Wikimedia Conference 2015/Programme/36
36: What could local organizations bring to the movement?
How to move forward
- What was this session about?
Gathering ideas and input on the value of local Wikimedia organisations in five important areas.
- What are the next steps to be taken?
Each topic (world café table) is continued in different ways.
- The group of Chapter Executive Directors is working on a contextualised summary of the findings of the session that can be used as further input for the ongoing movement strategy process.
- The Volunteer Supporters Network will create a working paper on strategies for volunteer support, which they will present on a pre-conference event at the Wikimania. Reach out to them via Volunteer Supporters Network if you want to support them.
- John Andersson (Wikimedia Sweden) will coordinate the international external fundraising efforts. Please reach out to him and support him in this initiative.
- Dimitar Dimitrov (Free Knowledge Avocacy Group EU) gathers input for a possible global strategy on Advocacy efforts, as the WMF Legal Team will kick off a discussion on core policy areas at the Wikimedia. Please provide your input here Advocacy/Movement_Goals
- Who is the person to reach out to?
Different persons/groups for each topic, see them above.
If you’re interested in a topic that is not covered so far and you would like to work on it, please reach out to Cornelius, the Program and Engagement Coordinator for the Wikimedia Conference.
This session documentation was (partly) approved by the table hosts.
- Original Description
Local organizations have a special role in the network that is the Wikimedia Movement. This role is defined as linkers1. A linker in a person who actively connects to other members and fully participate in the social evolution of the network. Local organizations have that role. They actively work to create links and connections between different partners and individuals in order to enlarge and strengthen the Wikimedia movement and to serve the Wikimedia mission. The local organizations gain their roles as linkers because they have grown out from the Wikipedians communities.
This special role of local organizations makes them valuable for the Wikimedia movement. Proposed session is a discussion about existing and possible value propositions of local organizations in the movement in the form of the world café, where every table is concentrating on a specific field, where local organizations add value to the movement.
Community support - Local organizations have grown and are growing out of local Wikimedia communities. They are set up by active volunteers who are developing activities together, in support of their work as volunteers on the Wikimedia projects. Local organizations are supporting local communities by enabling and encouraging the formation of a local community, initiating gatherings, administration supporting, facilitating community activities, providing technical and legal aid and equipment, connecting between volunteers and institutions and much more.
Diversity - Local organizations have the capacity to support expansion and diversification of volunteer communities. This capacity is achieved by reach and credibility of organizations, usually not available to individuals. Local organizations are increasing volunteer numbers and diversity with outreach activities, including but not limited to public edit-a-thons, workshops, competitions and promotional campaigns. In some countries education programs are doing excellent work in increasing the reach of Wikimedia projects.
Fundraising - Local organizations are able to increase the amount of financial resources invested into Wikimedia movement, supporting both local and global Wikimedia activities. Local organizations communicate with local institutional and governmental partners, private sector actors and individuals to ensure their financial support to on- and offline Wikimedia projects. Also legislature of some countries is profitable for local NGO’s.
Partnerships - Local organizations have the capacity to build, develop and support local partnerships with local cultural and knowledge institutions, as well as government. Being an organized local representative of the movement creates possibilities not accessible to individuals, nor for global organization. Local organizations provide a point of access for the outside world and the growing number of external partners keen to contribute to the Wikimedia mission. Created partnerships expand Wikimedia projects with vast quality content, appreciated by community members, as well as readers in general.
Advocacy - Having the legislative expertise and established communication with governing bodies, local organizations are the leading advocates in the realm of open knowledge in the Wikimedia Movement. Local organizations are working at the local, national and regional levels, initiating policy changes needed to achieve movement goals and blocking initiatives that are threatening the advancement of free knowledge.
1 Kumar, R., Novak, J., & Tomkins, A. (2006). Structure and evolution of online social networks. Proceedings of 12th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery in Data Mining (pp. 611–617). New York: ACM Press.
- Desired Outcome
- Get a clearer understanding of how local organisations provide an added value to the movement and how this could be further improved in future.
- All conference participants
- Session Format
- World café with 5 tables; 120 min in total
- Table hosts
- Sandra Rientjes (WM NL), Claudia Garád (WM AT), Raimund Liebert (WM AT), Anna Torres Adell (WM AR), Anne-Laure Prévost (WM FR), Ginevra Sanvitale (WM IT), Nicola Zeuner (WM DE)), Jan Ainali (WM SE), Kaarel Vaidla (WM EE), Ivana Madžarević (WM RS), Anna Koval (WMF), Itzik Edri (WM IL) and Dimitar Dimitrov (FKAGEU).
- Summary of the session
The table on community support, led by Raimund Liebert and Claudia Garád, discussed good practices and gathered ideas on how local organisations can support new and existing volunteers.
What good practices do we have?
- Chapter as linkers
- reach out to like-minded communities and partner organisations
- bringing different language communities in one country together
- Competitions, photographer meetings, editing competitions to involve volunteers
- Fundings / grants, minigrants, travel grants, etc.
- Reducing the bureaucratic workload for volunteers
- Reaching out to media + public about the volunteers’ work
- “Official recognition” for CVs, etc. Signed agreements
- Appreciation of volunteer work (presents, making the work visible, etc.)
- Skill transfer to local groups (especially in big countries)
Possible USP’s for local organizations in terms of volunteer support
- Understanding for the local and cultural context in which volunteers operate
- No language barriers (linker to the WMF and wider movement)
- Building sustainable and reliable structures for volunteers and partner organizations
- One face to the customer (=volunteer)
Where do we need to get better?
- Preventing volunteer burnout (being more rigorous towards “too active” volunteers)
- Systematic understanding of volunteer careers (what are the specific needs in the various stages of involvement in our movement?)
- Welcoming culture: getting newbies started offline & online
- Learning from other volunteer organizations
- Preventing tension between paid staff and volunteers
The table on diversity, led by Anna Koval and Ivana Madžarević, discussed and gathered ideas on how local organisations are increasing and could further increase the movement’s diversity and of its projects. In five rounds participants gathered more than 100 ideas on this topics.
Minorities / under-represented groups
- Women are hugely under-represented in the Wikimedia projects. Ideas on how to change that:
- Collaborate with feminist organisations, magazines, communities, groups; like domestic violence groups, SheSharp
- Use International Women’s Day as a highlighter
- Do video campaigns featuring women contributors
- Seniors (older people) are hugely under-represented as well. Ideas on how to change that:
- Get seniors to simply review content quality (not necessarily edit, if not techie)
- Seniors have generally spare time, as they’re retired. Use their time!
- Get grandparents and grandchildren to edit together
- Linguistic and/or ethnic minorities are also under-represented. Minority organisations have huge interested in spreading (and saving) their information. Partner with them, organise edit-a-thons, use their information.
Partner with thematic / academic organisations / institutions
- Many organisations have a (legitimate) interested in having their information or at least their area represented in the Wikimedia projects. Partner with them to attract new people to edit those fields. Partner institutions/groups/organisations can be:
- Feminist organisations (see above), minority organisations (see above), LGBT groups, human right groups, other NGOs
- Libraries and archives (classic GLAM institutions); use Wikisource as a target project!
- International Cultural Centres (British Council, Institut français, Goethe-Institut, etc.)
- Partner with hospitals, so you can mentoring patients and use their spare time to edit Wikimedia projects
- If you have the funds (or the possibilities/capacities to apply), give small grants to organisations to digitize their content under free licenses
- Thematic Wikimedia organizations or user groups
Organise offline events
Generally, offline events much more effective in terms of editor retentions, as you create easily a welcoming atmosphere. Ideas on this were e.g.:
- Newbie cafés / Boot Camps, where people can ask whatever they want and you can mentor them
- You can create “WikiClubs” at schools / universities, where volunteers can teach / mentor other interested people decentrally
- Generally, edit-a-thons seem to have some kind of impact and many affiliates organise thematic edit-a-thons (together with thematic organisations/institutions, e.g.)
Use technical tools
You should not only see the social side of increasing diversity, but also the technical site. Some ideas on this were
- Use the Wikidata Games (like the Wikidata Gender Game) to attract people to Wikidata
- Facilitate translations, e.g. by using and explaining the WMF’s content translation tool
- Develop a VisualEditor training programme or event to lower technical barriers for entry
- Use Kiwix for offline engagement
Some participants mentioned also ideas on increasing diversity on-wiki, e.g.:
- Reconsider Wikipedia:No original research (WP:NOR) to include oral histories
- Create systems for handling / reporting harassment and referring people that experience harassment to experts (not other community members, because mediating harassment is as significant emotional burden).
In your organisation
Increasing diversity starts at your own organisation, many people reported.
- Diversify your board (and your staff), so volunteers can identify themselves
- Decentralise your work, so people have shorter ways to go and feel more attracted to your work
The table on fundraising, led by Jan Ainali, Nikki Zeuner and Kaarel Vaidla, discussed and gathered ideas on how local organisations are doing (external) fundraising and how to improve/increase that. In five rounds participants gathered more than 100 ideas on this topics.
- There are different kind of resources to get funds for, think about time/money, but also in-kind donations and sponsorings (but don’t forget the chapter & grant agreements)
- Professionalise yourself
- Let the right people work on fundraising (so not to burn volunteers)
- Getting the local official status for a charity
- Refining the pitch. Clarify organisations’ identity, mission and vision
- Long list of emails for people to ask for donations and email campaigns
- Save all communication / written contracts
- Careful management of corporate partnerships
- Fundraising events
- Pick-up the phone for donors
- Diversify your funds, don’t be dependent from only one donour
- Know your environment you’re working in:
- Take local mentalities into consideration (i.e. local is important)
- Explore & exploit local tax system
- Changing tax system through advocacy
- Use the advantages and strengths of the movement to raise funds
- Write Grant Proposals in public the wiki-way like (think of licensing)
- Collaboration with similar organisations
- Crowd-funding for projects
- International collaboration and thematic organisations/chapters/user groups
- Think also about:
- the question of who to accept donations from (i.e.g morally “weak” donors)
- Donation boxes: getting the message out or getting big dollars?
- Organisational memberships (take care of local law)
The world café table on Partnerships was led by Anne-Laure Prévost and Ginevra Sanvitale.
1. What are we good at / what do local organisations bring to partnerships?
- credibility → by being able to set constraints
- diversification (resources, topics, editors)
- global partners for replication
- transform organisations, transfer skills → create new ambassadors
- analysis, think strategically!
- Window for the wiki world and its functioning
- get a bigger amount of material
- Higher level of seriousness and credibility
- Ability to lobby for changing existing regulations, e.g. grants in Indonesia
- Pedagogy around Wikimedia projects
- Be an alternative to creating new platforms (outreach!)
- Possibility to have the help of partners (financial and logistic resources)
- “Glocal” partnerships = best advantage
- Providing means to institutions which don’t have money
- Main curator of museum in Finland joined the board → have experts on the board
- Local organisations can help weigh risks vs. benefits
2. What do we lack?
- tools do we have to manage partnerships? (contract, evaluation,...)
- a narrative around “digital commons”
- Looking for indirect impact as well, e.g. democracy in USA
- Increase communication between strategy + field to reduce tensions and have more aligned actors
3. Key success factors for successful or impactful partnerships / key criteria for selection
- Be clear about what you expect and require from the partner
- Reach for higher impact
- Assess the innovation level (within the partner organization and for the movement)
- Focus on the content we receive to make sure we receive it
- Define your target = what do you aim for?
- Involve global partners to be able to replicated / scale projects in other countries (e.g. Women in Science)
- Benchmark other local partnerships to reinforce your own
- take care! = visions and wished not always aligned between Wikimedia organisations and partners (not the same agendas)
4. Next big challenges around partnerships?
- How do we prioritize? (see dedicated section)
- Ensure partnerships sustainability (see dedicated section)
- Who will be the next partners? (see dedicated section)
- See Wikimedia organisations as partners
- Define, acknowledge and assess the variety of impacts brought by partnerships (e.g. partners can act as door openers (vs. content donations)
5. How do we prioritize?
- Assess the partner’s readiness to work with Wikimedia
- (co)-Define a proper strategy
- Have volunteers willing to work
- does the partnership target a specific audience?
- Do a content gap analysis (ex: black history; activism; etc.)
6. How to ensure partnership sustainability?
- Mandatory awareness sessions prior to confirming a partnership
- Look for an ambassador in the partner organisation
- Partnerships agreements are a way to look at every single detail to make the most out of a partnership
7. Who will be the next partners after GLAM and Education?
- professional organisations / subject-oriented experts, e.g. architects
- publishers, eg. WP Library
- Thematic institutions (e.g. Medicine)
- Research institutions for WMScience (Education + GLAM components)
- FOSS organisations / Sharing staff of another FOSS organisation
- Advocacy partners (e.g. Amnesty) fighting for rights (→ learning → sharing networks)
- Lever for regional cooperation (=another type of partnership!)
- IT Organisations
- Tourism organisations
- Open Source Communities → OSM / OKF / CC → help them structure
- Entrepreneurs + Co-working spaces = good dynamics
- next partners? Social innovation / collaborative economy / community have the same ideology and are already aggregated communities
- Public media (new partner?)
Next steps for this groundwork
Identify in our local organizations a working group / taskforce around “partnerships” who would be willing to address the following objectives.
Objective 1: Share what already exists at movement level
- Gather/assess among local orgs what tools already exist to select, formalize, follow-up and assess partnerships
- out of this, select the most relevant tools and have them challenged by external organisations?
Deliverable = partnership process & toolbox
Objective 2: Identify the variety of impacts brought by partnerships and what impacts we should prioritize (short term & long term?)
- Survey to be sent to partnerships managers in local organizations
- Write a white paper around the various levels of impacts
- Interact with Kourosh Karimkhany, new Vice-President of partnerships at WMF to share around priorities
Deliverable = strategic recommendations around partnerships approach
Dimitar (Dimi) Dimitrov and Itzik Edri led the table gathering the advocacy topics Wikimedia organisations are working on. In five rounds Dimi drew a "map" on Wikimedia advocacy efforts.
Dimi took the efforts mapped in this drawing for the recently initiated brainstorming on Advocacy/Movement Goals about how a global movement strategy on advocacy efforts could look like.