Organizational effectiveness/Learning center/Online contests


This is a page about a strategy included in the organizational effectiveness learning center.

Use this page as part of the organizational effectiveness tool.

Online contests with a focus on content or participationEdit

Some Wikimedia organizations use online contests as a way to encourage contributors to add or improve content on the Wikimedia projects (for example, Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons), or to attract new contributors or re-engage less active contributors. Contests often center around a theme, which may be a particular type of task or a particular topic area. Online contests are a cost-effective way to encourage contributions since they can be conducted entirely online. They can be an effective way to address content gaps that have been identified specifically, and may also be used as a tool to motivate existing contributors.

Please take another look at the section in your organization’s Organizational Effectiveness Questionnaire Report about online contests with a focus on content or participation (Question 19 in your report). This section includes a chart that may indicate specific places where you have high scores (4 or 5) or low scores (1, 2 or 3). Below, we’ve listed a few questions you may want to think about before taking a closer look at these strategies and resources.

  • Is this strategy a strength or a challenge for you? What are you good at, and what are you less good at?
  • Does everyone in your group agree on your scores for this strategy? Is there variance (differences between your scores) or consensus (everyone has about the same score)?
  • Are any of these scores unexpected? Does it seem like they accurately reflect your organization’s capacity in this area? Are there key strengths or challenges that the Questionnaire or your scores do not capture?
  • Within this strategy, are there particular strengths or challenges that your scores reveal?
  • How important is this strategy to your organization’s ability to achieve impact? Is it a key strategy for your organization, or an optional strategy?
  • Is this an area where your organization is interested in prioritizing capacity building?

Recommendations for online contestsEdit

If your organization wants to get better at online contests with a focus on content or participation, here are some concrete recommendations that may help your organization build capacity in this area. Some of these recommendations may be more or less applicable depending on your organization’s strengths and gaps in this area, and your organization's context. We realize many organizations are already using strategies like these.


Plan your contest

  • Before planning a contest, consult with core contributors on the projects you are targeting to ensure that the contest will not adversely affect the projects. An online contest may affect a large group of contributors beyond your core community of volunteers who are running the contest. *Whenever possible, engage some of these core contributors in the planning and facilitation of the contest at every stage.
  • Consider all the resources (time, money, good will, etc.) it takes to run a contest and track them during the process, so that you have a clear picture of what capacity you need to run similar activities in the future. This will also help you balance the costs of your contests with the impact you are achieving.
  • Consult the groups you are targeting for participation to find good prize ideas that will motivate your community.
  • If you will need certain information from participants in the contest to evaluate their results or distribute prizes, make sure you plan a way to get that information in advance.

Target the results you want to achieve (content and participants)

  • Choose the theme of your contest or topic strategically, to respond to needs identified on the Wikimedia projects.
  • Set clear goals around how much content you want your contest to generate (# files, # articles, # bytes, # files used or rated as quality), and measure the results of the contest.
  • Broaden your contests to bring in new volunteers to the movement by targeting content that will interest new participants, or by doing targeted outreach to people not yet participating.
  • Reach out to other networks, associations, or membership institutions which may be willing to advertise the contest to their members; consider collaborating with an outside partner and running a co-branded contest that will generate new content on Wikimedia while also benefiting the partner in other ways.
  • If your contest is targeting a wider audience, consider different barriers to participation that may affect participants. Are there things you can do to reduce those barriers to encourage more participation from more people, without disrupting work on the projects?

Be transparent

  • Write down the rules for online contests and share them publicly. These rules should include who can participate, how to participate, when people can participate, how and when results will be evaluated, and how winners will be recognized.
  • Write down clear criteria for evaluating or judging the results of the contest to determine the winners. These criteria should be designed to encourage the behaviours that will lead to your goals.
  • Consider writing down the criteria for deciding what the topic and structure of online contests

Wikimedia organizations with expertise in online contestsEdit

If your organization has expertise in online contests with a focus on content or participation, please list yourself here and briefly describe your expertise that others wanting to build capacity in this area can contact you:

  • Wikimedia UK has a range of experience as regards working with volunteers and welcomes contributions from Wikimedians further afield to our discussions
  • Please add your organization’s name here, with a description of your expertise.
  • ...

Learning patterns related to online contestsEdit

Here are some learning patterns related to this strategy. Create your own learning pattern here, if you have learning to share in this area.

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Ongoing challenges in the area of online contests with a focus on content or participationEdit

If your organization would like to share an ongoing challenge in this area, that is or is not addressed in these recommendations, please write it down here as a starting point. We can try to build resources in this area or help different Wikimedia Organizations connect to address the challenge together.

  • Please add a description of your challenges in this area here.
  • ...

Community resourcesEdit

Please add useful resources you know about, whether created by the Wikimedia movement or in another context.

  • Contests organized [[Wikipedia:Contests

|on English Wikipedia]].

Create a capacity building plan for online contests with a focus on content or participationEdit

If your organization has decided to prioritize capacity building to improve your ability to online contests with a focus on content or participation, please create a table like the one below. The steps in this table can be part of your organization’s master capacity building plan, as suggested in the User Guide.

If you would like to share your capacity building plan publicly on Meta, you can use this button to create your capacity building plan.

Coming soon!