Campaigns/Organizer Lab

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"Draft logo for Wikimedia Foundation Organizer Lab"

Content campaigns (and the organizers who facilitate them) help build capacity, connection, and impact across the Wikimedia Movement, addressing key knowledge gaps and growing the movement's visibility and relevance. However, we rely on a very small group of people (usually self-taught) to organize these campaigns. The Organizer Lab (beta) is a 9-week online training course designed by the Wikimedia Foundation to hone the skills organizers need to run consistent, high-impact campaigns that invite new contributors, partners, and supporters to the movement.

Responding to the Movement Strategy recommendations Identify Topics for Impact and Invest in Skills & Leadership Development, the Organizer Lab builds on years of study of campaign organizing practices across the movement, and taps into the widespread energy around the #WikiForHumanRights campaign and its focus on the Right to a Healthy Environment. For its first iteration in 2022-23, the Lab will focus on the climate and sustainability topic area, but will expand to cover other "topics for impact" in the future.

For more background on why we created the Organizer Lab, we recommend the 3-part Organizers Perspective blog series on Wikimedia's Diff blog, as well as the 2019 Movement Organizers research study. You can also consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

What can I expect from the Lab?

By the end of this program, successful participants will understand how to design Topics for Impact campaigns and other programs targeted at climate and sustainability knowledge gaps. The format will also help organizers build connections campaign runners around the world. Organizers who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion and an opportunity to apply to a special grant fund supporting Topics for Impact projects that support regional and international campaigns or create new campaigns during 2023.

Learn

Learn how to design successful campaigns addressing climate change and sustainability-related knowledge gaps.

Connect

Join a network of peers interested in organizing around climate and sustainability topics.

Develop a project

Receive mentorship and support to develop a new project proposal.

Get Resources & Support

Apply for funding and enjoy ongoing mentorship and peer learning.

Organize!

Situate your project/event in global and regional campaigns in 2023.

Who can apply?

Since this is the first cohort of the course, we are seeking to create a diverse group that includes organizers from all parts of the Wikimedia movement, especially in the Global South, to better understand the effectiveness of the course. With that in mind: the cohort will have a mix of different levels of movement experience, and be representative of the different parts of the movement. We are planning for a cohort of approximately 30 people.

Good candidates for the course will:

  • Have some Wikimedia organizing experience, including running events or campaigns within their own communities.
  • An interest in topics related to climate change and sustainability
  • A desire to organize strategic campaigns within the movement, that fill key knowledge gaps around climate change and sustainability
  • Be comfortable learning from content presented in English (see me more below in the FAQ: Is the Course in English?)

We expect more qualified applicants than available seats for participants in the course, so not everyone who applies and is qualified will be able to participate.

Apply

Apply to join the first cohort of the course!

Important dates

  • 22 September to 11 October 2022 - Call for applications opened
  • Until 21 October 2022 - Application review period
  • Until 30 October 2022 - Cohort notifications and onboarding
  • 31 October 2022 - Launch of course

FAQ

What exactly is the Organizer lab? (click to expand or collapse)
The Lab is a training similar to the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom Train the Trainer or Education Greenhouse: programs designed to help organizers develop in full effective projects for their local Wikimedia communities. At the end of the course, participants will have met other organizers with similar interests, learn about different kinds of campaigns and topics for impact activities throughout the movement, and develop their own project to propose as part of a specialized grant program.

The Lab is a beta project and being built based on input from organizers across the movement, and will leverage early tools being developed by the Campaigns Product team. We would like to learn with you. We welcome ideas for collaboration and knowledge exchange from affiliates, groups, and allies around the movement (for example, we are already in close dialog with Wikimedians for Sustainable Development). Please reach out to campaigns@wikimedia.org. We would love to hear from you. :)

How many people will be in the first cohort? How will they be selected? (click to expand or collapse)
We are planning on accepting approximately 30 participants in the first cohort. The goal of the cohort is to have a mix of participants with different levels of experience, geographies and communities throughout the movement. We expect more qualified applicants to apply than we have seats for participants in the course, so not everyone who applies and is qualified will be able to participate.

We expect to run future cycles of the training, and will encourage participants who aren't selected for the first cohort to participate in other campaign and training opportunities, such as the #WikiForHumanRights/Earth Day Campaign in April/May and other trainings on WikiLearn.

What is the format of the training? (click to expand or collapse)
The first iteration of the course will be a mix of online learning, small practical assignments and live meetings from the end of October until December 2022. Each week organizers will work on activities that help them develop a plan or project that could address a knowledge gap around key topics related to Climate change or Sustainability.

At the end of the program, participants will have the key components of a grant proposal that they can apply to targeted funding for participants in the course.

Will the course be in English? (click to expand or collapse)
Because this is the first iteration of the course, we are primarily offering the content of the course in English-- we expect the content to be changing in response to feedback from participants as we offer the course. The written course content, and the materials used for learning will be published in international English on WikiLearn, and should be accessible using machine translation.

For live sessions, if participants request live translation we can provide it in select languages. The application form includes questions that can help you communicate how confident your English skills are and if you need live translation support for the live sessions.

Written assignments for the course can be submitted in any language.

Why an organizer lab? (click to expand or collapse)
We want the organizer lab to help the next generation of topics for impact organizers to confidently design new campaigns and programs within the movement. Campaigns like Art+Feminism and Wiki Loves Monuments help Wikimedia communities meet new contributors and run their first events -- community is often formed by running events for international campaigns. However, there is a central challenge for new international campaigns: often only the most experienced organizers are able to form them -- it requires both deep knowledge of Wikimedia communities and skills important to campaign more generally outside the Wikimedia movement.

Our team and the grants team have observed a consistent need for support designing and running campaigns. Though we have been able to mentor campaigns like WPWP and WikiVibrance, that kind of support doesn’t scale: if we are to achieve Movement strategy goals, communities around the world need to be able to run campaigns that address Topics for Impact. By taking what we learned from mentoring, to the Wiki Learn platform we will be able to share what we have learned with more of the community. .

We are also designing the course based on several other indicators beyond our team's work: the Movement Organizers research and other research we have been doing as part of the Campaign Product process, have emphasized how hard it is for new organizers to understand how to get more involved in the movement. Additionally, recent grant reports point to capacity building needs for organizer training and platforms like Let's Connect emphasize missing skills related to campaign and event design .

Based on our team’s experience working with GLAM and Education teams, as well as organizing campaigns like #1lib1ref and #WikiForHumanRights, we know that organizer communities form best around shared global themes. The success of Gender Gap campaigns for example, has created a community of practice that is innovating around new events and campaign types on a regular basis. With that in mind we are focusing this first cohort on topics for impact related to sustainability and climate change. We have been observing the growing interest in sustainability and climate change both within Wikimedia Communities and within the world (learn more in the Organizer’s Perspective to Growing the Movement), and want to make sure that the Wikimedia movement is ready to support the public need for this knowledge.

Why are we starting with the theme of sustainability? (click to expand or collapse)
Through the #WikiForHumanRights campaign and observations of trends both within and outside the Wikimedia movement, we have identified climate change and sustainability as the Topic for Impact in focus for the Beta course. The theme has broad interest globally, with high potential for organizing because of strong activist and youth movements around the world, and a particular interest from communities in the global south.

Signals from within the movement include growing participation in the Wikimedians for Sustainable Development User Group and the Movement Strategy Prioritization of Sustainability as a Topic for Impact.

To learn more about the broader impact signals we are seeing globally, read this post on diff.

What skills will you learn? (click to expand or collapse)
During the course, we want to walk you through the main things that a campaign needs in terms of steps needed to design the larger campaign. This includes:
  • Unit 1: Understanding what the movement means by Topic for Impact and knowledge gaps
  • Unit 2: Understanding knowledge gaps related to the climate crises and creating topic lists from the gaps.
  • Unit 3: Assessing the needs of the audience for a campaign
  • Unit 4: Understanding how an audience will contribute within a campaign
  • Unit 5: Developing a theory of change and structure of a campaign
  • Unit 6: Designing the campaign support team, international call to action and communications, and getting resources or support from the Wikimedia Movement.

We will not be covering the following topics related to campaign events and editing:

  • Running edit-a-thons, including communication, coordination and logistics for the events
  • Navigating the editing policies or practices of specific Wikimedia wikis
  • Developing and maintaining partnerships
  • Running local communications for an event or activity