In the run-up to the December fundraiser, Wikimedia Foundation Director of Online Fundraising Megan Hernandez posted another fundraising update on the Wikimedia-l mailing list (see last month's Signpost coverage of the previous update).
- Some key points
- The banner wording asking readers to donate to Wikipedia to "keep it online and ad-free", used in previous years, has been replaced with references to keeping Wikipedia "online and growing". This addresses past criticism from the community that banners incorrectly implied that the Foundation was in dire financial straits and might have to run ads to keep Wikipedia online if readers failed to donate enough money.
- At the Wikimedia Foundation's request, Lake Research Partners ran another survey on the fundraising banners. The online survey, which took place from October 30 to November 3 (sample size n = 1,000 Wikipedia readers in the United States), specifically addressed some points that were not covered in the February survey (see previous Signpost coverage). Some findings from the survey:
- Respondents were asked to rate three banner designs. Criteria included the banners' intrusiveness and whether they suggested an acute financial emergency, as opposed to routine fundraising to sustain a successful organisation. Most survey respondents saw the new banner texts as suggestive of routine fundraising.
- Laptop and desktop use to access Wikipedia have further declined since February 2015, while mobile phone/smartphone and tablet access are up.
- Asked to rate the quality of Wikipedia on a scale ranging from 0 to 10, close to two-thirds of respondents chose a rating of 8 or higher.
- Interested readers can find mock-ups of some current banner designs on Meta:
Below is the full text of Megan's update.
|We are just a few weeks away from the launch of the December English fundraiser. The end of the year is the most critical time of the year for Wikimedia’s fundraising: The goal this year is $25 million. The campaign will launch in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland on Giving Tuesday, December 1st.
In these past months of preparation, we have relied on feedback from the volunteer community, readers, and staff through discussion pages, feedback sessions, phone calls, interviews, user testing, surveys and A/B tests. Thank you to everyone for participating! It has truly been a helpful experience and wonderful to hear from so many voices from all different parts of the movement.
In just the last two weeks, an independent research firm conducted a new survey of Wikipedia readers. (You may remember that we did a similar survey last February.) We heard from you last spring that there were some additional concerns that you would like us to explore with readers. We tried to look into those concerns in this survey. We have uploaded the survey report on Commons for anyone who is interested in reading it. We have also setup a section on the Fundraising Meta page to discuss the survey.
The feedback from readers, the volunteer community and staff has been critical to shape the campaign. Several improvements have been made so far as a direct result of this input. We have changed a few specific sentences of the message that were discussed heavily on meta pages and also tried a variety of design ideas based on comments.
We also have some fresh banner ideas that came about through a recent workshop with staff. We will be testing those new banner ideas in small runs throughout the campaign as well. And we’re still gathering ideas! To see the latest version of the message and submit your ideas, please visit the fundraising ideas meta page.
Since last year, we have made improvements to our banner targeting and analytics systems with the goal of raising the budget, while limiting the number of banners and disruption for our readers. We aim to run the campaign for roughly two weeks at a high traffic level and then at a much reduced level for the rest of December.
The fundraising team faces a great challenge this year: the highest revenue target in WMF history along with a decline in page views – particularly in desktop pageviews where readers are more likely to donate. The team has and will continue to work hard to make improvements needed to reach this goal. We cannot do this alone. Thank you to everyone who has offered input, expertise, time and energy into helping make this fundraiser a success.
We look forward to your ideas and questions. Since the team experiences an incredibly high volume of seasonal work, we will not be able to respond immediately to questions or feedback. We will review feedback and bug reports regularly and we have dedicated time to post an update by mid-December and again at the end of the campaign. Here’s how to get involved:
- To file a bug report or technical issue, please create a phabricator ticket (https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/maniphest/task/create/?template=118862) or email problemsdonating at wikimedia.org
- To see the latest news from the team, see the fundraising meta page
- To suggest a banner idea, visit the test ideas meta page
- To read the latest reader survey, see the full report on commons
- To learn more about the fundraising program and last year’s campaign, see the 2014-15 fundraising report
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the campaign preparations. More importantly, thank you to the entire Wikimedia community for building this incredible project that readers love and support with their donations. None of this would be possible without you.
The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) has published its recommendations for round 1 of the 2015–2016 Annual Plan Grant program, as summarised in the following table:
in USD (approx)
|Change in allocation
from last year
|Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.
|~ USD 4,189,000
The FDC noted
|great diversity in budgeting detail, clarity and format among the different applicants. Incongruously, some of the largest requests came with the lowest level of budget detail or clarity. Even when asked for further clarity, the information provided in private remained less detailed than that which was given publicly by far smaller applicants. [...] Furthermore, the FDC specifically requests that the Wikimedia Foundation to improve its own level of planning transparency and budget detail [...]
Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia UK, the two biggest chapters involved in this round of FDC recommendations, saw the greatest discrepancies between requested and recommended funding, with the FDC recommending that they be granted 80% (Germany) and 89.5% (UK) of the amounts requested.
Wikidata costs were a particular point of contention in the FDC recommendations:
|The FDC notes its disappointment that WMDE and WMF were unable to come to agreement on the appropriate funding stream for Wikidata in the year since the FDC’s 2014-15 recommendations, and strongly urges that these discussions be concluded. Nonetheless, the FDC is exasperated by the inability of WMDE to to disaggregate the costs of Wikidata from other projects. This level of fiscal specificity is standard and expected for projects requesting such a large funding envelope.
The FDC expects to receive a joint progress report from WMDE and WMF that confirms the plans for future funding of the Wikidata portion of the WMDE grant application, to be submitted in advance of the FDC deliberations for 2015-16 Round 2 scheduled in May 2016.
The publication of the Funds Dissemination Committee recommendations was also announced on the Wikimedia blog. The blog post contains further background on the FDC's work and methods. AK
Telephone fundraising by Wikimedia Germany sparks controversy
Members of Wikimedia Germany reported on November 20 receiving phone calls from a call centre agency thanking them for their contributions, and suggesting they increase their financial support. Wikimedia Germany's Till Mletzko confirmed that the agency's calls were indeed made on behalf of Wikimedia Germany, and that there was a parallel mailing campaign to the same effect.
Community feedback was overwhelmingly negative. Volunteers objected to the fact that the call centre employee presented himself as "working for Wikipedia" and to the nuisance factor inherent in the "cold calling" approach. Achim Raschka, a founding member and former board member of Wikimedia Germany, went so far as to suggest it might be time to release a press statement "in the name of the authors of Wikipedia", advising the public to ignore calls for donations from the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Germany.
Mletzko at first defended the action, saying that many non-profits use telephone fundraising very successfully and this was merely an attempt to find out whether the same approach might also work for Wikimedia Germany, but promised to take community feedback into account in the campaign's evaluation. On November 23 he posted an update, saying the telephone campaign would be stopped with immediate effect. 108 members from a pool of 3,000 had been called; 44% of them agreed to increase their contributions. AK