Grants:Conference/WMDE/Wikimedia Conference 2018

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April 20–22, 2018 | Berlin, Germany
WMDE/Wikimedia Conference 2018
This is grant proposal for the Wikimedia Conference, the annual meeting of all Wikimedia organizations (Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, user groups, and the Wikimedia Foundation), as well as other committees to discuss the future of the Wikimedia movement in terms of strategy, collaboration, and organizational development.
targetWikimedia Movement
strategic priorityN/A
event datesApril 20–22, 2018
amount-local~250,450 EUR
amount300,000 USD
contact• cornelius.kibelka(_AT_)•
organization• Wikimedia Deutschland

Event overview[edit]

Purpose and vision

Please give a brief description of the event you are planning. What do you hope to accomplish during the event? Why is this event important for your community?

The Wikimedia Conference is a forum for the Wikimedia Foundation and its Wikimedia Affiliates and committees to discuss the future of the Wikimedia Movement in terms of strategy, collaboration, and organizational development

The Wikimedia Conference is the annual meeting of all Wikimedia Affiliates (Wikimedia chapters, thematic organizations, user groups), the Wikimedia Foundation and its committees to discuss the future of the Wikimedia Movement in terms of strategy, collaboration, and organizational development.

In 2015, WMDE and WMF agreed on hosting the Wikimedia Conference for at least three years (2015-2017) in Berlin. This gave us the opportunity to organize the conferences with a long-term perspective regarding logistics, program and participant engagement, with specific goals and involvement of all affected parties. After having organized three Wikimedia Conferences (2015, 2016 and 2017) within this long-term perspective, we consider our approach a success and brought the Wikimedia Conference to another level each year. By the end of October 2017, we will publish a report about our learnings and experiences of three years of organizing this event, which also feed, alongside the affiliates’ input, into planning and organizing of the Wikimedia Conference 2018.

Based on the experiences from the last three years, we aim to continue to organize this conference as a service Wikimedia Deutschland is providing for the Wikimedia Movement. In close collaboration with WMF’s teams and all participating organizations’ delegates, we aim to design the conference to be the Movement’s central platform for exchanging experiences and approaches of how we best work together as a movement and in our broader ecosystem, and a forum to discuss the future of the Wikimedia Movement in terms of movement strategy and its implications.

The Wikimedia Conference 2018 will follow up on the 2017 conference that mainly dealt with the Movement Strategy process, alongside Movement Partnerships and Capacity-Building & Learning. In close collaboration with the Movement Strategy team and our facilitators we will build a program that hosts conversations about roles, resources and responsibilities, decision making processes and agreements for next steps in order to fill the new strategic direction of the Wikimedia Movement with life.

Likewise, we plan to continue to incorporate a track on partnerships. Given the strategic direction’s emphasis on the ‘knowledge ecosystem’, the capacities and abilities of Wikimedia affiliates to partner effectively with each other and with external partners will be crucial in the coming years. Therefore the partnerships track will provide a space for sharing, learning, and building capacity, as well as for generating concrete ideas and kickstarting partner projects that address the challenges and opportunities faced by our movement entities. A Capacity-Building & Learning track will also play a role by providing space to learn from each other’s experiences and achievements and work with participants on how to best continue this exchange throughout the year.

After the Wikimedia Conference 2018, we will again take the time to improve our concept of post-conference engagement and follow-up work.

Important details

Please add key information to the table below. The dates, location and number of participants can be estimates and do not need to be finalized at this time.

Proposed date(s) April 20–22, 2018
Proposed location Mercure Hotel Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany
Number of participants ~300
Event page Wikimedia Conference 2018
Primary contact person Cornelius Kibelka & Daniela Gentner


Community input[edit]

We proposed the following themes/tracks for the Wikimedia Conference 2018 (here without the wild card topics). We will ask for input for these themes via the upcoming Wikimedia CEE Meeting 2017, special interest groups (Partnerships Group) and the registration survey, where all participants are asked to state their wishes, needs and experiences towards the program

Generally, the program of the Wikimedia Conference is designed in a highly participatory way. Again, the program of the Wikimedia Conference 2018 will have four cornerstones:

  • 1) the major conference themes Movement Strategy track & Movement Partnerships track,
  • 2) a Capacity-Building & Learning track,
  • 3) a space for possible wild card topics, and
  • 4) facilitated social activities.

Within the frame of these four cornerstones, we will develop the program following the participants’ input via the registration form that also functions as a survey: Like every year, participants are required to state needs, wishes and experiences relevant to the program when registering. Additionally, we will again ask the for their potential contributions to the program.

The organizing team will also rely on the Movement’s expertise in these different areas:

  • For the Movement Strategy track, we again plan to work with the 2017 conference’s main facilitators and the WMF leadership.
  • For the Movement Partnerships track, we will continue to work with WMDE’s Partnerships & Development teams and WMF’s Partnerships & Global Reach team.
  • For the Capacity-Building & Learning track, as well as certain facilitated social activities, we will again work with the different WMF Community Engagement teams (Community Resources, Learning & Evaluation, Programs).

Aside from these concretes ways of designing the program, we constantly ask for input, feedback and advice regarding our program themes – like at Wikimania (WMCON Follow-Up Day 2017 in Montréal), regional conferences (e.g. CEE Meeting 2017 in Warsaw) or in special interest groups (Partnerships Group).

In the aftermath of the conference itself, we will ask again for feedback on the whole conference, including the program, via the established and well use survey form (via Qualtrics). Feedback evaluations of previous conferences are available on Meta (2015, 2016, 2017).


It is helpful to get an understanding of why this event is important to your community, and what experiences you have had in the past. Please answer the applicable questions below.

Because the Wikimedia Conference already has taken place a number of times, and is an event that serves the Wikimedia community at large, we would like to highlight the impact of the past WIkimedia Conferences with the paragraphs below, thereby answering the indicated questions, albeit indirectly. Further, we refer to the conference reports from the last three years (2015 (1), 2015 (2), 2016 and 2017) that provide the broader context of the event.

We think: By inviting more participants from Emerging Communities, the Wikimedia Conference leads to stronger cohesion within the Wikimedia Movement.

The Wikimedia Conference does not directly target specific Wikimedia projects, it is rather designed to guide the work of the Wikimedia organizations in terms of strategy, organisational development and international collaboration. This meta-level focus has produced two positive outcomes for the Wikimedia Movement that we would like to highlight here:

  1. The Wikimedia Conference has developed towards a catalyst for projects: It is the place for Wikimedia organizations and groups to exchange ideas, to create new ideas and join existing collaborations and initiatives. In their feedback, participants stated that the Wikimedia Conference led to tangible outcomes for their work, and many described concrete new ideas or initiatives that they have joined as a result of participating in the conference. This is an aspect that we have been focusing on for the last years, and we plan to continuously follow this development of the Wikimedia Conference: a productive and outcome-oriented conference for the greater good of the Movement.
  2. Another positive impact that we observed at the Wikimedia Conference 2016, became even clearer at the 2017 conference: The Wikimedia Conference leads to stronger cohesion within the Wikimedia Movement. Inviting more people from regions and groups that have been less present or visible at previous events led to participants feeling that they are part of something even bigger, more global and more diverse than ever before. We should consider the positive effects of this expansion – which have been reported by several participants in the survey and in many in-person conversations – when designing future movement events. Our key take-away is that adding more voices leads to stronger cohesion within the Wikimedia movement. Additionally, a very practical issue of including more participants from the so-called “Global South” is that it requires greater attention to logistical issues, it is especially crucial to obtain visas, which takes a lot of time and effort. The Wikimedia Conference organizing team has developed useful procedures for this.


Venue and Logistics[edit]

As in 2017, hotel and event location will be the same: The „Mercure Hotel Berlin Tempelhof Airport“ in Neukölln, Berlin
1. If the venue is more than 1 hour away from a major airport or transportation hub, how will participants travel to the event venue?
  • Average time between Tegel Airport and the hotel/venue by local transport is 45-50 min (Bus / Underground), by taxi 30-40 min
  • Average time between Schönefeld Airport and the hotel/venue by local transport is 35-40 min (urban rail / underground), by taxi 30-40 min
  • Average time between the main rail station (“Hauptbahnhof) and the hotel/venue by local transport is 30 min (urban rail / underground), by taxi 30 min
2. Is the event venue within walking distance from the hotel? If not, how will people travel between the two locations?
The event venue and the hotel are the same.
3. Is the event venue and hotel accessible for people with physical disabilities?
4. Do you anticipate any challenges with using the space for the event you are planning?
In the previous Wikimedia Conference feedback form, participants mentioned the noise and the missing daylight in the largest room. However, after researching and visiting other venues, this is still our preferred one – price, accessibility, etc. considered. Moreover, we have started to develop ideas on how to enhance the atmosphere and participant experience at the venue ,for instance by using the restaurant, which features daylight, as a breakout room.

Friendly space policy[edit]

Please link to the friendly space policy that your community will be using for this event.

We use the Friendly Space Policy by the Wikimedia Foundation (cf. like last year)


It is crucial that most participants have a minimum level of Wikimedia experience so that they can engage actively in workshops and discussions. Please answer all applicable questions below.

We expect again a broad and diverse range of participants from almost all Wikimedia affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation
1. Please describe the target audience for this conference or event.
The main audience of this conference are board members, volunteers and staff members of the Wikimedia Movement affiliates as well as staff members and volunteers of the Wikimedia Foundation including its Board of Trustees and the committees (AffCom, FDC). We are also planning to invite a small number of community leaders and external partners.
2. If your conference has an outreach component, how will you ensure engagement with these participants after the conference, and what impact do you see them having on the projects?
This conference does not have an outreach component.
3. Are you thinking about inviting WMF staff to attend or participate in the event? If yes, please list individuals or teams who you may want to invite, or describe how you would like WMF staff to be involved in the event.
This conference is one of the major platforms for WMF staff and board to work, learn and debate with Movement affiliates. We organize this conference together with a variety of WMF teams and we would love to see a broad participants of WMF staff members, including the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director and the leadership team of the Foundation. We would also be glad to see team members of Community Teach, New Readers, Community Programs, Community Resources, Learning & Evaluation, Support & Safety, Technical Collaboration, Partnerships and Global Reach, Legal, and Communications.


1. How many scholarships would you like to offer?
N/A, there are no regular scholarships for this event. Affiliates are asked to choose the ideal delegates themselves, and we cover the travel expenses for those who do not belong to an FDC-APG funded chapter. We expect to cover costs for around 200 participants.
2. What expenses will the scholarship cover?
Travel and accommodation.
3. How will scholarship recipients be selected?
Each affiliate chooses its own delegates, according to the previously published Eligibility Criteria.

Measures of success[edit]

We plan to use similar measures of success as for the previous conferences, as these have proven useful.

As in the previous years, a survey will be conducted with the participants right after the conference. The aim is to measure the level of satisfaction among participants in terms of content, program, networking possibilities and organization of the conference. The results will, as in previous years, be shared publicly and serve as the basis for organizing future Wikimedia Conferences. The survey and its evaluation will be created in close consultation with WMDE’s Partnerships & Development team. The following criteria will be used to determine the success of the project:

Program related aspects

  • 85% of participants agreed that the conference improved the understanding of the Movement Strategy (within the Movement Strategy track)
  • 85% of participants agreed that the conference improved understanding of partnerships in the context of the Wikimedia Movement.
  • 85% of participants agreed that the conference provided applicable knowledge and improved capacities
  • 85% of participants agreed that the conference made satisfactorily clear the significance of sharing and collaboration in the Wikimedia Movement
  • 85% of participants were satisfied with selection of topics
  • 85% of participants were satisfied with quality of contributions
  • 85% of participants were satisfied with communication regarding the program design process before conference

Engagement related aspects

  • 40% of the 2017 conference participants engage in the structured follow-up process 12 months after the conference. Engaging means participation in working groups, discussions, special events etc.
  • 30% of people involved in the structured follow-up process are from outside the group of WMCON 2017 participants.
  • For Wikimedia Conference 2018: minimum 50% of the 2018 program activities pursue major topics of the 2017 conference or build upon related outcomes/follow-up work of the 2017 conference.
  • At the 2018 conference, a minimum of 80% of the participants which have also attended the 2017 conference report that the 2017 conference led to tangible outcomes for their work.
  • 50% of the 2018 conference topics lead to concrete outcomes (e.g. documented next steps or wrap ups, learning patterns, established working groups, continued conversations, joined activities, binding decisions) – either at the conference itself or between the 2017 and 2018 conferences
  • Topics of the Wikimedia Conference have a continuance at the Wikimania in a dedicated track or space (as qualified by dedicated Wikimania sessions, participation of 2018 conference participants at the dedicated sessions, etc.); this may be applied to other subsequent conferences as well.
  • At least two major topics of the follow-up process are incorporated into the program of a regional conference (IberoConf, CEE Meeting, or similar) as multipliers for the WMCON topics.
  • At least two shared learning documents created by WMDE on the topic of organizing the Wikimedia Conference were applied by organizers of other Wikimedia Movement events (as qualified by mentions in their reports, documented communication or direct feedback).

Networking related aspects

85 % of the participants agreed that they could use the conference as an opportunity to:

  • share knowledge with other Wikimedians
  • gain knowledge from other Wikimedians
  • better understanding of each other's views

Organizational aspects

85% of participants were satisfied with:

  • communication from organizers before the conference
  • support from organizers during the conference
  • visa service
  • atmosphere at conference venue
  • travel booking support (from the WMDE travel coordinator and travel agency)
  • accommodation
  • social events


As in 2016, we're planning again to host a Partnerships workshop to follow-up on the "Partnerships" conversations of the previous Wikimedia Conference and to gather input for the upcoming Wikimedia Conference 2018 Partnerships track

The follow-up activities are an essential part of the “Program and Engagement Coordination” concept that we launched and developed over the last conferences. We aim to improve it also within the next grant period.

Our follow-up activities consist mainly of these three aspects:

  • High quality documentation is key for the success of the Wikimedia Conference. Because we follow the concept of an internal working conference (and an application of the Chatham House Rule), the only way of documenting properly is to create a written documentation. Written documentation helps the participants, as well as those who did not attend the conference to follow up on what happened at the event and find the right person(s) to contact. 2017’s documentation took much longer than in the previous years, because many other processes massively delayed it. In the future, we aim for a better communication with the speakers about our needs regarding the documentation before the conference and we will rethink the structure/format of documentation session. We are also considering – after our outstanding experience in Movement Strategy track – contracting professional note takers.
  • Despite many efforts over the last years, links between Wikimedia Movement events are still not obvious or emphasised as important. Therefore, we would like to intensify our efforts in creating those links and bringing topics that have been nursed at the Wikimedia Conference to other conferences, like the regional conferences (WikiIndaba, CEE Meeting, etc.) and especially Wikimania. After having organized the WMCON Follow-Up Days at Wikimania (2015, 2016, 2017), we think that this concept works and we would like to continue this. (The following bullet point exemplifies such nursed topics)
  • In 2016, the Program and Engagement Coordinator organized an additional (follow-up) meet-up within the efforts of organizing the Wikimedia Conference, the Partnerships meeting in November 2016 in Berlin. Within the next grant period, we aim toorganize more of these meet-ups. We are currently planning a Partnerships meeting and a Volunteer Supporters meeting (both in November 2017).

We think that with these aspects of our “Program and Engagement Coordination” we have developed a valuable concept for facilitating learning and knowledge sharing on an international and organisational level, and thereby for setting new standards within the Wikimedia Movement. We would like to continue and improve this work, and also keep on sharing our experiences with other international event organizers..

Resources and risks[edit]

Describe the resource potential for successfully executing this project and the key risks/threats.


The core organizing team of the Wikimedia Conference 2018 will be quite similar to the previous one: Daniela Gentner, Cornelius Kibelka, Nicole Ebber and Wenke Storn will be part of it. Additionally, we will hire a Logistics Assistant and a Visiting Wikimedian

The core organizing team consists of two experienced and dedicated staff members: Daniela Gentner, working at Wikimedia Deutschland since 2014 and responsible for logistics; and Cornelius Kibelka, working at Wikimedia Deutschland since 2011 and responsible for organising the program. For both of them, this will be the 5th Wikimedia Conference that they organize (in different roles).

Daniela and Cornelius will be supported by their managers, Nicole Ebber, programmatic curator of the Wikimedia Conference, Advisor in International Relations to the Executive Director and Movement Strategy track lead, as well as Wenke Storn, head of Event Management at Wikimedia Deutschland.

Additionally, we will be supported by a to-be-hired Logistics Assistant, that will take care of all travel bookings and visa processes, and a Visiting Wikimedian, i.e. a Wikimedian from another Affiliate that will support the whole team.

Behind this organizing team we have a dedicated staff structure, that supports the core team when needed. This includes our Partnerships & Development team with its evaluation and reporting skills and knowledge, as well as our communication, office and finance/accounting teams.

Organizing team[edit]

Team User Names
WMF Liaisons Daniela Gentner, Cornelius Kibelka
Logistics Daniela Gentner, Wenke Storn, Henning Braun
Conference Program Cornelius Kibelka, Nicole Ebber
Scholarships n/a (we don’t give out ‘traditional’ scholarships. Everything around participant management is handled by Daniela Gentner)
Communications Daniela Gentner, Cornelius Kibelka
Volunteer Coordinators n/a
Other team members two to be hired team members (1 Logistics Assistant, 1 Visiting Wikimedian)


After three years of organizing the Wikimedia Conference with the same core team, we have a good estimate of the range of risks in organizing this event. Based on our experiences and lessons learned from the last years, especially the 2017 edition of the conference, the following themes are related to potential risks:

Intra-organisational communication
To avoid any misunderstandings and miscommunication, we aim to work more closely, more openly with all WMF teams involved and plan processes ahead.

The Wikimedia Conference only works when planned and implemented in close collaboration with other teams, especially from the Wikimedia Foundation. We rely on people’s deeper thematic experience and knowledge of the status of the Movement discourse and current research to enrich conversations. Also, in terms of logistics, e.g. travel booking process, we rely on WMF’s expertise.

To avoid any misunderstandings and miscommunication, we aim to work more closely, more openly with all teams involved and plan processes ahead. Especially, having regular – weekly or bi-weekly – check-ins could minimize the risk of misunderstandings.

Participation and engagement within and beyond the conference

Due to the increase in terms of size in 2017, we noticed that the level of participation and engagement during the event had decreased. Also, the engagement in the follow-up process (in the months between WMCON and Wikimania) was quite limited; our guess is that this is mainly due to the resource and energy consuming Movement Strategy Process.

For the next Wikimedia Conference, we aim to further reduce the number of frontal presentations and create more interactive sessions and so-called “Moments of Sharing” within and beyond the conference program. That means, that we would like to facilitate more social interaction between individual participants.

For the follow-up process we will to consult with Movement entities and external experts how to increase the level of engagement.

Coordination of travel booking (WMF funded affiliate delegates, “Group 2”)

As the event dates of the Wikimedia Hackathon 2018 and the Wikimedia Conference 2018 are very close to each other and consequently travel booking can not be handled for both events by the WMF travel department, it has been jointly decided with the Wikimedia Foundation that we take over the travel booking for the WMF funded affiliate delegates (so-called “Group 2”) for the Wikimedia Conference. While we have organized this conference before, taking care of a quite high travel booking volume (for around 200 participants), and not being experienced in this field is a new challenge for us. Furthermore, cooperating with a new travel agency, who is responsible for the flight booking, includes uncertainties. Last but not least, forecasting travel expenses realistically is challenging, as flight costs highly vary on the booking date. Particularly, booking flights for participants in need of a visa includes uncertainties: waiting until participants acquire visas (mostly until shortly before the event, leading to high flight costs) versus booking the flight directly and risking that participants might not attend due to visa denial.

For the upcoming conference, we aim to put more effort into offering opportunities to socialize. WMDE’s office has just expanded with a second floor, so we might be able to host 300+ participants in our own premises and host evening events again at our's.

To minimize this risk, we have already started the recruiting process for a Logistics Assistant, whose main task is to manage the travel bookings. Consequently, particular value will be placed on hiring a person, that has already acquired experiences in the travel industry.

An another measure taken to minimize risks is that we have chosen a travel agency in Germany, which is a subsidiary of T&T (contracted by WMF to handle the travel bookings for the previous Wikimedia Conferences). By asking them to get a briefing from T&T, developing in-depth processes with this new agency to book all necessary flights, and agreeing on a close collaboration with us (daily communication), risks are intended to be minimized. To not hazard overspending the travel budget, making wise decisions about travel booking for each visa participant by taking factors into account such as likelihood of obtaining a visa and cancellation fee policies will be important.

Not losing people in the evening

Participants of the previous conference have expressed the necessity for more joint evening events, like the ones we had organized in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, people got (socially) lost in the evening, and staying together as a group was complicated. Also, participants complained about the hotel bar prices.

For the upcoming conference, we aim to put more effort into offering opportunities to socialize. While it is still too early to make decisions, we might either stay at the hotel in the evening and increase the number of activities, or go back to our office (as we did in 2015, 2016). WMDE’s office has just expanded with a second floor, so we would be able to host 300+ participants in our own premises.


Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here. See Budget Guidelines.

Event budget table
Item Description Costs Comments
Conference Costs 92,000 € location rental, catering for 3 conference days (incl. kosher food), technical equipment, WIFI, facilitators, documentation, childcare
Dinner Snacks Costs 20,000 € catering and beverages for 3 nights
Social Event Costs 16,000 € location rental, catering, beverages, DJ, decoration
Travel and Transport Costs On-Site 6,000 € travel costs volunteers/facilitators, material transport, public transport tickets for participants
Communication Costs 12,000 € production of conference material, photographer, visa costs
Staff Costs 95,000 € Logistics and Event Coordinator, Program and Engagement Coordinator, Assistant Logistics Support, Visiting Wikimedian
Accommodation Costs 54,000 € accommodation costs for affiliates in need of complete funding, 200 PAX à 4 nights
Travel Costs 160,000 € travel costs for affiliates in need of complete funding (200 PAX), service charge travel agency
Subtotal 455,000 €
Indirect Costs (20% of Subtotal) 91,000 € Indirect costs including expenses for finance, IT, office, office rent, HR
TOTAL WMCON18 Costs 546,000 €
Total cost of event
546,000 €
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.
(One of the guiding principles of Open Space Technology)
Total amount requested from the Conference and Event Grants program
300,000 USD
Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this event, and amounts funded
We have asked for further WMF funds beyond the Conference and Events Grants program and are to be notified until October 17, 2017.
Please confirm that you are aware that changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

YES (We herewith confirm that we are aware that changes to the approved budget beyond 10% must be approved in advance.).



Do you think this project should be selected for a Conference Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

For grantees

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  • I would like to help guiding and assisting the participant and also involved towards various service which will help communicate with all. Ill show positive aspects of to the community, will share and care people who needs some assist. Identify issues and/or opportunities for collecting data. Explore organizational culture and help other follow the event privacy. Mohamedudhuman05 (talk) 06:19, 14 October 2017 (UTC)