Chapters meeting 2010/Documentation/Professionalization I

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  • Chapters
    • Registering + Forming
    • Reports
    • Professional help might be needed > POL > depending on laws and country
      • Outsourcing
      • (etc.)
  • Volunteer support
    • -> to be discussed on Sunday
  • Bring community off the ground
  • Hiring Staff
    • Poland, Germany, UK, France
    • Full vs Part time (freelancer)
    • Outsourcing (i.e. Accounting)
      • Core business
      • Central issues (GER)

What type of staff?

  • Communication experts
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants

Objections to hiring staff:

  • expensive
  • can't foresee budget
    • the chicken or the egg? -> First staff, then more EUR, $, ... (?)
  • management issue

No professionalization for core subjects? Conflict volunteers <-> Employees


Alice (WMDE): short summary about WMDE’s history: 2006 Arne Klempert hired in Frankfurt/Main, 2008 WMDE moved to Berlin; also other chapters have employees: WM Poland (since three months), WM France (also since three months, supplemented with some freelancers since 2009), WM United Kingdom; also creating a chapter is kind of professionalization; another issue concerning professionalization is working with volunteers; the major problem which Alice heard was that Chapters need money to start project

WM Poland: at the beginning also experience is missing to hire staff, but also for forming a chapter at all to e.g. interact with WMF, Board etc. – outsourcing work (legal etc.) is also a problem which Pavel (CEO WMDE) recommends to fix; Anthere: WM France pays freelancers, but people complain that they shall *hire* people for full-time jobs. Recommends a mix of staff and freelancers.

according to Arne Klempert (Board) Sue suggested to hire persons to form chapters; set feet on the grounds à chapters should be founded by and for volunteers, not as a place to pay people; supported by Pete Forsyth; Arne: WMDE was founded by volunteers but got help by freelancers (legal).

Pavel (CEO WMDE): Who’s from non-founded chapter? None. So we should change topics. Now: hiring staff. Jose Spierts (Nederlands): different situation in Poland, Ukraine and others of course; Anthere: WMF should have hired own people earlier for professional helpers, problems: WMF worked without advice of lawyers; had to ask outside consulters à so always advice by third-parties needed esp. lawyers!; they had no idea; same problem for WM France, (no serious contractual agreement should be made without pro advice); Brasilian guy: volunteers also can do the core work if they do it properly but also some assistance can be useful – he meant professionalization as good work not “hiring people”

Alice: WM Deutschland had enough money and ideas of how to improve work but most of them worked at day and could not work voluntarily; Arne adds: first employee was needed because of feeling not comfortable enough to be responsible esp. when volunteer stuff gets started; for work within very limited time employees useful; Danny B. (WM Czech): got into vicious circle because of having had too few people, but those were needed for paperwork – but no money there, also not for fundraising (etc.); so first fundraiser needed to get money to make projects; giving money to other projects; LA2 (WM Sweden): for WM Deutschland experienced person were needed to, had just Wikipedians

Jose Spierts (Netherlands): relates on what stuff is doing: national, international, internal stuff; fundraising esp. needed – grants possible in Europe on a high level, many money in that area; Pavel: esp. money and lawyers recommended – reputation is damaged if you make mistakes in that area!; buy time (office manager – answers emails instead of you so that you realize your projects) or know-how; WM Isreal: office stuff for Wikimania – Anja (facilitator): student of professional needed? à freelancer; WM Czech: active core members come to them, want to realize projects – stuff needed for helping those projects (Alice: responsibility), if you’re hired you’re pushed to respond – does not work for volunteers (Pavel supports that, but employees need to be managed/monitored, or disasters may happen); another guy: project manager useful; Arne: governing, managing, doing work – first employee hired for one of these areas à governing people should just oversight them (supported by Anthere – think about how much freedom we give them); Michael Peel (WMUK): “micro professionalization” (video stuff)


  • Chapters should consider whether they buy time with hiring office managers for their own projects or when they do not have time beside work, or know-how/experience
  • hiring office staff also improves responsibility and so interaction with people interested in projects
  • know-how is needed especially for legal cases and fundraising which is why it is recommended to hire those staff first (at least freelancers), the next step would be hiring project managers—also for work within limited time
  • otherwise reputation can be damaged or no projects realized because of missed money, but financial situation depends on where you Chapter is situated and what you want to do: national, international or internal stuff
  • staff should be managed and oversighted by volunteers/Wikimedians