How to move forward
- What was this session about?
There are several, different types of formal partnership agreements. In smaller groups, participants learnt aspects of writing those agreements.
- What are the next steps to be taken?
No specific nexts steps based on this session.
see the Commons category
- People who are new to (larger) partnerships but want to run them - almost no experience
- Session Format
- Presentation(s) followed by a workshop
- 60 min
Wikimedia UK has been running the Wikimedian in Residence programme for several years, and established formal partnership agreements for these projects in 2012. With experience of their benefits and drawbacks, we are now happy to share what we learnt with the movement.
The presentation will cover aspects such as:
- What are the benefits of having an agreement? What are the drawbacks? When might you decide that you don’t need an agreement?
- What should be included in an agreement? (partnership aspects focus, rather than legal issues)
- How to collaborate with a partner organisation on creating an agreement, how does it affect the project
- The workshop part will aim to get participants to create agreement drafts for partnerships they have or will run.
- Desired Outcome
- Awareness of the benefits of having a partnership agreement.
Confidence in being able to create an agreement.
- Next Steps and Milestones
Consider existing partnerships run with your chapter and whether they could be formalised by an agreement. Look at creating agreements for new partnerships.
- Daria Cybulska (WMUK)
Daria started the session with introducing herself and asking the audience who is working with partnerships – the vast majority – while only a few with partnership agreements. Daria presented her input explaining the need, usage and benefits of formal partnership agreements.
The second of the session was designed as a workshop. First, participants collected questions, reflections and barriers they have encountered. Some of them were these:
- How specific does an agreement has to be? Will a very long and specific agreement document overwhelm the potential partner?
- What is the role of the project plan [within a formal agreement]?
- Who will pay a Wikimedian in Residence?
- What is the timeline, how long do the phases (pilot vs. actual project) last? How long is the partnership period?
- Can informal group enter an agreement?
- Problems with IP matters?
After having collected some questions, the audience was divided into 2 groups according to the level of partnership agreement experience
- Level 1 (ca. 8 people): beginners, facilitated and documented by DC
- Level 2/3 (ca. 12 people): individuals who have set up and delivered multiple partnerships
Group approached the discussion in a general way, exploring various aspects of partnership agreements from a perspective of individuals/chapters which have not delivered many partnership projects.
With the participants being primarily newbies to the movement and to partnership work, much of the discussion circled around going over concepts presented in the talk and providing further explanation so that the participants could get a better understanding of the issues.
We explored some topics in more detail:
- When an agreement might not be needed at all. Is a contract always needed? When might it be better not to have it, where would t be a barrier to delivery
- Who has a mandate to sign an agreement with a partner institution? If you are an individual volunteer, can you sign an agreement with an institution? Discussion about benefits of first linking up with a local user group for added endorsement. Also talking about how a partner institution could sign a simple MOU with the volunteer, giving them a bit more of an official status of a person collaborating with that institution
- A more general advice sharing on how to approach an organisation for a Wikimedia project
Collection of possible problems:
- organizations are not interested in cooperation (relevant to smaller chapters)
- not enough resources available to enter all possible partnerships
- how to identify the most promising organization for a collaboration (who to put a ring on)?
- What about Media and political affiliations?
- How to be not too formal?
- How to find a suitable lawyer to assist in drafting legal documents?
- often this role is filled by volunteers from the community, who happen to have the necessary skills
- Use of templates to simplify the creation of a partnership contract
- What about customizing those templates
- Templates need to be short enough, not to scare smaller partners (simplicity vs. specificity), difficult to do without a staff lawyer
- also the language needs to be simple, yet specific ("waterproof") to hold up in court
- skipping the lawyers for the sake of simplicity is not a viable option
- Conflict between parts of the contract with general law
- the contract also does not need to repeat the law
- Process: from the Conversation via the Confirmation to the Contract
- explain the benefits of a formal (specific) agreement to the partners, before showing a lengthy draft
- Don't write the contract document before you have talked about the partnership specifics
- you need to get to know each other first
- Big difference between the size of the partners
- bigger partners are sometimes the ones, who can push their documents
- Money & Deliverables
- Hiring Staff
- Time Frame
- PR, Media involvement
- Trademark issues