Travel and Participation Support
The Wikimedia Participation Support program offers participation support to Wikimedia community members, i.e. volunteers contributing to Wikimedia projects such as Wikipedia or Commons, for non-Wikimedia events.
Participation support is reimbursement covering travel, accommodation and incidental expenses as necessary, in relation with participating in (as distinct from merely attending) an event or activity.
Presently, the program is a collaboration between the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland, and Wikimedia CH. Other potential funding organizations are welcome to join the program or the discussion about it. Details about this program's operation are kept in the Organizational sub-page, to keep this page clear and useful for applicants.
Current and past requests are listed in the Requests sub-page.
Current and past reports are listed in the Reports sub-page.
About this program
This program supports volunteer participation in mission-aligned events and activities. We specifically do not inquire into any applicant's financial situation when evaluating a request. Please note that unless advance disbursement of funds is specifically requested by the applicant, WMF will reimburse the applicant after the event or activity. Successful applicants will receive a "notice of award" letter prior to the event or activity.
To ensure this support reaches the people who need it most, we ask that applicants first consider alternative sources when available. (For example funding may be available through bursaries or scholarships offered by the event organizers, or from a local chapter. See the Chapter Grants Programs list for details on support offered by chapters.)
How to budget appropriately for travel costs
Successful applications will include reasonable travel costs: the cost of travel to, from, and within a particular region will be checked by travel experts during the review process. WMF uses the following guidelines:
- Meals and incidental expenses should total less than 75% of the standard U.S. General Services Administration or U.S. Department of State rates (M & IE rates, which include local transportation) for the city in which the applicant is traveling. Find the GSA list (for US cities) here and the US Department of State list (for cities outside of the US) here.
- The total cost of accommodations should also not exceed 75% of the GSA or Department of State Rates. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek more frugal accommodations when available. If the applicant's budget for accommodations exceeds the maximum amount allowed due to special circumstances, these circumstances should be made clear in the application.
Out of scope
The Participation Support Program will not fund individual participation in "Wikimedia-organized events" (defined as events organized by Wikimedia chapters, the WMF, or other Wikimedian groups). However, WMF is likely to fund participation in Wikimedia-organized events when the event organizers apply for funding through the WMF grants program. Therefore, individuals seeking funds for participation in Wikimedia-organized events should apply through the event organizers during the planning stages of the event so that the organizers can budget appropriately to cover these costs. For more information, see Guidelines on funding participation in Wikimedia-organized events.
Events with other scholarship programs
Events with other scholarships, bursaries or grants programs are generally out of scope of the Participation Support program. In some cases, however, the Participation Support Committee may fund applicants to other scholarship or grants programs whose applications had merit, but were denied by the scholarship program due to limited funds for scholarships. In such cases, an applicant's proposal may be strengthened by a recommendation from the other scholarship program.
In order for a request to be considered for Participation Support, it must meet the following eligibility criteria.
Note: Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee that your request will be funded. Each eligible request will be reviewed by the Participation Support Committee and assessed according to criteria to make a funding decision.
- Requestor must have a Username on a Wikimedia project or an endorsement from somebody with a Username.
- Requestor must be an individual or small team of up to 4 individuals participating together; organizations are not eligible.
- Request must support active participation in an event not organized by a Wikimedia group or organization.
- Request must demonstrate that participation in the event or activity is aligned with the Wikimedia Mission.
- Requestor must complete all required fields in the Participation Support Request form and must submit the form on Meta according to the instructions on this page, and engage with the program’s on-wiki review process and respond to requests for information in a timely way.
- Requestor must agree to the reporting requirements outlined on this page, and be willing to sign a Participation Support Agreement and provide WMF with information needed to process a reimbursement request if the request is approved.
- Requests support volunteer participation; participation that is tied to paid work is not eligible for funding.
Criteria for decision
Eligible requests are evaluated and a funding decision is made based on the following selection criteria. Some requests may be partially funded.
- Fit with Wikimedia’s strategic priorities: How does participation in the event help achieve strategic priorities?
- Level of participation: What kind of activities will the requestor be engaging in at the event (e.g. presentation, sprint, workshop)? What will the requestor’s participation contribute to the event?
- Potential outcomes and impact: What are the concrete outcomes that are anticipated as a result of participation in the event? What impact will participation in the event achieve for the movement?
- Investment: Are the costs of participation well balanced with respect to the potential outcomes and impact? Is the proposed budget reasonable? Has the requestor sufficiently pursued other avenues of support and funding if available?
- Contribution record: Does the requestor have a history of engaging with WM projects and communities and / or will their participation in the event enable significant future contributions?
- Support and endorsement: Does the requestor have endorsements from community members or other event participants? Have the event organizers or other event participants shown interest in the requestor’s participation in the event?
How to apply
IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING FUNDS IN ADVANCE:
If you need the money in advance for any reason, please specify that you need funds in advance in your request. Requests for advance disbursement will be considered on a case by case basis, but these requests will not in any way affect the evaluation of any applicant's request.
In the case of advance disbursement, you must comply with reporting requirements, which require that a report with receipts is submitted no later than 2 weeks after the conclusion of the event. Please also note that you must apply for advance disbursement at least 1 month prior to the start of an event to ensure that the funds will arrive on time. Even if you apply 1 month in advance, we cannot guarantee that you will receive the funds on time.
By applying here, you acknowledge that you have read and understand this notice regarding the receipt of funds in advance and that you will specifically request funds in advance in your request if they are required.
1. Make sure you and your request meet the criteria above.
2. Submit your support request by creating a page using the box below:
- Enter your username followed by a forward slash ("/"), followed by the name of the event you would like to participate in.
- Ijon/Free Culture Forum 2011
- SomeUserName/World Health Summit
3. Click the "Create new Participation Support Request" button to be directed to your new page, and follow the instructions in it for completing your request.
4. You must then save your new page, and e-mail participation at wikimedia dot org to notify the Participation Support Committee of your request. You must include your full legal name in this e-mail, though you are not required to publish it in the public support request or report.
5. If details are missing, the PSC will ask for clarifications on the Discussion page of your request (so be sure to add it to your Watchlist). If you want to get e-mail when your request's talk page is edited, be sure to check the box "E-mail me when a page or file on my watchlist is changed" under "my preferences" (it's not checked by default).
Submit your report
1. Submit your report by creating a page using the box below:
- Enter your username followed by a forward slash ("/"), followed by the name of the event you participated in, followed by "/Report".
- Ijon/Free Culture Forum 2011/Report
- SomeUserName/World Health Summit/Report
2. Click the "Create new participation report" button to be directed to your new page, and follow the instructions in it for completing your report. You will be asked to tell us how your funds were spent, and provide a link to one outcome from your participation (in the form of a learning pattern, new creation, or shared experience).
3. You must then save your new page, and Email participation at wikimedia dot org to notify the Participation Support Committee that your report is complete.
4. If details are missing, the PSC will ask for clarifications on the Discussion page of your request (so be sure to add it to your Watchlist).
- Review: Once a Participation Support application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Participation Support Committee (PSC), which generally convenes once a week. If your request has all the details the PSC needs to make a decision, your request will be approved or denied within two weeks. If more details are required, the PSC will ask questions on the Discussion page, and the decision time would depend on how quickly those details are provided.
- Notice of Award: If your request is approved, the PSC will send you an acceptance letter, to be signed and returned to the support processor as instructed in the letter. The letter may be signed by printing it, signing manually, and then scanning the signed paper and sending the image, or by digitally signing the PDF file. By signing the acceptance letter, you commit to:
- Using the funds only for the stated purpose
- Posting a public report through appropriate channels (this must include a page on Meta as a sub-page of the support request, and may include a relevant chapter or WMF blog), and notifying participation at wikimedia dot org.
- Submitting receipts and any other documentation to the support processing organization (WMF or WMDE) according to the instructions of the processing organization.
- Execution: After signing the Notice of Award, you may use the funds as outlined in your request.
- Reporting and Reimbursement:
- Submit complete receipts to the support processor according to the support processor's instructions — e.g. for flights WMF require a receipt with the electronic ticket and the boarding cards
- Submit the report as a subpage of the support request according to the instructions on this page and notify participation at wikimedia dot org.
- Submit complete bank information or other disbursement instructions to the support processor according to the instructions provided by the support processor.
- When all documentation and reporting is complete, funds will be disbursed to the support recipient by the appropriate processor according to the instructions provided.
- At the event, it would be nice if you mention that your participation was supported by the Wikimedia movement, so others learn about this program and maybe ask some follow-up questions about Wikimedia or its projects.
- If you are from a country that has a local Wikimedia chapter, that chapter would be notified and consulted. The committee does not wish to interfere with the internal affairs of local chapters. Therefore, if the local chapter voices strong objections against your proposal, it would generally not be approved, unless there's compelling evidence to suggest the request did not get a fair hearing.
- Participation support will not be disbursed in cash.