Hi all,

This is not exactly how we were hoping to announce the Inspire Campaign on
this list, but now that I'm back online, let's try this again...

First, to clarify some key points:

*Yes, we are taking a 3 month break from funding regular
all-kinds-of-proposals in both IEG and PEG programs during February, March
and April.

*Time-sensitive funding needs that are not focused on the gender gap will
NOT be ignored during this period. The plan is not to ignore critical
community support requests that cannot wait. If there is a valid reason
that you cannot seek funding for your project/program/plan before February
or after April, please contact myself in IEG or Alex Wang in PEG and we'll
continue to work with our committees to assist you. Our experience has been
that many of the requests we receive CAN happen at any time of year,
however, and so we're simply asking you to propose those during the other 9
months of 2015. You are still welcome to continue drafting them during this
period, even though we won't have capacity to review all of them during
this time.

*The reason for taking a break from other non-urgent requests during this
time is so that we can run an experiment in proactive grantmaking, to see
if we can provide meaningful community support and significantly increase
impact on Wikimedia projects in a single strategic area.[1]

*We don't have enough staff to support all of our usual grantmaking work in
both of these programs AND try something new like this at the same time, so
we're going to focus our limited energy on 1 new experiment for a brief

*The first Inspire Campaign will focus on the gender gap, future campaigns
could indeed focus on any other topic. Ideas for future campaign topics are
welcome! Our intention is not to shut down community ideas outside of
themes. Rather, we'd like to learn whether using a theme could actually
help drive participation in grantmaking and other areas of Wikimedia
projects, as it has for events like WLM.

*Like other experiments, we'll measure the results, and then decide if it
is worth repeating, or doing something different in the future. If WLM
wasn't such a great success, you wouldn't repeat it each year. If this
campaign isn't a success, we'll do something different instead.

To help us all get on the same page, I'm including below the email that was
sent to the IEG and PEG committees just before we went away for Christmas.
That has some more background information that may be helpful to folks just
learning about this experiment. And I'm happy to help clarify additional
questions as they come up here.

We're starting a FAQ where I've added answers to a few questions that came
up in this thread so far.[2] Please feel free to add more questions to that
page and we'll try to answer them in coming days/weeks.

Finally, about communications: Like many folks in this movement, our
grantmaking team at WMF surely has some room for improvement in terms of
timing and communications. Sometimes as plans develop with lots of
stakeholders (even just within one organization, let alone a whole
movement!) it takes time to get the news out to everyone in an orderly
fashion, and we're later than we'd like to be on this one.

More details for those interested in the meta-history of how this developed:
The idea of running thematic campaigns to experiment with proactively
asking for new ideas, reaching more individual grantees, and increasing
focused innovation around solving strategic issues was included in our
2014/15 annual plan. [3] (I don't expect you to have read this long and dry
document, just noting it was public). Part of the plan was an ask for
additional staff to help take on new initiatives like this in grantmaking,
so that we could continue existing programs as well as try something new
along thematic lines. In August I started the planning page on
meta-wiki.[1] Again, although we didn't formally announce anything on this
list because the details about staffing and execution were still so
unclear, it was public, and we started getting some initial positive
feedback on it at Wikimania etc. Over the past 3 months, it became
increasingly clear from conversations within WMF that grantmaking should
indeed experiment with proactive thematic focus, but that no additional
resources should be expected to assist with this. So, in December, we
gathered a team of existing staff to sort out what kind of first experiment
we could conceivably execute on in time for a campaign aligned with
WikiWomen's March. We started communications first with some key
stakeholders - both committees and a list of PEG grantees that Alex knew
might be working on new proposals in early 2015 who needed as much notice
as possible. And believe me, we definitely wish we had more time too. We'd
planned to announce more broadly to this list and others as well as
updating the PEG and IEG pages once all involved staff were back from
vacation in January and could do this right. Many of us don't read mailing
lists while taking time off, and I don't like to start conversations that I
don't have time to continue. Going forward, once my colleague Alex returns
to work next week, we'll send around even more details, address some of the
PEG-specific questions you may have that only she can answer, etc.

Meanwhile, I invite you to:
1. Let us know if you've got an urgent funding need that you can't propose
before February, so we can help you get timely support.
2. Share further questions on the FAQ page or in this thread.
3. Let us know if you're interested in helping with this first campaign
(serving on the committee, volunteering with communications or community
organizing, working on ideas in IdeaLab, etc)
4. Imagine what other kinds of themes we might try for future campaigns, if
this first one is successful.
5. Keep kindly letting us know what does and doesn't work for you. We'd
like to think we're a work in progress :)

Best wishes and Happy New Year to all,





[Original Announcement Email to IEG committee for further reference]

Hi IEG Committee,

This long email is going to contain some important news about our next
round, so please read!

As participatory grantmakers, we know that what makes our process special
is how involved you all are in selecting, advising, and supporting grantees
where they are. So far, WMF's grantmaking has been responsive to whatever
projects and plans the community has brought to us for funding. This
responsiveness is important, but we're also seeing that there may be an
opportunity to try something proactive too. Other grantmakers have found
that focusing campaigns or contests around a given theme can help generate
new grantees, new ideas for high-quality proposals, and target innovation
around strategic issues.[1]

We've never yet run a targeted campaign to bring in ideas focused on a
particular issue or theme, and this is the new challenge we've set for
ourselves this year.  To make this happen, we’re going to follow the advice
we often give our own grantees: don't spread yourself too thin, try
focusing on one thing and see what impact you can have there.

As such, we're asking you to join us for an experiment in early 2015: we’re
excited to be launching our first Inspire Campaign, a global grantmaking
campaign to proactively source and support new projects aimed at addressing
a specific strategic topic. To do this, we're going to take a short break
from our regular IEG and PEG grantmaking routines, and instead run a joint
campaign. With one campaign, we'll gather proposals for new projects aimed
at addressing one strategic topic, and work together to select the best
ideas for either PEG or IEG funding.

This first pilot campaign will focus on addressing the gender gap.[2]

Our goals are two-fold:

1. Experiment with running scalable themed campaigns in IdeaLab to incubate
more high-quality projects and grant proposals aimed at having a focused
strategic impact on Wikimedia projects.

2. Proactively support community initiatives aimed at increasing gender
diversity in contributors to, and content of, Wikimedia projects.

Why the gender gap? Although we’ve committed to supporting and increasing
gender diversity, so far these kinds of projects haven’t emerged
organically at any meaningful scale. In the first half of this year, IEG
and PEG have spent only 9% of funds on projects aiming to directly impact
this gap and less than ⅓ of our grantee project leaders have been women.
Without taking time to focus on increasing gender diversity in our content
and contributors, this trend is likely to continue. Individual Engagement
Grants and Project and Event Grants could support such initiatives, and
we're interested to learn how specifically inviting proposals in this area
might have an impact.

To create a feasible experiment , we will dedicate round 1 of IEG funding
and 3 months of PEG funding to the campaign. From February 1-April 30, PEG
will only accept proposals as part of the gender gap campaign, with the
exception for urgent requests. And IEG's first round of the year will be
entirely devoted to this experiment (because experiments are, after all,
what IEG thrives on). We have a combined budget of $250,000 for the
campaign. Based on what we learn from the pilot, we may then decide to
continue running regular campaigns on other topics (imagine sourcing more
projects to support small languages, or a new suite of tools for
microcontributions), try a different experiment, or simply go back to how
things were before.

We hope to bring together the experience and skills of both committees, and
will be creating an Inspire committee to review proposals. *Please let us
know by January 31st if you would like to join this campaign committee
focused on funding gender diversity!*

Those of you who don’t choose to join this first campaign committee will
get a few months break from reviewing new proposals. But you will still be
needed on the PEG and IEG committees to follow up with existing IEG and PEG
grantees, reading reports and offering support and advice to them as those
projects continue to move forward.

As IEG and PEG committee members, we hope you will support this experiment
by spreading the word in your communities, mentoring projects and grantees,
and helping us learn how we can improve the campaign model. We will be
publicizing the campaign in January and February with the aim to launch the
campaign March 4th and to make decisions on grants in April.

Let us know if you have questions, concerns, or ideas!

Wishing you a warm end to 2014 meanwhile and looking forward to connecting
with you in the New Year.

Siko and Alex

[1] http://www.knightfoundation.org/opencontests/

On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 5:39 PM, Siko Bouterse <sboute...@wikimedia.org>

> First day back from vacation, I'm drafting response as we speak, just
> haven't sanity-checked enough to hit send yet :) Will soon!
> On Mon, Jan 5, 2015 at 5:35 PM, Risker <risker...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Bumping....I do not see any response on this mailing list from the
>> Grantmaking team, and I can't actually find very much about this entire
>> plan on the Grants portal at Meta (which may say more about the grants
>> portal than about the dissemination of the plant).
>> However, since this is something that has the potential to affect a lot of
>> Wikimedians (individuals, chapters, and other affiliated groups)...as well
>> as women (apparently)... it would be really nice to see what is going on.
>> Some people have mentioned that they received an email.  Perhaps it could
>> be forwarded to this mailing list?
>> Risker/Anne
>> On 3 January 2015 at 13:35, Lila Tretikov <l...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> > For everyone here: I've asked our Grantmaking team to comment and
>> clarify
>> > the details of this plan.
>> >
>> > On Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 9:32 AM, Lodewijk <lodew...@effeietsanders.org>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > > Answering to Teemu and Chris:
>> > >
>> > > I do think that the for Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Art it is
>> > safe
>> > > to claim that if we organize it the way we would always do, it would
>> > still
>> > > tip the gender balance in our community a little more to the female
>> side.
>> > > However, I disagree that this should be a main consideration, because
>> I
>> > > think that would be true for so many outreach projects. Focusing on
>> that
>> > > would be a pity and a distraction imho. Also, for most participants we
>> > > don't know the gender, and we don't want to know the gender (because
>> > asking
>> > > for it alone can scare people away) - except for a sample of them, who
>> > > happen to answer the survey afterwards. All data on that is quite
>> shaky.
>> > >
>> > > If necessary, I could easily make a case why WLM is a wonderful
>> gendergap
>> > > project - the point is that I don't want volunteers to waste their
>> time
>> > on
>> > > making such cases, but rather let them be innovative, come up with new
>> > > ideas instead of rebranding existing ideas on something like the
>> > gendergap.
>> > > My problems are more fundamental than 'I can't get money for my
>> specific
>> > > project'.
>> > >
>> > > So Chris: yes, these people do a lot for reducing the gender gap in
>> our
>> > > projects. Also, Wikimedia organizers tend to hop between projects -
>> their
>> > > next might be more focused on a topic that is popular with women, if
>> > their
>> > > current idea isn't yet. Drawing them into a topic in a positive way
>> (what
>> > > we do is cool! Join us!) tends to be more successful than telling them
>> > they
>> > > are not allowed to do other stuff (we won't fund you at all unless
>> you do
>> > > this specific theme).
>> > >
>> > > Prioritisation sounds great, but that only works that way if you have
>> one
>> > > clearly defined pool of resources, that you can actually control.
>> What do
>> > > you think is the major bottle neck in organizing activities in the
>> > > Wikimedia movement? In my experience, that is not money, or even WMF
>> > staff
>> > > capacity (even though it is a limiting factor sometimes), but the
>> primary
>> > > bottle neck is volunteer organizers (or editors). And volunteer time
>> is
>> > not
>> > > a resource you can easily 'control'. If you want to influence it, the
>> > most
>> > > effective way is by persuading the volunteers why another angle is
>> more
>> > > interesting, more fun, more effective.
>> > >
>> > > Best,
>> > > Lodewijk
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > On Sat, Jan 3, 2015 at 6:11 PM, Chris Keating <
>> > chriskeatingw...@gmail.com>
>> > > wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > Like Bence, I would be interested to see how this kind of
>> experiment in
>> > > WMF
>> > > > grantmaking works out. And also like him I would be a little
>> surprised
>> > if
>> > > > something like this is implemented with no notice period.
>> > > >
>> > > > A couple of responses to Lodewijk's post;
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > > with people
>> > > > > confirming my fear that this will likely undermine the community
>> > > support
>> > > > > (or at least support by the 'organizing community') for
>> > > gendergap-related
>> > > > > projects in general - be it out of frustration, compensation or
>> > > jealousy.
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > Out of interest, were any of these people doing anything at all to
>> > > support
>> > > > the reduction of the gender gap in the first place? ;)
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > > I
>> > > > > called it a 'negative campaign' in my emails because the focus is
>> not
>> > > > about
>> > > > > actively boosting one type of requests (which is the claim), but
>> > rather
>> > > > > about making it harder to do something unrelated to it in the hope
>> > that
>> > > > > people instead will choose for the easy way, and organize a
>> gendergap
>> > > > > related event.
>> > > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > Equally, if you have limited resources, prioritising one thing means
>> > > > reducing attention to something else. So saying "we shouldn't work
>> on
>> > the
>> > > > gender gap if anything else gets less atention as a result" is
>> > logically
>> > > > equivalent to saying "We shouldn't work on the gender gap".
>> > > >
>> > > > Regards,
>> > > >
>> > > > Chris
>> > > > _______________________________________________
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> --
> Siko Bouterse
> Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
> sboute...@wikimedia.org
> *Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
> sum of all knowledge. *
> *Donate <https://donate.wikimedia.org> or click the "edit" button today,
> and help us make it a reality!*

Siko Bouterse
Head of Individual Engagement Grants
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.


*Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the
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