Talk:2012 Activity Plan

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The plan currently shows direct debits being a very small portion of fundraising revenue. I would advise trying to make it a very large portion. It should be the default option when people click "donate" (I would suggest radio buttons for monthly, quarterly, annually and one-off, with monthly being the default). Not everyone will want to set up a direct debit, but you should try your best to get them to. Having a large amount coming in each month from direct debits will give the chapter a lot more stability and security. It will also be less dependant on future fundraisers, making it more independent of the WMF. --Tango 14:26, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your input as always. Chris is a professional charity fundraiser and is very much on top of this. I trust his estimates, and would rather the error be on the side of underestimating, rather than have "a very large portion" of our income not materialise. MartinPoulter 23:37, 29 September 2011 (UTC)
Although you are right to think that DD is an advantage Victuallers 00:27, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you're right the ideal would be to get a higher proportion of Direct Debits, yielding the same total income. The focus on our fundraising testing will be to increase the proportion of DDs without reducing the total income, but it is really difficult to forecast whether we'll end up with 5% of donors on DD or 10% or 50%! So for planning purposes I've made a fairly cautious assumption of about 10% of value being DDs, but we can refine that rather further when we have more evidence. The Land 08:20, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
If we get charitable status 50% ticking the UK taxpayer box strikes me as a very prudent estimate. Nothing wrong in prudence, I just hope that our aspirations are higher. I've seen this well above 50%, and I suspect that our profile is more skewed to UK taxpayers than some UK charities, aside from our age profile we hopefully don't get many nonUK donors as they'd go to the Foundation or other chapters. WereSpielChequers 09:29, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
The sector average is 40%, according to the NCVO/CAF report on UK Giving 2010. The highest I've seen is c.80%. You're right about our donor profile - so we could certainly do better than 50%, but it's difficult to forecast before we actually do it. The Land 10:12, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
The age profile you mention could be important. I suspect we get a lot of donations from students (the donor comments the WMF has got would support that), who don't pay tax. I think 50% is probably a good working estimate, although I certainly hope we can get more. --Tango 15:28, 1 October 2011 (UTC)


You currently have money allocated to events under the event manager and to GLAM, which I understand is mostly going to be events. You either need to divide the budget by type of activity (events, partnerships, technology, etc.) or by what it's trying to achieve (education, GLAM, etc.). At the moment, you have a bit of both, which causes double counting. I would suggest dividing things by what it achieves, although that does mean that salaries get split between different budgets if someone works on different things (you could try having an "events" budget a "GLAM" budget and then have intra-company transfers from one to the other, but that's probably best kept to the formal accounts rather than the fundraising literature). --Tango 14:26, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

I understand that dividing things by purpose is a good theoretical idea, but it can make the central role of budgeting - monitoring and controlling costs - quite difficult to do in practice. Most organisations keep salary costs together for this purpose given that they are relatively fixed and controlled primarily through HR processes, rather than those that are controlled through procurement processes. I am proposing we do it this way for 2012. We are looking to develop our systems for monitoring the effectiveness of our activities, but not all of this necessarily sits under the budgeting process. AndrewRT 00:44, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Looks good to me

This looks good to me.

I would like to see a pilot Oral Citations project as part of the World War project - offering some money to other projects which record reminiscences if they let us put the recordings on Commons. That doesn't need a separate heading - there are a number of heading here you could make payments under.

Good Luck--Filceolaire 21:07, 30 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Filceolaire. Oral citations is an interesting area as some of the Global South regard oral citation as a reliable source. The money reserved for this project should be able to include work of this type if we can integrate it into our/the projects. Victuallers 00:30, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Eggs, baskets, bank failures

Reserves of £145k, average cash in hand of £500k.... may I suggest that if you haven't already done so you make sure you have this split between multiple banking groups? Aside from the disruption if our banker folded, I think some of the bank rescues have fallen disproportionately heavily on larger deposits. Concentrating the money would maximise interest earnings, but at a time of low interest rates and high financial insecurity a strategy of prudent diversity is probably better than one of simplicity and revenue maximisation. WereSpielChequers 09:41, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes we have started that already. We are covered by the £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme insurance limit, and aim to split our money so that any exposure about that level is acceptable. AndrewRT 09:51, 1 October 2011 (UTC)
I'm reassured to here that. You might want to put something in your plan to the effect that rather than seeking to maximise interest the charity has a a strategy of prudent diversity in the banking of its funds. WereSpielChequers 16:17, 4 October 2011 (UTC)

Can the chapter do more?

So far, WMUK "involvement" in events has pretty much consisted of the board approving a budget and leaving volunteers to get on with it, expecting the volunteers to fork out for most things, to be reimbursed in a far-from-timely fashion. I would like two things developed in the new year:

  • The first, for those of us who like (or don't mind) organising events without any logistical support from WMUK, would be the prompt repayment of expenses upon submission of receipts—with "prompt", I'm thinking within a week at the absolute maximum unless there are complications, and if that's not possible under the current set-up, I would respectfully suggest hiring an employee with responsibility for prompt checking and payment of expenses.
  • The second would be more logistical support from WMUK in the setting up and running of events—once a volunteer has made initial contact, they should be able to contact the board or the events organiser once we have one and request that they handle things like recruiting volunteers, hiring venues, and actually making the arrangements, and that somebody from WMUK (volunteer, staff, or board member, but with experience of running WMUK events) turn up on the day to ensure things run smoothly.

I think that volunteers who might not want to organise and run their own event might be more inclined to make the initial first steps if the chapter provided more support, and (having attended and run several events recently) I can provide anecdotal evidence of volunteers being reluctant to come to help at events or reluctant to submit a claim because of the lethargy of the current expenses system. This is not intended as a criticism of an organisation with only a year or so of regular events under its belt, but rather something that could be improved now that the chapter has a healthy budget and plenty of event management experience among its volunteers. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 02:35, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

HJ Mitchell, you raise some very good points that we've discussed on our internal lists... Prompt repayment of expenses is something we've improved on over the past few months, but it's still not as good as it should be, and there are still delays where there shouldn't be. Part of the delay occurs in getting the expenses properly checked, and making sure we're not paying for inappropriate things like champagne dinners or first class flights. That said, there was a rather in-depth discussion of it at the board meeting that was live streamed last weekend, and the final word on the subject is that no volunteer should ever be out of pocket. I feel obliged to point out that if a volunteer is not happy to wait for re-imbursement, they can - and should - ask for the funds or the tickets/bookings to be provided in advance, which we'll happily do so. Once the permanent Office Manager is in place (which is not long now), we will have a centralised system in place, and things will move an awful lot more quickly with regard to expenses.
As to the running of events, this is something that would fall mostly under the purview of the events organiser, so I'm a little wary to dictate what might happen or how they might run things. Certainly, more logistical support at events - especially major ones - is required, but I have to admit that support of smaller events, especially those in locations like Scotland, Wales or the South Coast, might be a little haphazard until after the fundraiser finishes. Perhaps a member of the Board could elaborate further on the above points? Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry 03:40, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Further to what Richard said - we'll shortly be recruiting for an Events Manager position. This person will be able to organise a certain number of events for us, which will be helpful. The won't, however, be able to implement every great idea the community has - there is an inexhaustible supply of great ideas, but even where there is some staff resource, it won't be inexhaustible... The Land 20:37, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Understanding the Difference between Charity Trustee Obligations and Wikipedia Obligations

I wrote to the charity commission and received the reply which was recently deleted from this page. My concern was based on an interview given by your solicitors which has not been corrected and suggested that Wiki UK had said it control over Wikipedia, hence there was a legitimate concern that the Charity Commission had been misled. The response from the Charity Commission, which gave detailed answers resolved that issue and showed they had not been misled, though it is disappointing that people here are so defensive that they cannot bring themselves to answer straightforward questions.

The concern I have over the Action Plan is that there is not a lot in there that makes me think that the board have understood what obligations they have taken on in becoming a charity. As a business, you have one set of obligations and governance, as a charity, the trustees have an obligation to ensuring that the aims of the charity are carried out. Those aims may not be aligned with Wikipedia.

There are two or three major issues that I would have expected the charity trustees to address:

- the composition of the trustees seems to be entirely made up of Wikipedians, however the charity is targeted clearly at the public readership. What actions are the trustees taking to ensure that the interests of the readership are properly represented? The interests of the editors and of the readers are likely to be different - I'd guess that 99% of users of Wikipedia are not and have no interest in editing and do not understand the peculiarities of Wikipedia lore.

- Wikipedia and other allied projects are not compliant with UK law in several respects - we have examples of the improper acquisition of National Gallery copyright property, there is content that is pornographic under UK law, there is the use of Wikipedia to circumvent the law courts when they seek to restrict publication of sensitive material. By not seeking to be compliant with UK law, the project risks not being available to the widest readership, which is against the principles of the charter. Similarly, the failure to implement basic quality controls such as approved versions and to implement filters on viewing to ensure that viewers are not presented with inappropriate (or even illegal in the UK) content without consent, especially when under age, suggests to me that the objective of the public interest is at risk.

As charity trustees, you have taken on an obligation to act in the interest of the objectives of the charity, and you must set yourselves apart from your private views. I am not sure that in the enthusiasm to achieve the financial advantages of charitable status that enough time and effort has been taken in understanding the duties (including legal duties) of trustees.

I would expect to see the following actions:

- seeking to widen the composition of the charity trustees to include capable people interested in the project who are independent of the Wikipedia community.

- Ensuring that best efforts are made to ensure that information presented in the UK is compliant with UK law.

- Ensuring that all activities and decisions of Wiki UK are based on UK law, not WikiThink or Florida Law.

- Lobbying the WMF and Wiki-bureaucracies to ensure that Wikipedia and associated projects are not put at risk from being blocked for inappropriate activities by UK institutions. In the simplest terms I would expect to see activities around pushing for proper implementation of flagged revisions, image filters, and appropriate discussions on censorship where it is demonstrated that the trustees understand and can represent the public perception of these issues rather than being drawn into the otherworldly Wiki-perceptions.

With regards to dealing with Peter, you have failed to grasp a basic rule of complaints: a complaint that is not dealt with festers. Most responsible organisations find that by dealing with enquiries openly and honestly and in a timely fashion they diffuse the situation. It is clear that Wikipedia fails to grasp what Peter is about - he is a great supporter of the principle of open knowledge and his target is mal-administration, not the project itself. Unfortunately, Wikipedia culture embraces mal-administration. What Wiki UK Ltd needs to understand is that there is an opportunity to correct this, and as trustees of a UK charity, they have also taken on this as a duty. Dogbiscuit 11:00, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the polite questions, Dogbiscuit. First things first: I can't speak on behalf of the trustees, or even the charity. I also personally don't agree with all of the points you make, but I respect your views, and you make the points well. To that end, would you be happy with the board discussing this on 3 January at the board meeting in London? I honestly don't think we can answer these questions (which go to the very core of the chapter) without an in-person meeting between trustees and staff. Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry 13:49, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
That seems a most sensible response. The Charity Commission have some pretty easy to read guidance on the responsibilities of trustees. While most is common sense, what usually catches people out is not understanding that the role of a trustee needs a different mindset, and your duty in performing that role is to cast aside personal issues and perform to the best interests of the charity. For the avoidance of doubt, of course I have an agenda and that agenda is "Given that we are stuck with Wikipedia, what measures can be taken to see that it is managed responsibly?" I think the charity link creates an interesting opportunity for constructive pressure on Wikipedia. It's a long time since I've edited, mainly because of the exasperation at seeing decent people being abused and misused by the project, and as such I see the interests of the readership as very different from the interests of its editors - stable versions of articles, by whatever name, is a simple idea which Wikipedians get in a knot over, much as the idea that creating a child friendly version of WIkipedia should not simply be responded to by a cry of OMGODWhatABOUTtheCHIDRENZ!!!@?? as if there was no discussion to be had and it was obvious that children would be better off being sexualised from an early age. These things could have solutions that would not mean the end of the world as we know it. Dogbiscuit 18:47, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
Just to respond to this particular point: "the composition of the trustees seems to be entirely made up of Wikipedians". This is not entirely true as Steve Virgin, as you will see from the information on this wiki, was not an active Wikipedia editor prior to becoming a trustee. This is also true of Jon Davies, our new Chief Executive. We are actively seeking to recruit more trustees, in particular, from outside the Wikimedia communities, as shown by the "Board Interest Day" we plan for February 2012. AndrewRT 01:32, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
Point taken. It might be interesting to see how the GLAM::Monmouth project develops, where you might find interaction with people less steeped in WikiLore might guide you. Dogbiscuit 13:38, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
This discussion is not usefully located here, the Water cooler or a page related to governance would be more appropriate. In general I am puzzled why someone would write to the Charity Commission about WMUK before writing to WMUK. I thought the CC's policies on this were clear. -- 08:29, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
I am active in many arenas in the real world so have a fairly good line on where to get appropriate information from in a timely fashion. In this case, as has already been explained, there was a press report which appeared to directly attribute to your solicitors a suggestion that Wiki UK had misled the CC. If that was the case, then asking Wiki UK directly would be rather pointless wouldn't it, as both yourselves and your solicitor would have been involved in a criminal action - making misleading statements with the intent of financial gain is a crime under the Fraud Act of 2002. As I have also said, the Charity Commission replied with the information required which made it clear that the press report was wrong (which, to be fair eventually was clarified by Wiki UK Ltd). So I am doubly reassured which might not have been the case if this was only said by the board - because you would say that wouldn't you (AGF does not apply in the real world). Be clear on this: it was not speculation that there was a problem, there was information in the public domain that stated that your solicitors had misled the CC. I object to the hint that I have acted unreasonably, especially by someone who appears to have a track record of being less than straight-forward themselves, and of course, as a long time WR member, one is bound to have a jaundiced view on the ability of Wikipedians to act appropriately. As far as I can see, the response from the CC has been helpful to everybody as it has brought closure to one element of speculation.
I have no objection to this discussion being moved to anywhere else appropriate, indeed, it was meant to be constructive, as if I can do something that gets Wikipedia to improve its governance then I am meeting my goals. I've made my point and don't intend to labour it further (that is to say if there appear to be opportunities to improve the governance of Wikipedia and related projects I will of course take actions to support that). Dogbiscuit 13:38, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

Activities that we're running, and our budget

I'm sad to say that I've completely lost track of which of our activities are funded from which budget line. As an example, Ethical Properties Wikipedia Workshop/September event is apparently providing refreshments and lunch for attendees, but I have no clue as to which budget line this activity is being funded from. Please can this be clarified? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:49, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Surely trustees should be concerning themselves with far more important issues than the budget line for a single event with a budget of, at most, a few hundred quid? I thought the point of having staff is to take the workload off the board, who previously administered the day-to-day affairs as well as the broader, strategic issues. I must have been deluded, though, because all I've seen trustees do recently is micromanage, create needless bureaucracy, and wield vetoes in remarkable displays of pedantry. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 21:03, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Sorry Harry, I think you must be confusing gossip with facts. No trustee has vetoed anything, or is in a position to micromanage considering we are unpaid part time volunteers, who rely on six full time staff that we have put in place over the last year. As for pedantry, yes, I guess that is a fair criticism, indeed one that could be made of most members of our community. Thanks -- (talk) 21:22, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Well to give but an example, if what you did with the business cards wasn't a veto, micromanagement, or pedantry, then I'm a monkey's uncle. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:11, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I did not do anything with the business cards. The board meeting in September is open to all, monkeys are welcome. Thanks -- (talk) 22:30, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
I beg to differ, but I stand to gain very little from arguing with you over it so I'll just be very direct. I strongly advocated in your favour during the recent controversy and during the harassment that led up to it, and I am genuinely outraged at what I see as a miscarriage of justice by ArbCom and deeply saddened that it resulted in your standing down as chair. You are quite within your rights to be upset and angry about the way you've been treated, but being a twat to me and anybody else who so much as looks at you the wrong way is not going to improve your situation and is unlikely to make you feel better. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 01:19, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I guess that's the end of any attempt to have a discussion based on facts. I was available at Sunday's wikimeet for anyone to raise questions or allegations in person, nobody did. If you want to call me a twat, I suggest you wait until you meet me in person at the board meeting, so that you can at least do so to my face. Thanks -- (talk) 07:45, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I didn't call you a twat. I paid you a complement. And then accused you of acting like a twat by taking your (entirely justified) frustrations out on me and others who have nothing to do with the source of your frustrations. Were I in your position, I would take a week or two off. Perhaps go somewhere hot, but definitely go somewhere without Internet access and think about something other than Wikimedia and then come back refreshed in a few days. If you carry on the way you're going, you're going to aggravate somebody less loyal and thinner-skinned than I am, and I would hate to see that happen, both for your sake and for that of the chapter. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 09:12, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the advice and your loyalty. I suggest you try giving complements without telling the recipient they are "being a twat" in future. -- (talk) 09:26, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Keeping track of all that is part of Richard's job, isn't it? As long as it is being recorded in Sage and the agreed financial controls are being followed, do you really need to know every bit of spending? --Tango (talk) 22:26, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
Keeping track of the expenditure that is made against a budget line is definitely Richard's job. However, I view the decision as to what each budget line funds as being firmly a Board decision. My issue here is irrespective of how much the workshop costs; rather, my expectation is that I'm able to figure which budget line an activity is being funded by. And in particular, I would expect us to be sufficiently transparent that our volunteers would be able to easily follow that link should they desire. But I've probably raised this issue in the wrong place - I should probably raise this issue confidentially instead... Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:41, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
The board delegates that authority to individual budget controllers. As long as whoever is responsible for whatever budget it is coming out of knows that it is coming out of it, then there isn't really a problem. Transparency is great, but it may have to wait until our new programme to clone Richard is further developed. --Tango (talk) 22:00, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

Better Formatting

I noticed that Budget holders have been changed here but not on subpages. Would it be possible to have a more sophistcated formatting so that the information can be updated with a single edit?Leutha (talk) 15:43, 23 October 2012 (UTC)

That would be lovely Jon Davies (WMUK) (talk) 17:48, 23 October 2012 (UTC)