Evaluation Board Member training 2019

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Evaluation Board Member Training 2019

April 1 - 2, 2019 in Berlin.


The 2019 board member training was #6 in a row. The training courses started in 2014 and since then the goal of these trainings has been to support Wikimedia affiliates by improving the skills and competences of individual board members. After organizing a training for board members from WM chapters with staff in 2016, a training for board members from both chapters and user groups in 2017 and a training exclusively for board members from user groups in 2018, we decided to focus again on recently elected board members from affiliates with an ED and/or staff 2019. The focus group and the scope of the training courses are discussed and supported by the WM Chairpersons meeting. The sessions of a training are moderated by experienced Wikimedians (on a voluntary basis) with the exception of the session on personal skills for which we hire a professional trainer. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Summit_2019/Boards_Training

Preparation process - organizational issues[edit]

Because of the changing scope of the Wikimedia Summit (formerly known as Wikimedia Conference) the 2019 training could not be organized during the two days prior to the conference. It took quite some time to find out that it was possible to continue the series of trainings and thanks to the support of WMDE we could finally organize the 2019 training in more or less the same way as in previous years. Due to the uncertainties and long deliberations we had very little time left to finalize crucial details, like contacting the moderators, outreach to potential attendees, registration. The registration and payment processes could no longer be an integrated part of the WM Summit. WMDE designed a separate registration procedure and took also care of handling the financials.

Financial obstacles[edit]

Financing the training was also difficult this year. As in previous years we requested Affcom if they were willing to financially support the training again, like they had done in previous years. We received an email that Affcom was willing to support the training, but only on the condition that we broadened the focus group to board members of both chapters and user groups. We answered that broadening the target group will lead to a training that is of less value for board members from chapters with staff, being the focus of the 2019 training. We believe that these board members have specific training needs (the presence of staff at an affiliate changes fundamentally the role of the board) that can best be addressed in a more homogeneous group. And we reminded them that the 2018 training was exclusively focussed on board members from user groups. Our answer was discussed within Affcom but their opinion about our request remained the same. As we did not want to deviate from the 2019 plan we declined their offer and started a search for other sources. This resulted in a lower overall budget thanks to the efforts of WMDE and subsequently a lower deficit that was covered by WMNL.


As stated above we had lost much time and this had a negative impact on finding and engaging volunteer trainers. In the end we were able to engage trainers from WMUK, WMDE, and WMNL, so less geographical diverse than desirable. The session about personal competences was moderated by a professional trainer. The overall rating of the trainers was 5.19 points out of 6.


There were 10 participants from 10 different countries: Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Indonesia, South Africa, Switzerland and Ukraine. 7 participants had limited board experience (less than a year) and 3 were more experienced. The geographical diversity and the difference in experience and competences contributed highly to the discussions. The exchange of their own experiences was lively and personal contributions were received with respect. The overall atmosphere was positive. One of the participants wrote afterwards: “I have rarely felt so comfortable in a group as I felt during this training”. The question “Did the composition of the group contributed to the result” scored 5.1 point out of 6. The relevance of the issues was rated 5.15 point out of 6 and the format of the sessions 4.82 point out of 6. All the participants expressed that they will recommend the training to other board members.

Lessons for next training[edit]

As most participants to the training were not invited to the WM Summit the benefits of organize the training at the same time and at the same location as the conference are no longer in place. A new training for a specific focus group will probably not be supported in forthcoming years.

Other documents available[edit]