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This page is a translated version of the page Wikipedia 20/Events/Planning a virtual event and the translation is 1% complete.

Over the coming year, you may need to plan an event to celebrate Wikipedia's 20th birthday, or your own community's relevant milestone. This virtual events toolkit helps you identify your event needs, so you can plan a successful birthday event.

How to get involved

15 January 2021 marks Wikipedia's 20th birthday, and there are many ways to celebrate. You can:

Create your own Wikipedia 20 event

Do you want to celebrate Wikipedia at 20 years old? Great. Cannot find one near you listed on Wikipedia 20 Events? Make your own gathering and invite your community to join.

Event suggestions

Wikipedia 20 celebrations do not have to be a party in the traditional sense of the word. Suggestions for ways to frame a successful celebration can be found below.

Finding a venue

Match the size of your venue to event needs. If you are having an edit-a-thon, you'll need internet access power options and more. Consider requesting public spaces for your events such as libraries, school spaces, or public gathering points. Galleries and museums may also be good venues.

Online events

If in-person events and public gatherings are not permitted, consider holding your Wikipedia 20 celebration online. Tips for organizing can be found below

Promoting your event

  1. Start by listing your event on Wikipedia 20 Events.
  2. Then consider sharing event details on your community mailing lists.
  3. Invite attendees to bring friends, colleagues, and family members along.
  4. Announce the event on social media channels, using the hashtag #Wikipedia20 to help others find it.

However you celebrate, this set of links and recommendations can help you plan a great event, and get people in your community involved in celebrating Wikipedia at 20 years old.

How to use the events toolkit

This guide is structured enough to ensure consistency, and flexible enough to ensure adaptability. Here is a brief overview of how to use the toolkit:

  1. Read through the full toolkit, or the parts most relevant to your goal, to become familiar with the content.
  1. Take a moment to clearly define what you are creating (short online gathering or full programmatic event with speakers, presentations and multimedia etc) Next, consider who you are creating it for (in other words, is it for other community members? The press? The public?). Last, define why you are creating it (what is your primary objective or call to action?).
  1. If you need further assistance with planning your event, please contact wikipedia20@wikimedia.org or join the office hours of the Community Events Team.

What are some common birthday event goals?

The Wikipedia birthday is a celebration of the movement and the humans that make it possible. Some common goals can be described as the following:

  • Increasing content on a certain topic by organizing thematic editathons
  • Newcomer onboarding and engagement by including "introduction to" tracks at your event
  • Outreach events where you are able to appeal to movement partners, open source allies and external sectors
  • Or simply, celebrating the success of Wikipedia's 20 years.

How do I plan a virtual event?

Planning a virtual event is very similar to planning an in-person one. You need to take the time to design the program, have speakers, and engage your participants.

The good news for event organisers, is that virtual events have less expense than a face-to-face event. Virtual events save costs related to: travel, lodging, venue rentals, catering, printed items (signage, posters, conference programs), A/V equipment, etc.

Your content strategy must be interrelated with the goals you would like to achieve. Plan with the outcome in mind. What is the change you would like to initiate through an event?

Your program should be anchored in the overall goals that you have set out for the event. For example; if you want to attract newcomers, you might want to consider having content that is easy to engage with.

If you are planning a celebration, spend some time defining what feeling you would like to create with your event. What are the elements that make for a celebration? Will you be sharing highlights or achievements? Ideally how many people would you like to attend? What is the format in which you would like people to engage with your content?

Choosing the right technology should only be done as soon as you have established goals and a format to achieve those. Your choice of technology should be aligned with the goals you want to achieve.

Are you inviting subject matter experts to deliver program content? Do you want the content to be live, recorded, or both? Are you facilitating participation across multiple time zones and languages? Your choice of technology should support these wishes.

I need ideas for activities at my event

By including engagement techniques and activities into your program, you will enable active participation of your attendees. Here are some ways to create engagement in your virtual event:

  • Have participants each present a problem they've identified, and use your event as a problem-solving workshop
  • Mail your participants Wikipedia 20 stickers/iron-on prints for t-shirts beforehand
  • Use polling tools to have participants engage in Wikipedia trivia
  • Use whiteboard tools to have people sketch or brainstorm collaboratively
  • Repurpose breakout rooms as virtual escape rooms or even hackathon brainstorm rooms
  • Create a live music video by asking participants to play an instrument or sing along to a song and record
  • Host a 20 minute dance party: a minute for each year of Wikipedia!
  • Have participants order food for one another, in order to get to know each other

How do I incorporate Wikipedia's 20th birthday theme in my event?

Wikipedia 20 is all about celebrating the best of human ingenuity, generosity, collaboration, creativity and resilience that can be found in our movement and the work we do.

Think about what aspect of humanity you would like to highlight, and let that guide the theme of your event, or the topics you would like your speakers to present.


  • "Humans of Wikipedia": an event with other members of the community, where you share anecdotes and favourite stories from the last 20 years.
  • "Human Rights & Wikipedia": an exploration/celebration of advocacy work on and around Wikipedia
  • "Tech for Humans": a tools-based hackathon to improve, enhance or make easier the work of humans on Wikimedia projects
  • "The Next 20 Years of Humanity on Wikipedia": an event with topics addressing diversity and inclusion in the movement, as well as newcomer onboarding and engagement efforts

Please refer to our press and messaging toolkit for more information on writing thematic messages for your events.

What is a basic event program?


Is there an intentional flow of the program that needs to be followed to engage with the content? Or can your participants engage with the content at any given time?

How does the content relate to the desired action or change for your participants? What is the knowledge gap they have? Check in with your key stakeholders, community and industry experts, committees and other community organizations, to identify topics that are of the most relevance to your participants.


Helps your participants "land" and familiarize with the environment

Setting the tone so participants are engaged and ready to learn more. Pick a speaker that will not only draw an audience to your event, but also serve your objectives and thematic approach in the right way.

Questions and Answers (Q&A)

Interact with the content with meaningful conversation

Allow for open forum engagement on the speaker topics. Audiences enjoy talks where they can ask questions and interact with the speaker.

Breakout Sessions

Deep-dive into topics in small groups

Breakout sessions can be a tool to hone in on a specific item or topic and instantly provide helpful insights that feed into their reason for attendance. Consider having a facilitator for breakout sessions to ensure participants are getting the most from their time together. Avoid topics that are too vague, or facilitators that are not able to manage effective discourse.

The Closing Session

Leave your audience with a key thought or feeling

This is usually the part of an event audiences remember the most. Identify three things you want people to feel by the end of your event. Is it the sense that something was accomplished? That a problem was solved? That they felt connected even apart? Find ways to create those feelings through activities.

You can find more resources on program planning here.

What goes into planning an event?

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of your ideal event planning milestones. Choose which steps are most relevant for you to build your timeline.

STEP 1: Vision and Strategy

  • Develop your event concept
  • Choose the technology that serves your event goals
  • Define your program objectives

STEP 2: Project Management

  • Set up timelines
  • Review required resources
  • Set project roadmap (including deadlines & priorities)

STEP 3: Risk & Financial Management

  • Apply for a grant (if applicable)
  • Overall risk mitigation (technical risks)
  • Manage finances throughout the event lifecycle

STEP 4: Plan for Engagement

  • Add tools that support the content: plan breakout sessions, think of polling opportunities, set up Q&A, include gamification
  • Developing a social media content plan to spread the word about the event

STEP 5: Promotion of Event

  • Start sending invitations / Introduction materials
  • Program teaser, event countdown and agenda sharing

STEP 6: Pre-production Planning

  • Preparing speakers with talking points and notes
  • Gathering pre-recordings and assets required for the event
  • Program run through / rehearsal

STEP 7: Event Execution

  • Recording the event
  • Taking attendance
  • Engagement and feedback survey

STEP 8: Wrapping Up

  • Content wrap-up with clips and highlights from your event that can be shared across platforms, or saved in your archives for storytelling and learnings

How do I choose the right virtual event platform?

Your choice of technology should be based on the format of your event. Will participants be collaborating? Will speakers be presenting? Or both?


  • Presenters (one or more) address attendees
  • Typically a one-way address, sometimes dialogue-driven


  • Interaction between many presenters or attendees
  • Team meeting

Select the right technologies for your meeting type based on collaboration vs. presentation.

Tier one: Easy to obtain software that does not require an advanced technical setup, such as: Zoom, WebEx, or GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts or Skype.

Tier two: Requires a level of expert assistance and supplier intervention due to higher number of attendees and desired functionalities (branded platform or on-demand video's).

Tier three: A full-service robust platform. Requires much expert assistance. The platform provider has an experienced team to lead the development and delivery of a virtual event

Learn more about software and platforms here:

What are the components of a virtual event budget?

The cost of a virtual event is determined by the tier of platform you choose, the functionalities you desire, and the amount of participants you are planning for. This can range anywhere from $50 - $1000. These prices typically increase by the type of support you need. If you need a virtual event producer, a project manager or need to pay your speakers, then you would need to consider an hourly rate or a flat fee for services rendered. This would vary, depending on your region.

Your budget line items could include:

  • Virtual event platform or service
  • Contracting an event producer: for larger and more complex events
  • Contracting a project manager
  • Compensating facilitators / moderators
  • Pre-production of video and content: material designs, recording and editing costs
  • Entertainment
  • Post production of content: wrap up materials etc

Where can I get support from the Wikimedia Foundation?

  • If you have any questions, or would like to share ideas or receive guidance on event planning, The Community Events Team hosts office hours.
  • See the Useful Links section below to find other materials and toolkits for Wikipedia 20 celebrations.