Global Data and Insights Team/Our Reports/2021 Affiliates data survey report

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Affiliate Data Survey Report 2021


The Affiliates Data Survey is an annual census conducted with all affiliates to better understand their composition, behaviors, and opinions. In its 2019-2020 annual plan, the Wikimedia Foundation allocated 32% of its total budget to directly support communities through grant programs, events, training and other partnerships, the lion’s share of which was received by Wikimedia affiliates who represent the organized section of the Wikimedia community. This makes it ever more urgent for the Wikimedia Foundation to better understand affiliates in order to target the support affiliates need to meet our shared vision.

In early 2021 the Global Data & Insights team collected data from more than 958 individuals from across 117 Affiliates in 80 countries. These data help us to understand the institutions built by affiliates to organize community interactions, as well as the community spaces affiliates provide for their membership to prosper. They also tell us whether affiliates feel adequately resourced and supported to be effective strategic partners to the Wikimedia Foundation and the wider Wikimedia ecosystem. Going forward, a majority of this survey will be incorporated into the affiliates reporting forms, to ensure complete coverage of affiliates.

This year we heard from a combined total response of 958 community members, in both parts of the survey (Organizational and Membership surveys), making this the highest response rate thus far for this survey.

Download Full Report (pdf)
2021- Aff GeoMap.png
2020 Saturation of Affiliates across the world


1 = 1 User Group;

2 = 2-4 User Groups;

3 = 1 small chapter;

4 = 1 small chapter + User Group(s) OR medium chapter;

5 = 1 large chapter OR multiple small chapters OR 5+ User Groups.

Key Findings

Affiliated editors have higher editing activity levels compared to non-affiliated editors
  • The affiliated editor population had a higher percentage of active and very active members compared to that of unaffiliated editor population across all Wikimedia project comparisons.
  • On average, Affiliated editors contributed more edits, more pages, and longer articles than unaffiliated editors across edit bins on 113 selected Wikipedia projects.
To attract and retain more diverse members, affiliates’ institutional resilience could be bolstered through focused capacity development in the areas of communications, contributor development, and community governance.
  • Chapters & Thematic organizations have reduced gender-gap amongst their board representatives and general membership, while User Groups continue to display very high presence of men in leadership structures even as they have a more diverse membership.
  • User Groups have a better membership depth for running programs.
  • Affiliates continue to lack confidence in their Community governance and Communications capacities, which hinder their ability to attract and retain diverse members.
To support affiliates as optimal social spaces, the Wikimedia Foundation should provide more support to programs and events focused on diversity and strategic content.
  • Significantly more women members participated in this survey, even as more people opted not to disclose their gender when compared to 2020 participants.
  • Members continue to experience a favourable social climate amongst affiliate spaces.
  • Members continue to focus on flagship programs such as GLAM & Education compared to other diversity specific content or knowledge access programs.
  • Members contribute to Wikimedia projects for altruistic motivations.

What's next?

This report is a resource for Wikimedia Foundation teams to make sense of affiliate trends as they relate to our platform, our programs and social environment that our communities organizes under. It is also a resource for Wikimedia Affiliates to reflect on how they organise their communities.

Over the new few weeks, we will be reaching out to different teams within the Wikimedia Foundation to provide more insight on how affiliates and strategic affiliate engagement can shape and improve current Thriving Movement objectives. We will also engage the Affiliations committee to reflect on how the recommendations of this report can continue to inform the committee's strategic work of affiliate recognitions and monitoring.