Movement communications insights
The Movement Strategy recommendations published in 2020 made clear the importance of establishing stronger communications within our movement.
To this end, the Communications Department at the Foundation conducted research in January 2021 to understand how the Foundation can help make stronger movement communications a reality. The objective was to understand how the Foundation can better support the rest of the movement in overcoming obstacles and achieving objectives through its own communications. The Foundation ran focus groups and online discussions to collect these insights. The insights were synthesized into a report with six recommendations, which are now under review by the focus group participants.
Dates may be subject to change.
- Now: Draft report being modified based on participant feedback from review period
- Now: Report recommendations integrated into annual planning process. See the June update for the recommendations that are being funded this upcoming fiscal year.
- July 2021: Finalized report released and distributed
- July 2021: Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan released
- Ongoing: Report findings used to build and refine Movement Communications team strategy
Recommendations from movement participants for the Wikimedia Foundation
Recommendations subject to modification based on participant review.
- Build a better front door. Create a single point of entry for information, support and resources from the Foundation.
- Use humans. Take a human-centered approach to communications -- as opposed to a tech-centric or channel-centric approach. Hire regional communications specialists that can localize, listen, represent, support and amplify. Clarify who talks to the movement.
- Speak human. Use language that is simple, relatable and translatable. Showcase the humans behind the communications. Resist the temptation to over-explain when issues are complex or to be vague rather than acknowledge when details are unknown.
- Balance “broadcast” with “on-demand.” Invest more in centralizing and storing movement information so that people can access what they need, when they need it.
- Coordinate, then communicate. Coordinate within the Foundation first, and then communicate with the larger movement. Avoid causing confusion by failing to align internally first.
- Clarify, connect and reflect. Use the Foundation’s platforms to tell the movement’s story centered on these three communications goals.
10 focus groups with 123 participants. The research team held ten focus groups, with a total of 83 community participants and 30 Wikimedia Foundation staff. Movement members participated working in different regions, languages, and capacities that reflect the diversity of the Wikimedia movement. Of community participants:
- 69% were from emerging regions
- 63% identified as men, compared to an estimated 87% of Wikimedia contributors
- 35% stated their primary project was a project other than Wikipedia
- 17% were relative newcomers, having been involved with Wikimedia for 3 years or fewer
- 27% were long-time Wikimedians, having been involved with Wikimedia for 10+ years
- 16% were non-English speakers (simultaneous interpretation was provided in Arabic, French, Spanish and Russian)
- 35% were members of affiliates
- 23% held on-wiki administrative roles
- 7% identified as technical contributors.
Stipends were offered to participants to enable participation from those who may not have otherwise been able to take part.
What happens next?
Insights from this report will be used to plan a long-term movement communications strategy for the Wikimedia Foundation. The strategy will be agile -- it will continue to evolve and adapt -- with improvements implemented as they are ready.
- First movement comms office hour meeting 2020-12-02
- Movement communications office hour (discussion of report findings) 2021-06-08
- Movement communications office hour (discussion of report findings) 2021-06-10