The session was mainly about sharing experiences on external fundraising in the Wikimedia movement and gathering ideas on how to move forward.
What are the next steps to be taken?
As movement funds are limited, there is an interest among several Wikimedia organisations to collaborate more closely on fundraising. For example, there is the idea of sharing best practices or grant proposals more openly in the Wikimedia movement or even creating them collaboratively. This presents an opportunity for the movement (“bringing the Wiki idea to fundraising”).
John Andersson (WMSE) is interested in coordinating the movement's external fundraising efforts. Please reach out to him and support him in this initiative.
For this, Nikki Zeuner of Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) offered to share past and future proposals openly as possible. The Wikidata for Research proposals submitted this spring is already available.
This session documentation was approved by the speaker.
Increasingly, Wikimedia Organizations are becoming aware of the need to increase funding sources and diversify them beyond direct donations and FDC administered movement funds. What are some promising strategies for fund development? What is the relationship between partnerships and external funds? What are some ways your organization can position itself for external funds? What are policies and processes needed for transparent, strategic decisionmaking about fund development?
This session will provide a space and time for sharing experiences, promising practices and tools around increasing and diversifying revenue.
Wikimedia affiliates with experience/interest in fund development and the topics of external funds, partnerships, diversification
Impulse Presentation and sharing of experiences, questions and answers; 60 min, circle room setting
The session started with Nikki giving an impulse talk (see the slides) about the movement's fundraising context, internally (movement funds are limited) as well as externally (the mission around free and open knowledge may take us beyond the Wikimedia projects).
In the talk that followed, Nikki discussed what points would be useful to consider before engaging in external fundraising. She pointed out, that it is absolutely necessary to think about partners and funders’ vision, strategy, and advantages that they could bring to the table. To jointly apply for funding, a shared vision is necessary.
After this first input, Nikki gathered steps, together with the audience, to be considered before engaging in external fundraising.
Internal steps to be taken:
Have a bank account for the organisation
Develop principles of good governance
Present a professional image as in “you seem real, I can trust you“
Provide continuous staff allocated to fundraising, don’t rely on volunteers only
Have charity status
Present an organisational history
Present the organization’s theory of change
Identify funding needs
Research funding opportunities
Set up criteria how you pick your partners and funders
Ask questions of funders
Develop a coherent ask for the funder
Apply for funding
Afterwards, the participants engaged in discussion and shared their own experiences in fundraising for their Wikimedia organisation. A Dutch participant explained that in the Netherlands, it is useful to attend so-called fundraising workshops, so you can get in touch with funding organisations even before submitting a formal proposal. Other participants seconded this point, saying that it is helpful to spend time with potential funders prior to submitting the actual application.
Another participant pointed out that the difficult part about fundraising is convincing possible funders. The more hands-on (as in: the more obvious the impact), the easier you convince them. A British participant shared his experience, stating that bigger donations come from individuals.
In the last part of the sessions, the discussion focussed on how the movement can work together on fundraising and how organisations (and their people) can learn from each other.