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Partnerships & Resource Development/Resources & Documentation/Partnerships Workshop November 2016/Documentation

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Group photo with all participants of the Partnerships Workshop (November 2016)

Introduction, Icebreaker, Hopes & Expectations from this meeting[edit]

Group expectations for the workshop

The workshop was opened and facilitated by Julia Kirchner from WMDE’s Partnerships & Development (ZEN) team. After a short ice-breaker Julia presented the agenda for the first day of the workshop. Afterwards, Nikki Zeuner, Cornelius Kibelka and Nicole Ebber welcomed all participants and explained the reasoning and goals for the two days workshop.

  • Continue the work of the partnerships peer group in meaningful / helpful ways
  • Prepare the partnerships track of the Wikimedia Conference 2017
  • Discuss how we can further develop capacities on partnerships in the movement
  • Discuss how partnerships can play a more important role in the upcoming Movement Strategy process

Group Expectations for the Workshop[edit]

  • Group: Develop the group, build trust, discuss how more partnerships can be created in the Wikimedia movement, and how knowledge & resources can be shared
  • Practical knowledge/tools/tips: Practical tips & advices, feedback on partnerships, inspiration/new ideas, exit strategies,
  • Movement/Wikimedia Conference: What kind of role play partnerships in the movement, contributions of the “partnerships” topic to the Wikimedia movement strategy process, preparation of the partnerships track of the Wikimedia Conference

Past developments and cool projects[edit]

The main goal of Cornelius’ presentation was that the Partnerships topic is discussed since at least 2015 in a more structured and followed-up way. A survey has been conducted, small working groups have worked on the topic. Following a conversation with Joseph Seddon (WMF) and broader support of WMDE’s ZEN team, Nicole and Cornelius put forward the idea  to have an own “partnerships track” at the Wikimedia Conference 2017. This Partnerships workshop intends to be a place to prepare parts of the track, gather input and ideas by affiliate staff members who work constantly on that topic.

Lightning Talks[edit]

  • Marta (Wikimedia Polska) explained WMPL’s successful partnerships with the Polish National Museum, where they have their first Wikipedian in Residence, as well as the Ethnographic Museum. Together with volunteers, WMPL has covered extensively cultures and traditions in the Polish countryside.
  • Daria (Wikimedia UK) explained shortly the main questions and points she tries to cover in WMUK’s partnership agreements
    • Both partners’ responsibilities and roles
    • Who has the authority to make decisions?
    • Communication processes
    • Who puts the money in?
    • Intellectual Property questions
    • Exit strategies / Process of terminating the partnership, work after the intense part of the partnership ends
  • Kaarel (Wikimedia Eesti) talked about how WMEE tried to create an Estonian network for cultural heritage by inviting 14 organizations to a roundtable. In the end, it fell apart and was scaled down to differences, because everyone was talking about outputs only. Kaarel’s main lesson learnt was to motivate partners to take ownership for the partnership.
  • Giselle (Wikimedia Argentina) talked about WMAR’s partnership with UNESCO. They are working together with teachers in small Argentine communities to “bring Wikipedia to the town”. In 2016, they have covered culture and traditions of the Argentine countryside. In 2017, the topic will be “ecology.”
  • Claudia (Wikimedia Österreich) highlighted WMAT’s way and importance of tracking in-kind donations, as there were not so many (financial) funding partners in Austria available. There’s a spreadsheet to track them, an infographic summarizing the in-kind donations as well a learning pattern about the topic.
  • Arne (Wikimedia Nederland) explained WMNL’s way of empowering GLAMs. They created a regional cooperation of seven GLAMs. These GLAMs created a handbook to empower other GLAMs to digitize and “open” their treasures.
  • John (Wikimedia Sverige) talked about WMSE’s cooperations with universities in Sweden. Following the example of “good, bad and ugly” he told a story about a bad experience in a partnership with a professor. His main lesson learned was to always have a contract in place when working with partners.
  • Seddon (Wikimedia Foundation) summarized a presentation held at WMF about lessons learnt from a bigger partnership using the “Knowledge Engine” as an example. His main lessons learnt were:
    • #1 Be transparent and clear
    • #2 Use external input
    • #3 Ideas without direction - No substitute for high-level strategy
    • #4 Restricted grants are not something we can ignore.
    • #5 Community Input
    • #6 Restricted grants are a resource we should not avoid

Collective Impact and Case Study (Serlo)[edit]

Presentation on Collective Impact[edit]

Nikki Zeuner (WMDE): slides

Case Study: WMDE’s partnership with Serlo[edit]


Maik’s main point was to highlight the informal cooperation between Wikimedia Deutschland Serlo, as the latter participated in WMDE’S Open Educational Resources activities. Both have a shared vision on OER. Serlo ins interested in learning best practices around community support, crowdfunding and software development. Nikki added that Serlo is small and quicker in certain aspects, WMDE is bigger and therefore slower.

Maik pointed out that if you aren’t able to create a win-win situation, no partnership will last long. You should find tangible projects, specific as possible, to create the first success as soon as possible. It wouldn’t help to have a 25-year, fixed roadmap for your partnership.

  • Kaarel: That's great, because it's also not-selfish, because normally we would say "we are a competitor". It helps the greater movement of free knowledge.
  • Claudia: That's true, but however, this is not appreciated at the moment in the Wikimedia movement. Let's make the case for this kind of partnership.
  • Maik: It doesn't have to be the same benefit on both sides. For us the name "Wikimedia" as a partner was really great – for Wikimedia it might have been something different. Providing knowledge is nice, but you might want to focus on how to apply it.
  • Kaarel: What we have to acknowledge in the movement, as local affiliates grow, the less they become organizations who are providing content, they are becoming the ambassador for "free knowledge" in their countries. You're not providing content to Wikimedia projects only anymore, but you are doing more.
  • If you're small, there might be a bigger organization of free knowledge, where you can piggyback and form coalitions with.

Types of Partnerships (Mapping Exercise)[edit]


Identify the three examples for your most successful partnerships - evaluate them on two dimensions: (1) What is the goal of the partnership?, (2) How is your partnership structured?

(1) What is the goal of the partnership?[edit]

What is the goal of the partnership?


  • Funding/Resources,
  • Content for Wikimedia projects and
  • Advocacy/Outreach

Main conclusions:

  • A lot of our partnerships are not only focused on one dimension, but involve at least two, sometimes three of these dimensions
  • A lot of our partnerships are focused on content, very few deal only with funding or advocacy/outreach
  • For some, this model presents a circle that Wikimedia chapters go through: firstly, smaller chapters focus mainly on getting content, and then over time also learn how to acquire funding and/or engage in advocacy/outreach

Points of discussion:

Not many partnerships listed that focus on funding only. Reasons?

  • The WMF providing funding and resources to the movement limit the capacities of the affiliates - as a result, fundraising capacities of chapters is low
    • Capacity building should be encouraged! We need to develop shared resources for the movement. There are two ways of doing it: Experience (takes long) or external knowledge.
    • More experienced chapters should share their knowledge
    • The FDC should actually invest in chapters, so they would be able to re-invest, so growing chapters in the long-term
      • Some chapters already put this in their proposals. Others have problems for getting funding for this from the FDC.
      • Opinion: FDC/WMF believe chapters should not be engaged in fundraising
    • Fundraising takes a lot of time and effort, results are not always visible immediately - meeting the return on investment in the first year is impossible, you might get that only in the 2nd or 3rd year

(2) How is your partnership structured?[edit]

How is your partnership structured?

Dimensions: simple/complex on the x axis; internal (Wikimedia)/external on the y axis

Main conclusions:

  • Many WM chapters engage in rather complex, external partnerships - this is exactly where collective impact comes in!
  • All chapters already work frequently with external partners, both in simple and complex partnerships - partnerships seem to be an integral part of our work!

Points of discussion:

  • Not many projects are listed as internal partnerships - does that mean that WM chapters do not often engage in partnerships with other WM chapters or actors?
    • Could be a framing thing, as several participants have existing partnerships with other Wikimedia organizations and groups (Wikimedia Mexico, Wikimujeres, CEE), but they do not consider them as a “partnership”
    • Internal partnerships necessarily need a good backbone to function, like the FKAGEU. Other groups, without a backbone, don’t function always

Ways to work together[edit]

In the last session of the day, participants brainstormed ideas how to work better together and formed small working groups.

Three groups worked on different topics and elaborated the following next steps:

  • Tools for partnerships
    • Based on the “8 steps of a Partnership” by Anne-Laure, Cornelius will ask around for more tools & templates for each step (e.g. more “Letter of Intents”)
    • Julia will write down the dimensions for a partnership (from the Mapping Exercise”)
  • Channels for Communication / Communication Strategy / Learning from the Learning & Evaluation team / Coordinating with similar WM groups
    • Learning from groups like EduCollab, Learning & Evaluation, Volunteer Supporters, GLAM coordinators, CEE practices
    • Get in touch with, document what learnings there are and filter important learnings
    • Communications strategies: Goals: Capacity Building, awareness building. Have expert groups.
    • Define target groups
      • Primary:
        • 1) Active users
        • 2) Passive users
        • 3) Funders
      • Secondary
        • External partners
  • Strategy: Funding for partnerships work (collaboration / sharing, internal partnerships)
    • Dimensions I
      • No place for building capacities around partnerships in the movement
      • Central node for information on existing partnerships in the movement is missing
    • Dimensions II
      • No funding mechanisms for movement partnerships
        • Proposal around this should be developed for movement strategy process

Visioning Exercise[edit]

The second day started with a short ice-breaker and a quick review of the first day. After this, all participants were asked to take part in a “visioning exercise”. Julia explained the exercise to all participants: In three years from now, what is your vision of yourself, your organization, and the movement in terms of partnerships? What has changed in three years from now?

Sticky notes of the vision exercise

Based on the many sticky notes, participants created six main visions around partnerships for the future.

  • We have established structures for collaborations in thematic / regional alliances
  • We have a backbone structure to support our partnership work
  • We work as a network to share resources and knowledge
  • We have a clear understanding about our contribution and possible roles in collective impact partnerships
  • Our movement is more diverse and includes more diverse partners
  • We all work in a sustainable work environment

Based on these visions, participants were asked to form groups and to work on work packages and next steps for the upcoming months, with the input into the program design process for the Wikimedia Conference in focus.

Two groups formed, one around “Backbone Structure to support our partnership work” and another on "We work as a network to share resources and knowledge". Both groups had around one hour to develop work packages.

The group on “We work as a network to share resources and knowledge” proposed to have a pre-conference workshop for the Wikimedia Conference, a “meta editathon” to collect and structure all partnership related information on Meta. The group agreed that the purpose was not to create new things, but to better structure what has been done in the past (duplication, unfinished projects). Giselle volunteered to take over the task. Giselle will contact Jaime Anstee who is currently creating a “Wikimedia resource center” with a similar idea with the intention to streamline the efforts.

The other group on “Backbone Structure to support our partnership work” presented the idea of creating a one-pager, a visioning document explaining the necessity of having a backbone structure to support partnership work in the Wikimedia movement. A backbone structure is also a precondition for more thematic and regional alliances in the Wikimedia movement.

Kaarel proposed to write the first draft by mid January 2017. The next meeting of the Executive Directors of Chapters will be in Lausanne on January 18-19. After the possible refinement and approval by the EDs, the document could be forwarded to other key interested groups, like GLAM coordinators, the Education Collab, and FDC. The document would then have gathered enough endorsements to be presented at the Wikimedia Conference.

Additionally, Kaarel and Julia will create a short complementary document on the theoretical background of partnership dimensions until end of January 2017.

In the discussion, the participants collected additional ideas:

  • Hold a workshop in which roles and contribution scenarios or case studies for external partnerships are shared
  • Role playing to better surface the complexity and diversity of partnerships
  • Partnership role mapping followed by brainstorming about roles that have not yet been created
  • Expanding existing partnerships
  • How to work with partners without becoming competitive or cannibalizing each other?
    • Panel on best practices / learning for how to work in a partnership
    • Partnerships ambulance / fail fest / clinic for a partnership
  • Collective Impact Community of Practice group for C.I. enthusiasts

Review: Next steps & Wrap-up[edit]

In the end, participants discussed next steps until the Wikimedia Conference and how to work together as a group in the future.

  • In summary, the group wants to stay open and inclusive, doesn’t want to have a mailing list, but keep using the Partnerships portal on Meta, as long the content is kept tight. The group intends to meet at least three times year (Wikimedia Conference, Wikimania and a 3rd meeting). The group also wants to actively promote, preach and live “Collective Impact”.
  • Next concrete steps are the creation of the “vision document” (Kaarel), certain calls for templates (Cornelius), a more theoretical document about dimensions of partnerships (Kaarel/Julia) and a blog post about the workshop (by Giselle). Marta will upload photos to Wikimedia Commons.

In a final round, participants shared their experiences and conclusions of the two day workshop. Participants praised the productivity and the possible synergies. Some participants hoped for more diversity in the group, others for more hands.