Partnerships & Resource Development/Eight Steps to a Partnership

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Eight Steps to a Partnership[edit]


Partnering with external or internal organizations is a great lever for many a purpose. Overtime, Wikimedia organizations acquired a vast experience in dealing with other organizations, be it for content donations, training delivery, grants applications, etc. Partnerships was tackled as topic at Wikimedia Conference 2015 in Berlin and a follow-up session took place at Wikimania 2015 in Mexico. To gather the outputs of these two working sessions and make them accessible to anyone in our movement, the following table was designed, with 2 objectives :

  1. encapsulate what needs to be taken into account when dealing with partners (steps, processes, tools)
  2. create a “filter” to address this topic and identify what already exists in our movement, to build on each other’s experience

This is still a work in progress, please feel free to comment/amend! Anne-Laure WMFr (talk) 15:41, 24 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

8 Steps to Partnership[edit]

STEP 1: Preliminary Work

You may have - or may have not yet - identify WHY you need to partner with other organisations.

Raising money to fund your action plan, get an easier access to content to enrich Wikimedia projects, jointly answer a call for project, acquire skills your organization lacks …

It might also be that you’re not looking for anyone to partner with but the opportunity arises: how do you handle it?

  • Start with your own annual plan: What are the priorities for my organization, and (where) do I need help from external parties?
  • Make a list of possible partners (longlist) regarding the issue/opportunity you’ve identified
  • Define criteria (alignment, impact, …) to prioritize which actions / partnership you want to move forward with
STEP 2: Getting to know each other
  • Learn and educate about each other
  • First contact: be ready to answer many silly questions and obstacles
  • Formal meeting: assess the needs in advance
  • Lack of understanding
This is an empiric and step-by-step process. The first step is for partners to usually slowly get to understand what’s your organization about, what is its role, etc.
According to their first contact with someone from your organization, there might be a need to have more / other people on board.
STEP 3: Find common ground to work together
  • Identify level of alignment in terms of values
  • Identify mutual interests (be ready to accept the answer “none”)
  • Identify potential common projects
  • Assess the ideas with the highest potential
  • Identify potential obstacles / limitations (e.g. legal things preventing your shared work, …) ⇒ Risk management
STEP 4: Define a project scope and a project team
  • Gather an enthusiastic and driven project team
  • Identify needs on both sides
  • Define / negotiate roles and responsibilities (project leaders, project team, sponsor, steering committee, etc. ) for each organization
  • Think about sustainability overtime
  • Several counterparts in one single organization
  • Technical issue when project enabled (database, money, agreement details)
During the whole process, a key question can arise: are volunteers interested in the partnership scope and when should they be involved (this is valid especially for Wikimedia organizations with staff).
STEP 5: Define a formalized executive plan
  • Prepare project plan with SMART objectives, costs, timeline, roles & staffing
  • Define the expected output(s) with the partner
  • Start planning your evaluation process so all partners will be able to see how successful the project has been
  • Formalise an agreement
STEP 6: Communicate


  • Document partner communication and meetings


  • Map your targets (internal to the movement, external, (inter-) national, etc.)
  • Map your channels & opportunities
  • Establish a communication roadmap
STEP 7: Evaluate

There are several items to be evaluated when monitoring a partnership:

  • concrete outputs vs. initial goals
  • partnership flow / process
  • overall satisfaction of partners
  • unexpected impacts
STEP 8: Improve & develop