How to tell your 'Wikimedia story'

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Tips on Partnerships and Communication to maximize the visibility and Impact of your event.[edit]

Tell your story. When you want to encourage people to invest in your efforts, try to emphasize the human element. A story will always be ‘stronger’ when it has a ‘face and a name’ to it. The Wikimedia work is all about impacting people through knowledge sharing and education. So try to put the people in the center and tell the story through the people benefiting from the Wikiproject, or the ones generating it.  Anecdotes and stories from your community can be very useful (these can become part of your promotional materials). You can share an inspiring story of what prompted someone to begin contributing, a memorable connection in your community, or a result about the amount of interest in something you created.

Know your audience. Telling the Wikimedia story to a government official, to a social Philanthropist or to an education institute, will require different stories. Identify what might motivate your audience, their own goals, purpose and pain points, and try to mirror that language in your story. For example, if you are talking to museums and other cultural institutions, focus on how Wikimedia can increase visibility and access to their collection, or generate more interest in a cultural initiative they are leading.

Create a sense of urgency and momentum. Show your potential partner why NOW is a good time to join the effort. Maybe your event is presenting a new opportunity; maybe a collaboration will offer a platform for an emerging trend; maybe a joint project will fulfill a gap identified by your partner. Be clear and show continuity - how can we move the needle and how we’re moving towards something (our future state).

Highlight Wikimedia as a global movement. Emphasize the scope and scale of the movement. Introducing the well established and robust community, can help give you credibility.

Develop a compelling elevator pitch. This pitch will come in handy for example, when you are attending a non-Wikimedia event and you want to spread the word about your conference (or your routine activities).  Start with major benefits or appealing points about your event for your intended audience.  Keep language simple and short. In this case, less is more. Try to include answers to the following questions:

- What do we do?

- How do we do it?

- Whom do we do it for?

- What value are we bringing?

Target potential partners. Start forming a background document on any potential partner, for your own use. This should include the messages you want to say, some research, top priorities of that partner, as well as recent announcements. Here you can find a useful handout to evaluate the impact of the partnership.

Now create the document you will send to the partner:

  • The first part should include the benefits, or your key messages, based on their own priorities. Less about you, more about them - what can we offer, what are they trying to achieve. This should be short and clear.
  • The second part should be about the chapter (with links and not too much info). Preferably, the whole document should be a one pager.
  • Finish with a clear Call to action - what do we (Wikimedia affiliate) want from you (the partner).
  • If a formal agreement is needed, you can use this a Memorandum of understanding. For more info, go to Drafting a Memorandum of Understanding.

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

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

Maximize the visibility to your event and activities. Create a communication plan for WMF leadership attending the event. Our leadership wants to help you. Use them for meetings with potential partners, government officials, media coverage and more. Create a Briefing to provide a full overview for the leadership on your activities; background; message; objectives and more. The WMF Communications team can help with preparing and briefing leadership to have the most impact at your event.

For more resources on Partnerships & Resource Development, visit here.