Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Frequently asked questions

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Answers to frequently asked questions about the movement strategy process.

Why are we doing this now?[edit]

Over the past 15 years, the Wikimedia movement has grown. At the same time, we’ve matured, and the world has changed around us. We have a lot more to do, but we can also see what our next challenges are, understand our landscape, and understand how we collectively get this done. There might be new opportunities to consider.

Who can participate?[edit]

Everyone involved in Wikimedia is invited to participate. That includes editors, developers, readers, affiliates, movement partners, and donors. There will be opportunities throughout the first half of 2017 to participate online and in-person.

Haven’t we already developed a movement strategy?[edit]

Beginning in 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation facilitated a process with the Wikimedia movement to build a five-year strategy for the movement and Foundation. This plan covered 2010 - 2015 and ultimately focused on the Foundation's work to support movement-wide goals. While the final strategic plan was well received and influenced much of the Foundation’s work, the outcomes were broad and specific actions focused more on the Foundation rather than the movement as a whole.

This upcoming process is different in a number of ways. Rather than build a detailed strategy or a set of benchmarks, our goal is to build a direction for the Wikimedia movement. This will involve looking ahead -- even as far as 2030 -- to know where we want to go together. The outcomes will also have a focus on the movement as a whole rather than the work of the Wikimedia Foundation.

What is a movement?[edit]

Movements are a type of group action, that carry out, resist, or undo social change. They are large, sometimes informal, groupings of individuals or organizations which focus on specific political or social issues.

Wikimedia volunteers have used this term to describe the many communities, groups, and individuals that contribute to Wikimedia projects. The Wikimedia movement has been defined as the people, activities and values which comprise the Wikimedia sites and projects.

How do I participate?[edit]

Information on how to participate will be made available on this Meta-Wiki portal as it becomes available. On-wiki discussions are scheduled to begin in early 2017, with additional in-person discussions coming in the months to follow.

Please visit the Participate for additional information on helping plan or facilitate a future in-person discussion.

How will this impact me?[edit]

A shared direction for our movement will provide clarity for anyone who wants to participate on what we’re trying to achieve. Knowing where we're going will help us be more effective as groups and individuals, and leverage our unique strengths. It will also help us understand our role in the world. This will help us communicate the work we are doing together to the world, so we can invite more people to join.

How you use the outcomes of this discussion is up to you. Some individuals or organizations may use it to inform programmatic or organizational strategy. Others may see it as a way to connect with the broader movement and invite others to contribute to Wikimedia. Some may not use it at all -- and that’s okay!

Practically, this does not mean that volunteers will be more restricted in what activities they develop or engage in. Volunteers will, of course, remain free to engage in activities that interest them and they believe will most benefit Wikimedia.

When does it start?[edit]

On-wiki discussions began in early 2017. The outcomes of this discussion will be shared online and in-person at Wikimania in August 2017.

How does this relate to organization strategies?[edit]

A movement-wide direction should represent the collective interests of the people which our organizations serve. This would influence, but not replace, organization strategies. For example, the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to develop, in consultation with the community, an organization strategy influenced by this direction, which then helps set our annual plans.

How does this relate to existing grants?[edit]

Existing grant agreements and requirements will not be changed by this process. However, grants doing work which could benefit this process are encouraged to do so if the grant recipients are interested.

Will future grants be required to follow this strategy?[edit]

No. While the movement strategy will influence which projects the Wikimedia Foundation funds in the future, there are many activities which may not be specifically addressed. Additionally, innovation and experimentation is encouraged, and that may sometimes mean trying ideas out that are not directly connected to the movement strategy.

Are affiliates required to follow this strategy?[edit]

No. How affiliates use the outcomes of this discussion are up to them. Some may use it to inform programmatic or organizational strategy. Others may see it as a way to connect with the broader movement and invite others to contribute to Wikimedia. Some may not use it at all -- and that’s ok!

Why hire experts from outside the Wikimedia movement?[edit]

We recognize that several individuals in the Wikimedia community already possess an amazing talent for strategic planning. However, we are aware that it is difficult to engage in this type of discussion as a participant when you are also a facilitator. The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia movement affiliates have increasingly and successfully utilized outside facilitators to enable Wikimedia community members to be able to actively participate in the process. In addition to enabling community members to focus on participating in the process itself, outside experts can better maintain neutrality in facilitation and provide additional perspectives.

To help increase their familiarity with the Wikimedia movement, external contractors will be paired with existing Wikimedia Foundation staff or contractors.

Who will be responsible for evaluating the strategy once implemented?[edit]

A plan for ongoing evaluation of the movement strategy will be developed during this process.

Why will it require up to US$2.5 million to develop a movement strategy?[edit]

We want to make sure we’re setting our movement up for success and end 2017 having held meaningful conversations, come to important conclusions, and reached a plan of action on moving forward. We want our donor resources to be well allocated and our efforts to be effective. And most of all, we want community members to know and feel that their time, efforts, and inputs have been meaningful as part of this process.

Developing a strategy with a community as large and diverse as the Wikimedia community is a significant undertaking which will require investment in resources which can not be replaced by volunteers - such as travel, printing, outside consultation, etc. Additionally, volunteers often prefer to focus their time on developing the content on our projects, which means there are several tasks which require additional human resources.

For comparison, the last movement strategy, developed in 2009, had a budget of approximately US$1 million. The number of programs, movement affiliates, and strategic considerations has increased substantially since that time. Our understanding of how to reach a wider audience for movement-wide discussions has also improved, which we anticipate will increase the resources required to support substantive community engagement. We believe US$2.5 million is reasonable given the scope of the process and nature of our movement.

How was the US$2.5 million allocated?[edit]

Ahead of the November Board meeting, Wikimedia Foundation's Executive Director, Katherine Maher, consulted with individuals around the Wikimedia Foundation about what sort of resources we might need in order to support a consultative, open process.

We audited past processes (2010, 2014, and some smaller initiatives) for what worked and didn’t, looked at what was missing in past processes, from external expertise to audience research, and talked to people in Community Engagement and elsewhere about the type of support community members would require to truly engage, from airfare to translation.

Based on these conversations, we built a high-level budget that had resources for the following: inclusive, multilingual community consultation; additional market research into our users and new users; consultation with external experts and stakeholders, and process management and production. All in, we estimated that the full scope of work would cost somewhere around US$2.5 million.

We presented this high-level budget to the board at the November Board meeting, where they approved a spending resolution of up to this amount over Fiscal Year 2016-17 (July 2016 - June 2017) and Fiscal Year 2017-18 (July 2017 - June 2018).

How will the US$2.5 million be spent?[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation Finance team is working with internal leaders of the strategy process to build a more detailed version of this proposed budget to present to the Wikimedia Foundation Audit Committee. Once the strategy architect is hired, this will be further refined. We anticipate that this more detailed version will be presented for community feedback.