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OER Foundation logo-small.pngGifting and recruitment campaign


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Did you know

The questions on this page have been submitted and developed by members of the WikiEducator community. If you have a question that arises during our public giving campaign, please feel free to email your question and we'll add it to the list.

Where does my money go?

Learning4Content Graduates
WikiEducator is just what I needed, and I joined up, assigning all my copyrighted material under a CC-BY-SA license
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -- Mark Twain

My name is Phil Bartle and I live in Victoria, British Columbia, in Western Canada.

I spent most of my adult life in Africa and Asia as an aid worker. Randy and Wayne came along and introduced me to WikiEducator and its principles and aims. It is just what I needed, and I joined up, assigning all my copyrighted material under a CC-BY-SA license so that others could use it and run with it. With a few of my volunteers, I am preparing material in four languages, English, Portuguese, French and Spanish (the most common in developing countries). This is the answer. Read more ...

Your donation helps the OER Foundation and WikiEducator support access to free and open education for all. Working collaboratively with the free knowledge movement, we aim to develop free digital learning materials in support of all national curricula around the world which educators are free to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute without restriction.

Through your generosity, donations to the OER Foundation are used to:

  1. support the technology infrastructure and bandwidth costs of the WikiEducator website -- one of the largest and most productive OER wiki projects serving the formal education sector.
  2. provide free training opportunities to thousands of educators in more than 120 countries around the world to build capacity in how to develop OER using collaborative authoring approaches. (Meet a few of our Learning4Content graduates.)
  3. create and adapt free textbooks and digital learning materials for sharing around the world.

Does my donation go to support WikiEducator or the OER Foundation?

Public gifts sourced from the WikiEducator website are applied to the WikiEducator project. The OER Foundation is the legal entity responsible for raising and administering the funds which support the technical and operational infrastructure of the WikiEducator community in accordance with the policies approved by the WikiEducator Community Council. The OER Foundation subscribes to the Donor Bill of Rights, which requires that gifts are used for the purposes for which they are given. Hence gifts from the WikiEducator project are used to support WikiEducator.

Will WikiEducator consider online advertising as a source of revenue for OER?

No. The WikiEducator website is committed to providing our core learning materials free from advertising. The OER Foundation will launch an online magazine with a print alternative in the near future. As an optional publication, we will sell advertising space in this magazine to assist with defraying the costs of development and distribution. Any surpluses arising will be reinvested back into the WikiEducator project.

Is the OER Foundation / WikiEducator a registered charity?

Yes. The OER Foundation is a non-profit company registered with the New Zealand Charities Commission (No.CC40964). The activities of the OER Foundation are carried out exclusively for charitable educational purposes and not for the private pecuniary gain of any person.

Can I make a donation for a specific purpose?

Yes. Our commitment to the Donor Bill of Rights requires us to honour restrictions requested by donors. This means that if you specify that your donation needs to be restricted for a specific use, we will either honour your request or return your donation. Please consider that unrestricted donations are much more useful for us. Should you have a specific purpose in mind, please send an email to the OER Foundation for us to explore options to establish a donor agreement to achieve the specific purposes you intend for your contribution.

How much should I donate?

We are very grateful for all donations we receive, whatever the amount. We simply ask people to donate what they feel comfortable with and if the donation is meaningful to you, it is meaningful to the WikiEducator family.

Many organisations and individuals that use WikiEducator as a repository for their OER projects and activities have asked us to provide a general guideline. We have created a distinctive category of donor with these institutions and individuals in mind. You can choose to gift as a "Donor Partner" or alternatively decide on your own gift amount.

A Donor Partner believes in the educational value of sharing knowledge freely and their contribution helps us to build sustainable OER futures. Their financial contribution forms part of our planned giving campaign to support the WikiEducator/OER Ecosystem. Donor partners are listed on the OER Foundation website to acknowledge their contribution. You may join in the capacity of an:

  • Institution (US$200 per annum)
  • School (US$50 per annum) or
  • Individual (US$50 per annum)

This form of planned giving facilitates better forecasting and future planning for the OER Foundation. Should your organisation wish to increase its tangible returns from OER activities, you should consider joining the OER Foundation as a bronze, silver or gold contributing member.

There are many ways to give and support the future of open education. You may wish to consider a gift in your will. A bequest to the OER Foundation will continue support for our mission long after you're gone.

As an individual, how can I make a donation?

We process individual donations by credit card using PayPal's secure website. All major credit cards are accepted. Note that when using the PayPal website your credit card details are never shared with the OER Foundation or WikiEducator. You can contact the OER Foundation to arrange alternate payment options for donations exceeding USD$500. We strive to keep administration overheads to a minimum and regret that we can only accept individual donations by credit card for payments below USD$500.

  • Step 1: Consider joining as an Donor Partner for individuals (US$50) or
  • Step 2: Choose your own gifting amount (we are very grateful for all donations, whatever the amount).
  • Step 3: Go to the Donate now box on the Donation page.
  • Step 4: Follow the instructions on screen -- you will be transferred to a secure OER Foundation website form where your details are recorded in accordance with our Donor Privacy Policy.
  • Step 5: Click on the "Donate via PayPal" button to complete your gift of knowledge.

The PayPal website will generate an email receipt on conclusion of your transaction. In addition, the OER Foundation will send a gift acknowledgement and receipt to the email supplied on the secure web form for confirmed transactions. All donors have the option to post a public message on our donor wall and will be posted on confirmation of your credit card transaction.

As an organization, how can we make a donation?

The procedures for donations from organisations are the the same as for individuals above.

Organisations can choose whether the institution or department should be acknowledged on the public donor wall, or you can post an anonymous message.

Note that all donations are processed by Credit Card using PayPal and you will receive a receipt from both PayPal and the OER Foundation for your contribution. Should your organisation require a donation pledge form before processing a credit card transaction, please contact the OER Foundation.

How are donations acknowledged?

Donations are acknowledged in accordance with our Donor and Contributing Member Privacy Policy. You can request an anonymous donation, or choose to be recognised in the following ways:

  • In the case of a general public donation, you can specify your name and post a donation message of up to 200 characters on our public donation wall.
  • In the case of choosing to become a Donor Partner, we will publish your name on the Donor Partner's page under the institutional, school or individual categories, in addition to the general donation message above.

The OER Foundation does not publish the dollar amount of your donation on our public donation wall. We believe that every gift is meaningful.

Major benefactors and corporate citizenship donations in excess of US$10,000 may choose to have their names published on our benefactor page. Contact the OER Foundation for more information.

Is this an annual fundraising campaign?

Yes. The OER Foundation will administer a public giving campaign each year. During the annual gifting campaign we will place a donation banner on all WikiEducator pages (users will have the option to dismiss the banner). The banner will remain on the WikiEducator site until we achieve our fundraising targets. It will also be possible to make donation at any time during the year using the "Donate now" link displayed under the Community toolbox on the WikiEducator home page.

How much money are you hoping to raise?

The target for the 2010 gifting campaign is USD$200,000. This is inclusive of individual and organisational donations, corporate sponsorships and revenue from organisations who join the OER foundation as contributing members. Due to economies of scale and the efficiencies of the WikiEducator approach, our budgeted expenditure is significantly lower than comparable OER projects. We subscribe to open philanthropy and our financial plans are developed openly and transparently in the wiki. We invite you to consult the operational budget for the current current 3-year plan.

What does a donation of US$20 buy?

Potential donors frequently ask: Can small donations make a difference on a global scale?. Yes. Consider for example, that the Wikimedia Foundation raised US$8 million with the average gift being around US$30 during its recent gifting campaign. Clearly, small donations do make a difference and to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: "You can be the change you want to see in the OER world!".

You may find the following information useful:

  • For individuals: The current cost of providing one seat on a free training workshop is estimated at US$116.74 per educator (This includes both fixed and variable costs). Therefore, small individual donations contribute to building OER capacity around the world in a big way.
  • For organisations: The 2009 Horizon report for Australia and New Zealand identifies open content as a significant technology that will affect the practice of teaching, learning, and creative enquiry. Joining WikiEducator's international OER project as a Donor Partner will provide you the space and opportunity to test the OER waters, with access to the some of the worlds leading OER thought leaders -- while supporting a necessary and important cause. Note that the cost of becoming a donor partner is less than the cost of registering for the average academic conference. This investment will leverage tangible benefits for your organisation, especially when compared to University-based OER projects who have invested millions of dollars to launch and sustain institutional-based OER projects. Working together, we achieve far more than working alone.

How do you invest surplus donations?

The OER Foundation uses a zero-based budgeting approach which aims to cover baseline operational costs. The baseline costs include the technology infrastructure and bandwidth costs of the WikiEducator websites and the costs associated with providing free training workshops. Surplus funds arise when we exceed the baseline operational costs from our public gifting campaigns, institutional membership contributions and other revenue sources. As a charitable organisation, the OER Foundation strategy is designed to reinvest surplus funds back into building capability of WikiEducators or commissioning the development of OER where the OER Foundation pays for the development of priority content areas on behalf of the community and its members. Consequently, the more members who join the OER Foundation, the greater the return on investment for individual membership will be. OER is a sustainable and renewable resource. (See also Who decides what content will be developed?).

Who decides what content will be developed?

In short, the piper plays the tune. This means that the income source determines who decides what content will be developed in the case of commissioned OER projects. We calculate the pro-rata amount sourced from the WikiEducator public giving campaign and institutional membership contributions. The WikiEducator community will use a consensus model to identify content development priorities from surplus funds sourced through the WikiEducator gifting campaign whereas institutional contributing members will vote on development priorities among contributing members. For example, let's assume that we generate a surplus of US$70,000 comprising US$40,000 from WikiEducator donations and US$30,000 from institutional membership contributions (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum members). In this example:

  • The WikiEducator community will use a consensus model to decide on the content development priorities for content development contracts for the equivalent of US$40,000
  • The contributing institutional members will determine the priorities for content development contracts totalling US$30,000
  • The OER Foundation subscribes to open philanthropy, which means the criteria and process for awarding content development bounties will be done transparently in the wiki for all to see.

Can WikiEducator community projects apply for funding support from the OER Foundation in the future?

Yes, subject to the success of our gifting campaign, WikiEducator community projects can apply for funding support for their projects that fall within the remit of the WikiEducator project, for instance OER capability development and open content projects. This is dependant on available funds and the OER Foundation will announce contestable bounty projects as funding becomes available for the allocation of surplus funds as described above.

What can a WikiEducator community project do if no surplus funds are available?

The WikiEducator project encourages community initiatives to submit their own grant funding applications to the international donor community. You are free to apply for funding in your own capacity. We encourage WikiEducators to develop their funding proposals as free content transparently in the wiki. The OER Foundation develops all its grant applications openly in the wiki. We invite you to do the same. The OER Foundation is keen to partner with WikiEducator community projects which are aligned with our strategic plan. The OER Foundation will consider joining donor grant applications as a partner or provide our written endorsement for your project, on condition that the grant application is developed as free content.

How can we ensure the development of "complete" content packages / courses for effective use in our organisations?

We encourage WikiEdcuators to focus on developing courses where there is a shared need across multiple organisations. It also helps to design new projects for collaboration rather than the notion of "build it and they will come". Ask fellow WikiEducators on the list whether they have a need for a particular OER course. Assess the interest by the level of community engagement. This is usually a good indicator of the need for the particular course or content package. Consider joining the OER Foundation as a contributing member where experienced OER professionals can help you in achieving your institutional OER objectives and responding to high priority content needs. Finally, the more funding we raise through our gifting campaign, the more "complete" content packages and courses we will be able to commission for development. The most significant barrier for most educators to participate in OER course development is time. WE can help by transforming these barriers into opportunities for future success.

Does WikiEducator support multiple languages ?

Yes. For instance, we have installed trial localisations for Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Maori, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil. However these have been implemented with varied levels of success as language localisations depend on a critical mass of editors to take responsibility for these languages. Please contact the OER Foundation should you wish to contribute to a specific language localisation or initiate a new language localisation. At this time we do not provide automated translation services.

What is your donor privacy policy?

The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation maintains the highest level of respect for the privacy of its donors and contributing members. The Board of Directors have approved and implemented a donor and contributing member privacy policy. We are very serious about your privacy and will not share, sell or trade your email address with anyone.

How is the OER Foundation run?

The OER Foundation subscribes to open philanthropy which means that our strategy, operational plans, and funding proposals are developed openly and transparently in WikiEdcautor. The Foundation is managed by a Board of Directors in accordance with the objectives and activities contained in the policy statement of the foundation. The inaugural Board is of the OER Foundation is:

  • Robin Day, Ph.D, Deputy Chief Executive of Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand, is the Chair of the Board
  • Rory McGreal, Ph.D, Associate Vice President, Research at Athabasca University, Canada, is the nominated representative of the international contributing members
  • Wayne Mackintosh, Ph.D., founding Director of the International Centre for Open Education at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand as nominee of the International OER Centre. He is also the founder of the WikiEducator project and elected member and Chair of the WikiEducator Community Council.
  • Christopher Staynes, as nominee of the Otago Polytechnic Council.
  • Philip Cullen, Chief Operating Officer, Otago Polytechnic as Secretary.

Download a copy of the OER Foundation's inaugural annual report (3.8MB) approved by the Board of Directors, 13 July 2010 (pre audit version).

How is the OER Foundation funded?

The OER Foundation assists individuals and organisations to achieve their objectives through open education. We oversee the world's largest training project in the formal education sector building wiki and ICT skills for the collaborative development of OER for thousands of educators around the world.

Voluntary public donations is one of three main income streams for the OER Foundation. We derive income from:

  1. International donors, international agencies and government contracts
  2. Organisations that join the OER Foundation as contributing members -- We provide value added services in helping these members achieve their objectives through OER.
  3. Voluntary public donations through our giving campaign (including individuals and organisations who choose to gift as Donor Partners)

As a charitable organisation, all surplus funds are invested in OER projects, for example, commissioning the development of OER learning materials or paying consultants from the WikiEducator community to facilitate capacity building workshops.

What projects do you currently support?

The OER Foundation supports a number of international strategic OER projects, including:

  • WikiEducator: A global open source project dedicated to developing open content resources in support of all national curricula by 2015, in line with the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
  • Learning4Content: The world's largest attempt to develop wiki skills for education. In return for free training, we encourage participants to become WikiEducators themselves by developing and donating free content learning materials back to the community.
  • OER Course Collaboratory: An international collaboration among individuals and institutions to create, reuse, revise and remix OER course materials and resources on the field of of open education. In short OERs for courses on OER.

Are future projects planned / in the pipeline?

The OER Foundation's strategy is co-designed with the international open education community to foster and achieve the development of sustainable OER ecosystems so that educators and learners around the world will have access to open content which we can reuse, revise, remix and redistribute in support of all national education curricula by 2015. This necessitates a forward looking disposition and have a number of projects in the pipeline:

  • WikiResearcher: Will become an international collaboration to leverage the potential of the wiki model to plan, execute and disseminate knowledge in the formal education sector.
  • CollabOERate: Is the OER equivalent of research and development (R & D) for new "product" design in open content and open education. CollabOERate identifies strategic demonstrator projects that take the OER movement forward in a sustainable way. It is a "pre-competitive" space for mainstream OER projects to co-design and implement projects aimed at enhancing the achievement of the objectives of the mainstream open content projects in the world.
  • OpenTextbooks - WikiPublishing will generate a new business model based on the principles of mass-customisation to reduce the costs of textbooks for learners while maintaining opportunities for commercial publishers.

How does the OER Foundation pay for WikiEducator services?

The OER Foundation is an international virtual organisation which employs only two full-time staff members. We rely on the support and professional services offered by an international community of consultants. All consultants contracted by the OER Foundation for WikiEducator activities are active and experienced members of our community. For example, all our training facilitators who assist with our free training workshops and the development of workshop materials are experienced WikiEducators who have an intimate knowledge of our project. This virtual model provides the OER Foundation with the agility to respond to local needs by providing access to an international team of OER professionals.

Can I contract the OER Foundation for specific services and support?

Yes. The OER Foundation provides support for a wide range of open education support services, for example, consulting services to assist individuals and organisations to achieve their objectives using OER. However, the funding for these value-added services are not sourced from the general public giving campaign. We recommend that you consider joining the OER Foundation under one of our contributing member options.

Where do I find financial information about the OER Foundation?

The OER Foundation is registered with the New Zealand Charities Commission (No.CC40964) and as such is required to submit audited financial statements for public access within 6 months of the close of our financial year. The OER Foundation's budget for the current 3-year plan is published in the wiki.

Does your organisation use donations to help bridge the digital divide?

Yes. The WikiEducator homepage proudly displays our commitment to bridging the digital divide: "We're turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks." We do this by investing in people (through capability development) and collaborative authoring of open content materials which are relevant to the local context. Our consultants are experienced members of the WikiEducator family. As an international virtual organisation, with extensive reach in the developing world, we pride ourselves in using consultants from the region where the need arises. For example, if an African university or school needs to run a local face-to-face workshop, we will source an African facilitator from our community networks. In this way we build and support regional capability and encourage local income generation through OER initiatives.