Resolution: Fundraising Letter, February 2012

From Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki
Resolutions Fundraising Letter, February 2012 Feedback?
This vote unanimously approved sending the following letter about the Board's fundraising discussions to the community. It was passed on February 8, 2012.

The Board approves the following letter to be sent to the community:

Dear members of the Wikimedia Movement,

As you are probably aware we have been discussing the future of fundraising and fund dissemination for the Wikimedia Movement for almost 6 months now. After discussing fundraising and funds dissemination at this past meeting, the board has drafted the following statement. It our intention to discuss these matters in the coming weeks to come to a final decision mid March.

But first we would like to thank everyone who took part in the discussion so far and spent their valuable time providing us with their viewpoints which we have of course taken into account in our decision-making process. We hope that you will continue to participate by giving feedback on this letter.

Funds dissemination

The board wants to create a volunteer-driven body to make recommendations for funding for movement-wide initiatives (Working title: Funds Dissemination Committee, FDC). The Wikimedia Foundation has decision-making authority, because it has fiduciary responsibilities to donors which it legally cannot delegate. The new body will make recommendations for funds dissemination to the Wikimedia Foundation. We anticipate a process in which the Wikimedia Foundation will review and approve all but a small minority of recommendations from the FDC. In the event that the Wikimedia Foundation does not approve a recommendation from the FDC, and the FDC and the Wikimedia Foundation are not subsequently able to reach agreement, then the FDC can ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to request the recommendation be reconsidered.

  1. the FDC will be a diverse body of people from across our movement (which may include paid staff) with appropriate expertise for this purpose, whose primary purpose is to disseminate funds to advance the Wikimedia mission;
  2. the Wikimedia Foundation staff will support and facilitate the work of the FDC
  3. Proposals can range from one time smaller contributions for small projects from individuals to larger financing for operational costs of chapters or associations

The board intends to evaluate this process together with the FDC and see if it is working.


Our thoughts on fundraising are less specific. We have come to the following two statements which are important

  • If and when payment processing is done by chapters, it should be done primarily for reasons of tax, operational efficiency (including incentivizing donor cultivation and relations), should not be in conflict with funds dissemination principles and goals, and should avoid a perception of entitlement.
  • The board is sharpening the criteria for payment processing. Payment processing is not a natural path to growth for a chapter; and payment processing will likely be an exception -- most chapters will not do so.

The Wikimedia Board of Trustees

NB: Please note that rather than spend a LOT of time on wording at this time, the board preferred to amend the above text if necessary when moving towards a resolution. This letter indicates our intent, and we may "wordsmith as needed" in our final resolutions.