Changes to Rapid Grants

Originally published at:

As you know the Rapid Grants Program has played an important role in helping our communities to grow. The number of grants we have given outgrew by 30% between FY16 -17 to this fiscal year, and they grew by 55% when measured by the total amount disbursed. (See the spending analysis for reference.*) 

While communities have valued these flexible funding opportunities, on our part, it hasn’t been easy to measure and track their impact. We, therefore, will be implementing a number of changes in Fiscal Year 19/20, starting August 1, 2019, to sharpen the focus and impact of rapid grants, whilst at the same time maintaining the quick and flexible funding options for community: 
1) In the months specified below, we will prioritize support to contests and campaigns which have been an exciting source of growth in editorship, innovative participation and content generation by communities. These months will be solely dedicated to different contests and campaigns throughout the year:

  • August: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Monuments
  • September: only receiving proposals for Awareness Grants (campaign)
  • December: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Africa
  • January: only receiving proposals for Art + Feminism (campaign)
  • March: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Earth

2) Outside the months specified above, proposals are welcomed in all other categories: edit-a-thons, contests, photowalks, general promotion campaigns, and video campaigns. For added flexibility, we will also consider proposals outside of these categories, such as software development. However, we will no longer be providing rapid grants for travel support, equipment purchase or meetups.
3) We will evaluate each batch of grants once a month and accept the best proposals in alignment with the Wikimedia Foundation’s medium-term goals.

We will share the evaluation for the Rapid Grants Program that led us to sharpen the focus for the program once the evaluation is completed by September 30, 2019. In addition to these changes, we’ve also considered comments around Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grants eligibility criteria and have clarified these criteria. Please take the time to re-familiarize yourselves with the Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grants Guidelines and Criteria page. 

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Medium-term plan goals are set out here for information. 

If you have any questions, please email us


Hello Woubzena, thanks for this update!

The underlying suggestion that the value of rapid grants might not clear surprises me. From my perspective this program could grow by a factor of 5 and still be one of the most effective and empowering uses (in terms of marginal cost and benefit) of movement resources – limited only by the supply of good ideas and implementers. I am reminded of awesome foundation initiatives – which need only be interesting, generate joy in the application as well as the granting, and have no strings metrics attached beyond a public record of the result.

Have you considered expanding the lower end of small grants, while reducing the time spent on their evaluation and measurement? Are there options for microgrants for editors in regions without a chapter? $500 remains a lot in many of these regions.

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deja-vu all over again. it is unclear that the growth rate is not sustainable. unclear why monthly theme to funding is required.