This session documentation was approved by the speaker.
This section on organizational effectiveness will be divided into two parts:
We took the organizational effectiveness tool. Now what do we do with the results?
The Wikimedia organizational effectiveness self-assessment tool was created to help organizations in the Wikimedia movement understand their strengths and gaps in capacity in order to achieve the best results. By now, many organizations have taken the organizational effectiveness self-assessment questionnaire, and still others may be interested in taking it. What do you do when you get the results? This first part of this session will focus on interpreting your results report.
Discussion about the future of organizational effectiveness in the Wikimedia movement
The second part of this session will focus on what we have learned in our organizational effectiveness research so far. What did we learn from the benchmarking research we did leading up to the tool's development? What might we learn from understanding the aggregate results from the first round of the tool? Was the tool worthwhile? What are future areas around organizational effectiveness that we would like to explore as a movement, and how can we work together to support these topics?
Review of findings from TCC Group questionnaire and identifying common challenges and how to address them
The session was divided into a group conversation about effectiveness including a Q&A and a specific example of how to use the organizational effectiveness tool. You can find a summary of her main talking points here as well.
Firstly, the group defined effectiveness: “Effectiveness is doing what we intend to do”. Another point we added is getting good results without putting in too many resources ("efficiency"). After that, the group identified the things organizations need to be effective:
clear roles for volunteers
effective communication (especially around roles)
clear goals (SMART)
understanding of our specific context (environmental learning)
organizational learning (e.g. evaluation)
flexibility to react to change and adapt, flexibility in roles
knowledge management to facilitate transitions and contribute to sustainability
After this, the group discussed the relationship between impact and organizational effectiveness. Winifred gave the following definitions of impact:
Impact, that is impact on society, what are longer term results of programs, changing the lives of members of society
Organizational effectiveness is about how your organization achieves it
Impact is a long-term game, and so is organizational effectiveness
She explained that improving organizational effectiveness was a continuous process, as conditions change the organization and people change as well. She added that there is a discussion around sustainable structures in transitional periods. Organisations can build sustained engagements over time, but need ways to develop volunteer leadership.
Example of how to use the tool
After this introduction to the topic, Winifred presented the results of the questionnaire among 36 affiliates (more than 100 people responded). In the questionnaire, organizations rated themselves the lowest in volunteer engagement, and the highest in mobilizing resources (includes fundraising and in-kind resources).
In a next part Winifred explained the tool, which consists of a questionnaire, results, recommendations and discussion and plans to build capacity. For using the tool Winifred indicated that it is useful to start general and to get more specific, to look for high/low scores, low scores and mismatched scores in overall categories. After that, it is useful, she said, to delve into a specific category and look for high and low scoring questions, to group the questions by theme. Finally, it is useful to scan recommendations to find some that may apply to relevant themes and start a discussion about implementing the most useful recommendations.
Winifred gave the following example for using the tool: Low overall score in volunteer engagement. Looking at individual questions, recruitment is an area we can work on. Making a recruitment plan is one recommendation that could be implemented.
In the next part, Winifred opened the stage for questions. Several questions concerned the tool itself, which she described as a tool designed to help organizations identify areas where they may want to build capacity, and to identify strengths. She added that many find the self-assessment tool (or some future version of this) useful and that there are more conversations to explore in the area of organizational effectiveness. Furthermore, the results report will need to be improved (e.g. grouping questions into themes to make the report more concise, provide top-level recommendations that organizations can use).
One participant asked if the WMF might help interpret the results, but Winifred denied, as the data is confidential. She added that the WMF does not know how a specific organisation scored; however, organizations have the option to seek 1:1 advice about how to use the results report, if they are able to share the results with the Wikimedia Foundation.
One participant asked how the questions for the tool were developed. Winifred explained that they were developed through research, the expertise of the TCC Group (consultants with expertise in self-assessment who developed the tool), including many interviews and conversations within the Wikimedia movement beforehand leading to the current questions. She added that there was a lot of room for improvement among the specific questions.
E.g., one participant raised that question why governance was defined as “optional”, as governance is not an optional issue for chapters. Winifred explained, that as well as chapters as informal groups used the tool, for that latter governance is not an issue.
Concluding, Winifred said that the whole topic is a long-term process, as organisations aren't expected to get their results reports and become more effective overnight. She said that the process takes effort and time in some cases and pointed out that low hanging fruits should be prioritised. However, she added, the issue of confidentiality should be addressed if the WMF wants to provide more direct support to use the tool, but that option is available for organisations that have the ability to share. Winifred expressed the idea of the WMF taking a role in facilitating some conversations in specific topic areas the movements want to explore further.