Duration: 4-6 months at half time (20 hrs/week)

Location: San Francisco preferred but not mandatory. Open to remote working.

Reports to: Senior Strategist, Grants

Start date: Early February, 2019 (flexible)

Philanthropic grants at the Wikimedia Foundation

Wikimedia is the world’s fifth most popular digital platform, used in everything from secondary education to advanced computational research. While Wikipedia is the largest and best-known of the Wikimedia projects, it is only one part of our work. Wikimedia is: Nearly 300 languages; Written by 200,000 monthly contributors; Visited around 6,000 times each second by more than one billion devices every month.

One of the many roles of the Wikimedia Foundation is that of a philanthropic funder (or “grantmaker”). This role is carried out by the Community Resources team, whose purpose is to make grants and offer other support to mission-aligned projects and organizations around the world. Annually, this team distributes ~$8M USD via several participatory grantmaking programs, which support a wide variety of ideas and projects: outreach, experimentation, conferences, research, software development, as well as general operating support grants.

In 2017, the Wikimedia movement adopted a new strategic direction for 2030. In order to achieve these 2030 goals, our movement is engaging in a movement-wide conversation about the current system of resource allocation. Given that grantmaking is one such system of resource allocation, the Community Resources team is interested in understanding how other philanthropic funders structure their programs to enable their goals, and how our current structure and programs compare to the larger sector.

About the role

The Community Resources teams looking for a strategy contractor, consultant, or firm to explore, assess, and recommend ways to align our grantmaking system to the new strategic direction.

We are interested in answering two major questions:

  1. What are other systems of grantmaking that can provide useful insights? How are they structured (e.g. geographic, thematic)? What are the pros/cons of each structure? How do they measure impact?
  2. Given our 2030 goal of “Knowledge equity”, what strategies have other organizations used to achieve greater equity in their context, via grantmaking strategies?

This work will be led by the Community Resources team, in support of the team’s ongoing work to create clearer strategic direction for our activities. This work will also necessitate close collaboration with relevant teams and departments within the Foundation, and close collaboration with an international group of volunteers who are working on a similar but more expansive topic (called the Resource Allocation Working Group).

We’d like you to do these things

The Strategy consultant would be responsible for driving this research/benchmarking forward, while working in collaboration with the members from the Community Resources team.

  • Identify a set of international, regional, or national philanthropic funders with different operating models (e.g federated models, decentralized models etc.), and explore the pros/cons, enablers/challenges with those models.
  • Identify a set of funders with a strategic focus on equity or equity-related goals, who have created innovative grantmaking practices to achieve these goals.
  • Conduct individual or small group interviews with these organizations, to create a set of benchmarks illuminating their operating model / programs.
  • Understand and integrate the constraints under which the Wikimedia Foundation operates.
  • Assess the feasibility of these models in the Wikimedia context, considering constraints such as our model of governance, our policies, and any cultural or contextual enablers.
  • Summarize and present results of research and analysis with goal of maximum knowledge transfer/application to Community Resources team members. This may include inviting in others on the team to participate in interviews, or providing bi-weekly updates/results to not just the project lead but also other.
  • Create a set of recommendations that informs how Wikimedia’s resource allocation systems could become more strategically aligned, and informs Community Resources’ future grantmaking strategy (and subsequent restructure).
  • Other duties as needed

We’d like you to have these skills

  • At least 3 years of experience conducting sector wide research, more specifically in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors.
  • Experience creating benchmarks of programs, product, or organizations
  • Detail-oriented with strong analytical skills, able to identify patterns within qualitative data.
  • Ability to think critically and strategically, as well as the ability to understand the interconnected results of decisions and actions.
  • Proven ability to adhere to deadlines and to seek out learning & support for collaborative projects.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal skills. This position will require lots of public facing documentation (we are very transparent!) and communication across diverse cultural and language communities.
  • Willingness to accommodate scheduling requirements of frequent interactions across time zones, with collaborators from around the world.

And it would be even more awesome if you have these

  • Experience working with nonprofit and mission-oriented volunteer organizations.
  • Familiarity with Wikimedia Foundation’s free knowledge mission and vision.
  • International experience or the ability to speak multiple languages.

The Wikimedia Foundation is... 

...the nonprofit organization that hosts and operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge, free of interference. We host the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

The Wikimedia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we encourage people with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply


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