Wikimedia México/Analysis and recommendations for Institutional Strengthening




Personal interviews were conducted with different members of the movement: current board members, volunteers and a founding partner, to hear their perspective on the strengths and areas for improvement of the chapter on institutional issues.

The main analysis axes were guidance and strategic direction, planning and management of resources and human talent and the governing body of the organization.

As a result of the compilation and analysis of information shared by the collaborators, the following recommendations emerge, segmented into the following items for a better understanding:

A. Organizational identity

B. Strategic direction

C. Human talent - organizational climate

D. Financial - material resources

E. Governance and governing body


A. Organizational identity edit

1) Mission: Create a space for reflection to reassess and update the organizational mission. The purpose of the mission is to give identity to the organization, reflects its ideals, orient the actions and decisions and inspire and motivate the team.

2) Vision: It is important that most collaborators are aware of the dependency relationship that exists between the global vision of Wikimedia and the vision of the Mexico chapter to understand the long-term movement strategy and how it will land regionally, as well as it will support strengthen the sense of belonging.

3) History and principles: History and organizational principles underpin, motivate and framing the work of the collaborators. In an organization with volunteer collaborators, such as Wikimedia Mexico, it is essential to have clarity about principles and institutional values because it is the basis for maintaining honest, solid and permanent links.

My recommendation is to formalize and periodically communicate Wikimedia history movement and the creation of the Mexico chapter, in addition to generating a reflection to identify what the organizational values are and how we understand and apply each one.

B. Strategic direction edit

1) Institutional objectives: Review and update the institutional objectives so that they are consistent with the aspirations of the chapter. It must be taken into account that the objectives should consider long-term, from 10 to 30 years, since their fulfillment will contribute to the mission and institutional vision.

General objectives are an excellent guide to clarify thematic axes and later the programs and activities.  

A general rule to consider is to adopt no more than five central objectives to not overload institutional capacities.  

2) Strategic planning: To carry out a strategic planning with scope of 3 to 5 years and periodic reviews, where institutional objectives, axes of action, programs, goals and activities are discussed and defined.  

It is also important to establish the relationship of activities and the estimated time they will take over, indicators of success, resources needed for each activity and stakeholders.

Conducting a strategic planning exercise will help Wikimedia to think collaboratively about strategy and the organization approach, to set objectives consistent with its maturity and resources, and to improve workloads distributions. Additionally it is a useful tool for progress monitoring and organizational learning, and allowing us to apply changes to improve the organization's effectiveness and impact.

C. Human talent - organizational climate edit

1) Talent management  

1.1) A human capital plan aligned with the needs mapped in strategic planning will be necessary. The activities necessary for the fulfilment of our programmatic goals will be the basis for our collaborator planning.

My recommendation is to write job descriptions that specify skills, knowledge and responsibilities that the staff will have to perform. This helps with recruitment, induction process and evaluation and feedback of our volunteers.

Planning responsible for activity and/or program will help less developed thematic axes to be strengthened, adding that if people know clearly what Wikimedia expect of them, the team become more proactive and assertive, favourable factors for a better distribution of workloads.

Although the work is unpaid, it is important that board members specifically knows what their role is within Wikimedia and that they are encouraged to take ownership of this. Based on the information gathered, the board members also want to be clearer about the responsibilities they acquired according to their position.

1.2) A strategy to balance workloads is the strengthening of second leadership layers. This can be achieved by involving more people in activities according to their experience or interest, and with mentoring by more experienced team members.

Strengthen second leadership layers, in addition to helping to prevent saturations, motivates the team, creates new voices, promotes the organization renewal with new points of view, widens the movement scope and democratizes decision-making, among other things.

1.3) Since totality of Wikimedia members are volunteers, non-economic rewards are more important, such as recognition and gratitude for the time and effort they devote to the movement.

It is necessary to know what are collaborators motivations that have made them joining and remaining at Wikimedia and respond to needs according to the possibilities of the organization.

2) Work relations: The pace of work Wikimedia demand in this stage of growth and institutionalization requires more formal work relationships and economic retribution.

It will be opportune to hire an Executive Director who is in charge of directing and following up programs and creating and maintaining working links. Furthermore an Event Logistics Manager who can also serve as a volunteer coordinator.

3) Organizational climate: The organization has friendly relationships of trust and respect. There is also a strong sense of belonging and pride for the movement and chapter work done.  

Some measures that can be implemented to improve it are: to have face-to-face meetings more frequently and to periodically interview collaborators to take into account their needs and recommendations.

Improving the distribution of tasks will also help to increase levels of satisfaction because it gives a message of trust in the work of the other and horizontality, values that I can see are valuable for the organization.

D. Financial - material resources edit

1) Financial controls: Wikimedia needs a person responsible for the management and financial controls, for instance: the preparation of the budget, the record of expenses and the filing of receipts and the petty cash handling and maintaining.  

It is also necessary that this person maintain the information flow with the accountant and check that the taxes and accounting obligations are accomplished on time.

In the medium term Wikimedia will have to elaborate policies and procedures to have a better control and predictability in the financial and administrative area, for example: reimbursement, petty cash management, receipts of income and expenses, travel expenses policies, etc.

2) Material resources: In accordance with the interest of integrating staff to the team, it will be useful to have an office that promotes communication, project management, teamwork and an well-being environment that positively affects the spirit and therefore the work performance of the team.

E. Governance and governing body edit

1) Structure of the governing body: With the integration of paid operational personnel at Wikimedia, the role and hierarchy of the Governing Board will have to be reconsidered.

Usually the Board is responsible for appointing the Executive Director, they also has the power to revoke him from his position and replace him, so if you decide the Executive Director as part of the board, it will be best to keep him away from that decision.  

Due to the workload, I see that the Governing Board will continue having an active role in the development of projects and activities. In the medium term, I recommend having an Advisory Board that fulfils a guidance role on the direction, that serve as a counterweight and to whom periodically accountable.  

Another advantage of having an Advisory Board is that its responsibilities include helping to prevent and manage institutional crises, ensure stability in times of transition and provide legitimacy to third parties.  

2) The Constitutive Act contains a good conceptual framework for policies and procedures development on institutional governance subject, such as: admission policy, dismissal and suspension of members, Governing Board election process and Board responsibilities and powers policy.  

It will be necessary to review what the statute establish and decide if the information is still useful and valid for the interests and management of the organization. In addition, I recommend developing a conflict of interest policy, a code of conduct and a non-harassment policy.

Mexico 28.01.2019