Community Development


The Community Development team at the Wikimedia Foundation utilizes a holistic and community-driven approach to support the development of volunteers and communities within the Wikimedia Movement. Our primary focus is to provide contextual skill and leadership development opportunities which equip and empower our entire volunteer community to contribute to the sum of all knowledge and further support the growth of our movement. One of our primary mandates is to better identify and support current and emerging leaders and design collaborative learning and leadership development experiences that are accessible, relevant, and community informed. Volunteers build and grow communities around them, disseminating information and motivating content and community contributions in their areas. Our team seeks to enrich this growth by supporting the development of leadership qualities and behaviors which act in service of our mission. To this end, we seek to understand the barriers to growth and engagement in the Wikimedia Movement and learn how access, training, funding, and mentorship/professional development can unlock the greatest potential of our communities.


To be updated shortly

Contact us: comdevteam@wikimedia.orgEdit

Our workEdit

The Community Development team supports our thriving movement by creating capacity building and leadership development opportunities to meet Wikimedia volunteers where they are, equipping and empowering them to further contribute to the sum of all knowledge. We use community informed research and previous evaluations to design contextually relevant and adaptable curriculums that serve our diverse community. Core elements of our work include:

  • Conference Programming [on hold]
  • Online Learning and Engagement
  • Strategic Support to Movement Committees
  • Community Capacity Development [on hold since FY 2019-20]

Conference ProgramEdit

Conferences in the Wikimedia Movement are critical spaces for volunteers to come together to connect, share project updates and best practices and tackle common challenges. The Community Development team supports this collective learning by developing tailored workshops and learning experiences that are relevant to a volunteers movement engagement level. Utilizing  community-centered design methods and practices, we are able to meet volunteers at various stages of their movement engagement, effectively enabling their capacity to grow in the free-knowledge movement . The core focus of our conference training programs include program design and evaluation, action planning, trainer development, volunteer engagement and retention, leadership development and more.  

Flagship Conference Program (formally Learning Days)Edit

Flagship conferences such as Wikimania and the Wikimedia Summit provide a unique opportunity to engage with volunteers from all over the world who are motivated to enhance movement/project engagement. Formally called Learning Days , our flagship program model utilizes workshops, lightning panels and presentations, to ensure a collaborative space for emerging/experienced movement leaders and learners to connect, share resources and enhance skills critical to long-term growth.

Each program is developed in collaboration with or informed by conference organizers to ensure that learning objectives are clear, contextually relevant and learner-centered. Currently, the Community Development team has facilitated their flagship conference program at the Wikimedia Summit 2019 and Wikimania 2019.

Regional Conference ProgramEdit

Regional conferences are critical drivers of community growth and local project contribution. The Community Development team works closely with local event organizers who are interested in collaboratively designing a learning and development experience that meets the unique needs of volunteers in the region. The Community Development team can provide support to organizers in a number of areas i.e  application design, outreach support, curriculum design and facilitation. Program delivery can happen pre or post conference and can range from workshops to panel discussions or keynotes. The goal of the regional conference program is to address the capacity development needs of the region, informed by local volunteers.

Online Programming and EngagementEdit

To support better accessibility to learning and development experiences for volunteers, the Community Development team will be piloting online programming in FY 2020-21. Online programming will allow our team to support volunteers who are not always able to attend due to a variety of reasons and those motivated to pursue learning and development programming year round. To support the development of year-round, online programming infrastructure, the Community Development team will be leading two pilot projects that will provide online programming to build a variety of capacities:

  • The Online Learning Pilot: This project will deliver two courses over an 8-week period that will begin on February 1, 2021. The goal of the pilot is to understand how to design and deliver online programs that meet the needs of volunteers. Feedback from participants upon completion will inform the next phase of the project in 2022.

Wikimedia ClinicsEdit

The Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on in-person convenings, presented a clear need to create curated space for volunteers to connect with one another. The Community Development team launched the Wikimedia Clinic to address this growing need in the movement. Each 90-minute call provides an informal space to connect, seek advice or provide clarity on various projects, processes or tools. Considerable work is put into ensuring calls are as time-zone friendly and that there are opportunities for some calls to be facilitated in languages outside of English. A useful digest (see archive of digests in above link) is shared out after each call to provide an overview of what was discussed and resources that were shared.

Affiliation Committee Staff SupportEdit

The Affiliations Committee is a critical decision-making body in the Wikimedia movement and supported by elected movement volunteers. This committee is responsible for the recognition of Wikimedia Affiliates and mediation of any issues that might lead to the revocation of Affiliate status. The Community Development team provides administrative and strategic staff support to the committee to ensure that it continues to grow its impact and efficacy in the movement.  

Community Capacity Development (on hold since FY 2019-20)Edit

Community Capacity Development is an in-community initiative that aims at identifying needs and methods to build capacity in different Wikimedia communities, and initiating specific actions to build capacities in interested communities. This project focuses on working directly with local organizers and leaders to develop a training experience that tackles a goal with skill development that will support project growth and contribution. This project is currently on hold during the FY 2020-21 year.

How to Collaborate and/Partner with Community DevelopmentEdit

The Community Development team believes that collaboration across the Foundation is integral in ensuring consistency in how volunteers are supported in the movement. We are able to provide project consultation and advisory support that focus on engaging the community in a specific process or outcome. If you are in need of facilitation support when working in partnership with community groups or committees, we can also provide support! Our team is staffed with experienced trainers, facilitators and project managers.

Core Areas of FocusEdit

  • Facilitation Planning and Support
  • Movement-focused Trainings and Development
  • Project/Process Advisory

For those looking to develop or improve upon community engagement work, our team can provide advisory support. Utilizing our in-depth understanding of Wikimedia volunteers, we can co-design effective solutions for community challenges.

How to Collaborate with UsEdit

  1. Please email
  2. Once your email is received, a Community Development team member will reach out and set up a meeting to discuss your brief, potentials methods of support and how to capacitate your request
  3. If we are able to support your project, we will then have you complete a detailed project plan which formulates expectations, RACI structures, goals, and deliverables.
  4. Once the project receives sign off from team managers, allocated Community Development staff will provide outlined support.
  5. Once the project is completed, we ask that collaborators complete a feedback form to help us improve future methods of support.
Suggested planning timeline for collaborating with our team
Complete project request brief 6+ weeks prior to your project launch date
Brief review with members from CommDev 4+ weeks prior to project launch date
Complete project plan 2+ weeks prior to project launch
Kickoff call with CommDev staff member 1+ week

Key ResourcesEdit