One of the (many) problems that I have with this is that it both makes
these user groups more dependent on movement funds for a longer period of
time, but then caps those funds in the same decision. It is easy to tell
the org to just find some outside funding (which is mentioned in the FAQ) -
except that the user groups do not have the same legal status and that will
make it essentially impossible to get outside funding. So we will either
have incorporated user groups, which we seem to want to avoid, underfunded
projects, or greater competition for a pool of funds that has increasing
demand but no increase in supply. As a professional nonprofit fundraiser,
the combination of these two decisions seems so contradictory it makes my
head hurt.  Asking these groups to become dependent on WMF funds in their
first years seems contrary to serving the donors long-term. Shouldn't we be
helping these groups diversify their income and become less dependent on
movement funds? If that is the cause, then new projects that have a large
scope and potential for outside revenue are harmed greatly by this decision.

While the board's support for this decision was not universal, opposition
to it from AffCom and FDC seems to be pretty universal. I wish that was
taken into greater consideration by the board. I know they said they did -
but I just don't believe that based on the timeline and what I witnessed
personally. As the volunteers who work and deal with these topics weekly,
it is very dismaying that our opinions were given second class treatment
behind those offered by the staff (or so it appears from my perspective - I
would be happy to be corrected on that). I would like for the board at some
point to address how it will better handle things like this in the future.
I recognize the staff will always have greater access to the board than FDC
and AffCom - but what is the point of calling them advisory groups if the
board treats them more like grunts and not advisors. I do not accept the
premise that this decision would have been delayed, hindered, or harmed in
any way by Skyping in the chairs of FDC and AffCom to speak to this topic
as it was being presented by the staff. There is still not clarity on how
that even happened, or what materials were presented. I am told there was
supporting evidence, but I have yet to see it. Why was the documentation
presented by the staff not shared with AffCom and FDC while our comments
were shared with the staff? Are we misunderstanding how this happened? If
so, why has that not been made clearer by now? Was FDC officially asked to
provide feedback (AffCom offered it without being asked)? If not, why not?
Did the board not think this was a big change? With so much care put into
other decisions, why was this one done so quietly and internally?


On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 3:18 PM, Samuel Klein <> wrote:

> Hello Frédéric, a quick comment:
> On Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 4:44 AM, Frédéric Schütz <>
> wrote:
> > Your decision is not "you should have a good track
> > record", it is "you should have a good track record AND NOT have bylaws".
> Bylaws are fine, whatever makes sense for each group; just not mandatory.
> The Board is looking for two years of active work when recognizing
> entities.
> The WMF also wants to let all groups have easier access to trademarks
> and funds.  This is what user groups were designed to allow, with
> minimal overhead.  These two ideas were combined into "be a user group
> for two years".
> Sam.
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