Wikimedia Deutschland/2015 annual plan/en/Organization

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Please note: The contents of this page have not been included in the final version of Wikimedia Deutschland's 2015 annual plan, passed by the 16th General Assembly on April 18, 2015. 

Wikimedia Deutschland - Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e. V.[edit]

The organization's organigram. This page explains it.

Wikimedia is a global movement that promotes the idea of free knowledge and free content. All Wikimedia projects, like for example Wikipedia, are run by the Wikimedia Foundation, based in San Francisco, USA. The fact that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently used websites today, is due to the efforts of tens of thousands of volunteers who edit the free encyclopedia in their spare time. Since 2001 they have created, improved and maintained more than 30 million articles in more than 280 languages. Furthermore, they have created other projects that are part of the Wikimedia family today and which, like Wikipedia, invite everyone to engage in freely editing and re-using content – be it a media archive, a travel guide or a dictionary.

This diversity comprises the core of free knowledge that more than 40 independent Wikimedia-organizations support worldwide. The association Wikimedia Deutschland was founded as the first one of them in 2004. Today it is a non-profit organization with more than 11.000 members and it combines volunteer and staff work. An overview of the organization:


The WMDE General Assembly meets twice a year. It is the highest-ranking body in the association, and it decides on fundamental questions and issues. It has a range of tasks, such as electing members of the Supervisory Board, which represents the association to its members. Further items on the agenda at the General Assembly might be making decisions about the charter and any changes to it, approving an annual plan, and granting discharge to the Supervisory Board or Executive Director.


The Supervisory Board is the body of volunteers that leads and monitors the association and represents its members. It comprises one chairperson, two deputy chairs, a treasurer and up to six associates. The Supervisory Board’s main tasks are to maintain and develop the association’s strategic direction, create targets for the Executive Director, and monitor how he/she manages the organization.


The Executive Director’s task is to conduct the association’s business. That is why this is a full-time, paid position, appointed by the voluntary Supervisory Board. The association’s charter states that it is the Executive Director’s task to implement measures, strategies and objectives decided by the General Assembly or the Supervisory Board. The Executive Director also presents the annual plan to the General Assembly via the Supervisory Board.


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Executive · International Relations · Policy


The Executive Advisor is tasked with advising and supporting the Executive Director in his strategical and operational work. This entails for example drafting the budget, its implementation and oversight, managing legal work, preparation of briefings and decision papers, as well as the development and implementation of planning processes. The Executive Advisor is also responsible for an effective delegation of tasks from the Executive Director to staff.


WMDE is part of a network of international Wikimedia organizations; all of the decisions we make have a global dimension and all global decisions have a direct impact on our work. In order for our international relations to be more strategic in the future, the International Affairs Unit will become an independent office under the direct supervision of the Executive Director. It will advise the Executive Director and Supervisory Board on international relations and strategic positioning. One of its priorities will be to maintain frequent communication and to strengthen ties with WMF and other Wikimedia organizations. The advisor will bring her expertise and experience to international decision-making processes and will help to develop stances and solutions on global Wikimedia issues. Projects such as the Chapters Dialogue and Wikimedia Conference have allowed WMDE to play an active role in shaping the future of the Wikimedia movement. In the future, we aim to finance such projects that have a global impact (e.g. continuing the Chapters Dialogue) through third-party funding.


WMDE’s political activities experienced a surge in internationalization with the establishment of the Brussels-based Free Knowledge Advocacy Group. For the EU legislative procedure, it is necessary to retain a complementary competence on the national level, especially as DG Connect, a Directorate General that is decisive as far as Wikimedia subjects are concerned, will be run by a German commissioner in the future. Activities in the fields of Internet policy and copyright law on the national level must be supervised, as must the work carried out by the recently created Digital Agenda Committee. Due to its strategic importance and the resulting requirement for the Supervisory Board to vote on it, the individual in this consultancy position should work under the direct supervision of the Executive Director.


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Volunteer Support · Software Development · Education, Science & Culture · Communications · Partnerships & Development · Fundraising


Every Wikimedia project thrives on volunteer participation. Volunteers write or expand upon Wikipedia articles, take photos for the free media archive Wikimedia Commons, and compose travel reviews for Wikivoyage. The Volunteer Support team also allocates funding in the form of grants or the reimbursement of travel costs, as well as providing technical equipment so volunteers can take photos and make video and audio recordings, while also providing logistical, administrative and organizational assistance at community events. The team also ensures that volunteers are involved in all aspects of funding, such as the drafting of new support guidelines.


The field of software development has the objective of increasing the quality of Wikimedia projects and facilitating operation. The team therefore strives to constantly improve the software involved in Wikimedia projects. It also develops innovative solutions in order to react to the needs of the many communities. The work of the software development team is not only reflected in the great number of different language versions of Wikipedia that are available, but also in platforms such as Wikimedia Commons. Wikidata – a large-scale project for the team – has, over time, established its own growing community and become the backbone of other Wikimedia projects. As an open database for free knowledge, Wikidata is also available to external operators.


This department is tasked with promoting free content in the fields of education, science and culture. It also develops innovative, target-group-oriented information and advice services, to enable people and organizations to use free knowledge in their respective context and to make their digital treasures more accessible for everyone. In addition to this, the department also stages events with partners and arranges international exchanges with various organizations. In order to develop open, forward-looking methods, products and services, the team also initiates research and development schemes and supports innovative projects.


This team is responsible for supporting WMDE in the communication of its objectives and tasks. This encompasses the communication of individual messages or a general view of the association – both externally and internally. The first of two focal points for the team in 2015 is to regularly inform members about the purpose of the association and about the opportunities available for getting involved. In the long term, the team will also be concerned with informing members on the regional level about interesting new local developments. The second focal point in 2015 is to carry out clear, convincing and consistent public relations work. This involves press work, WMDE’s means of communication, and empowerment activities. The key messages for both focal points in 2015 will be appreciation for volunteer work, that free knowledge is explored in all its facets (from Wikipedia editing to culture hackathons), and that getting involved with Wikimedia projects is worthwhile.


WMDE can only have a lasting impact on society if we work with other organizations. Important factors for effective partnerships are: a shared definition of goals, continual communication, and shared, effective criteria for measuring success. In order to meet these challenges, WMDE created the Partnerships & Development team. The new team is an expansion of the Evaluation Unit and concentrates on partnerships. The most important competences for effective cooperation in partnerships can thus be found in a single source. Such competences range from effective planning, through the strategic acquisition of partners and third-party funding, to monitoring and evaluation.

In 2015 we are pursuing at least two new partnerships that will contribute to a diversification of the revenue structure. The team is also going to set up a basic monitoring system, which will subsequently be gradually expanded into an outcome-oriented system for monitoring and evaluation. This allows us to better manage project activities, to combine different projects, to reach targets more effectively, and to inform stakeholders and bodies within the association in a quick, transparent process. The information and understanding gained are also the basis for a continual transfer of knowledge – both internally and between WMDE, its partners and the Wikimedia movement.


Wikimedia Deutschland is predominantly financed by donations and membership fees. The Fundraising team is therefore particularly responsible for recruiting new supporters. The annual donation campaign is at the heart of these activities, as more than 90 percent of donation revenue is generated by this campaign lasting several weeks. The donation campaign finishes with the Fundraising team’s second-largest activity, namely the posting of donation receipts in March of the following year, an activity that regularly attracts new members. In the coming year, the strengthening of ties and relationships with donors will be a central focus of the department. Smaller campaigns aimed at attracting new members will be carried out, including newsletter mailings. An important component of the department’s daily work is to provide support for donors and association members throughout the year. Over 700,000 people have supported WMDE in the past. The Fundraising team is their direct point of contact and therefore fulfills an important service function for the association.

HR & Administration

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HR · Finance · Events · Office · IT


This department comprises five teams. The Event Management team supports the design and planning of events. It also takes on logistical tasks and collects and evaluates participant numbers and feedback. The Financial Administration and Reporting team is responsible for financial controlling and bookkeeping, and the internal IT department is in charge of all technical services in the office at Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24. The Office team provides bookkeeping support, is responsible for order management and reception, and is the first point of contact for a great number of general telephone and written queries.