Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy: Summary and Report

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This message, "Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy: Summary and Report", was sent by Nataliia Tymkiv on 23 October 2023.

Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy: Summary and Report[edit]

Dear all,

In November 2022, we announced that the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees (Board) would be embarking on creating a Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy in collaboration with the Affiliations Committee, the affiliates, and the broader communities[1]. The intention was to develop a strategy that will help guide the Foundation’s immediate work in supporting affiliates for the next few years, with a primary focus on the recognition process, as a direct responsibility of the Board. We are now publishing the report summary[2] and the report itself[3]. This report is presented in the same format it was presented to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees in Singapore, with identifiable information removed to respect respondents’ privacy, and the context added at the beginning, to make it a stand alone document.

We would like to thank all those who attended the meetings, and calls, filled in the survey, additionally shared materials and ideas – and also to staff for helping us to shape the process

Please take some time to review the summary and the report. You will see that the conversations covered several topics and captured feedback outside of the affiliate recognition process as well. We have shared this feedback with the Board and with leadership at the Wikimedia Foundation, so that more can be learnt to address feedback on these topics as well.

Maryana, the CEO of the Foundation, recently announced Talking: 2024, conversations to share, listen, and learn with intention as we all continue to plan our future as a movement. You can use the Let’s Talk feature to sign up for a time to speak with me and other trustees about the Affiliate Recognition Strategy Report or any other topic regarding the Wikimedia Foundation Board, Movement Strategy etc.

Best regards,

Nat & Shani & Lorenzo Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees Liaisons to the Affiliations Committee

Wikimedia Foundation Affiliates Strategy: Summary[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) Board of Trustees believes that Wikimedia affiliates are a key and integral part of the Wikimedia movement, and affiliates’ success is vital for the Wikimedia movement’s success. To that end, it is crucial to develop a clear vision regarding affiliates, making it possible to assess whether the investment in, collaboration with, and policy towards affiliates is promoting the right goals.

The Foundation’s Board decided to begin the process with creating a strategy that will help guide the Foundation’s immediate work in supporting affiliates for the next few years, with a primary focus on how affiliates are recognised, as a direct responsibility of the Board.

In November 2022, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees announced they would be embarking on building this Wikimedia Foundation Affiliate Strategy in collaboration with the Affiliations Committee, the affiliates, and the broader communities.

Over several months, the Wikimedia Foundation Board engaged with an outside consultant to drive a review process of what work the Foundation was doing to support affiliates. The end goal was to have several recommended actions.

The process[edit]

The first phase of the process was largely internal to the Board and the Affiliations Committee. This phase involved interviewing current Affiliations Committee (AffCom) members, its advisors, staff support (former and current), staff from different teams and departments of the Wikimedia Foundation who work closely with affiliates (like Legal, Community Resources, and Advancement). The interviews were conducted by Jon Huggett, a consultant on governance related topics. Jon previously worked on the Movement roles project (2010–2011) and has completed other governance-related analysis for the Board of Trustees. The result of the first phase was summarised in a report presented to the Wikimedia Foundation Board Liaisons to AffCom. This report was then discussed with AffCom. This initial report was used to scope out the next phase of work.

The second phase involved collecting data from affiliates. This process included calls with affiliates and a survey open to everyone (a public invitation went out on the Wikimedia-L mailing list). The information collected was compiled into a report with immediate recommendations. This report was first presented and discussed with the AffCom, Community Affairs Committee (CAC), and the Wikimedia Foundation Board at the Board meeting at Wikimania in August 2023.

In total, the following groups were consulted:

  • 8 Affiliations Committee members and advisors were interviewed 1-on-1
  • 11 Wikimedia Foundation staff were interviewed 1-on-1
  • 14 Affiliate Executive Directors interviewed in 5 group sessions
  • 65+ community members attended 9 different online sessions and one face-to-face session at WikiConference India
  • 7 stakeholders interviewed 1-on-1
  • 38 responses to 2023 Affiliate Experience Survey

The findings[edit]

Over the years, AffCom’s role has evolved into a very difficult set of tasks, creating a demanding workload for hard-working volunteers. There are opportunities to streamline the work to focus on affiliate recognition. There needs to be further clarity around which decisions on recognition, derecognition and conflict rest with AffCom, which are with the CAC, which are with Foundation staff, and which with the Foundation Board.


One recommendation from the report is to move some of the administrative work from AffCom to staff, including the tasks that require quick response and detail. There also need to be new ways to select members of AffCom. Finally, over the long term, some responsibilities could be transferred to a Global Council. Further details on these recommendations can be found directly in the report.

What happens next[edit]

The Trustees have reviewed the recommendations and the CAC will be working with AffCom to implement some of the changes, the prioritisation and implementation of which would be discussed with the AffCom, and further communicated to the communities and affiliates. Community members can look forward to periodic updates from the CAC.