Learning patterns/How to make the most out of WMF site visits

A learning pattern forreporting
How to make the most out of WMF site visits
problemWMF has been conducting site visits as part of their due dilligence reviews over the past few years. However, apart from the formalities these visits are agreat opportunity to showcase the work of affiliates and adressing grant making challenges on both sides.
solutionThis learning pattern collects ideas and experiences which can contribute to making the most out of site visits for all stakeholders involved.
created on11:13, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
status:in progress

What problem does this solve?


WMF site visits are resouce intensive - for the WMF (travel costs, staff time) as well as the affiliates involved. But when planned carefully, they are worth the investment and can be a great opportunity to learn more about each others work and provide some first-hand insights into the local context that is often difficult to fully grasp through reports.

What is the solution?


Things to consider


A good site visit goes beyond the formalities of the financial review and includes social aspects as well as some first-hand impressions of your local programs and projects.

  • Financial review
    • This is the important formal part of the visit but does not need to take up all the available time, the better prepared you are, the more time you have to talk about the things that matter to you and make your organization unique (specifics of your community work, projects, partnerships).
    • Study the checklist beforehand and prepare all required documents and information you need from other stakeholders (board, auditors etc.).
    • Try to include experts from your staff and volunteers likewise when discussing topics relevant to the review (finances, governance, strategy etc.) with WMF representatives.
  • Community
    • The site visit is a good occasion for volunteers to meet WMF staff, especially those who usually don't attend international conferences. Try to include an informal meeting with your community (e.g. snacks and drinks at your office, meet-up in a pub). This gives WMF staff the opportunity to get to know your community and their work and the volunteers can learn more about the WMF and the international aspects of the wikiverse.
    • Invite some of your most active volunteers to showcase one or two of their current projects. This can be everything, from a Wikipedian in Residence demonstrating his work on a two hours tour through a GLAM institution to a photographer who gives a short 10 minutes presentation about his work on Commons.
    • Sometimes it is even possible to build Wikimedians in action into the schedule, e.g. a photography project or education workshop which takes place during the visit and the WMF staff is invited to get an impression on how you run projects or events in your community.
  • Partners
    • Partner institutions (GLAMs, schools, universities, public administration etc.) are also important stakeholers in your local context. Try to plan a meeting during the site visit so WMF staff can learn from those partners what makes your work so valuable for them.
    • You can also invite colleagues from partner insitutions or like-minded communities to your social gathering (see meeting the community above).
  • Communication
    • Make sure all stakeholders (WMF staff, board, volunteers, partners) get all the necessary information in a timely manner (who is expected to do what and when). Take into consideration their needs, interests, and possible limitations (e.g. volunteers are usually rather available in the evenings or weekends).
    • Brief your volunteers and partners about the purpose and goal of the site visit and which topics they are supposed to talk about. Consult them on which aspects of your work you want to highlight during the visit.
    • Evaluate which aspects of grant making are crucial for you and you organization (e.g. the latest FDC staff recommendations or ideas for improvement of the grantmaking process in general). A site visit goes both ways and is the perfect occasion for you to ask the WMF staff questions too.

When to use

  • WMF site visits (most commonly of APG grantees)



See also