Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Think globally, act locally

Dedalus or Ad Huikeshoven is a Dutch Wikimedian and accountant. He has been a member of the audit committee for quite some time. It is therefore of interest what he has to say of the annual fundraiser.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a global organisation with a global mission and a global vision. Every year a lot of money is collected to financially support its organizational and technical infrastructure. The foundation and the chapters maintain a track record of raising funds on time and on budget, and every year for bigger dollar amounts. Changes in the design and banner and donation landing pages follow evidence based research findings for best effect.

A dozen local chapters of the Wikimedia Foundation participate in the online fundraiser. Chapter participation is part of the success of the last fund-raisers. Growth in dollar amount collected was partly a result of an increase in chapter participation.

All Wikimedians should be thankful to the many volunteers around the globe who have devoted time and energy to get a chapter organized. Institutionalizing a legal entity requires a lot of tough work. I am very glad fellow Wikimedians are willing to go through these motions. Eventually it pays of.

At Wikimania this year quite a lot of people were heavily upset by a letter and resolution from the board of the Wikimedia Foundation about the fundraiser. I happen to serve as a community member on a board committee, that is, the Audit Committee. The scope of its audits is the Wikimedia Foundation itself, not the chapters per se. My position is that I would love to see all local chapters participating in the annual online fundraiser or working towards participating in the future.

The Wikimedia movement as a whole has a responsibility to ensure accountability to donors about money received through the online fundraiser and the way that money is spent. Providing a link to the latest financial statement on [[m:Reports]] is a transparent way for a chapter to show they have fulfilled their accountability responsibilities toward donors. A September 1 deadline has been set for chapters to show financial reporting compliance for this year.

You can find links to recent financial statements for ten chapters that participated in the last fundraiser on [[m:Reports]]. The score so far is eleven out of twelve. Eleven down, one to go. Ok, have I mentioned Wikimania yet? Let me tell you this: I really enjoyed Wikimania this year (my first Wikimania ever). And I really would like to thank the local team from WMIL for organizing such a great event for the global movement as a whole. So, they have been very busy. In my humble opinion they should be forgiven that this year their financial report is late.

PS just after I submitted this blog post there was this. Keeping my fingers crossed for the last financial report...
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