Organizational effectiveness/Learning center/Workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events
This is a page about a strategy included in the organizational effectiveness learning center.
Use this page as part of the organizational effectiveness tool.
Workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events
Many Wikimedia organizations organize events for existing contributors, new contributors, or the general public. While these events have different goals depending on the target audience, there are many strategies that are common to organizing events. Edit-a-thons may target existing contributors and specific content gaps or project needs, while workshops may be events where new contributors or existing contributors can gain specific skills and put them into practice. At the other end of the spectrum are broader outreach events, where participants do not usually contribute directly to the project at the event.
Recommendations for events
If your organization wants to get better at workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events, here are some concrete recommendations that may help your organization build capacity in this area. Some of these recommendations may be more or less applicable depending on your organization’s strengths and gaps in this area, and your organization's context. We realize many organizations are already using strategies like these.
Recommendations for all types of events
- Different types of events have different purposes, and some events are more effective at achieving certain results than others. Make sure you have a clear idea of what type of event you are running and what you plan to achieve.
- Before you plan your event, make sure you have a clear idea of who your target audience is.
- Consider whether you want to record your event in order to share the content more broadly. *Make sure you have permission from event leaders and participants to do so.
- Consider if you already have trained facilitators or educators on your volunteer team who can help lead in-person events, or who can train others to do so. Also if consider if you already have people with experience facilitating online events.
- Make sure you have enough volunteers on hand to lead the event. For any in-person event, you will need at least two people.
- Before your event or activity, know exactly what information you will need to collect from participants and make sure you have a way to ask their permission to use their information, if you need it.
- Find an appropriate space for your event if it is an in-person event, and make sure you plan to have all of the materials you will need. Be realistic about what you can achieve in your environment. For example, it will be difficult to do an editing workshop if you do not have a reliable internet connection.
- Depending on your target audience, you can experiment with holding events in different venues and at different times, to attract a more diverse audience/participants.
- Make sure participants who want to become more engaged with your organization, the Wikimedia movement, or a specific aspect of your organization’s work, have a clear path for deepening their engagement. For example, make sure that participants have access to a contact person at your organization or access to a page that gives them next steps for contributing more.
- Plan around local or thematically related events and activities that may be happening around the same time as yours. Sometimes these can be leverage for getting more people to participate and engage, and other times conflicting events or activities can prevent you from reaching participation goals.
Workshops for contributors and volunteers
- Make sure the right people are attending your workshop. These should be people who are going to be able to improve the skills you are targeting and will be able to apply these skills to further your organization’s mission.
- Make the goals of the workshop explicit to volunteers before they attend, and evaluate if the goals were achieved by asking participants about the results or recording them in a pre and post survey.
- Ensure your volunteer or staff trainers have the tools to present knowledge in an engaging way, and include ways for participants to interact. Get feedback from participants about how effectively knowledge is presented.
- Motivate participants by highlighting what they have achieved during the workshop. For example, in the case of an editing workshop, highlight any real contributions participants have made. At the conclusion of the workshop, take a moment for participants to articulate how they will use their learning.
- For some skills, such as editing the projects, consider involving expert contributors who can interact directly with those learning a new skill.
Find ways to build community in the context of your workshop. Facilitate opportunities for participants to connect with one another. For example, hold a working session where participants can break into smaller groups to discuss relevant issues. If you are holding a series of workshops, there will be more opportunities for this.
- Create a schedule for following up with participants after the workshop.
- Some workshops targeting new contributors are more effective when held as several workshops in a series. This helps participants reinforce and build on skills learned in previous workshops.
- Articulate a clear goal for your edit-a-thon and share it with participants in advance. Setting an ambitious but achievable goal may be motivating for participants.
- Select the tasks or content targeted for your edit-a-thon based on existing gaps in content or based on tasks or content that may attract the participants you are targeting.
- Encourage participants to share their usernames with you before the activity or event.
- Let people know about your edit-a-thon by sharing information on the channels most relevant to them. This may be a village pump, a blog, a mailing list, or through social media.
- Reach out proactively to people you know can make your edit-a-thon successful. Encourage them to sign up on the event page to encourage others.
- Edit-a-thons can be equally effective as online events, in-person events, or a combination of the two. Make sure you choose an option that is effective in your context.
- Have a plan for recognizing the achievements of the group and exceptional individuals.
Wikimedia organizations with expertise in events
If your organization has expertise in workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events, please list yourself here and briefly describe your expertise that others wanting to build capacity in this area can contact you:
- Wikimedia UK has a range of experience as regards working with volunteers and welcomes contributions from Wikimedians further afield to our discussions
- Please add your organization’s name here, with a description of your expertise.
Here are some learning patterns related to this strategy. Create your own learning pattern here, if you have learning to share in this area.
Ongoing challenges in the area of workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events
If your organization would like to share an ongoing challenge in this area, that is or is not addressed in these recommendations, please write it down here as a starting point. We can try to build resources in this area or help different Wikimedia Organizations connect to address the challenge together.
- Please add a description of your challenges in this area here.
Please add useful resources you know about, whether created by the Wikimedia movement or in another context.
- How to run an Wikipedia:How_to_run_an_edit-a-thon:edit-a-thon
- Resources from the International Association of Facilitators (you need to create an account to access resources, but registration is free)
- [Simple guide to planning a workshop http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PlanningAWorkshop.htm]
- Guide to effective convenings
Create a capacity building plan for workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events
If your organization has decided to prioritize capacity building to improve your ability to workshops, edit-a-thons, and outreach events, please create a table like the one below. The steps in this table can be part of your organization’s master capacity building plan, as suggested in the User Guide.
If you would like to share your capacity building plan publicly on Meta, you can use this button to create your capacity building plan.