On Sat, Oct 5, 2013 at 9:04 AM, Nick Dowling <nick_dowl...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> While Sue's concerns about the overheads involved with some of the Wikimedia
> chapters seem well-founded, there would also be some pretty obvious problems
> with the WMF attempting to fund individuals around the world directly. A
> well run local chapter seems better placed to sort the wheat from the chaff
> when assessing country/region-specific proposals, and that might be a good
> angle to emphasise as part of WMAU funding applications - the chapter has a
> pretty good record in funding projects that result in additional content
> being added to Wikipedia and Commons (and other sites), and it's overheads
> are very low compared to some of the other chapters. The Committee might
> also want to highlight the kind of proposals it doesn't approve to
> demonstrate the advantages of local knowledge.
> As an aside, from having watched the video, it's notable that the WMF's
> grants team comprises 10 people. This is a large team to administer $US8
> million in funding, most of which is apparently being provided to a small
> number of chapters with whom the WMF has long standing relationships and
> reporting arrangements - the overheads for the team alone would be in the
> order of $US1-$2 million. While it obviously costs money to assess and
> administer grants effectively (and this kind of work can be very
> labour-intensive when done correctly), this is relatively generous staffing
> compared to what NGOs or public service agencies would allocate to a program
> of this scale and type. If the WMF wants to allocate less money to chapters
> and more to individuals they're facing 1some major internal costs...

I agree that $1 million would be way too high as standard operating
overhead.  However they are reporting that FDC overhead is only USD
538,000, and roughly half of that is a once-off program startup


"US$537,911 was spent on support and overhead costs as follows:
US$175,835 on personnel, US$65,424 on face-to-face deliberations
(travel, venue, accommodation), US$2,466 on operating expenses, and
US$294,186 on one-time expenses covering The Bridgespan Group's
consultancy fees during the creation of the FDC process."

It would be nice to see what that US$175,000 on personnel includes, as
there are a lot of related expenses that may not have been included.

The WMF currently has nine staff in the team according to


There is a breakdown of which staff are involved in which programs here:


It looks like Katy Love (started in January 2013), Adele Vrana
(started in October 2012) and Anasuya Sengupta (started in July 2012)
are the main staff working on FDC, with Winifred Olliff split between
many programs so she is probably only dedicated to the FDC process
during the periods of high workload.

A quick check of my emails shows that other people who have worked on
he FDC includes: Jessie Wild, Christine Bocknek, Garfield Byrd, Barry
Newstead, Heather Walls, Tilman Bayer, Melanie Brown & Asaf Bartov.
And of course Sue has spent a lot of time on this, and Erik has
chipped in occasionally.

There is also the FDC ombudsmen election.  Incorporating the FDC
ombudsmen into the board election cause quite a bit of unplanned
trouble, as the software was only intended to run one election at a

Then there is the costs of chapter staff, and the many volunteer hours
thrown into it.

There is also the time that WMF spent on their application and
management of the FDC grant to WMF, which could be excluded from 'the
cost of FDC' with some interesting definitions.

John Vandenberg

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