Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Revenue Streams

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Financing models, Donors, Fundraising, Partnerships


  • principles for revenue streams in the movement;
  • models for revenue streams that already exist in the movement and in other non-profit organizations and movements;
  • development of models for revenue streams in alignment with the development of the product;
  • ways to tap into the full potential of movement stakeholders (like organizations, groups, allies, partners and donors) when it comes to generating revenue streams;
  • evaluation and enhancement of current structures and responsibilities for the generation of revenue streams for the movement.


Today, Wikimedia is operating one of the world’s most popular and beloved websites, which is generating the majority of movement’s revenues through banner campaigns. As more and more people access our content via third party services and pages, and we ourselves are developing our product and technology to meet the expectations of next generations of users, there is an evident need to map, explore and evaluate alternative models for revenue.

Any global shift in our revenue strategies, however, needs an agreement on principles for the generation of revenue streams. We are not only lacking this agreement, but do not even have a clear communication channel or platform to have such conversations. The same applies to sharing of experience and expertise. Diverse models for generation of revenue streams are already in use in some Wikimedia organizations and groups (e.g. support from philanthropic foundations or governments, membership fees or organizational partnerships), but there is hardly any peer mentorship or transfer of know-how. As a result we are not tapping into the full potential of diverse movement stakeholders when it comes to generating financial resources for our cause.

There is also potential for optimizing our fundraising efforts through communication with our donors to better understand their funding interests. Similar potential lies in more thorough exploration of revenue models of similar organizations and movements. Inclusion of external experts could take us even further in developing innovative approaches for the generation of financial resources. We need to conduct the necessary research and create networks on local and global levels to maximize the revenue for the movement and help us to move towards our strategic direction.

The task of the working group will be to tackle existing challenges and create structures and channels to initiate and facilitate thoughtful conversations around future funds generation for the Wikimedia movement.

Guiding Questions[edit]

These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.

  • How can we maximize the revenue for the movement?
  • What do we need to change or add to our current fundraising structures and processes to make them more sustainable, adaptive, and distributed appropriately?
  • What “red lines” should exist to guide our practices? What new approaches are we willing to consider to maximize the revenue streams for the movement?
  • Which (movement) bodies should take on what (local, regional, global) responsibilities in ensuring revenue streams for the movement? How can these efforts be best coordinated?
  • Do we need to connect or align our strategic approaches for revenue streams with those for resource allocation?

Mailing list[edit]


Name Organization / project Role Geography
Amélie Cabon Wikimédia France Staff member Western Europe
Biyanto Rebin Wikimedia Indonesia Board member Southeast Asia
Gayane Vardanyan Wikimedia Armenia Staff member Central and Eastern Europe
Guillaume Paumier Wikimedia Foundation Staff member Northern America, Western Europe
Ido Ivry Simple APG Committee, Wikimedia Israel Volunteer Western Asia
Megan Hernandez Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America, Western Europe
Sebastian Kersner Wikimedia Argentina Staff member South America
Tanya Capuano Wikimedia Foundation Board member North America

Meeting minutes[edit]

May 2019[edit]

8 May

Research request

  • The research request was fully populated with financial analysis key points and profiles of organisations (that had already been reviewed by the Working group members) - the content is now finalised and will be transferred to a request template provided by the Core Team.
  • The Working Group can alert the core team about final content as they format the support request document.

Work Plan and timeline

The Working Group action Plan was clustered into thematic areas to create a work plan with tasks that Working Group members can choose to work on.

  • The Core Team will be in charge of the survey with community questions from the scoping document. Theoretically any Working Group member is free to provide input to the survey (for example write down questions that can be targeted to communities) by using the suggest mode in the scoping document, but this has to happen by May 15 the latest, as a final survey is sent out in the last week of May.
  • The Working Group needs to agree on a date to start actual recommendation(s) development using the existing call schedules to plan an agenda specifically for recommendations development.

New Membership update One or two new members with the right profiles could be added to the Working Group to advance and re-energising the tasks, if the on-boarding will not disrupt the flow of the current group/structure.

April 2019[edit]

24 April

New member applications to join Working Groups

There was a volunteer request to join the Working Group. The members decided that adding new members at this point of time for this group might be difficult since the Working Group was far ahead into the recommendations preparation.

External research needs

Profiles of organisations were added to the research needs document. The Core Team advised Working Group members to provide all the research items as per the support request guidelines, to avoid emergence of additional needs after procurement has been made.

Updated timeline

The Core Team shared an updated timeline with the in person sprint scheduled for September to allow Working Groups to gather input from research, community conversations and discussions while developing recommendations

10 April

Wikimedia Summit Review

  • The Summit was productive, with sharing of input and feedback with other Working Group members, Chapters and affiliate representatives.
  • Roles and Responsibilities has reached out for a conversation regarding synergies and overlaps between our Working Group.
  • There’s need to incorporate the feedback given to our Scoping Document by other Working Groups, and liaisons.

Responses to the Planning questions and research

  • The Working Group will draft a document for skill sets in financial Analysis as a basis for research.
  • A list of Organisations will be profiled for research consultations.
  • Notes from the Roles and Responsibilities Working Group discussion will be documented
  • There will be no need of the in-person meeting before Wikimania.

February 2019[edit]

27 February

Debrief from Berlin in-person meeting

  • The in-person meeting enabled interaction between the Revenue Streams Working Group members and other working groups.

Finalizing the scoping document

  • Tanya offered to provide guidance and clarification on the scoping document and questions that were developed in Berlin.
  • Other members who were not present in Berlin, will need to work together on other sections like external expertise, which can be done asynchronously.

Virtual Facilitation and next steps

  • The ICA team of facilitators are available for most needs outlined by the Revenue Streams Working group. The members of the Working Group need to figure out expectations, regular meeting time, then plan for facilitation.
  • The Working Group needs to appoint coordinators who will initiate and have discussions with the facilitator offline.

January 2019[edit]

24 January

Scoping brainstorm

  • There’s a working document on scoping, but not fully complete, Working Group members need to work asynchronously to update this.
  • Results from a survey for the various fundraising experiences can be shared with the ED group to have input from other chapters.
  • If any group members have done any research on Revenue Streams they can share with the Group for input to the scoping document.

Virtual facilitation of meetings

  • Working Group representatives need to reach out and coordinate with the Virtual meeting facilitators.

In-person meeting in February 2019

  • Members provided their availability for the in-person meeting in Berlin, preparation needs to be made for the in-person discussions, mapping overlaps, and brainstorming with other Working Groups, legal support needs.

Steps to activate the group

  • There are replacement/profiles from affiliates for Working Group members.
  • Carrying out joint activities with similar Working Groups such as Resource Allocation.
  • Making use of Virtual facilitators for selected meetings and discussions.
  • Having people join remotely if they are not joining the in-person meeting.

11 January

Progress regarding the scoping document

  • The Scoping document created by Guillaume was shared, a suggestion was made to have the group dynamics sorted at the in-person meeting and regular meetings to be scheduled for discussing progress on the scoping document.
  • If there’s a lot of endowment for our movement then revenue streams work might not be relevant. Would the other chapters or Wikimedia Foundation have other ideas regarding this?
  • The present situation of funding is not sustainable because funding comes from donors, hence existing members are talking about ‘for profit’ ventures to raise money for activities: one idea was Wiki Cafe, shared working space, but was rejected by some of the members because they believed in the ‘non profit’ status of the organisation.
  • How good are we at raising the money and how good are we at spending the money that we have raised? May be the consulting work of Guillaume can shed more light on this. Wikimedia Foundation is good at raising the money. The ratio to raise money at this point for the Foundation is 10 cents to 1 USD. This is a very good and efficient ratio. It is not just the amount of money that is raised, but what kind of effort and money are invested to raise the money.
    • The central issue is not the ability to raise money but sustainability, which is a call that this Working Group should take and an important question that needs to be addressed both locally and globally with insights both from the local and central organisations
    • It would not be hard to map out the various scenarios and situations regarding the spending and allocation of money. It would be however difficult for us to understand what might be the tensions that will operate between local and central organisations regarding fundraising.
    • We should map the common payment methods, revenue channels, fundraising campaign types, and strategies that work in different countries. It will be really helpful for the group if we can provide a brief summary and background of fundraising at the Foundation?
    • We have discussed most of these questions in the past as well. We have a unique fundraising tool (banner traffic). The Haifa letter Foundation became central fundraising organisation there are few chapters however who still raise the money.
    • Most profits raise money via the non banner channels, there is a beautiful model but there is also a threat to our model, if we lose our traffic we would be in a sticky spot and vulnerable, we need to think of ways to keep the fundraising activities up.
    • When the Wikimedia Foundation took back the control of fundraising (Haifa letter), there were tensions between chapters and the Foundation. The work that Wikimedia Foundation and the Funds Dissemination Committee has done (irrespective of who raises money, deserving chapters and organisations will receive money), and the Movement Strategy process of last year have helped in normalising these relationships, we are in a safe space for now but we do not know how long this will last.
    • Can we take these questions and work asynchronously on a google doc to identify the various scenarios and tensions that are identifiable across our communities? The scoping document needs to be discussed and all of the opinions need to be documented.
  • One of the topic was regarding the in person meeting and facilitation which will be very important.

Regular meeting (frequency and time)

  • We can have a meeting at this hour once every week and allow for people to participate as the schedule works, but this is a question that needs to be asked to the larger Working group. The Core Team will send out a doodle and the summary of this meeting.

December 2018[edit]

21 December

Wikimedia Summit representation

  • The Wikimedia Summit registration had reached a deadline, but the Revenue Streams Working Group had an opportunity to nominate two representatives to represent on the Movement Strategy Working Group ticket. One of the main responsibility of the Working Group representatives will be to drive the conversations based on the scoping document(s) that will be presented to the participating affiliate and other community members.

In-person meeting in February 2019

  • The Revenue Streams Working Group needs to fully participate in the discussions for the in-person meeting with the other Working Groups from 15-17 February in Berlin, 14th and 18th to be blocked for travel, Wikimedia Foundation staff will be represented but the meeting is intended for everyone in the group, the names and details for Working Group members to attend will need to be confirmed in the week of 7th January 2019.

Catch up and proceed with scoping

  • The scoping plan (big picture view) was shared. A final scoping document is to be produced before the Wikimedia Summit, to be shared with the affiliates for input at the Wikimedia Summit.
  • The in-person meeting comes at a time when the scoping draft needs to be ready: The scoping plan has steps that can help the Working Group(s) prepare a draft.
  • In January there will be virtual facilitators to support the Working Group if brainstorming sessions are planned. Virtual Facilitation has already been done with the Community Health Working Group.
  • Input to the scoping document can be done between the calls, commenting and discussion on documents, and other ways: the Revenue Streams Working Group has (member) competencies, and thoughts, ideas in fundraising.
  • There’s need to analyse the present state of affairs and where we need to be in the next few years, to avoid duplication. Jeremy Gregg, (guest participant on Guillaume Paumier’s ticket) provided an overview of his work with the Foundation, including;
  • Assessing the revenue model: existing revenue streams, strategies, and identifying ideas for new revenue models, focusing on broad ideation for options of revenue streams, not only for profit but also organisational values.
  • The top 3 models for revenue generation will be prioritise in February 2019.

It was emphasised that the focus should be holistic considering the existence of other approaches and strategies from Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Deutschland, other affiliates, input from the community, other grant models that exist in the movement and over the globe. The goal and general idea of the scope is exploration, to identify areas of importance, advisory roles or socialising roles which will be further discussed and redrawn with relevant data and discussions in the Working Group.

It was agreed that a brainstorming session will be organised for the next meeting in the next week of January 2019 focusing on scoping (with virtual facilitation: simulating a workshop environment, breakout sessions, a cluster of prominent themes and topics in the online platforms. Working Group members will need to coordinate with the facilitators before the meeting.

October 2018[edit]

20 October

Develop ‘asynchronous’ work path

  • Discussion was about finding the best ways of working together between the calls to complete the diversification process, which can run in parallel with scoping in the exploration phase. Calls are the platforms to discuss difficult questions and take up discussions where there is ambiguity.

Clarity and Working Group support needs

  • The Information and Knowledge Management Team can create a poll for setting up regular calls for the Working Group. Core Team suggests bi-weekly calls and engaging more asynchronously. The Scoping brief sent by Core Team, has focus and initial guiding questions.

Completion of the diversification process, and expertise evaluation

  • There’s a profile (working with an international organisation) not covered in the present composition of the Group. Consulting the Meta page of the Revenue Streams Working Group is to be taken into account in getting all the team members engaged in the scoping discussion, and defining what is missing in terms of gaps in the Working Group.

August 2018[edit]

24 August

Agenda: Interim Coordinator selection/Diversification template/Communication channels

  • Megan agreed to be the Interim Coordinator but not for a long-term.
  • A suggestion was made to meet once a week and then adjust the frequency to meet less often once various ways of working together have been figured out.
  • The Revenue Streams Working Group Mailing list was mentioned as the Communication channel to track all the conversations.
  • The diversification template was reviewed which includes guidelines to evaluate and fill the gaps in expertise, and global representation in the Revenue Streams Working Group


Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report[edit]

There was no group working on the theme of Revenue Streams at the Wikimedia Conference.

Existing materials[edit]

This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.