterly reviews to inform the community of our progress.
As a reader of the Wikimedia projects, how will my experience change as a result of this plan?
A primary focus of the plan and the recent reorganization is to improve the mobile experience for readers and begin steps to improve search and discovery on Wikipedia.
As a volunteer contributing to Wikimedia projects, how will my experience change as a result of this plan?
A primary goal of this plan is to improve support for our community of volunteers by supporting community tech needs, improving communications with the community and enhancing how we support the community with both monetary and non-monetary support. If I am involved with a Wikimedia chapter or other entity contributing to the Wikimedia movement, how will my experience change as a result of this plan? All grant programs for chapters and other entities in place in 201415 remain in place with this annual plan including the following:
- Annual Plan Grants (reviewed by the nine-member Funds Dissemination Committee or FDC), that offer unrestricted, general support funds for the annual plans of recognized Wikimedia organizations (chapters and thematic organizations).
- Project and Event Grants (reviewed by the 28-member Grant Advisory Committee or GAC), that primarily support offline projects and events run by Wikimedia organizations and emerging groups.
- Individual Engagement Grants (reviewed by the 17-member Individual Engagement Grants Committee or IEGCom), that support experimental projects led by individuals or small teams, and are primarily aimed at online impact on Wikimedia projects.
- Travel and Participation Support (reviewed by the three-member TPS Committee), which is run in partnership with the German and Swiss Wikimedia chapters, and supports the active participation of Wikimedians in non-Wikimedia events.
This fiscal year marks a change in practice for how Annual Plan Grants are handled in the budget. In the past, both the cash and non-cash portion of the Annual Plan Grants funding was budgeted. In this budget, only the cash portion of the Annual Plan Grants funding is included in the budget. The funding that may be allocated to WMDE and WMCH by the FDC is treated as a deduction to revenue rather than an expense, as both WMDE and WMCH are currently payment processing chapters. In this FY 15-16 fiscal year this means that $1.4 million of the budget for the FDC to allocate is not budgeted as a cash expenditure, but is available for the FDC to grant to either WMDE or WMCH or both. In addition, the drop in Community Grants is primarily due to the closure of the Partnership Grant that was designated for Brazil in the amount of $500,000. There was also a reduction of $100,000 that was moved from Project and Event Grants to support Community Events such as WikiCon.
What are the 2015-16 plan targets?
Please see the section “Plan Metrics” on page 6 of the 2015-16 Annual Plan. In addition, the Wikimedia Foundation will provide a quarterly report of progress on its quarterly goals.
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 2015-16 plan calls for $68.2 million in spending, including $6.3 million in spending allocated for grants.
What are the main increases in spending for 2015-16?
The total increase in spending in 2015-16 compared with 201415 projection is $9.3 million, or an increase of 17%. The main increases in spending are for Engineering, Community Engagement, and Communications.
What is the plan for the Wikimedia Foundation reserve in 2015-16?
In 2015-16, the Wikimedia Foundation is planning on adding $3.2 million to the reserve.
What is the thinking behind the reserve increase in 2015-16?
It is normal for organizations to have reserve or contingency funds. Reserve funds are critical for an organization in the event of unplanned expenses, emergencies, and/or revenue shortfalls.There is a wide range of opinions about how large a reserve fund a healthy non-profit should maintain, but between three and twelve months of average monthly spending is considered best practice. Technology companies typically set their reserves at a minimum of 18 months.
How many people are you planning to hire?
We plan to grow the Wikimedia Foundation staff from a projected 240 to 280, an increase of 17% over the prior fiscal year.
Will all the jobs be advertised publicly?
Yes. Our general practice, with rare exceptions, is to advertise all jobs on the Wikimedia Foundation website, and on relevant job sites. In some cases we may not post individual positions, but instead announce general availability of vacancies in a specific area.
What is included in “Management and Governance” spending in the Annual Plan?
Management and Governance includes costs for the Board and the Advisory Board, including the costs of face-to-face Board meetings, other travel costs (e.g., attendance at Wikimedia conferences and other events), an allocation for board development, salaries for the office of the Executive Director, and expenses for consultants and contractors supporting Board work.
What is included in “Engineering” spending in the Annual Plan?
Engineering expenses include bandwidth and hardware costs, salaries for the Engineering and Product Development staff, costs for technical contractors and consultants, and other miscellaneous costs.
What is included in “Fundraising” spending in the Annual Plan?
Fundraising spending includes payment processing fees, salaries for fundraising staff, consultant and contractor costs, and other miscellaneous fundraising expenses.
What is included in “Legal, Community Engagement, Communications, Human Resources, Finance and Administration” spending in the Annual Plan?
This spending includes support staff for legal, community engagement, communications, HR, finance and accounting, office administration, and office IT support, as well as legal fees, and expenses for consultants and contractors. It also includes general operating expenses, such as rent and other facilities costs, some staff development and staff meeting expenses, recruiting expenses, fees for the annual audit, and other miscellaneous costs.
What is included in “Grants”?
Grants include all grants to the Wikimedia movement. (It does not include the administration cost of the grants process.)
This fiscal year marks a change in practice for how Annual Plan Grants are handled in the budget. In the past, both the cash and non-cash portion of the Annual Plan Grants funding was budgeted. In this budget, only the cash portion of the Annual Plan Grants funding is included in the budget. The funding that may be allocated to WMDE and WMCH by the FDC is treated as a deduction to revenue rather than an expense, as both WMDE and WMCH are currently payment processing chapters. In this FY 15-16 fiscal year this means that $1.4 million of the budget for the FDC to allocate is not budgeted as a cash expenditure, but is available for the FDC to grant to either WMDE or WMCH or both.
What is included in “Grantmaking”?
This includes funding for the staffing for all the Wikimedia grants programs, Wikimania support, grants evaluation, and the administrative costs to support our volunteer committees.