Chapter development

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wikimedia chapters are an important part of the movement as valuable contributors to the growth and health of Wikimedia. From discussions throughout the strategy process and at the chapters meeting in Berlin (where we discussed how the chapters and WMF can work together), it was evident that geographies without chapters would benefit from supports to form chapters, and geographies with chapters would benefit from support in building organizations that are well positioned to serve your communities in a high input and sustainable way. In addition, there are opportunities for learning across the chapter network and may be ways to work together on shared initiatives (e.g., EU policy work or Asia-wide supports).

The foundation has created the chapter development function as a support to you and an organized function through which we can continue our grantmaking work (which is growing), provide capacity building support and serve as a facilitator for inter-chapter learning and collaboration.

Please share your thoughts on how the Wikimedia Foundation can support your chapter to grow, fulfill your function well and do so in a financially sustainable manner in the space below.

US chapter[edit]

Please place this comment in the context that US editors do not suffer in any way in having their views represented in Wikimedia affairs. There is no US chapter and it is hard to see how one could gracefully exist due to the distances involved. Perhaps continuing to develop local chapters such as the NYC chapter or state chapters is a better model, although once there are some of those a national chapter meeting could be set up and a US chapter organized. Fred Bauder 12:43, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Wikimedia NYC currently covers the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, and there are medium-term plans to expand to the Boston and DC areas as a Wikimedia East Coast. It would be great if we also had people pursuing a regional Wikimedia West Coast and maybe Wikimedia Midwest as well, so that these groups can also pursue some national-scale cooperation.-- Pharos 15:23, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
  • folks interested in Wikimedia California are organizing there; haven't taken steps beyond discussion to date. -- phoebe 17:07, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Chapter development support roles (currently doing)[edit]

Things the WMF is currently doing (starter list, please add):

  • Trademark licensing - WMF supports chapters to license the trademark within the guidelines of the chapter agreement in a manner that helps chapters build the reputation of Wikimedia and where appropriate earn revenues to support their work
  • Grantmaking - annual open process to fund grant proposals submitted by chapters
  • Annual chapters meeting - WMF has provided funding for the chapters meetings and sends staff to participate
  • Start-up grants - WMF has provided funding to groups in need of financial support for chapter formation
  • Fundraising partnerships - WMF has entered agreements with chapters to share revenue raised in the annual campaign
  • Capacity building workshops - WMF helped organize a fund raising workshop
    • What did it exactly provided ? Please clarify. It sent staff indeed (in particular fundraising staff). I do not remember if it helped *organizing* it. Nor if it funded it. It could be useful to know so that we can define how it may further help Anthere
  • Event support - the Public Outreach team has supported events such as Wikipedia Academies and other outreach programs
    • Can it be clarified how it supported the team ? What is money ? Or documentation ? Or staff ? Or ?
    • Also, when did that happen and with which chapter ? Anthere

Chapter development support roles (what it could do)[edit]

Ideas for new supports and partnerships (starter list, please add):

  • Organization planning - grants or direct support to develop business plans that help chapters set goals for impact, increase their capacity, possibly hire staff and create a revenue plan that is sustainable
  • Knowledge sharing - serve as a facilitator of knowledge sharing between chapters and with other parts of the movement
    • For example, could fund translation services for chapter reports (mentionned on the list)
  • Program design support - help chapters create and pilot new programs and support knowledge sharing and program documentation that enables easy replication by other chapters
  • Leadership development support - provide opportunities for chapter leaders to build their own capabilities, skills and experience
  • More systematic capacity building support - support an annual series of workshops that provide chapters with skill-building support in needed areas, mostly by helping "expert" volunteers share their knowledge (e.g., volunteer management, media relations, editor recruitment, fund raising from institutions, advocacy, etc.) --BarryN 16:49, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I think these are all great. I particularly like the focus on individuals (e.g. leadership development, capacity building, etc.). Another opportunity for support could be in providing local contacts. Sometimes it might be helpful to have an "outside" view be part of a chapter internal discussion. Other times, a local WMF contact may be helpful in opening doors that young chapters may not be able to open on their own yet (e.g. because titles and organizations matter a lot to some people/institutions to get access).
Regarding the grants, I think what would help a lot if there were some options more custom-tailored to specific types of need. What I mean by that is, for example, grants for opening your first office, buying your first technical equipment, or hiring your first employee. At the moment, the grant program is extremely wide and not in any way structured as to specific purposes. That allows for a lot of flexibility (great for chapters that know exactly what they need) but also provides little guidance (difficult if a chapte is not sure yet what it needs/can ask for). It may seem counter-intuitive in a way but providing for different buckets for specific purposes associated with some purpose-specific guidance may actually make it more likely that chapters utilize the program. sebmol ? 21:44, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


Here's a list of 6 more things that I think could be undertaken by the WMF as part of chapter development. These are not exclusive from what has been mentioned before (i.e. the ideas could feasibly be combined) Witty lama 23:41, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Internships

Bringing people to the WMF office for a period of time to learn about good practices (and share them back home), build relations between chapter-WMF, share ideas to the WMF about different regions' issues. For larger chapters this could extend to things like "one month staff-swaps" and for smaller chapters this could be bringing the Chapter executive member to the office to shadow a staff member. This project needn't be limited to merely chapters, but chapters would benefit most.

  • Shopping list

Some chapters have money available for projects but are unsure what is the most effective/effecient use of that money - the WMF is in a position to make good suggestions. Especially for tech projects, a place on-wiki where the WMF lists specific projects that it is not undertaking itself but would support if implemented. They should be varied enough for different sized chapters to be able to "sign-on" to and fund the project - e.g. hire a contractor for the task. They should be scoped to have rough timeline and cost estimates. They should also be supported by the relevant tech person at the WMF (like Google SoC).

  • Tiered rights/responsibilities

Create a tiered system of rights/responsibilities for the chapters agreement/fundraising agreement/trademark license agreement. There should be certain minimum standards that all chapters follow. Some chapters will grow large/rich and others will not, all chapters are young and will grow at different speeds. So - as they grow they are capable of taking on different aspects rights and responsibility. For small/new chapters this will help them by providing more support and less responsibilities. For large/rich chapters this will help them by providing more flexibility and rights. Creating a tiered system will enable new chapters to start more easily and also allow large chapters to grow more easily.

  • "Outreach facilitator"

Many chapters are undertaking outreach in different spheres - education, politics/lobbying, science/research, business, GLAM. However there is only ad-hoc sharing of good practices and minimal cross-chapter coordination. The WMF could support these activities by helping chapters undertake their outreach more professionally/effectively by providing training, advice, contacts and communication channels between all parties.

  • Support for non-chapter groups

There are many groups within the community seeking support and undertaking valuable projects but for one reason or another are not chapters. Traditionally these groups have sought to become chapters in order to have access to the support perceived to be only available to chapters. Related to the WikiPod concept - support should be provided to these groups in areas that do not have chapters as well as those that do (in concert with the existing chapter).

  • Fundraising support

The WMF could directly support the professionalisation of fundraising practices in chapters which will simultaneously bring more money and donors around the world; ensure that chapters are handling the received funds according the the fundraising agreement; improving the efficiency and effectiveness of money spent on fundraising efforts. This includes things like providing the appropriate technology (turnkey installation of CiviCRM?) and bureaucracy assistance for first-time fundraisers; fundraiser schedule planning in harmony with those chapters that are undertaking active projects in their country.

Witty lama 23:41, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Networking support

  • in some area, supports from counterparts with similar vision can help things easier, WMF may coordinate the transfer of the network from its own staff and current chapters. -- ※ JéRRy ~ 雨雨  ※  Was?  ※  17:31, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Do you mean like "setting up contacts with the local Creative Commons organisation" or that kind of thing? If that's correct, then yes, it would be cool if we could have some kind of global effort and putting all chapters in close contact with their nation's CC group and other likeminded organisations (like the EFF, OLPC, OSM...). I know some chapters have shared offices with CC but some kind of global alliance could be kind of cool. :-) Witty lama 02:05, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Yes, yes, that's it :-), and I would also suggest ISOC Chapters network -- ※ JéRRy ~ 雨雨  ※  Was?  ※  12:28, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Assumptions for chapter development[edit]

Following are a number of assumptions that could serve as a starting point for a chapter development program:

  • about local culture and geography
    • volunteers, chapters are subject to local cultural, political and legal constraints
    • fundraising and community engagement is best done locally
    • local presence fosters personal relationships with volunteers/partners
    • local presence simplifies consideration of cultural differences
    • high profile partnerships (with local governments, institutions...) are subject to cultural considerations and usually best done locally
  • about volunteers
    • volunteers are personally invested in their own activities first, furthering the movement second
    • volunteer retention builds on personal relationships
    • enthusiasm for chapter activities originates primarily with volunteers
    • volunteer retention builds on the ability of the chapter to propose challenging and engaging projects
      • motivated volunteers driving great initiatives bring more volunteers
      • chapter ability to facilitate volunteer engagement in projects brings more volunteers
    • self-governance and personal involvement are essential to sustained volunteer engagement
    • volunteers regularly lack professional experience but make up for it with enthusiasm, endurance, and willingness to learn and to grow personally
    • volunteers regularly judge opportunities and risk differently from professionals
    • volunteers also bring a mix of professional experience in various fields that the chapter may not have the ressources to tap into at a professional level
    • volunteer motivation is complex and varied
  • about chapters
    • effective chapters with high capabilities are essential to the sustainability of the movement
    • main value of chapters lies in their activities and accomplishments
    • chapters make up their own kind of movement participant
    • chapters provide opportunities for offline activism
    • some chapters have the means to support other chapters in their development
  • about organizational development
    • organizational development takes time, patience, courage, and material resources
    • one-size-fits-all is not an effective approach to supporting organizational development
    • direct investments in local activities are good short-term, may create dependencies, are obstacles to sustaining growth and increasing self-reliance
    • direct investments in people and capacities take time but are known to be effective long-term
    • development requires leadership
    • sustainable development relies on empowerment, fostering self-reliance, hands-off support, and subsidiarity
  • about the Foundation
    • the Foundation has the means to support chapters in their development

See also[edit]