Annual Fundraising Plan for Fiscal Year 2013–14
The Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2013–14 set a donation target of $7,000, including $1,500 from event sponsorship and $5,000 from individual sponsorship. This does not include donations solicited from membership applicants. As of March, we have set our fundraising target for the remainder of this fiscal year at $3,500, given progress already made toward our revenue goals.
Why would a person or organization donate money?
- The donor has a personal interest in the organization and its mission.
- This sort of fundraising makes use of the organization's social network. These donors are motivated to give to Wikimedia DC because they know people in the organization and wish it, or them, well. Event attendees may have a warm feeling toward us.
- The donor has an economic interest in the success of the organization or its mission.
- This example is less applicable to our organization, but one example would be a business association donating to a political candidate because that candidate supports the interest of the business association. If Wikimedia DC provided a public service that resulted in increased economic activity for a particular sector, we could solicit contributions from this sector. A "functional" interest can be thought of as an economic interest. Enterprises using MediaWiki might want to work with us and support us. Public relations specialists who want to be able to edit properly and appropriately might want to work with us and support us. GLAM institution people want to be visible online. Tech company staff want to know how to use wikis and to represent their institution on Wikipedia.
- The donor has an ideological interest in the organization or its mission.
- In Wikimedia DC's case, these could include donors who support our free knowledge mission, our connection to Wikipedia, open source software, open data standards, open government data, and addressing systemic biases in academia.
Two donor constituencies represent "low-hanging fruit" for the organization: our personal contacts, and firms which have previously contributed to our organization or otherwise have a pre-existing relationship with us. These comprise Phase 1. In Phase 2, Wikimedia DC can actively reach out to DC Tech companies and meet-up communities.
Phase 1: Thank existing and past donors for their support
- Create a Wikimedia DC Thank You Card on letterhead for this and other occaisions
- Hold a *fun* donor recognition event, with good art or music
- Provide a fun networking opportunity for the open content community
Phase 2: Contacting potential donors
During Phase 1, we will go through our personal contacts and determine who would potentially be interested in contributing to Wikimedia DC. This information will go into a spreadsheet maintained by the organization. As part of generating this list, the following need to be determined:
- Donor's relationship with the caller (family, friend, business associate, Wikipedian, etc.)
- Reason why the donor would be interested in contributing (they support a project the organization does, personal connections, etc.)
- A specific amount to donate; this amount should be seen by the donor as insignificant. An ideal median donation is $100.
Callers will be responsible for calling the donors they know personally, making use of the caller's relationship with the donor. We should be careful not to ask for donations from existing members who have already contributed significant sums of money. Callers should also be careful not to make specific project pitches during calls, since this could cause the resulting donation to be a restricted gift.
With respect to larger donors, specific pitches for projects will be prepared and sent to potential large donors. We have identified two such donors as of writing, but more may arise.
By June 1, the list of potential donors will be prepared. Phone calls should begin once Wikimedia DC has been recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.
- Comment: Who is making these calls? Why would individuals turn their contacts over to the organization before a donation is received? Suggest consultation with a pro telephone fundraiser before committing to this sort of operation.
Phase 3: Tech community outreach
Holding events related to Wikipedia or broader issues affecting Wikipedia provide a potential revenue stream for Wikimedia DC. The Fundraising Committee thus proposes that Wikimedia DC hold a panel on open source technology in partnerships with technology firms that operate out of, or have offices in, Washington, DC. As DC-based representatives of Wikipedia we provide expertise on a massive and world-renowned technological endeavor and community of volunteers; this lends itself as a compelling subject manner for a panel. Such an event would satisfy our goal for community events as stated in our Annual Plan.
The event should be budgeted as to raise more money than it spends; how this works in practice depends on the budget of the event. For an evening panel with a networking element, this should not be very much, especially if we hold it in partnership with a venue to which we have pre-existing connections. In addition to soliciting sponsorships, we should charge a token amount for admission to the event such as $15. This admission fee could go toward a drink ticket for the attendees.
Our goal is to hold this event by August 1. Records of attendees and sponsors should be kept in a central location to facilitate further fundraising efforts.
- Can we have institutional members? It would require changes to our bylaws. Is this worthwhile?
-- No. We need to remain a member based organization if we are volunteers without a paid staffer. Continual bylaw changes are exhausting and distract from building the encyclopedia, WP:NOT HERE If we have a paid staffer tasked with making us an accessible and responsive partner for other organizations on an ongoing basis, we can reconsider.
- We could conceivably raise funds for particular projects, such as the (hypothesized) scientific claim wiki. These might be called donations or be associated more precisely with the costs of the project.