Increase the Sustainability of Our Movement
We will increase the sustainability of our Movement by supporting and investing in people’s needs, whether newcomers or long-time contributors. We will adopt more robust, long-term, and equitable approaches towards generating and distributing financial resources among different stakeholders in our Movement.
A brief video recording about this recommendation
While curating, editing and contributing content are the most important activities of our Movement, we know that there are other significant contributions to move us towards knowledge equity and knowledge as a service. These include public policy and advocacy, capacity building, outreach, research, organizing, and fundraising. For the growth and sustainability of our Movement, these activities need to be better recognized and sometimes compensated in certain contexts.
Consistent with Movement ethos and practice, editing will not be compensated, and revenue streams that interfere with the editorial independence of the content will not be pursued. We will empower and support local groups and emerging communities and organizations to tap into existing and new ways of acquiring funds and forging partnerships. While we grow and become more sustainable as a Movement, we will also align our practices to support the environmental sustainability of our planet.
Changes and Actions
- Develop a systematic approach to improve the satisfaction and productivity of people engaged in the Movement by:
- Assessing the needs of groups and volunteers, taking into account their local contexts for effective support and recognition of efforts.
- Continuously engaging and supporting publicly diverse types of online and offline contributors.
- Dedicate a significantly larger amount of Movement funding to support emerging and marginalized communities and groups based on their needs, including reimbursement for staffing, operational costs, and other activities not directly related to adding, curating or editing content.
- Increase awareness about the Wikimedia Movement, its values, achievements, projects, and communities worldwide – to secure the attention, trust, and interest of knowledge consumers, volunteers, partners, and donors.
- Create a policy applying to all Movement entities to outline rules for revenue generation and to define what may be adapted to local context and needs. This policy will balance sustainability, our mission and values, and financial independence. In accordance with this policy, we will:
- Distribute the responsibility of revenue generation across Movement entities and develop local fundraising skills to increase sustainability.
- Increase revenue and diversify revenue streams across the Movement, while ensuring funds are raised and spent in a transparent and accountable manner.
- Explore new opportunities for both revenue generation and free knowledge dissemination through partnerships and earned income. Possible examples include:
- Building enterprise-level APIs (with high standards of availability, throughput, and usability).
- Engage partners in the development wherever appropriate, incorporating the needs of a spectrum of small, non-commercial, and larger commercial reusers.
- Explore fees or sustainability models for enterprise-scale commercial reusers, taking care to avoid revenue dependencies or other undue external influence in product design and development.
- Develop appropriate safeguards to ensure continued free, unrestricted access for non-commercial, research, and small to moderate commercial use.
- Active engagement of third party ecosystems in the development of MediaWiki technologies (e.g. Wikibase and Parsoid).
- Providing professional and consultancy services concerning MediaWiki technologies.
- Creating merchandising and making use of the Wikimedia brand.
In our current setting, the vast majority of funds and staff are located in the Global North, causing an inequitable distribution of resources. To create the space for sustainable growth and resilience in our Movement, we need to take a more proactive approach in reaching out to those who are not yet represented in our communities. This also needs to be balanced by better means of valuing the contributions of those who are already in the Movement, or we may risk losing memory, momentum, capacity, and people because of burnout and turnover.
Our future is dependent on a healthy, diverse, and collaborative environment and on a continual inflow of contributors. However, we lack mechanisms to assure resources and capacities (e.g. money, partners, facilities) are available equitably across the Movement. We also lack mechanisms to recognize and enable on- and offline contributions for all participants. Increasing contributor recruitment and retention depend on improving procedures, processes, and frameworks to meet and support varied needs.
The ambition of our strategic direction will require an increase in revenue for our Movement beyond the current incremental growth. The current model, heavily dependent on Wikipedia banner donations, lacks resilience against external changes and might become less effective with future technology and knowledge consumption trends. One example of such a shift would be decreased direct traffic and increased access through virtual assistants and search engines. We are missing the potential that comes with a diversified global approach, technological advances, and various revenue possibilities related to the use of our platform and product. With almost all revenue streams passing through few Movement organizations, there are missed opportunities and continuation of inequity.