Events Team Portal/Community space/Hosting events FAQ

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Planning[edit]

I want to host a community event. Where do I start?

You should start in reviewing the Conference Grants portal. You will find instructions on how to plan your event, what are the criteria for submitting a proposal, the process timeline and application form. It's highly recommended to inform the conference grants program officer of your plans to apply at least two months before the application cycle begins.

What kind of support do I get from the Foundation to organize my event?

The Conference grants program officers will work with you from early stages (of crafting the proposal and identifying your goals and objectives), through the organizing period by providing guidance and support in designing the event, to post event evaluation and reporting. Our approach is to work collaboratively with the grantee, in partnership and according to their capacity, goals and needs. We are experienced event organizers and want to contribute and help grantees overcome challenges in organizing community events. But we fully acknowledge that you know your community best, and that is what going to lead us in tailoring the kind of support you specifically need.

I have never organized an event before. Do I need to follow a course or training?

No. You should go through our resources and guides on the Community space, and on the Conference grants meta page and if you have any questions you are very welcome to reach out to us. We hope that in the future we will be able to provide a formal training for event organizers.

I want to invite someone from the Wikimedia Foundation to attend or present In my event. How should I do that?

You should talk to your Program Officer who is the main point of contact, and they will guide you accordingly.

When should I begin planning my community event?

When planning your event, you should consider:

- The funding rounds timeline and deadlines for applications

- The scope of your event - is it a local event? with or without an overnight stay? Is it an international event that will require travel booking and visas? Large scale events need more planning time.

- Local standards - in some places, a venue and hotel should be booked even 2 years in advance. This is obviously an exceptional case, but you should be aware of local norms and plan in advance.

Our recommendation is:

For a local event that does not require accommodation - around 3 months

For a local event that includes travel and accommodation - around 6 months

For an international event that includes travel, visas and accommodation - around 9-12 months, but the more time you have - the better.

How many people do I need to organize an event?

The size of a conference will likely dictate the number of volunteers needed to plan and execute a successful event. For roles, responsibilities and suggestions on how to gather a strong organizing team, see here.

What are in-kind donations. How to ask for, and get In-kind donations?

In-kind donations are goods, services, and transactions not involving money or not measured in monetary term, given to a nonprofit organization. Some examples can be: Internet services; Technical support; food, venue costs, swag; Volunteer hours; counting and legal services; prizes; PR services etc. For more info, see a short guide to in-kind donations, and Estimating and evaluating in-kind resources.

Is there a suitable process for event planning?

Here are a few recommended resources, learning patterns and templates on how to plan your event:

- Event planning process

- Planning process guide

- A production schedule

- Planning timeline

How do I organize a virtual event?

Those are our remote events guidelines and tips for grantees hosting remote events. For more community resources, tips and best practices about remote events, please see this.

Logistics[edit]

How do I plan the catering services?

Please see this Learning pattern on Meals during conferences.

What is a suitable conference venue for my event?  

Step by step guide for finding the right venue for a conference

How much time is needed to coordinate international travel visas?

In general, you should allow three months for visa formalities. Please read more here.

How to find suitable accommodations in a cost-effective way?

Accommodations at meetups - learning pattern

Should I consider child care services as part of my event?

Taking care of children while attending a conference is difficult. Here are things to consider.

How can we arrange travel in a cost-effective way?

2 guides on arranging international travel: International travel; Air travel.

What should I include in my Facilitator's toolbox?

Here is a list of items to include in your facilitator’s toolbox. On how to facilitate a productive discussion, see this.

Content design[edit]

What should I consider when designing the conference program?

For resources and suggestions on conference program please see this.

How to welcome newcomers to my event?

The Buddy Project: How to make your conference more newbie friendly

How to best prepare my conference speakers?

Presenting and speaking in front of an audience is sometimes an overlooked skill set. But in fact, It is one of the most impactful things at the event. We have all been to at lease a few lectures in the past when it was a well designed and informative lecture, but the way it was presented in, prevented from truly 'hearing'.

When designing the event's program, we highly recommend thinking about the session method you chose. For example - instead of having a lecture, consider active learning session that require more engagement, such as trainings, workshops, working groups, round tables, panel etc.

We also recommend taking the time to work with your speakers before the event, on basic presentation skills.

Here are a few resources you might find helpful:

- Briefing calls with speakers: A simple way to improve conference sessions

- Best practices in giving a Wikipedia presentation

- Posters that work

- Best practices in hosting an IRC open meeting

Should I consider translation for my event?

Yes, If you are hosting multilingual attendees at your event, you should consider translation. Here are a few tips;

  • Mark your wiki page for translation as soon as possible
  • Always think about who are you excluding by using a specific language.
  • Try different methods - Simultaneous translation, subtitles, headphones, different rooms, translation by volunteers, professional translation etc. You can also add a translation budget item to your proposal.
  • Make sure that the instructions and other materials you use to advertise and conduct your event are written in a language that your audience is familiar with.

How to well document my event’s sessions?

Yes definitely. This will be helpful when people who couldn't attend your event, or the specific session, can still follow what happened. But also, for following up and evaluating purposes.

Here are best practices on Cooperative note-taking at meetings and workshops.

What type of entertainment to choose for my event?

Social activities are a good opportunity to have some type of event where people can mingle, have fun together, and meet each other. More suggestions and information here.

Participation[edit]

How should we allocate and decide on scholarships?

Travel scholarship recipients must be in good standing with their local affiliates and with the Wikimedia Foundation. This means the scholarship applicant should not have any ongoing issues with friendly space policies or overdue grant reports.

Travel scholarship recipients who represent an affiliate must be in good standing on the primary Wikimedia projects where their affiliate works.

For more information on Scholarship eligibility and more, please see this link.

What should I ask upon registration?

It depends on what are you looking to achieve. Upon other evaluation basic questions, here you can also find basic registration questions that are often used by the Wikimedia Foundation.

You should also review this Learning pattern on Setting-up a conference registration form.

Friendly space policy[edit]

What is a Friendly Space Policy? Why do I need one for my event?

Friendly space policies (often called "safe space policies" or "anti-harassment policies") are one important way to help prevent harassment at conferences and events. These types of policies set expectations for behavior and support increased participant diversity. They also give conference organizers guidelines on how to handle harassment quickly, with the minimum amount of disruption for the event. All WMF grantees are required to have a friendly space policy for their in-person events.

What kind of a Friendly space policy should I apply?

We understand that this type of policy may need to be edited to fit different cultural contexts so we are not requiring the use of one specific policy. Please see here more resources and guides that will help you create your own Friendly Space Policy.

Are there Friendly Space Policies for in-person events? Or for virtual events as well?

This is the Friendly space policy for Wikimedia Foundation Events. You may use or adapt this policy to fit your context.

You should adjust the Friendly Space Policy to your remote event. Here is a good example for a remote FSP.

Engagement[edit]

How should I advertise my event on social media?

Focus on the tools that will benefit your local community - how do you normally hear about local events? No need to invest in platforms you and your community do not use regularly.

  • Create a “social media toolkit” that you will share with your speakers and participants. This can be short - a few suggested tweets or posts, and a hashtag to help with promotion and tracking. If you make it easy for people to promote, they will! Get them engaged and provide ‘ready to use’ posts.
  • Create a plan to promote different speakers or sessions in the weeks leading up to the event. Lots of content! People will amplify you. You can schedule tweets/posts if that is easier. Some examples: Last year’s photos; Speakers; Program, Invitations etc.
  • Use your hashtag, encourage people to promote during the event (can put it on the title slide of presentations). If possible have a couple of people designated to promote on social before and during the event.

More useful resources can be found here.

How to create new collaborations for my event?

In this page you can find some tips and guidelines on 'How to tell your 'Wikimedia story', including tips on Partnerships and Communication to maximize the visibility and Impact of your event.

How to evaluate the success of my event?

Event Evaluation Toolkit - In this page you can find a list of base question that the Wikimedia Foundation uses to evaluate large movement events like Wikimania and other regional and thematic events. Feel free to use any part of these questionnaires to evaluate your own event. You will find: Registration Questions; Post-event questions for participants and Follow-up questions for participants.