Grants:APG/Proposals/2014-2015 round1/Wikimedia UK/Impact report form

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Purpose of the report[edit]

This form is for organizations receiving Annual Plan Grants to report on their results to date. For progress reports, the time period for this report will the first 6 months of each grant (e.g. 1 January - 30 June of the current year). For impact reports, the time period for this report will be the full 12 months of this grant, including the period already reported on in the progress report (e.g. 1 January - 31 December of the current year). This form includes four sections, addressing global metrics, program stories, financial information, and compliance. Please contact APG/FDC staff if you have questions about this form, or concerns submitting it by the deadline. After submitting the form, organizations will also meet with APG staff to discuss their progress.

Executive summary[edit]

2015/16 has been a year of significant organisational change for Wikimedia UK, with the departure of our first Chief Executive in Autumn 2014, followed by a staff restructure led by the board and the Interim Chief Executive which resulted in a number of redundancies and a period of uncertainty and transition for the whole charity. This brought with it some major short-term challenges in terms of maximising our impact and reach as a charity, which are described in this report. Despite this however, the charity has continued to deliver high quality work, maintaining and developing our reputation with partners in the cultural sector and supporting our volunteer community; with the restructure leading to increased creativity and innovation within the remaining staff team, and a fresh approach to volunteer engagement and project development and management. Whilst the effects of the restructure were clearly seen in our progress report at the halfway point of the year, overall we are pleased by our achievements against targets for the year, and particularly encouraged by the growing momentum of the programme in the final quarter.

The Wikimedian-in-Residence programme has undoubtedly been our strongest work to date, and is an established model for engaging successfully with an institution from the Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) sector. The Wikimedia UK programme of residencies continued throughout 2015 uninterrupted, and is key to many of our most significant outputs and outcomes during the year. The growing reputation of this programme has led to increasing enquiries from prestigious institutions, to the extent that we cannot currently meet demand for residencies. It’s a great indication of the growing success and profile of this programme that we currently have Wikimedians in Residence at Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, Museums Galleries Scotland, National Library of Wales, University of Edinburgh and, shortly, the Wellcome Library; with the latter two residencies fully funded by the institutions themselves. Going forward, we will continue to develop this model, with an emphasis on financial sustainability and legacy, whilst also exploring other partnership activities.

Our volunteers have in many cases continued to produce valuable work during 2015/16, and towards the latter half of the year the newly formed programmes team has been developing new approaches to working with and supporting this community. Whilst it’s clear that the restructure damaged our relationship with the community in the short term – as evidenced by the volunteer survey undertaken in January 2016 – we are confident that the new structure will lead to a better, more integrated and strategic approach to working with volunteers in 2016 and beyond.

Communications and advocacy are an essential aspect of our role as the UK Chapter for Wikimedia. Our work in advocacy is detailed towards the end of this report, but highlights for the year include our crucial work to preserve freedom of panorama in the UK, and our support for the Open Coalition project. The final quarter of the year also saw Wikipedia’s 15th birthday, for which we secured significant broadcast media coverage, and held a celebratory event attended for volunteers attended by Jimmy Wales.

Whilst the emphasis of this report is of course on our programmes and accompanying online impact, it’s worth noting that under the direction of the new Chief Executive, we have started a strategic planning process involving a review of our strategy and the development of a more focused, mission-driven business plan for the next three years. From a financial perspective, the charity is also healthy, ending the year in a significantly better position than the original budget.


WMUK organisational restructure and CEO transition


The 18 month period between mid-2014 and late 2015 saw significant organisational changes for WMUK, driven by the board. Wikimania 2014, held in London, was a highly successful conference for the international movement, but placed significant organisational, funding, and staffing stresses on us as the local chapter. Following Wikimania, our long-term CEO, Jon Davies, left and was replaced by an interim CEO, D'Arcy Myers. Working with the board, D'Arcy implemented an inevitably difficult but necessary staff restructure in order to align staff roles with our newly–defined "project-focused” working procedures. During 2015 the board instigated its search for a new permanent CEO which was successfully concluded in October 2015 with the appointment of Lucy Crompton-Reid.


By 2014 WMUK had in place a stable, strong and strategic board, including trustees with significant experience in non-profit governance, legal and risk-management. Our independent governance reviewer noted that “WMUK has developed very quickly, and the charity has clearly put a lot of effort into ensuring that its governance now meets best practice expectations. It has a cohesive, skilled and experienced board in place. They have a clear understanding of the charity’s vision and mission”. By the spring of 2014, the board was pressing for more structured and rigorous quarterly reports to be supplied, taking the chapter’s agreed Strategic Plan as their basis, and giving the board an indication of what progress was being made towards the delivery of the operational plan and the objectives supporting it. This proved difficult with existing operational structures, and the board concluded that we needed to start working on the transition to a more streamlined organisation, better focused on our strategic goals, better able to engage with and involve volunteers of all kinds, and capable of achieving greater impact as a charity.

It became increasingly clear in the Autumn of 2014 that operational procedures needed to be reviewed, and that many of the assumptions on which our organisational structure was originally built were holding us back. The board noted that the charity had the potential to become a much more important player in the open knowledge arena than had been the case in the past. Working strategically during the period running up to and including Wikimania 2014 proved to be difficult, however, as we were attempting not only to run our own local projects, but also to support the Foundation and the volunteer organisers of the international conference. We had a lot of work to undertake, but essentially without any control. While Wikimania was an international success, for which volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia UK can all take some credit, the experience was challenging for us as the local chapter. Although we were not running the conference, we provided very significant staff and logistical support, beyond what we originally planned.

D'Arcy Myers was appointed interim chief executive in November 2014, following the departure of Jon Davies, with a remit to undertake a review of the charity's structure, organisation and staffing arrangements. The board did consider the possibility at this stage of appointing a new permanent CEO straight away, but concluded that we should take the time to find the right person while not allowing the essential restructuring work to slip. Shortly after Darcy's appointment, the FDC indicated that it was the thinking along very much the same lines as the board, with this comment:

While the FDC understands that reducing Wikimedia UK’s funding might be a strain on the organization, the FDC hopes it will lead to a productive re-evaluation of priorities and direction. The ED transition should be seen as an opportunity to rethink and restructure. The governance reshuffle and adaptation has been managed well, recommendations brought about by the governance review have been implemented, and board diversity has been achieved, which will provide a strong foundation for the coming transition. At the same time, the FDC notes that it seems difficult to identify a sustainable and clear staff structure beneath the executive level.

By December 2014 it had become clear that as a result of several unplanned costs, and the expected off-budget costs of the chief executive transition, the charity would be significantly overspent. Chief executive transitions are never cheap, although we were very pleased to be able to part on good terms with Jon Davies, which allowed costs to be kept at a far lower level than is often associated with such a change. To ensure ongoing stability, and to avoid financial reserves falling below a bare minimum the interim CEO, supported by the board, took immediate action by introducing a moratorium on non-essential expenditure, and cutting back the 2015–16 budget figures to a level that could be supported by our reduced grant from the FDC. While it was not impossible that further external funding could be obtained during 2015, the board concluded that it could not at that point recommend a core budget that assumed significant project-based or general contributions from trusts, foundations and corporates.

The organisational review was completed in May 2015, and D'Arcy concurred with the board that that a smaller project-focused staff team with significantly more emphasis on closer engagement between staff and volunteers would position the charity to deliver best impact against our charitable objectives. With the board’s agreement, a number of existing staff were made redundant, reducing the total staff headcount from 14 to 9. We would again like to repeat our thanks to everyone involved for their professionalism and understanding during that difficult time.

Our aim with the new project-focused working practices was to encourage community involvement with decisions on what we should do and not do, based on an assessment of which potential projects are best aligned with our strategic goals. A large part of the assessment must be to decide in a fairly structured way which projects are capable of generating sufficient active volunteer support (and fundability if funds are needed), and only then approving projects to support based on those giving the greatest charitable impact for the resources required.

A key priority for the Board during 2015 was the process of appointing a new permanent CEO. We decided to seek an ambitious individual who could provide strategic leadership and supportive management to volunteers and staff alike. The CEO needed to work to increase our profile and impact with our partners, engage with the volunteer community and develop our programme activity. The board noted that the charity's model for fundraising had not been adequate and that greater diversity of income streams was essential, and to that end we sought a CEO with significant personal expertise in fundraising from trusts, foundations and corporates, and who would be capable of taking a strong personal lead within the restructured staff team.

The board approached the task of selecting a new CEO by setting up a specialist subcommittee of trustees having experience in this area. We sought input from our community on the the skills needed and on the type of CEO we should look for, and we spoke to other chapters, particularly WMDE who had only just gone through their own chief executive search. Having reviewed the services offered by a number of executive search agencies we selected one specialising in the advertising of executive positions, and who would not to charge us a fee in the event that the search were to be unsuccessful. We received a gratifyingly large number of applications, and interviewed five candidates, but ultimately decided that none of those candidates was right for us. While this was of course disappointing, and led to some months of delay, the board was strongly of the view that it would be better to re-start the process rather than taking on someone we felt would be less than ideal. Having to carry out multiple searches is not unusual – the WMF and WMDE both did the same when they were looking for their new EDs – but a one-off hit on search and interim CEO costs was we felt preferable to having to live with concerns potentially for years to come.

For our second round of searching, we incorporated some lessons we had learnt during our first round:

  • Although it may be tempting to define very specifically the exact skills and experience that the candidate should have, this can be offputting for individuals at this level for whom many of the core competencies can be taken for granted. Being too prescriptive suggests to candidates that the charity is looking for somebody whose role is merely to execute a programme defined and closely controlled by the board rather than – what we really want – bringing their own ideas and enthusiasm and acting as an effective enabler for projects designed and led by members of our volunteer community.
  • Candidates who would be effective at leading an open knowledge charity such as WMUK cannot easily be found by placing job advertisements, even in the specialist charity press, and it is much more effective to appoint a headhunter who can approach candidates directly. Agencies that offer such a service are more expensive than agencies who rely solely on advertising, but in our area of specialisation do seem to be able to supply candidates from across a much wider field.

In July, we announced to our community that we had appointed Lucy Crompton-Reid as our new CEO. Lucy was previously Director of the national live literature charity Apples and Snakes and has extensive experience in volunteer engagement, organisational development, working with strategic partners, media, education, and securing external fundraising from trusts and foundations. Over the course of her career Lucy has worked in both the charitable and public sectors, with roles including Head of Outreach at the House of Lords, where she was the strategic and operational lead for education and outreach activities.


Our restructure and search for a new CEO was a time-consuming and quite expensive process lasting 18 months. We are pleased that it has gone relatively smoothly, and that this period of organisational introspection has finally come to an end. We are now all looking forward to focusing on our higher levels of aspiration, programme effectiveness, and external charitable impact.

Transition considerations

In concluding that significant organisational change was needed, the board recognised and weighed very carefully the fact that this would not be an easy path to follow. We understood that it would involve fairly significant costs, and that the process would inevitably result in an extended period of uncertainty both for community and staff. As the board has a duty of confidentiality to its staff, staff reviews cannot be discussed publicly, and we understood that that would result in criticisms from volunteers that we would not easily be able to address. A major negative effect would be reduced charitable activity and impact during and even following the transition period. There was also the very real risk that our community, the WMF, and perhaps the FDC might have unreasonable expectations that long-established organisational structures, working practices and charitable programmes can be turned around overnight, resulting in a step change in impact for minimal cost.

Bearing all that in mind, the board nevertheless concluded that it needed to act in the long-term interests of the charity, and to move forward with some essential changes. Although such changes can never be as speedy as we might ideally like, they are necessary if the charity is to achieve its full potential of operating at a much higher levels of effectiveness, efficiency and overall impact for the benefit of the movement as a whole.


As indicated above:

  • Supporting Wikimania is a hugely difficult and expensive operation, even for a relatively large chapter such as WMUK. Any chapter thinking of doing so should make very clear arrangements from the outset about which direct and indirect costs will be covered by the WMF or other movement sources.
  • Chapter boards need to keep their long-term open knowledge mission in mind, and be ready when needed to take the lead where difficult changes are required even when (as is usually the case) a certain level of volunteer criticism can be expected. Chapter boards are one of the few entities within the Wikimedia movement whose major purpose is to think strategically, and who can avoid getting too distracted by community and movement politics.
  • Any staffing or organisational changes will inevitably be challenging for staff. Although staffing issues cannot be openly discussed with the community, it is crucial to be as open as possible with staff, and to be scrupulously fair. Retaining good relations with both leaving and continuing staff is of paramount importance, not only from a narrow business point of view, but more importantly to try to retain individual contacts and enthusiasms for the future benefit of the movement.
  • Where there is to be a CEO transition, it is worth considering the possibility of appointing an interim CEO rather than rushing in to get a replacement without adequate consideration.
  • Potential CEO candidates in the open knowledge field are more effectively found by headhunting rather than by advertisement.
  • Make good use of external experience, including the experience of other Wikimedia chapters.
  • If the right candidate cannot be found straight away it is better to reflect on the reasons why and to restart the search than to appoint somebody who cannot be wholly recommended.
  • When writing a job description for the CEO role, avoid the temptation to be too prescriptive as it is likely to put off potentially promising candidates.

Impact on delivery

The restructure and its effects on our programmes - both negative and positive - is referred to throughout this report, to give a full sense of how it influenced our work. Whilst we believe that restructuring the staff team will be beneficial in the longer term, it inevitably had an impact on short-term delivery, which is clearly seen in the metrics for the year. The first quarter of 2015/16 coincided with a period of significant upheaval for the charity, during which staff were directed to sustain current relationships, but not to set up new initiatives. By the second quarter, the new programme team was starting to be formed, however delivery was still affected by the transition. Towards the end of Quarter Three, the programme team was complete, and the new CEO joined the organisation, bringing in fresh impetus to our activities; and by the final quarter of the year - despite traditionally being a quieter period in terms of partnership activities - momentum was growing across our programme.

New Strategic Framework and Three Year Business Plan

As indicated in the executive summary, under the leadership of the new CEO we have entered into a strategic planning process, the outputs for which will be:

  • A clear, concise strategic framework for the period 2016 to 2019, which outlines our vision, mission, values, outcomes, strategic aims and objectives and major programmes, which can be shared with the community, partners and funders and used as the basis of both our communications and fundraising strategies
  • A three year business plan which puts the strategy in context, articulating the external context and drivers, planned priorities, programmes and themes for the three year period and internal resources including staffing and funding
  • A delivery plan which details our activities in 2016/17

The strategic planning process has so far included an away day with the board and a planning day with the staff team, with the draft strategic framework to be opened up to community consultation in the Spring of 2016.

Updated metrics

As indicated in the progress report, we reviewed and updated the metrics system for 2015-16 at the beginning of the activity year, resulting in some changes from those initially proposed in the FDC activity plan. There were two factors that influenced this; the introduction of global metrics, and our ED transition (which started just after we submitted our activity plan). By the start of 2015 we knew that this transition and an imminent staff restructure would impact on delivery in a significant way, and that we needed to update our targets accordingly. Many aspirational or auxiliary indicators were phased out, and we also reduced some targets in the light of organisational changes. We also took the opportunity to fully implement the global metrics into our measurement system.

Global metrics overview - all programs[edit]

We are trying to understand the overall outcomes of the work being funded across our grantees' programs. Please use the table below to let us know how your programs contributed to the Global Metrics. We understand not all Global Metrics will be relevant for all programs, so feel free to put "0" where necessary. For each program include the following table and

  1. Next to each required metric, list the outcome achieved for all of your programs included in your proposal.
  2. Where necessary, explain the context behind your outcome.
  3. In addition to the Global Metrics as measures of success for your programs, there is another table format in which you may report on any OTHER relevant measures of your programs success

For more information and a sample, see Global Metrics.

Metric Achieved outcome Explanation
1. # of active editors involved 708 Event participants - our conferences and chapter community events, editathons, training, online editing contests.
2. # of new editors 438 Trained through editathons and introductory sessions.
3. # of individuals involved 1,856 Includes the two metrics above
4. # of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages 2,217 Representing about 11% of our total uploads - good reuse rate, thanks in large to activities by the Wikimedians in Residence.
5. # of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects 13,072 Very impressive numbers from Welsh Wikipedia (see G1 for details), volunteer grants (covered in G2a below), work on Wikidata. A massive improvement in relation to 6 month mark.
6. Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects 68,430,511 Closely linked to the activities above.

Telling your program stories - all programs[edit]

Please tell the story of each of your programs included in your proposal. This is your chance to tell your story by using any additional metrics (beyond global metrics) that are relevant to your context, beyond the global metrics above. You should be reporting against the targets you set at the beginning of the year throughout the year. We have provided a template here below for you to report against your targets, but you are welcome to include this information in another way. Also, if you decided not to do a program that was included in your proposal or added a program not in the proposal, please explain this change. More resources for storytelling are at the end of this form. Here are some ways to tell your story.

  • We encourage you to share your successes and failures and what you are learning. Please also share why are these successes, failures, or learnings are important in your context. Reference learning patterns or other documentation.
  • Make clear connections between your offline activities and online results, as applicable. For example, explain how your education program activities is leading to quality content on Wikipedia.
  • We encourage you to tell your story in different ways by using videos, sound files, images (photos and infographics, e.g.), compelling quotes, and by linking directly to work you produce. You may highlight outcomes, learning, or metrics this way.
  • We encourage you to continue using dashboards, progress bars, and scorecards that you have used to illustrate your progress in the past, and to report consistently over time.
  • You are welcome to use the table below to report on any metrics or measures relevant to your program. These may or may not include the global metrics you put in the overview section above. You can also share your progress in another way if you do not find a table like this useful.

Programme 1: Develop open knowledge[edit]

WIR impact at the National Library of Wales after 12 months - click to enlarge!
Outcome Measure 2014-15 outcome 2015-16 target 2015-16 6 mth outcome 2015-16 outcome
Number of uploads 168,283 incl 150,000 2 mass uploads 'track' 5,513 20,797
Number of new images/media added to Wikimedia articles/pages (GM 4) n/a - we measured a % reuse n/a - we had a % reuse target 773 2,217
Percentage of WMUK-related files (e.g. images) in mainspace use on a Wikimedia project (excluding Commons) 3.6% 5% 14% 11%
Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects (GM 6) 16,459,774 'track' 2,508,798 68,430,511
Number of files (e.g. images) that have featured status on a Wikimedia project (including Commons) 63 50 43 57
Number of new articles started on a Wikimedia site (eg any of the encyclopedias, incl Wicipedia) 835 (en) + 8,218 (Welsh) 800 246 (didn’t count Welsh Wikipedia) 6,712
(c.5000 from Wales)
Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia projects (GM 5) n/a n/a 391 (didn’t count Welsh Wikipedia) 13,072


This programme strand was mainly concerned with generating and improving open content - supporting the Wikimedia Foundation’s strategic goal focused on content - with a particular emphasis on partnerships and volunteer-led projects. We worked with organisations from the cultural, education sectors and beyond in order to unlock content, remove barriers to knowledge and engage with the public. We also increased the quality and quantity of diverse online content, changing our programme to bring more of a focus on diversity throughout our work.

As planned, we continued to build our Wikimedian in Residence programme, running fewer but much more focused, in-depth projects than in previous years. This follows the lessons learnt from the WIR review in 2014:

The staff restructure in 2015 enabled us to commit more time to working with partner institutions, with the changes implemented in the staff structure supporting our delivery and reach. We also developed closer connections with our Wales Manager, leading to a more cohesive programme across the country and ensuring that the charity’s work in the Welsh language is linked to our other activities.

A very backstage backstage pass event run by a WIR

In terms of education, we originally planned to continue our focused work on Wikipedia in the Classroom, however the loss of our dedicated Education Organiser in the staff restructure put a halt to those plans - particularly in the first half of the year. We have learnt that our higher education partners tend to need input, reassurance and support from us in order to deliver to the Wikipedia in the Classroom programme successfully, and in the latter half of the year one of our Project Co-ordinators has been reconnecting with universities in order to ensure the continued delivery of this work.

Whilst the restructure had a significant impact on our programme delivery during the year, we were pleased to see the development of open knowledge through our Wikimedians in Residence - who continued to deliver training sessions, editathons and other activities during a period in which Chapter staff were unable to. Despite the challenges described earlier, and elsewhere in our report, we were also pleased to have delivered a number of very successful projects and other initiatives.

Generating text content

Our ongoing programme of editathons and training workshops are crucial to generating new content on Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia Projects, however beyond this, there are a number of key initiatives from the year to showcase.

Volunteer writing contests

In 2015-16 we funded, supported and evaluated several volunteer-led Wikipedia writing contests, as follows:

  • Core Contest - 1 March to 14 April 2015; 15 articles, 739,751 bytes added. 17 participants.
  • Stub Contest - 1-31 August 2015; 2,936 articles, 8,440,292 bytes added. 36 participants.
  • Take the Lead! - 1-31 January 2016; 619 articles, 962,906 bytes added. 24 participants.

We have supported writing contests on the Wikipedia projects since 2012 and have considerable experience in ensuring that they are run successfully. For WMUK they are an excellent way of improving content as well as encouraging existing editors, with each contest using a different approach to improving content - prioritising articles which are either difficult to write or otherwise receive little attention from editors. The Stub Contest, for example, gave extra points for expanding stub articles which were at least ten years old - in fact 79 articles created between 2001(!) and 2005 were improved as a direct result of the contest.

We use contests to provide recognition for editors doing excellent work, with participation in the Core Contest increasing steadily over the last three years. This year’s Core Contest resulted in a rewrite of the article on ‘news’ (the overall winner) so that the page is unrecognisable from where it started at the beginning of the competition, growing from 1,657 words and 20 references to 11,035 words and 315 references.

2015 was the first time Take the Lead! was organised. The organiser identified a new need on Wikipedia, which is that lead sections of articles are increasingly important as mobile phones by default have all other sections collapsed. At the start of the competition more than 2,000 articles had no lead section, while 14,000 were tagged as needing further work on their lead. We publicised the contest through our social media channels, generating 81 visits to the page about the contest.

We have been pleased to observe that the growing number of competitions has resulted in more editors becoming involved, and for 2016-17 we have already supported a contest to improve articles related to Wales.

Welsh Wikipedia content development

This is an integrated programme with a focus on Welsh Heritage, which will continue into 2016-17. The programme has shown excellent results in terms of generating content, and has also provided the Chapter with a number of engaging case studies about our work; enabling us to attract new partners and potential collaborators. For example, our Medieval Women editathon in Swansea attracted a lot of positive attention:

In 2015-16 we have grown Welsh content through a range of activities including:

  • Pulling data from Wikidata, supplemented with content from Dictionary of Welsh biographies. We have also enabled a similar lists template on other small language wikis, allowing these communities to build content relevant to them from this template, and are already seeing a significant amount of bytes being generated through these activities.
  • Translating the Visual Editor interface into Welsh, as originally it was only available in English on the Welsh Wikipedia. This is very important for a community that is very proud of its own language, and were put off by the English interface. We also produced Welsh instructions for the Content Translator tool, for similar reasons.
  • Enabling authority control on the Welsh Language Wikipedia, in cooperation with key volunteers. The template now allows the National Library of Wales as one of the major libraries to appear in biographical articles on all language Wikipedias. With the joint efforts of the National Library of Wales as well as Wikipedians worldwide, 4,024 Welsh biographies were matched to Wikidata. Staff and volunteers from the library were also trained on the basics of Wikipedia and Wikidata. This has enabled all other languages (including English) to pick up these Welsh biographies and adds standard librarian protocols onto biographical articles and other unique identifiers in all language wikis.

Wikimedian in Residence Networking - “Wikidata Muggle Outreach Working Group”*

(*Harry Potter reference; expert Wikidata users are wizards to many of us who consider ourselves muggles who need a bit more support or more user-friendly guides to technical issues.)

As mentioned above we are seeing ways of growing smaller language wikis using Wikidata. Whilst we hadn’t put a big emphasis on Wikidata in our original proposal, in the course of the year we changed this to respond to a growing demand from the partner GLAMs we work with to work with data and embrace the opportunities offered by Wikidata - particularly in organisations with a Wikimedian in Residence. As Wikidata is relatively new and less well known than Wikipedia, we developed an informal group for WIRs to help each other in learning about Wikidata.

One of the advantages of our several years’ experience of developing WiR programmes, and now being at the stage where multiple residencies run at the same time, is that we have a peer group of WiRs who can share experiences and learning. To ensure deeper and broader integration with Wikimedia projects beyond Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, knowledge-sharing is key for one resident to be able to facilitate involvement in projects they may not have a strong understanding of or that may require guidance. Wikidata is one project that can be hard to pick up quickly, but we want to ensure that all potential and useful contributions to Wikidata can be spotted, and added in a way that takes into account the relatively delicate nature of a database.

WiRs sometimes face very specific challenges that can be best answered by those that are working in similar institutions and face similar issues. This WIR peer group is a very simple and relatively informal arrangement at the moment which started off by connecting John Cummings, current WiR at UNESCO with Jason Evans, current WiR at the National Library of Wales. Since then we have expanded this informal network and have been running an email thread with all of our current WiRs, as well as some members of our community with experience and expertise in Wikidata. We have also involved Adam Shorland, a Wikidata developer. This process is supporting and feeding into the development of documentation for the nascent Wikidata “Data Partnerships” by John Cummings and Navino Evans (one of our UK Wikidata community members). Through this network, we also hope to help develop models for future GLAM work that we can share with the wider Wikimedia community.

This need for WIRs sharing knowledge and networking was one of the WIR programme recommendations identified in our 2014 programme review. We are therefore pleased to have implemented this in 2015-16, with the aim of growing it further in 2016 and beyond. (

Learning pattern

Quotes about editathons:

It was really nice to see and know how Wikipedia works, if only for my own interest!

— Anonymous event attendee

[The WIR at the Royal Society of Chemistry] really knows his stuff but also was brilliant at showing everyone what to do even those like me who had done nothing before

— Anonymous

Releasing/generating media - including images

The number of uploads we supported in 2015-16 increased with every quarter, indicating renewed activity in our programmes and partnerships. The total number of uploads is comparable to the previous year result after discounting mass uploads (such as the one-off 100,000 Wellcome donation). The images we contributed to Commons were smaller, handpicked sets - which also means their reuse rate was higher than last year. Many upload projects focused on addressing content needs on e.g. Wikipedia.

Particular collections are highlighted below.

Europeana Sounds

As part of a three year project (2014-17) aiming to release sounds and promote their reuse across Europe, Europeana have been working with the British Library and their large collection of sound and music recordings. Through a connection with Wikimedia Netherlands, we were approached about a potential collaboration, and planned and delivered a very successful editathon in November 2015 in partnership with Europeana and the British Library. With hundreds of Wikipedia articles on birds lacking sound files of birdsong, we added sound files to over 500 articles in 28 different language Wikipedias as well as in 40 languages across Wikidata, Wikispecies, and Wikimedia Commons. Sound files are sorely lacking from Wikipedia, and this was a significant contribution to the bird articles. We have scheduled further similarly thematic events for the the Spring and Summer 2016.

Here’s an example of the types of sounds added to articles:

Bodleian Library Wikimedian in Residence
One of the photos from the Bodleian collection

From the start the residency with the Bodleian Libraries took two approaches to diversity - improving coverage of women in science and improving Wikipedia’s geographical coverage - which were identified as key areas of development when the residency was first proposed. Over the course of the project so far, the workshops have been attended by a predominantly female audience (around 85%), and have led to the improvement of more than 59 articles on women in science. This was further complemented by an editathon to coincide with the bicentenary of Ada Lovelace’s birth, part of the University of Oxford’s programme of events to mark the occasion.

The Bodleian Libraries are keen to improve the accessibility of their digital content and viewed the residency as a key means of achieving this; with the Wikimedian in Residence playing a crucial advocacy role in promoting the adoption of open licenses. As well as the demonstrable impact on articles through workshops and teaching people how to edit, 4,000 images were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, ranging from 5th-century maps to a portrait of a 7-year-old Ada Lovelace. The images are being individually selected, with a particular focus on those that illustrate underrepresented content from across the world; and are being seen by 2.5 million people a month.

Geographic distribution of content uploaded to Wikimedia Commons from the Bodleian Libraries' collections

Mass upload training

A key area we needed to develop in 2015-16 was improving volunteer skills with the GLAM-Wiki mass upload tools. Our residencies at the Bodleian Library, National Library of Wales, and National Library of Scotland have used the tools to good effect but training other volunteers means we can work with institutions without a current WIR to mass upload files. To support this, and use existing pools of knowledge, the WIR at the National Library of Scotland hosted training sessions on the mass upload tools in April 2015 at the WMUK offices and in May at the British Library. One of the attendees went on to upload 7,000 images of book bindings from the British Library’s collection, receiving coverage on their blog - in fact the work went on to inspire the Koninklijke Bibliotheek to upload images of their own bookbindings. The presentation for the WIR at the NLS helped the volunteer to understand how the toolset worked, but the process did involve some autodidactism.

The event was attended by several Wikimedians in Residence: from Bodleian Libraries, UNESCO, Museums Galleries Scotland, National Library of Wales, and York Museums Trust. This helped them in the course of their residencies to upload large numbers of files to Wikimedia Commons. While it is useful to have trained volunteers able to use the tools, what was missing was having batches of content ready to be imported to Wikimedia Commons. Should a similar session be run in the future, it would be useful to prepare beforehand by having collections of images from institutions ready to be used - a simple but key learning! It is hard to teach mass upload without that.


With relatively small, but much needed uploads, we wanted to highlight the page views on the content we made available in 2015-16, with particular focus on the work of Wikimedians in Residence.

There have been eight residencies active in 2015-16:

  • Museums Galleries Scotland
  • National Library of Wales
  • Bodleian Libraries
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cancer Research UK
  • National Library of Scotland
  • York Museums Trust extension
  • Royal Society of Chemistry

Considering all the images that these residents contributed, a total of 21,372 files have been added to Wikimedia Commons, with 4,926 used in mainspace. These files were uploaded throughout the residencies, and some were uploaded before 1 February 2015. In 2015-16 these files were seen by 90 million readers, and 20 million in January 2016 alone, representing a very significant impact in terms of readers and users of the Wikimedia projects.

Large content releases are often the result of ongoing discussions with institutions and take months to come to fruition, as it can involve discussions around relicensing images and ensuring there is adequate metadata. The approach at the Bodleian Library has been to add images from Digital Bodleian, and reach out to other organisations for smaller content uploads to demonstrate the reach that can be achieved through Wikimedia - building the case for greater content releases. The page view statistics have been particularly effective at leveraging influence within the National Library of Wales, from which 14,000 images have been uploaded. The image uploads, and the reuse % shows a very clear link between the offline activities that we run (e.g. image reuse editathons), and the online Wikimedia impact.

The image reuse statistics are particularly impressive for many of the WIR projects, as the data below illustrates.

Partnership # files uploaded # files used # articles using files % files used page views in 2015-16 page views in Jan 2016
Glasgow Museums (MGS) 196 5 7 2.6 164,546 46,747
Bodleian 4178 137 279 3.3 10,588,159 2,451,472
University of Edinburgh 53 7 7 13.2 - -
National Library of Scotland 1114 150 178 13.5 15,166,410 2,053,463
Royal Society of Chemistry 307 59 87 19.2 Not in BaGLAMa 214,297
York Museums Trust 657 194 455 29.5 6,493,214 502,945
York Museums Network 168 43 58 25.6 1,861,364 288,879
National Library of Wales 14125 4109 4525 29.1 39,814,949 11,712,183
Cancer Research UK 574 222 346 38.7 15,674,069 2,444,884
totals 21372 4926 5942 23.0 89,762,711 19,714,870
And earlier WIRs for comparison:
Tyne and Wear Museums 293 47 87 16.0
Royal Society 383 199 340 52.0 4,902,597 1,082,860
This featured image was produced via a volunteer photography grant, which we linked to an existing residency at the Bodleian Libraries.

We also looked at the featured images that we support, and the pageviews on those. It wasn’t possible to run numbers just for 2015-16, but for all the Featured Pictures we made possible, the page views is 1,218,098 in January 2016. We could then extrapolate this figure to estimate 13 million views for the whole year.

Infographics from the first 12 months of the Museums Galleries Scotland residency


Our key activity with partners is the Wikimedian in Residence programme, which has been very successful during the year 2015/16. However, our partnerships work is hugely dependent on the external context, and when partner organisations are faced with budget cuts, redundancies and changes in their strategic direction, our projects are inevitably affected. We had to work through several setbacks during the year, which we thought it would be helpful to highlight here for the benefit of other Affiliates whose work has a similar partnership model.

Budget cuts/staff restructure:

One of our partners went through a restructure towards the start of their project, but as this resulted in the creation of a new digital engagement team, it actually had a positive impact on the WiR, who worked within this team. Subsequently, however, we experienced a setback when further budget cuts meant that a mass upload project (for 140,000 items) was put on hold despite being previously approved - as the institution became under increasing pressure to monetise content, and a major cataloguing project meant that technical support was refocused elsewhere. Instead of the mass upload, a new list of about 500 handpicked items for manual upload has been submitted for approval, with items selected based on their potential impact and usability on Wikipedia.

This example highlights a wider trend within the UK GLAM sector that has been particularly evident in our partnership work over the last year. As Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland reports,

We did experience throughout the course of the last 12 months repeated resistance to the idea of image donation in particular, which revealed a general lack of development in the sector in the realm of digital licensing policy. Since the introduction of the amendments to the PSI Directive in 2015 we are starting to see these attitudes change, but there is still a generalised concern over both loss of control and loss of revenue, even when items have passed into the public domain. Further work will need to be done in the sector for museums to embrace diversification of income generation - and to take advantage of income generation enabled by digital culture - if the fears surrounding loss of income are to be assuaged.

— Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland

Strategic review:

One of our partners went into an in-depth strategy consultation during the WIR project we have been running with them. As our projects are normally linked with the strategic goals of partner institutions, such reviews can have a huge impact on the viability of our collaborations. When an organisation is working out what they should be focusing on in the future, they can’t make a decision on whether a Wikimedia project should be continued or not, something we have a little control over in our working context. We could relate to that, having gone through a similar process earlier in the year.

Spotlight on projects:

Partnerships take a long time to develop and sometimes the work we put into collaborations leads to further projects in a very non-linear path. An example of this is a partnership that we developed with the Edinburgh University, which culminated in hiring a WIR at the end of 2015.

History of University of Edinburgh WIR being set up - how offline engagements lead to partnerships

This residency is a result of both a long term relationship developed by WMUK and the ability of our existing cohort of Wikimedians in Residence to influence senior managers and help shape institutional strategies and investment decisions.

The lead for the partnership at University of Edinburgh is Melissa Highton. When she was Director of Academic IT at University of Oxford her teams attended the editathon organised by JISC (June 2012) to improve articles on the Great War (this event in itself was inspired by an editathon run by WMUK in 2011).

Oxford holds the Great War Archive and they were keen to ensure, in advance of the centenary, that their collection of open educational resources (OER) could support public engagement and school teaching on the topic. Martin Poulter was WiR at JISC at the time - a residency that WMUK set up and supported.

Providing comprehensive analytics and case studies is key to gaining an organisation’s support for open access. Ada Lovelace Day celebrations were started as a programme by WMUK in 2012 with the Royal Society, and expanded in the following years, including Oxford University among others. In 2013 Oxford hosted its first editathon for Ada Lovelace Day. Martin provided training for the event and brought several other wikimedians to help, while Liz McCarthy and Kate Lindsay from the University worked with Martin to make the event a great success.

Oxford hosted another editathon for Ada Lovelace Day 2014, but by that time Melissa had moved jobs to become Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at University of Edinburgh. There had not yet been any Wikipedia editathons at Edinburgh so Melissa brought her teams to the Edinburgh EduWiki 2014 conference - run by WMUK - to find out more (this, incidentally, points to how conferences can have a longer term impact beyond one year). Ally Crockford from the WMUK-run Wikimedian in Residence programme at National Library of Scotland spoke at the event, and she highlighted the WiR scheme. Melissa learnt about the job descriptions, support and work plans which would be successful for a WiR partnership.

Edinburgh University runs an annual Innovative Learning Week designed to enable staff and students to attend day long, or week long events outside of normal timetabling patterns. The first Edinburgh editathon ran during ILW 2015. Ally came to help:,_Science_and_Scottish_History_editathon_series. Ally was very bold and went for an event spanning the full 4 days, making a strong impression.

We certainly couldn’t have done it without Ally and Sara but the striking thing for me was how quickly colleagues within the University took to the idea and began supporting each other in developing their skills and sharing knowledge amongst a multi-professional group. This inspired me to commission some academic research to look at the connections and networking amongst the participants and to explore whether editathons were a good investment in developing workplace digital skills. This is the research I presented at Wikipedia Science Conference run by Martin Poulter and supported by WMUK which underpinned my business case for establishing a WiR at University of Edinburgh with focus on skills development as part of the University’s commitment to open knowledge.

Wikipedia Science Conference summary video

This year University of Edinburgh is hosting an international conference on open educational resources: OER16. I am delighted to see so many papers accepted from wikimedia projects. We will also run an editathon alongside the event and hopefully convert even more OER practitioners to the joys of Wikipedia editing. Three of the keynote speakers at the event are from organisations with WiR: Me for Edinburgh, John Scally for NLS and Emma Smith for Oxford; each of these organisations are making big , public commitments to open knowledge, sharing and public engagement. Partnership projects with Wikimedia UK is part of the way we do that.

I have been repeatedly impressed by the quality of the Wikimedians and the generosity of their host organisations to help at events. It seems to me only fair that University of Edinburgh which has benefitted so much from our local WiRs should now host a WiR to continue a sustained involvement with the scheme and the Wikimedia UK community. Once Edinburgh has shown the way I hope the other Scottish universities will follow suit to ensure that there is always at least one WiR for the nation.

National Library of Wales WIR
'Boy destroying piano' The first photograph by Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths to be released into the Public Domain

The WIR project started in January 2015 and so its first 12 months cover the whole of this activity year. In this time the project achieved some extraordinary things. Here is a summary taken from the review report:

Summary of Activities and outcomes

Below is an overview of key activities and outcomes which are unlikely to have happened without the direction and input of a Wikimedian in Residence.

Public events

The target of 6 Public events during the year was exceeded, with a total of 9 public edit-a-thon events being held with a total audience of 100. Several events were held in collaboration with Swansea University and other collaborative partners, including People’s Collection Wales and Gwent Archives. From the outset it was important to produce outcomes which demonstrated the value of the collaboration to the institution. It was agreed that public events such as Edit-a-thons should be held as part of wider events/projects whenever possible, as this would ensure maximum impact, and provide a public outreach element to existing library activities such as exhibitions, project launches and new online resources.

  • 9 Public events
  • 100 attendees
  • 63 new Wikipedia accounts
  • 72 new articles
  • 233 improved articles
  • 81,541 edits to Wikipedia Mainspace

Sharing digital content

Early in the residency the importance of producing outcomes which demonstrated the value of the collaboration to the institution was highlighted. It was hoped that this would be achieved by closely monitoring the use and impact of NLW images shared on an open licence via Wikimedia Commons. During this 12 month period the National Library uploaded 7347 digital images to Wikimedia Commons. The collections are varied and include 3500 Welsh landscape images, mid 19th century photographs, medieval manuscripts, newspapers and printed material such as images from Robert Hooke’s famous Micrographia. 140,000 images have been identified for future upload to Commons, highlighting the library’s commitment to working with Wikimedia in the long term.

  • 7,347 images uploaded
  • 947 distinct images used in Wikis
  • 32,936,910 views of articles containing NLW images

Working with volunteers

An unexpected success during this project has been the level of engagement with the institution’s volunteer team. The Library employs a volunteer coordinator to manage a team of local volunteers who undertake a number of different projects within the library. Such is the success of the initiative that there is currently a waiting list to join. Several Wikipedia-based training sessions and projects have been organised for the volunteer team by the Wikipedian in Residence and a number of Volunteers have attended several public Edit-a-thon events.

  • 9 volunteers contributed to a project to create stub articles in English and Welsh for 60 historic Welsh newspapers
  • 13 volunteers attended Wikidata training, and then used the mix-and-match tool to add Dictionary of Welsh Biography entries to Wikidata.
  • A new project has just been launched, aimed at creating stub Wikipedia articles for Dictionary of Welsh Biography entries.
  • A number of weekly drop-in sessions were held to encourage volunteers to keep editing between events/projects.


In order to promote the benefits of open access, and of engaging with Wikimedia projects, Twitter accounts were set up in English and Welsh so that news about the project could be shared. Regular blog posts were also used to report on aspects of the project. The residency has also attracted significant media interest in Wales and the resident has been interviewed on a number of occasions for television, radio, magazines and news websites.

  • 859,500 Twitter impressions
  • 13 Blog posts
  • 10 Radio interviews
  • 14 News articles
  • 2 Television appearances

Embedding open access with the National Library of Wales and its partners

Even before the residency had begun, the National Library of Wales had adopted an open access policy for all out-of-copyright digital content. The policy also sets out the Library’s ambition to share its content openly on third party websites. The employment of a Wikimedian in Residence was seen as a means of developing the strategy set out in this policy. However, the Library lacks established workflows which would allow for the systematic release of newly digitised content into the public domain. During the last twelve months, steps have been taken towards embedding such systems but a major restructuring of Library staff and departments during the residency has slowed progress.

The Library’s biggest partner, in terms of digital content creation, is People’s Collection Wales – a community platform for sharing and organising digital images relating to Wales. The National Library and other Welsh GLAM’s contribute to the archive as do members of the public. Currently the website only offers users non-commercial licences, but significant progress has been made in getting them to adopt the use of Creative Commons licences, giving users the option to licence images for commercial, or non-commercial use. This commitment to a change in culture was achieved by advocating the advantages of open access, collaborating on events, and pro-actively sharing NLW content with both Commons and Peoples Collection Wales.

At an individual level Library staff have been involved in Wiki training, edit-a-thons and have attended ‘Introduction to Wikipedia’ sessions. The resident also worked closely with curators to select content for upload to Commons.

  • 44 members of Staff attended ‘Introduction to Wikipedia’ sessions
  • 9 members of staff attended an Editing workshop
  • The Digital Access team held a Pic-a-thon event
  • Developed partnership with Peoples Collection Wales
  • Business case for further open access shift being developed
  • Commitment to embed open access sharing into digitisation workflow


There are many positives to take from the first 12 months of the residency at the National Library of Wales. The Library has supported Wikimedia’s open access ethos from the outset, and demonstrated its commitment to the project by supporting the resident whenever possible. Senior staff are regularly briefed on the progress of the project and have been impressed by the impact of content released to Commons, not only in terms of page view statistics but also the interest from the public and the media, which has arisen due to the exposure that open access sharing has brought. The edit-a-thon model has proved to be highly versatile as a public outreach tool. This is because you can choose any subject and target almost any demographic. The events contribute in tackling important issues such as computer literacy, community engagement and also serve to promote the resources and expertise at the National Library of Wales. Many of the edit-a-thon events held were requested by institutions or groups who took part in a previous event, or heard about the event via social media. Social media, particularly Twitter, has been of huge value in advocating open access and developments in the residency. Much of the media coverage the project has received has been as a direct result of tweet activity.

Challenges and recommendations

Lack of internal resources

Major restructuring and a lack of systems/ICT support has meant that it has sometimes been difficult to access the data needed to upload collections to Commons, even when permission has been granted. This problem is seen as a lack of resources, in a difficult financial climate rather than a lack of support for the Wikimedia residency.

Locating and engaging key wiki volunteers

Despite a decent turnout for most events it has been difficult locating experienced Wikipedia editors and motivating them to take part in activities organised by the Wikipedian in Residence. In response to this, it is hoped that the annual Wales Wiki meet-up can be held in Aberystwyth this year in order to try and get more experienced editors involved in NLW-Wiki projects.


The provision of more structured analytics from Wikimedia would make it much easier to promote the value of collaborating with Wikipedia. For example no statistics were available for QRPedia codes used in a major NLW exhibition, and no statistics are available for image ‘engagements’ on Wikipedia pages, only the number of actual page views. Currently, it is also not possible to access data for referrals from Wikipedia to NLW web pages, which is a fundamental data-set in terms of demonstrating the success of the residency. A single suite of centrally maintained tools (à la Google Analytics) would be of huge benefit to every GLAM working with, or thinking of working with Wikimedia.

Key learning points

  • Publicising and reporting on activities is as important as the activity itself.
  • Everyone is a potential volunteer, you just need to pique their interest
  • Providing comprehensive analytics and case studies is key to gaining institutional support for open access.

Museum Galleries Scotland WIR

We run a similarly intensive 12 month partnership with MGS. Here are highlights from the review report produced by the resident and WMUK:

Positive influencing factors for success in the residency

  • Access to established MGS network
  • Line management & other colleagues at MGS supportive of aims of the residency
  • Appetite for digital work within the sector

Negative influencing factors against success in the residency

  • Lack of/need for digital skills in the sector
  • Fear surrounding open licensing: loss of revenue and loss of control
  • Most organisations not open-ready

Outputs A total of 12 editathons and 16 training sessions were held, and the resident spoke at 23 presentations/conferences, as well as making other informal contacts, reaching at least 79 cultural organisations, 20 universities & 5 other organisations, totalling 698 recorded contact points. These numbers do not include the four meetups of which the resident was part.

Training formed a huge part of the first 12 months, with 232 individuals trained, including 184 new users. 67 new articles were created, and 103 improved. 238 images were uploaded over 4 events.

The most significant delivery was in G3, Reduce barriers to accessing open knowledge, with a number of opportunities being taken to advocate for open knowledge in a museums and cultural context. Success in this area is indicated by the number of engagements and events which came about as follow-up events, following initial contact with the resident.

Developing links with other open knowledge communities has also been important, as well as the development of the Wiki Community in Scotland. It has been particularly gratifying to have been able to support the development of work being done at the University of Edinburgh, which has culminated in their hiring a resident of their own, starting January 2016.

Major achievements

  • 184 new users were trained. 67 new articles were created, 103 improved, & 238 images uploaded.
  • The residency managed to reach a high number of museums, with a good geographical spread, as well as some good advocacy work through conferences & presentations. Although content creation was not a major aim for the project, we still managed to get an impressive number of articles in particular added to the encyclopedia.
  • Setting up the Wiki Working Group at Glasgow Museums - GM are in a key stage of development with the impending opening of Kelvin Hall in 2016, where they will be partnering with other organisations, some of whom (National Library of Scotland) are far more experienced with open knowledge. Although the WWG is unlikely to last long-term, it was a key factor in advocating internally for the benefits of open knowledge in a museums context.
  • Some of the most rewarding parts of the residency have come from working with small museums. Wiki projects offer a way for small museums to punch above their weight in a manner which is otherwise simply unavailable to them - images taken at Braemar Castle are now seen by more people per month on Wikipedia pages than visit the castle during opening months.
  • There is a particular satisfaction in seeing the development of partnership work between cultural organisations and educational institutions. The UWS & Paisley Museum editathon is a good example of this, and it's a model which can be replicated and scaled.
  • Biographies of women missing from Wikipedia, and attacking the gender gap, have been a particular focus of the project. I am delighted that so many new female editors have been introduced to Wikipedia, and that so many women's biographies have been added.
  • Supporting the University of Edinburgh in their work over the past year, which has led to the appointment of a Wikimedian in Residence of their own.
  • Perhaps the most significant achievement of the residency is difficult to quantify: I've been able to change attitudes toward open knowledge and open culture, and have been able to do that whilst working across an entire sector. With any luck, the impact of this will be a gift that keeps on giving…
Report detailing the findings of the impact questionnaire for organisations involved in the Jan 2015 - Jan 2016 Museums Galleries Scotland Wikimedian in Residence project

A questionnaire to assess the impact of contact with the resident was sent to 26 individuals, representing 14 organisations with whom the resident had had significant contact. 7 responses were received, including 3 Recognised Collections of National Significance to Scotland and 1 university.

Key findings include:

  • That contact with the residency improved confidence and understanding around open knowledge.
  • Contact provided inspiration to continue work in open knowledge.
  • Barriers to continuing work centre around funding and resources, as well as organisational buy in. This correlates with the resident's reflections on the sector as a whole that making museums open-ready requires skills, infrastructure, and positive attitudes.

The findings of the questionnaire show that generally the project was received well, having a positive effect on the organisation, and increasing both confidence and understanding of open knowledge and its context, as well as the benefits for both the organisation and the wider sector.

Almost all organisations were keen to recommend the project, and would be interested in doing similar work in the future.

Encouragingly, the project has inspired one organisation to think about a Residency of their own, and assisted in the establishment of another, as well as influencing most organisations to continue with this work. Barriers to pursuing further work focus on time constraints, funding and income generation, and organisational buy in.

Our work with partners also brought in a significant amount of gifts-in-kind in various areas of our work, for example c. £10,000 for hosting of conferences and major events, and salaries of Wikimedians in Residence (c. £10,000 again). This shows our capacity for attracting diverse funding, something that the FDC praised us in the past for.

Programme 2: Develop, involve and engage WMUK volunteers[edit]

Outcome Measure 2014-15 outcome 2015-16 target 2015-16 6 mth outcome 2015-16 outcome
Number of volunteers (people involved in WMUK activities) 765 500 543 in trailing 12 months.

112 in Q1 and Q2 quarter

Number of leading volunteers 305 100 261 70
Number of activity units 2,539 1800 577 1,688
Number of leading activity units 987 400 69 222
Proportion of activity units attributable to women 38% 38% 36% 30%
Proportion of leading activity units attributable to women 28% 28% 45% 40%
Number of active editors involved (GM 1) n/a n/a 33 708
Number of newly registered editors (GM 2) n/a n/a 184 436
Number of individuals involved (GM3) n/a n/a 511 1,856
An editathon led by the Wikimedian in Residence at Museums Galleries Scotland

Volunteers are central to the work of Wikimedia UK, and this programme was focused on attracting, developing and supporting our community of volunteers and editors. Most of our activities in this area are focused on supporting the WMUK community of volunteers, rather than the online community of editors; as the offline involvement of volunteers is essential for our Chapter and enables us achieve greater online impact. This programme area relates primarily to the Wikimedia Foundation’s strategic goal focused on participation.

I strongly appreciate what the charity is doing, volunteering with you is quite straightforward, the team is fantastic, I get to meet amazing people through volunteering.

— Response to the volunteer survey

Originally, we were planning to support volunteers through broad initiatives such as grants, travel support and more general support, however this meant that the programme lacked focus and was quite reactive. During the course of the year, this area of our work went through significant changes, driven initially by budget savings but ultimately creating a more focused programme, which incorporated the newly adopted project-based approach. Changes included cutting ‘general support’, which ensured support for our volunteers was for a specific purpose, and linked to other activities we were running; and securing gifts in kind for events such as the AGM and the volunteer strategy day, which we would have struggled to run otherwise. Project grants were overhauled and travel grants were only offered when there was a clear link to a particular project or a priority area of work for the charity. Train the Trainer also became more focused, with an emphasis on developing skills that WMUK specifically needs to deliver our programme, such as volunteer engagement.

Towards the later half of the year we crystallised the new approach to this programme, focused on developing our volunteer community through training, competitions, community consultation and small project grants. We also started involving volunteers directly in the management of the charity through the Evaluation Panel. All these activities were aimed at establishing an approach where staff and volunteers collaborate on projects together, and we are now continuing this work.

Activity Levels

We have not achieved the levels of volunteer activity that we were anticipating at the start of the year. With the Volunteer Support roles made redundant as part of the restructure, volunteer engagement now sits mainly within the newly-formed programme team, most of whom are relatively new to this work. Whilst the change makes strategic sense, the period of transition impacted on our ability to remain connected to our volunteer community and we learnt that it takes time to rebuild trust after a prolonged period of reduced contact. It will take some time to see the results of our renewed efforts in volunteer engagement.

In addition to the restructure, a lack of major engagement events that had happened in 2014 - such as Wikimania and the Barclays editathon - meant a steep drop in activity units. It is also worth noting that as we went into delivery in 2015, we became much more stringent in the way we count lead activity units, limiting them to instances where volunteers truly are leading on activities. It therefore looks like we delivered significantly below target, which is not the case.

At the end of the year, we ran a volunteer opinion survey, which reflected back to us the issue of reduced activity, but which was also promising in terms of potential future engagement.

Summary of survey findings
  • 85% of people surveyed volunteered in 2015. Of these, two thirds volunteered at least once a month and are highly active.
  • The median number of volunteer hours reported was half that for 2014; the mean number of hours reported was also 40% smaller than the previous year. *The smaller sample size of the 2014 survey accounts for part of this change, however the volunteers have perceived that there has been reduced programme activity and opportunities to volunteer for WMUK during the transitional phase of 2015.
  • 80% of people said they were likely to continue volunteering with WMUK, with a further 11% neutral on the question. This indicates a potential drop-out rate of 10–20%.
  • Only 60% of people felt there were suitable volunteer opportunities available in 2015. While there was no baseline data from previous years against which to compare this, the additional comments explained why this was. Significant themes were that there were not enough activities outside London, the charity's programme was reduced in 2015, and there was reduced communication from staff.
  • 80% of people said that they were likely to recommend volunteering with WMUK to a friend. This indicates that despite reduced activity in 2015 the volunteer community remains one of WMUK's key pillars, and one which can be used to encourage other people to volunteer.
  • The three most popular volunteer roles were 'content contributor (project)' (chosen by 55% of respondents), 'speaker' (42%), and 'ambassador' (39%). *This shows that our volunteers come from a varied background, with a significant proportion not primarily interested in editing Wikipedia. The answers can be used to inform action in relation to question 4 and providing more relevant volunteer opportunities.
  • 70% of people that the charity values their volunteering, though the survey does contain comments from those who feel their work is not recognised. *Generally people enjoyed volunteering for Wikimedia UK and understand the importance of their work to the charity. The subject of available volunteer roles was highlighted as having lower satisfaction amongst volunteers, with only 44% saying they were satisfied and 38% remaining neutral on the matter.
  • Key themes to emerge from this were that volunteers wanted more support on projects they are involved in; more communication from Wikimedia UK around its activities; and positive feedback for the work they do for the charity.
  • Overall volunteers were mostly happy with the training available to them as a volunteer, but in most respects the answers to these questions rated lower than in 2014. 55% of people were satisfied with the amount of training available (35% neutral) and 64% felt the training was good quality (29% neutral). While people were less satisfied than the year before with the available training and the relevance and quality of said training, people felt that volunteering gave them an opportunity to learn.
  • Of the 51 people who know their membership status, 43% are not members - representing a pool of people who could be persuaded to join the charity.

Full survey at

The work done by all the staff is much appreciated, especially in the difficult and demoralising circumstances the charity has sometimes found itself in.

— Response to the volunteer survey

After the troubles of the last 2 years, WMUK still seems slow to pick up speed again.

— Anonymous response to the volunteer survey


Volunteer grants were key in generating some of the content we produced in 2015-16. Beyond the writing contests, we supported several other project ideas.

I remain indebted to WMUK and their microgrants, which are just the right size and scope for a competition such as this, and have been instrumental to improving 0.5% of wikipedia's core portfolio.

Grants active in 2015-16

  • Core Contest
  • Stub Contest
  • Take the Lead!
  • Wimbledon photos
  • Bodleian photos
  • Writing about UFOs
  • Costs to run editathons at SOAS
  • Golden Hollywood

Ongoing from previous year (all for books to write articles):

  • Hotels and cinema
  • Channel Tunnel
  • Railway architecture

Grants approved in 2015-16 can be split into four broad categories: funding prizes for writing contests, taking photographs of notable buildings/events, providing sources to write articles, and financing workshops. This last strand is expected to become more common in 2016-17 as we encourage volunteers to use our project grants system to plan a workshop and cover the costs of the event. Additional grants active in 2015-16 which carried over from the previous year were for sources to write articles.

A strength of the process is that it allows volunteers to develop their own projects and support from WMUK allows them to access resources. The application process was changed in 2015-16, which involved changing the staff members involved in the process. A large number of applications has the potential to overwhelm the evaluation panel which is made up of volunteers. To mitigate this staff are involved in the process and can approve straightforward requests.

As with other programmes, grants were affected by the restructure, where for several months there was no staff member looking after them. This meant that we had a setback in terms of following up and tracking applications. Also, the projects that had been previously approved suffered from a lack of communication with the office. Once established, however, the programme team has worked hard to refresh the volunteer grants programme following feedback at the Volunteer Strategy Day in July. The process was changed to involve a higher level of dialogue between staff and volunteers and to better support the development of volunteer-led projects and ideas ( We were also proactive in encouraging volunteers to apply, asking past grantees to promote this opportunity through their own networks.

To further support the updated process of grants which focused more on conversations and developing projects, the programme team set up a new Evaluation Panel. The remit of the panel was to feed into volunteer grant proposals, but also wider project ideas (such as Wikimedian in Residence applications). The panel was built on an original group of volunteers who vetted volunteer grant proposals, and although the change of remit caused some initial confusion, we are currently resolving that, organising an offline meeting of the panel to go through the selection criteria and other aspects of functioning as a panel.

We have also been working to address the challenge of the group being responsible both for assessing small microgrants, and big partnership proposals. We are working through the issues of having one process adapting to both ends of the scale - something that we could learn about from the grants team at WMF!

Training and skills development

Originally we planned to run a general Train the Trainer session, but we changed these plans to make training more relevant to our needs in 2015-16. In Q4 we started developing new ways of building volunteer skills and supporting our trainers. To start with, we organised a small focused workshop where we started developing training materials, with the aim of creating standard modules on topics such as basic editing. This brainstorm-based day fed ideas to the training organisation that we’re working with to develop the content further, and we now have a draft module for basic editing. This will help Wikimedia UK trainers who are not fully confident to deliver editing sessions, giving them a template structure and format, plus well-designed materials to use at events.

Broadening our training offer, and responding to our programme needs in the new plans, we ran two skills training sessions in January - Project management and Volunteer engagement. In 2015, through the project approach, we identified that we should support volunteers in being more involved in delivering defined projects. This session supported a group of key volunteers in thinking about project managing a Wikimedia event. Volunteer engagement was important as we recognise the need of growing our community, and yet know it may not be possible to do it all from the office.

We looked at how we can get people from different backgrounds interested and involved with our activities. The participants looked at what motivates people to get involved; what rewards exist for volunteering; the difference between staff members and volunteers and what activities volunteers enjoy.

These were pilot events which we would be delivering again depending on the community demand. Certainly it gave us new ideas of volunteer engagement which we will be carrying forward in 2016-17 (e.g. that no ‘one approach’ would work for everyone when attracting new volunteers).


Having previously been very focused on gender diversity, we attracted FDC’s attention when in the progress report this area seemed to be de-prioritised. However as the year has progressed we have put considerable effort into this area, seeking to embed diversity right across our work rather than having a specific, separate programme focused on this area.

A number of events took place with the aim of improving content on notable women in Wikipedia. Some of these events had themes like an editathon to create articles on medieval women with a particular focus on Welsh and Irish women; Art+feminism Editathons (we have since built on this in 2016/17); women in science, technology, engineering and maths editathons, a food symposium aimed at improving the coverage on Wikipedia of women and food; highlighting women on the honour roll of Glasgow School of Art who are unrepresented on Wikipedia; an editathon to increase the amount of information about women architects on Wikipedia including the notable alumni of the Architectural Association; and Mary Barbour related articles. One notable theme was the Ada Lovelace Bicentenary with events taking place in Oxford, Wales, Edinburgh and Cambridge aimed at creating or improving articles on women’s achievements in STEM.

Most of the new editors at a Brixton's Black Cultural Archives event were women. In this case, a doubly marginalised community on Wikipedia. Of course, turning enthusiasm into regular contributions is an ongoing challenge. They all have their WMUK booklets, and we will encourage them to study in earnest for a follow-up event.

Our gender participation metrics are very strong on female representation, continuing a trend of female attendees of our events. It should also be noted that our board and staff team is very well-balanced, with a 50/50 gender split on both the staff and the board at the current time. We also recruited three women to the Evaluation Panel.

Here is some additional data for a more complex picture. Along with our annual volunteer survey, we asked people some demographic questions. Here are the results:

The gender breakdown of the respondents doesn’t correspond fully with our reported gender stats on programme participants. It’s something we need to explore further, but perhaps our core community (people likely to respond to our survey) is less diverse than the participants of the editathons and training events (predominantly attended by newbies)

Beyond gender representation - other diversity activities - Disability Arts Online

We continue to work on areas which address under represented groups on Wikipedia; one way in which this has been achieved is through a partnership with Disability Arts Online. In 2014-15 Wikimedia UK began discussion with DAO about improving Wikipedia’s content related to disability arts. This led to a series of three editathons in late 2015 and early 2016. The intention was to have a repeat audience improve their editing skills, and return to articles being improved in the workshops. The second and third workshops took place in February and March 2016, and WMUK will be embarking on an assessment of how well they worked, while early feedback was that DAO would be interested in further editathons.

Programme 2b: Use effective and high quality governance and resource management processes[edit]

While the targets in this area were focused on how well we function as an organisation, we felt that they were worth covering in this report; particularly given the significant changes that we have gone through in 2015.

Staff structure

Following a busy year with Wikimania 2014, we originally proposed a slightly reduced staff team of 15 people (12.4 FTE) for 2015, in our funding application to the DFC. The team had been growing organically since the first paid staff were appointed in 2011, and wasn’t structured in an optimal way. Originally we were also intending to create a new position of a Chief Technical Officer. However the CEO transition, and the restructure that followed, offered the much needed opportunity to rethink and reorganise how we are structured and which posts are necessary for the organisation’s success.

Reorganisation takes up internal capacity even when the results are in the end greater efficiency - the challenge is that the team members that remain may need to focus on restructure tasks and process (handovers, recruitment, induction), rather than delivering programme-related activity. Organisational change takes time to achieve - whilst the restructure at WMUK started towards the end of 2015, it was only in the third quarter of the next financial year that the Programme team was complete, with the first half of the year significantly affected by a lack of staff capacity.

With the new Chief Executive, a number of changes in working practice have been introduced, such as more regular staff meetings, a greater emphasis on line-management, and the creation of a new Senior Management Team made up of the CEO, Director of Finance and Operations and Head of Programmes and Evaluation. The SMT meets monthly and considers all management issues, reporting back to the board and consulting with the rest of the staff team as necessary to ensure the organisation is well run and that internal and external communications are effective.

Metrics and evaluation

There were many positive developments in this area in 2015-16, in essence improving on the systems already built. We have built consistency in terms of evaluation, e.g. metrics that we are capturing. This means we are developing understanding of our baselines and expectations we can have of programmes.

With reduced programme funding in 2015-16, we became much more focused on assessing whether any proposed projects are addressing a ‘need’. For example, the volunteer Evaluation Panel looks at projects in the context of whether they are addressing content gaps.

Gathering data during the transition process has been challenging, with some information getting lost through staff changes and general difficulty of continuing to deliver projects while being in a process of significant change. This period of potential data loss, however, gave us an additional stimulus to focus on data capturing later on in the year.

Program 3: Reduce barriers to accessing open knowledge[edit]

Outcome Measure 2014-15 outcome 2015-16 target 2015-16 6 mth outcome 2015-16 outcome
Involvement in EU and UK advocacy activities; Involvement in advocating legislative change within GLAM, Education, and other organisations - narrative 2 consultations + 5 changes 3 documented cases of change 2 consultations + 3 signs of change within the WIR programme 4 consultations + 3 cases of change

This area of work was originally conceived as a wide collection of activities aimed at reducing barriers to knowledge, including physical access issues, digital literacy and public awareness of open knowledge. The result of being so open in our approach was that this programme was poorly articulated and, as noted by the FDC, it wasn’t clear what we wanted to achieve. Despite this lack of clarity, we feel that the targets we achieved - some of which are proxy measures - give a good indication of our success in creating organisational change within our partners, and influencing public policy.

UK Policy

In the first half of the year we were involved in several initiatives. Notably, we worked on the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy, which included public consultation on how technological tools can help facilitate wider engagement with civic society. The House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills published its final report in February 2015, including key information and insights from Wikimedia UK's submission. We also participated in a policy discussion related to freedom of expression at the UK government's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, reflecting the charity's growing reputation as an influential organisation within the open movement. This area of work went dormant with the departure of the Head of External Relations in early September 2015, however we are now rebuilding our UK advocacy work and developing focused plans for the next few years.

EU policy

We remained members of the Wikimedia advocacy group EU, supporting initiatives identified as critical, such as the work to preserve freedom of panorama in the UK. Had this legislation been changed as proposed, Wikipedia’s content on the UK would have been significantly diminished with articles such as those on the City of Manchester Stadium or the Walkie Talkie building in London stripped of illustrations. Our achievements in this project were significant. generating high level media coverage and working with European Parliament members from the UK. This offline advocacy work meant that we helped avert a hugely negative impact on our online content.


In our work with external organisations, we led many internal changes and shifts towards open knowledge. WIR work is key here, as advocacy not only takes time, but also benefits greatly from internal champions. Towards the end of the year, we were also very pleased to secure a meeting with senior staff at the Heritage Lottery Fund - the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK which makes grants of £400 million a year, many of this for digitisation projects. The CEO and Chair attended this meeting - with input beforehand from volunteer expert in archiving and digitisation policy - to discuss possible amendments to their policy and funding requirements; as currently they only support non-commercial licenses. They were open to a conversation about this, and we are following up in 2016 with a larger discussion involving more institutions, to advocate for change at a sector level. It’s worth pointing out here that there have been many approaches made to HLF in the past about this issue, most fairly uncompromising and aggressive, however our approach this time is to be more supportive and inclusive with the aim of creating change in the long term. Our strong relationships with other major funders such as the Wellcome Trust, as well as Creative Commons; the creators of the open licences in question, enable us to assemble a credible and strong coalition of organisations to support this advocacy work, which could have a big impact on online content for Commons.


Internal signals of change in our partnership work

We secured several wins in this area despite difficult climate in the sector generally:

The People’s Collection of Wales management changed their policy, so that when people add content to their collection, they have an option of a CC-by-SA.

National Library of Wales’ content from Wikimedia Commons is also being shared with People’s Collection, and all future uploads to commons will also appear of People’s Collection.

Jason Evans introduces his NLW residency and achievements after 6 months

National Library of Wales - WIR

The resident has been working with the NLW Systems team and key Wikidata volunteers to develop better guidance for institutions who wish to share via Wikidata and have been actively encouraging the library to dedicate more resources to getting more content on Wikidata.

In terms of implementing sustainability, a group of volunteers is receiving regular training on editing Wikipedia, so they can continue contributing beyond the project’s timelines. It is worth highlighting the resident’s work in engaging the library’s volunteers in his work. He set up a project to scan and index 200 images donated during the Patagonia Editathon; these images will be uploaded to the People’s Collection of Wales and Wikimedia Commons.

He has also been working on creating a new digitisation workflow which includes the identification and upload of suitable collections to Wikimedia Commons.


Museum Galleries Scotland have been working towards establishing an image access policy for the whole of Scotland. It is to include open data licensing information and editing Wikipedia, and create a big package of information for institutions in the network.

Bodleian - WIR

The resident gave a talk to 50 social media staff from universities; urging them to shape policies in their own units and colleges to release media under Wikipedia-compatible licenses which was received positively with Oxford University’s media unit re-licencing some video clips for Wikipedia as a result.

To ensure the work of the resident is sustainable and has a legacy at the Libraries, an 'Open Knowledge Ambassadors' course was pioneered by the resident in January, end of Q4. Attendees were trained to advocate for free knowledge to compliment the resident’s work and then continue discussions around policy and how to interact with open knowledge sites such as Wikipedia.

Because of the work we are doing on Wikimedia, and the engagement we get there, the understanding is now starting to develop that by being open we get a lot of our core mission benefits achieved, which is really exciting for me.

The Trust also ran two successful Wikimedia projects using the images, which would not have been possible without openly licensing the content under a non­commercial licence. These projects helped to increase the amount of content on Wikipedia about the collection, as well as hugely increasing the amount of views that the images get: over 1.5 million views were achieved in the first four months following the release

— Martin Fell, York Museums Trust

[The Museums Galleries Scotland WIR’s] visits have inspired a number of museums forums to engage with Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects, both to embrace open knowledge as a means of promoting their collections, and among many voluntary-run organisations, to more generally give digital another chance. Sara has run approachable, fun, and informative workshops that have helped museums staff and volunteers to build their confidence and to develop skills that they are using to help visitors worldwide to explore Scotland’s amazing collections.

— Davon McHugh

Program 4: Encourage and support technological innovation[edit]

Outcome Measure 2014-15 outcome 2015-16 target 2015-16 6 mth outcome 2015-16 outcome
No targets were set for this area. Instead, we captured activities as a narrative.

Our plans for technological work in 2015-16 reflected a long-held ambition to develop significantly in this area, and within our FDC bid we proposed the creation of a new Chief Technical Officer in order to ensure greater in-house knowledge and capacity. However, the budget for the year didn’t allow for the recruitment of this post, which impacted on our ability to deliver this programme. The FDC rightly pointed out our lack of track record in running bigger technological projects, without which we would struggle to deliver a plan of the scale we were proposing. We therefore changed our expectations of this programme, to provide a modest level of support for technical projects proposed or developed by volunteers or partners, rather than actively pursuing such projects.

There were several tech projects that we attempted in 2015-16, but it’s fair to say that aside from the development of a bytes counter, none were fully successful:

  • A beta version of the Virtual Learning Environment was prepared in November 2015, with the launch of this tool planned for early 2016/17.
  • A volunteer approached Wikimedia UK to develop an online tool for recording voice samples. This was to complement the work of the Voice Intro Project. The development involved another volunteer, and was reported to the Technology Committee. Discussion of the tool dropped off in summer when the volunteer committees were restructured.
  • While Wikimetrics is a useful tool, it does not provide an article-by-article breakdown of bytes added or removed from an article. This makes it difficult to measure the impact of project grants for writing articles, and we used a crude method of taking the starting size of the article away from the final size. To address this undercounting, a volunteer developed a bytes counter which provides net and absolute values for bytes added and taken away from articles within a given time frame.
  • In 2014 Wikimedia UK began discussing with external technical developers the possibility of creating a patch to enable MediaWiki to render 3D files, and further work was put into this project in 2015. WMUK was unable to directly fund the project as it was not budgeted for, so the alternative was to search for external funding. This is an ongoing process, and so far finding a source has not been successful; however we will continue to look at funding options in 2016.
  • started as a microsite to showcase WMUK’s technology projects, with an idea that it could lead to a tech competition. This was developed at a time when staff capacity was reduced, and there was no budget to support the competition element of the idea.

Programme 5: Develop, support, and engage with other Wikimedia and open knowledge communities[edit]

Outcome Measure 2014-15 outcome 2015-16 target 2015-16 6 mth outcome 2015-16 outcome
Activities held for or jointly with other chapters and Wikimedia groups 17 5 6 7
Number of UK based Wikimedia events other than WMUK events 53 55 31 66
Activities specifically directed to help train or to share knowledge with other chapters and Wikimedia groups 3 2 4 4
Number of shared activities hosted with groups or organisations having similar goals to WMUK 10 10 8 15

In the 2015-16 plan we aimed to continue our role in supporting other Wikimedia entities, and connecting with open knowledge organisations generally. With a significant budget assigned to this area originally, we were confident that we could be proactive in this area, for example offering training for other chapters and organising knowledge sharing activities. However this area was de-prioritised in early 2015 in line with our reduced budget, and in light of the big internal changes and shifts, our attention inevitably turned inwards. This meant we were not in a position to proactively support the international movement the way we have done previously; and we of course still maintain and continue to develop strong ties with Wikimedians and Affiliates globally. Examples of this include:

  • Consulting on Wikimedia Ghana’s proposed GLAM programme
  • Liaison with Wikimedia NY, leading to significant involvement in stewarding the Art & Feminism project in the UK
  • Consulting on the upcoming Wikimedia Conference format with Wikimedia Deutschland
  • Meeting and welcoming a Belarusian Wikimedia volunteer studying in the UK, and passing on lessons from our GLAM experience to aid the organisation of their local community
  • Sharing our learning, and nurturing informal, low cost ways of collaborating with other chapters.

Our approach to this area of work was adapted in the light of the internal changes we were going through, with a shift in emphasis from building the infrastructure and governance of other chapters, to participating and leading on international programme activities where appropriate, such as Art+Feminism. Going forward, we want to ensure a connection with the international Wikimedia involvement across all our programme strands as relevant, and will of course continued to openly share our learning.

2015/16 was the second year of the Open Space Coalition, and our freelance Project Co-ordinator Bekka Kahn continued to lead on collaboration amongst the open sector, with a particular note-worthy project being the development of a toolkit for practitioners within the movement. Whilst the project continued as planned, it received somewhat less support than previously because of our reduced capacity during and following the restructure, and the departure of the Head of External Relations in September 2015. Following a review of our planned budget and activities for 2016/17, the board and Senior Management Team decided to bring the formal, funded aspect of the programme to a close at the end of our 2015/16 financial year, and worked with Bekka to bring her activities to a close in a meaningful way; finalising the toolkit for open space practitioners, and bringing the static content on the dedicated website to a point where it could be a valuable resource, to be maintained by Wikimedia UK. We have also been in touch with our key partners in the Coalition and have made new connections with senior staff from Mozilla and Creative Commons through this process, which have opened up potential future collaborations.

Bekka Kahn has produced an impact report for the Open Coalition which draws together the initial motivation for this work and the highlights of what was achieved, as well as some of the barriers and challenges. The original motivation behind the project was clearly well-founded, as people working in the open sector could see that work was sometimes duplicated, lines of communication between organisations and communities were sometimes weak and the opportunity for closer ties was recognised by several individuals in organisations in the sector. We wanted to improve the awareness of the open practices, develop a shared web presence and aid communication and knowledge sharing between the organisations in the open sector. The focus ws on strengthening ties between individuals, recognising that many people work remotely or on their own in the open sector. In terms of WMUK’s input and support, Bekka writes:

The Coalition would never have lasted as long as it did, or had the good response it received had it not been for the support we had from WMUK, both financially and in terms of infrastructure. I felt trusted and empowered to do the work of the Coalition, and at the same time knew that there was a structure I could turn to for advice and support when needed. WMUK did an outstanding job of fostering this project, and the relationship model could serve as a useful one for future funded projects.

— Bekka Kahn, Open Coalition Project Co-ordinator

There were many challenges for the project, including:

  • It proved to be a major step to move from expressions of appreciation to actionable activities and proposals. More structured planning may have helped to make these transitions easier - for example having specific requests of partners
  • Material development - especially when done in a collaborative process - can take a long time
  • Requiring people to use tools they are unfamiliar with is a sure-fire way to chill community activity - we realised the need to adapt to what people already use, rather than e.g. requiring the wiki to be used
  • Coalitions may be broad, but projects should be specific. ‘Open’ is a very wide field of organisations with very different focuses. Our project worked best when it had specific projects to deliver though; when it was broad it was hard to explain what it was working on.

The main tangible output of the project is a collection of resources for people wanting to implement open practices, and open community managers. This toolkit has been created collaboratively, led by Bekka, and we believe will be of great benefit to people working in the sector now and in the future.

Revenues received during this period (6 month for progress report, 12 months for impact report)[edit]

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 2 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

  • Please also include any in-kind contributions or resources that you have received in this revenues table. This might include donated office space, services, prizes, food, etc. If you are to provide a monetary equivalent (e.g. $500 for food from Organization X for service Y), please include it in this table. Otherwise, please highlight the contribution, as well as the name of the partner, in the notes section.
Revenue source Currency Anticipated Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Anticipated ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Explanation of variances from plan
Incoming Grants GBP 314000 78500 78500 78500 78500 314000 483246 483246 As agreed.
Donations GBP 234030 63306 53709 53641 59481 230137 360172 354181 Close to expectations
Gifts in kind GBP 0 0 575 2880 22215 25670 0 39506 Substantial gifts-in-kind were only included at Q4 as they were not budgeted. Of the £26k total £10k was partner costs relating to Wikimedians in Residence. Also included was £8.6k from Wellcome Trust in the form of a venue for the Science Conference.
Gift Aid Claims GBP 15000 3260 2773 2751 9116 17900 23085 27548 Higher than expected due to partial data cleanse allowing more matching of donations.
Membership income GBP 0 405 335 235 230 1205 0 1854 Not budgeted for.
Conference income GBP 0 0 894 1114 0 2008 0 1854 Not budgeted for.
Bank interest GBP 0 34 135 85 306 560 0 862 Not budgeted for.
Miscellaneous income GBP 0 136 63 1604 38 1841 0 2833 Not budgeted for.
Total income GBP 563030 145641 136984 140810 169886 593321 866503 913120

* Provide estimates in US Dollars

Spending during this period (6 month for progress report, 12 months for impact report)[edit]

Please use the exchange rate in your APG proposal.

Table 3 Please report all spending in the currency of your grant unless US$ is requested.

(The "budgeted" amount is the total planned for the year as submitted in your proposal form or your revised plan, and the "cumulative" column refers to the total spent to date this year. The "percentage spent to date" is the ratio of the cumulative amount spent over the budgeted amount.)
Expense Currency Budgeted Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Cumulative Budgeted ($US)* Cumulative ($US)* Percentage spent to date Explanation of variances from plan
Community GBP 122635 41700 17370 21771 25058 105899 188735 162979 86% No direct cost variance. Staff and overhead costs were £15k less than budgeted.
Promoting Free Knowledge GBP 232619 34104 22926 47474 82115 186619 358001 287207 80% The direct costs here include gifts-in-kind valued at £18k. Staff costs were £24k less than budgeted and overhead allocation £30k less.
External relations GBP 71179 21388 26391 15182 47711 110672 109544 170324 155% There was a direct cost underspend here of £12k but more staff time spent than budgeted and a consequent increase in overhead allocation.
Fundraising GBP 131901 44893 39623 44526 -742 128300 202996 197454 97% Small total underspend.
Restructuring GBP 45002 0 57019 15108 -12767 59360 69258 91355 132% Only £11k of the overspend is unplanned.
TOTAL GBP 603336 142085 163329 144061 141375 590850 928534 909319 98% Staff costs and admin overheads are absorbed on a proportional basis as required by the current UK Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), which is effectively compulsory. The change in the SORP this year is that Governance costs are treated as overhead. Total governance costs (direct costs and staff time) were £68k against a budget of £70k.

* Provide estimates in US Dollars


Is your organization compliant with the terms outlined in the grant agreement?[edit]

As required in the grant agreement, please report any deviations from your grant proposal here. Note that, among other things, any changes must be consistent with our WMF mission, must be for charitable purposes as defined in the grant agreement, and must otherwise comply with the grant agreement.

Are you in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • Yes

Are you in compliance with provisions of the United States Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), and with relevant tax laws and regulations restricting the use of the Grant funds as outlined in the grant agreement? Please answer "Yes" or "No".

  • Yes


Once complete, please sign below with the usual four tildes.