Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Community Fund/Recommendations/Public Policy Advocacy Projects

The Wikimedia Foundation Global Advocacy team created these tips based on lessons they have learned through their support and feedback from Wikimedia communities.

Public Policy Advocacy


The Wikimedia Community Fund - General Support Fund now also covers grant applications that include funding requests for public policy advocacy activities. This is in response to feedback from community members who have requested an easier way to receive financial support to cover public policy initiatives. We hope that this adjustment will support movement members who wish to protect and promote free knowledge.

Process: Same as usual. We are experimenting by building on the existing General Support Fund application process. In the application form, there is a question asking about the categories of planned programs or activities. Please select "Public policy advocacy" and follow instructions by completing a few additional questions. You can expect to follow the same process as usual, although the Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Advocacy team will help Program Officers review applications that include public policy advocacy initiatives. The team will check that the activities outlined in the grant application comply with applicable law that the Foundation is subject to. The team may also follow-up directly with the applicant to learn more about their planned activities.

You must have clear answers to the following questions:

  1. What specific laws, or legislative topics, are you targeting with your advocacy plans? Please be as specific as possible.
  2. What are the main methods and tactics via which you plan to advocate for this public policy change? Please be as specific as possible. (Ex: meetings with government officials; engaging the general public through open letters, calls to contact their representatives, or sign petitions; work with allies and coalitions to plan campaigns).
  3. Approximately how much of the requested budget will you dedicate to public policy advocacy (local currency)?

Public policy advocacy work that we wish to fund


Public policy advocacy refers to any work to shape a legal environment (including national and international law), trade agreements, human rights frameworks, and other regulations and norms set by governments and lawmakers. The target of this work should be to influence legal and regulatory environments. The nature of the work should be a longer-term effort to affect legislation, not a one-off advocacy action. If the end-goal is to influence the regulatory ecosystem in which our movement exists, then it counts as public policy advocacy. Public policy advocacy does not include initiatives to alter the policies of a GLAM institution, like the copyright licensing policies of a Museum. Public policy advocacy actions will always look different from each other as they are highly context dependent.

If you wish to brainstorm an idea, ask questions, or receive more guidance from our team, please contact Ziski Putz (fputz[AT], Senior Movement Advocacy Manager at the Foundation. You can also email the team: globaladvocacy[AT]

Your planned public policy advocacy work should include some of the following:

  • A goal to promote laws and norms that advance free knowledge
  • Work on legislation that falls into one of these priority issue areas: Copyright; Intermediary Liability; Privacy/Anti-Surveillance; Freedom of Expression; Anti-Disinformation; Human Rights
  • Contact with government officials or policymakers at the local, national, regional or international level with the intention to educate them about Wikimedia’s model of community-governance and our positive vision for the Internet
  • Engagement with topics such as digital rights, access to information, internet governance, human rights online, content moderation, or online safety

Avoid this common mistake: What is the difference between 'public policy advocacy' and 'advocacy'?


Many applications are not funded because they confuse "advocacy" and "public policy advocacy." Advocacy initiatives are important, but these are not the same. Please take care to read the definitions and make sure your proposed work can be defined as "public policy advocacy."

Definitions of the difference between 'public policy advocacy' and 'advocacy', 2024
  • Public policy advocacy is the work to shape a legal environment, including national and international law, trade agreements, human rights frameworks, and other regulations and norms set by governments and lawmakers. If the end-goal is to influence the regulatory ecosystem in which our movement exists, then it counts as public policy advocacy.
  • Advocacy is more general. It refers to any action to support or change policies on a given topic. That topic could range from salary equity to sustainability standards. Likewise, the target policies can be of any institution, whether those of a GLAM institution or codes of conduct on a given website. Advocacy can encompass many tactics, from protesting on the street to sharing infographics on social media or hosting a webinar. General advocacy activities do not target specific legislative changes.

Examples of what public policy advocacy actions can look like:


We are interested in supporting sustained, comprehensive public policy advocacy efforts that aim to affect specific legislative changes. We are committed to working with and supporting movement members who wish to influence the regulatory environment in a way that will promote free knowledge ( 6.2 of the Chapter Agreement still applies).

The actions outlined below are examples of individual elements that could be included in such an initiative, but individually these may not be enough for a grant. While sharing infographics on social media for hosting a webinar are not sufficient on their own, they may be elements of a public policy advocacy effort if they are meant to draw attention to an initiative that aims to alter the regulatory environment to promote and protect the Wikimedia movement.

If you are not sure whether your idea qualifies, or if you wish to receive more guidance, contact Ziski Putz (fputz[AT], Senior Movement Advocacy Manager at the Foundation.

Examples of what we do not consider public policy advocacy work:

  • Campaigning to change the open license policies of a gallery, library, museum, archive, or an educational institution.
  • Working with a political organization to digitize and upload content from their collections.
  • Working with educational institutions to promote the use of Wikimedia projects in the classroom.
  • Creating educational resources such as a video, webinar, infographic or booklet that explain Creative Commons licenses and relevant copyright laws.
  • Advocating for changes to the code of conduct policies of a website or institution.
  • Partnering with other organizations that are working to promote indigenous language or culture & heritage.

Examples of metrics you may want to monitor:

  • Policy change: when advocacy work results in public policy change
  • Participation at external conferences where you represent Wikimedia’s perspective on internet regulation
  • Invitations to speak at external (non-Wikimedia) public policy discussions such as conferences, workshops, or roundtables
  • Interviews with or quotes in major media outlets about Wikimedia’s position on internet regulation topics
  • Number of responses to public consultations on public policy issues
  • Number of strategic partnerships that contribute to public policy actions that will promote or protect free knowledge (could be based on: # of agreements or joints actions carried out)

Additional Resources


You can learn more about the policy priorities that the Foundation has identified as essential to promote the people, values and model of the free knowledge movement in the "About" section of the Global Advocacy team's Meta-Wiki page. Examples of the type of public policy advocacy work that the Foundation and Affiliates pursue in order to promote and protect these policy priorities can be found on the same page, under the "Work with us" tab. Our FAQ provides even more examples.

Not sure if your initiative counts as public policy advocacy? Send us an email: globaladvocacy[AT]

Eligibility Requirements


In order for a proposal to be reviewed, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and other requirements set out for all General Support Fund (Wikimedia Community Fund) applicants. For further information, see the Wikimedia Foundation's eligibility requirements by grantee type.