Chief Executive Report 2017-12-12

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Board Meeting December 2017 Chief Executive’s Report


Key activities and achievements since the last board meeting include:

  • We finalised and submitted our APG bid, with the FDC recommending 100% funding
  • We recruited and inducted a new Membership, Fundraising and Operations Assistant
  • Wikimedia was included in a key report for the DCMS Culture is Digital project
  • Through our residents we have delivered activity with schools in Wales and Scotland
  • The residents at Edinburgh and Oxford have both had their contracts extended
  • Wikimedia UK’s showcase for Europeana 1914-18 won ‘Most Diverse Portfolio’
  • The Wikimedian in Residence at the Wellcome Trust has been appointed Knowledge Communities Web Editor, ensuring legacy and sustainability for this residency project
  • The Wiki Loves Monuments photography competition saw 788,000 visits to the Wiki Loves Monuments UK website and a record 14,310 photos uploaded to Commons
  • Our work with Wikidata has included new resources for researchers - produced by Martin Poulter - and partnerships with Cambridge and St Andrews Universities
  • Staff and board members have given presentations at the British Library, DCDC Conference, DCMS, Royal Academy and Tech City UK

Programmes Report

The Quarterly Performance Report provides qualitative analysis of the charity’s progress towards our strategic goals and metrics during the third quarter, with highlights of our quantitative indicators including:

  • An additional 71,461 content pages have been created or improved, bringing the cumulative total to 338,743 against a target of 80,000
  • Total participants is now 4813, so we have exceeded our annual target of 4000
  • There were 66 leading volunteers in the third quarter and 53% of these were women
  • The number of newly registered users was a slight concern at the last meeting, however we now have a cumulative total of 883 against an annual target of 1000
  • The number of images added to Wikimedia articles has improved dramatically, at 2491, and so we have now exceeded our annual target of 2000
  • We have also exceeded our target for media added to Wikimedia Commons, at 26,547 items against our target of 20,000.

Staff and Board Update

Our new Membership, Fundraising and Operation Assistant, Katie Crampton, joined the team in October and is settling in well. Since the last board meeting I have shared the news of my pregnancy and there is a paper for this board meeting looking at potential options for my maternity cover, alongside cover for Davina’s role for a shorter period of time next Spring/Summer.

External Relations and Advocacy

Bradfield event Independent article Daily Mail articles - way forward Visit from Mark

In the past quarter we have continued to develop our social media presence and our creative digital content, including blog posts on stories such as the appointment of the UK’s first permanent Wikimedian at the National Library of Wales, the SLIC residency, WikiProject Social Housing in the UK, Libraries Week, and videos about Wikimania, our plans for 2018, Wiki Loves Monuments and MozFest 2017. John has also spoken at a Quartz event at Tech City UK on how Wikipedia uses humans and technology to improve verifiability; contributed a long form piece to OpenDemocracy; written or contributed to press releases about various stories including the NLW appointment and Wiki Loves Monuments; and supported the community by delivering communications activities for volunteer-led initiatives such as ‘Wikipedia from Space’ and Wikipedia as a .onion hidden service.

We are currently working on the copy (which will be produced in house) and sourcing possible designers for a new suite of marketing materials to be launched early next year. These are referred to in more detail on the organisational membership paper, for information.

Since the last meeting I have spoken at the following conferences or events:

  • The launch of Smartify at the Royal Academy, to an audience of over 100 museum and gallery professionals. This has led to a potential collaboration with NESTA.
  • I gave a talk at DCMS as part of their ‘40 Hours to Get Ahead’ lecture series. Around 40 people attended from various departments of DCMS, and this has led to calls with the Head of Digital Skills and * Inclusion Team at DCMS and the Area Director South East/Acting Director of Museums at Arts Council England.
  • I gave a presentation to over 100 people at this year’s DCDC conference (Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities), which has led to a number of new contacts and potential partners, including a proposed monthly editathon series in partnership with the Digital Humanities Lab at Exeter University.
  • I have been asked to speak at the next London REMIX Summit in London in January - hosted by the Museum of London and Almeida Theatre - attended by around 350 senior staff from UK arts institutions plus technologists, media and policy makers.

Fundraising and Membership

Gifts in Kind

As highlighted in the financial commentary there is a considerable increase in Gifts in Kind recognised in this quarter (and for the year to date) following greater clarity around what can be legitimately reported as a Gift in Kind, particularly from partner institutions who are supporting the costs of a Wikimedian in Residence through internal or external funding.

Trusts and Foundations

We have not received any trusts and foundations income in the past quarter, and are unlikely to receive the outcome of any current or pending applications until the next financial year. I was disappointed that an Expression of Interest to the British Council’s Cultural Protection fund was not warmly received, despite a lot of work on this from various members of the team (mainly John and myself, but with input from the programmes team). I feel that there is generally a lack of understanding of the importance of digital heritage, particularly in the context of cultural heritage that is at significant risk, and that funders are not seeing the potential of working with Wikimedia. I hope that our developing relationships with organisations such as Arts Council England, DCMS, Heritage Lottery Fund and NESTA, plus our presence at sector-level conferences, will start to change this perception over time. In the meantime, I continue to build relationships with - and develop proposals to - relevant funders, and Katie and I are currently working on several bids to Scottish grant making Foundations to support the new post in Scotland.

I am working on a joint bid to the Polonsky Foundation in partnership with Wikimedia Israel. I am also involved in an application for EU funding for a project with refugees and migrant communities to take place in the second half of 2018. The other Chapters involved are Austria, Netherlands and Sweden.

Major Donors

Whilst our fundraising income (which includes both trusts and foundations and major donors) is down against budget, It’s worth noting that since late September we have received around £4.3k in donations from Bloomberg, with the majority of this (£4k) coming in November and December, so not yet showing in the accounts. I have been in touch with Bloomberg to thank them for the donations and to ascertain whether these are through a matching gift scheme and if so, if we can find out which of their employees are supporting us.

Individual Donors

Whilst our results in terms of fundraising from trusts and foundations and major donors continues to be disappointing, there is a more positive story to tell in terms of individual donors. This includes any gifts below £1000, our threshold for major donations, but is largely made up of small, regular monthly donations and slightly higher one off gifts. It was with some nervousness that we started communicating with our regular donors last December, as we were aware that many thought they were giving directly to Wikipedia rather than supporting the work of the UK charity. However, the attrition rate for people who give by direct debit has fallen slightly over the year; while the overall attrition rate for small donations has actually dropped quite dramatically to just 0.95%, compared to an overall donation attrition rate of over 7% in 2016.

We can see the varying levels of engagement amongst different groups with some analysis of our most recent messages to donors, at the end of October, when we sent targeted emails to all active and former donors with the following messages/calls to action:

A message was sent to Former donors (ie people who have previously given regularly by direct debit), to encourage them to renew their donation, and to one-off donors, asking them to consider setting up a direct debit). This resulted in 19 new regular donors (mostly for £5 a month) and 43 one off donations averaging £19.70 (calculated based on credit card or PayPal donations made via the online donate pages between the date of the mailing and 28th November, after which we think one off donations are more likely to be inspired by the annual fundraising banner on Wikipedia). The open rate of the email to former donors was 26.9%, and was a follow up message to an email sent in July to former regular givers only which resulted in 18 new monthly direct debits (mostly for £5 a month but with one for £20 a month), and 15 one-off donations averaging £17. The message to one-off donors was the first time we have formally contacted this group and had an open rate of 31.1%.

Active donors (ie people who give us a regular monthly donation), asking them to consider increasing their monthly gift by £1. We separated this group into those who are already signed up to Gift Aid and those who aren’t, resulting in 23 new Gift Aid declarations. These two messages were sent to 3430 recipients in total, and resulted in 140 donors increasing their donation (mainly by £1, but with some larger monthly increases such as an additional £10). The open rate for those who currently declare Gift Aid was 49.3%, while the rate for those with no Gift Aid declaration was 31.1% - suggesting a higher level of engagement amongst the former group.

New active donors (i.e. former donors who renewed their monthly gift following our email in July). Although this is a very small sample group it was interesting to note that this email had the highest open rate, at an impressive 62.5%; with nearly 20% declaring Gift Aid.

Engaging with the global Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia UK endorsed the movement strategy direction in October and I have been involved in informal conversations regarding the next phase of the process. In October, we had a visit from Nicole Ebber of Wikimedia Deutschland (unfortunately the Chair of WMDE was ill and couldn’t attend), who met with the staff team and with me and Josie to discuss joint working and the movement strategy. The team also hosted a visit from Miriam Redi, a Research Scientist who has recently been employed by the Foundation but who is based in London. Miriam has also met Michael, as she will be working on Wikimedia Commons.

This autumn Daria attended the Wikimedia CEE Meeting in Warsaw and the Partnerships Working Group in Berlin; I attended the Wikimedia Diversity Conference in Stockholm; and Richard and Stuart participated in a meeting for Wikimedia staff working with volunteers, held in Berlin. I have also been collaborating with several other Chapters (Austria, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland) on a potential funding application to the EU for a joint project working with refugee communities.