Thanks for the mail. We created a sub-section in Grant page with Frequently asked questions (FAQs) which covers responses for your questions. However, during the last couple of days we improved the section further to make it more helpful. I am pasting FAQs below in this mail for easy reference. Also, Here are the links to FAQ section and WCI 2020 grant proposal.
You are welcome to make your comments on specific budget line items or/and plan in the Grant proposal talk page and from there it will be easy to take any helpful suggestions/feedback forward towards improvement of grant proposal.
- Why is the conference’s total budget significantly high, and also quite varying the WCI 2016’s budget?
As one can observe form the budget table and specific budget items, there are a lot of factors that went into calculation of the budget as a whole. Also, there are several notable differences in the organisations of these two conferences – the ones which substantial affect on the budget are detailed below;
Total number of people directly supported from the conference budget
Entire cost of participation for a person from this category will be from the conference budget. It includes full scholarship recipients, organisers and additional invitees.
Number of days of the event
The proposed conference will have one pre-conference day, which will include activities such as Learning Days, Hackathon, Thematic edit-a-thons etc. followed by a 3-day main conference.
Accommodation & Venue
WCI 2016 was hosted in an educational organization, and several community members, including the first IRC conducted for WCI 2020, have mentioned that they had faced difficulties with accommodation and related logistics. To address this, WCI 2020 will be hosted in a hotel, however, we will have partners in other areas. Previous organisers have also strictly recommended against partnering with organisations for venue, as it created a lot strain on volunteer organising and also for a huge conference such as this, the on-ground needs are highly dynamic.
Post-2016’s conference, several of the organsers had gone through a burn-out, which was caused by strain caused due to several aspects of organising such as huge amount of tedious tasks, low budget, complicated bureaucracy of the educational institute etc. To avoid such things, as one of the goals is to make WCI a sustainable practice, a professional event management personnel will be hired for a period of six months, who will take of travel and accommodation arrangements on ground, working with fiscal sponsor to complete necessary payments etc. This will let volunteers to invest more time in programmatic and planning aspects, and also get off any potential overload that this entire exercise poses.
Total number of participants
This includes all the participants mentioned for Serial 1; in addition to those, there are components such as subsidised registrations, expenditure on volunteers etc.
Apart from the above mentioned differences, other quite important points to note are;
₹7,181,212.50 is the budget of the conference that goes into its actual organising expenditure from this grant. Since it is a huge sum of money, it can’t be taken into individual accounts, and also since it is a foreign fund, organisations handling the fund should be having FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) license, which is The Centre for Internet and Society in this case. As an organisation, for their administrative expenses and related tabs, they charge 10% of the budget, which is ₹718,121.25. It is referred to as Fiscal sponsorship is a general practice for grants from the Wikimedia Foundation.
In the report of WCI 2016, the organisers have explicitly stated that the budget they had was insufficient and caused strain on the organisers, leading to burn out of volunteers. So the amount of ₹33 lac may not be considered as a sufficient budget for the 2016’s conference as well. Finally and most obviously, there is inflation from 2016 to 2020, which makes certain budget items to have higher costs, irrespective of other factors.
- How much of the proposed budget will actually be spent?
- Wikimedia movement thrives on donations – keeping in view of that fact, external sponsorship are being considered minimally spend the movement’s money. For many of the budget items, the maximum possible costs have been assumed. This purely to avoid last-minute strains and be on a safer side – securing funds at a later stage, even if the need be, will only complicate things for all stakeholders involved, including the organisers, WMF, and CIS-A2K. However, only modest amounts will be spent, which ensures that everyone participating in the conference has a smooth experience. The remainder will either be sent back to WMF or reallocated to other community activities, post-approval from WMF.
- How will the transparency of spending be maintained?
- As transparency is one of the core values of the Wikimedia movement, especially when it comes to finances it is the key. In this regard, all bills worth valuing more than ₹30,000.00 will be publicly published (unless there is any confidential information) and linked to the final report on expenditure. In addition, with the help of the Centre for Internet & Society, the fiscal sponsor for the project, after all the transactions are over with respective bills/receipts received, an audit will be conducted by a registered auditor, who will certify the accounts. This report will be publicly published.