Learning patterns/Involving the community in developing a chapter workplan

Involving the community in chapter workplan development
problemChapter workplans are developed by a small group and may not be representative of what is really needed
solutionInvolve the community in drawing up a workplan
created on28 March, 2014
status:in progress

What problem does this solve?


Chapter workplans are developed by a small group and may not be representative of what is really needed. How to ensure that movement resources allocated to chapters are spent in a way that optimises effectiveness. And how to ensure that a chapter workplan is realistic and can in fact be implemented

What is the solution?


This learning pattern is based on the experiences of Wikimedia Nederland in drafting the 2013 annual workplan.

The process of developing the annual plan 2013 is outlined on the WMNL Wiki. It started in June, with a brainstorming meeting for community members. The key questions during this meeting were: which activities developed by WMNL so far should be repeated, which should not be repeated, and which new activities could be developed.

The framework for this brainstorming was WMNL's Strategy 2013 - 2015. This meant that activities suggested had to contribute to the priorities of this Strategy. Community members could also get involved in the process via the Wiki.

The next step (July) was that board and office jointly went through the input received, clustered suggestions within the thematic headings of the Strategy, and checked for consistency and coverage. Suggestions that did not meet any of the strategic priorities or were deemed over-ambitious in terms of resources needed were put aside. (We worked on the assumption that the main and most reliable source of income would be the FDC grant and that we would get at most a 20% increase compared to the 2013 grant)

The result was again discussed in a meeting with community and via the Wiki. This input was used by office and Board during a two-day working session (late August) to set priorities and develop a coherent package of activities that could realistically be implemented successfully, in view of the resources (volunteer time, staff time, funding) that would be available in 2014. This involved a rough assessment of the resources needed for each activity. An almost final draft annual plan and budget for 2014 was made available for a last round of comments.

The WMNL board members and the director were present at a Wiki Saturday August 31 to answer questions. With very few amendments the draft was then put before the members of WMNL during the General Assembly on September 21.

General considerations

  • The process required substantial input of time from Board and staff, but we do feel that is has increased ownership of the annual plan in the community. It also motivated some community members to become involved in WMNL activities for the first time. The annual plan and budget were formatted in such a way that it was relatively easy to complete the FDC application.
  • The process was helped by the fact that WMNL had a three-year strategy in place. This provided a framework for suggestions and a means of assessing suggestions.

When to use


This learning pattern could also be used to develop a multi-year strategy.



See also