Annual plan (2012–2013)
Wikimedia District of Columbia is the bridge between the Washington community and the Wikimedia community. To that end, Wikimedia DC will undertake activities that work to enrich both communities.
Serving the Washington community
Wikimedia DC is the incorporated chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation in the Washington, D.C. area. There is significant interest in Wikipedia in our area—from Congressional staffers editing articles on their superiors to the National Archives and Records Administration hiring a Wikipedian-in-Residence to help engage the Archives with the Wikimedia community. The first example demonstrates the need for an active Wikimedian voice in the area to inform the general public on best practices, and second example shows enthusiasm on the part of some to engage with our community.
This past year, we had the honor of hosting the international Wikimania conference. The momentum of this conference gave us the opportunity to build relationships with organizations in the area, including the Library of Congress and the Saylor Foundation. According to our group relations index, from Wikimedia DC's total endeavors we have made connections with 35 different organizations from several different sectors, including the technology, diplomacy, government and public affairs, academic, and cultural sectors. We look forward to exploring opportunities for outreach and collaboration with these entities. We also wish to eventually develop a database of potential donors and grant-making institutions to help grow and diversify our funding.
The following are this year’s goals for local outreach:
- Reorganize our contact database into different categorical sub-databases, with more information in each entry, including contacts we have hosted events with, contacts we could host events with in the future, and contacts that could potentially be donors.
- Increase the total size of our contact database to 100 contacts by the end of the fiscal year.
- Collaborate with at least two institutions per category by the end of the fiscal year. “Collaboration” is elaborated below but includes events open to the public as well as consultations, training, and contribution drives.
- Hold regular bimonthly meetups featuring scheduled programming and lunch/dinner, with an average attendance of 25 people per meetup.
Serving the Wikimedia movement
As an organization experienced in putting on programming for the community and collaborating with cultural institutions, we have much to offer other Wikimedia-affiliated organizations, especially growing regional chapters. Additionally, by partnering with the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, we have contributed back to Wikimedia by uploading thousands of new pictures to Wikimedia Commons. Thus our program offerings should reflect a second purpose: in addition to serving Washington, D.C., we serve the Wikimedia movement at large with our direct contributions to the projects, a public better informed on the Wikimedia mission, and accumulated wisdom and experience that can be used to help develop the Wikimedia movement in the United States.
So that other Wikimedia-affiliated groups can learn from our experience, we should have a written summary of each activity we undertake. Take a standard edit-a-thon, for instance. We will want to know what costs were incurred, if any, as well as the number of people attending, the proportion of which were new editors, what articles were improved, as well as any general feedback from the organizers and attendees. Other groups interested in holding edit-a-thons should be able to learn from our experience and not re-invent the wheel.
To build our ties to the Wikimedia movement, our goals for this year are as follows:
- Develop a standard outreach guide which helps Wikimedia DC and other organizations hold events. This guide will help us hold events as well as establish standard protocol for reaching out to other institutions.
- Maintain a leading role in the movement for a nationwide federation of Wikimedia enthusiasts. Leadership in this role is of strategic interest to Wikimedia DC, and Wikimedia DC is in the best position to launch such an organization.
- Become the main point of contact between government and cultural institutions in the D.C. area and the Wikimedia movement. As the local organization we are best suited to work with these partners.
- Find two additional partners to make large contributions of content to Wikimedia websites. This can be in the form of large image uploads, large data contributions to Wikidata, etc.
Building a lasting organization
Of course, we should also build our community of enthusiastic Wikimedians here in the Washington area. As a member-based organization a strong and healthy membership is one of our fundamental goals. Community meetups are tried and true, and by holding them on a regular basis we can strengthen our ties as a community and recruit new people to join. Each new member is an opportunity to grow Wikimedia DC's connections to the broader metropolitan area.
- Increase membership to 150, including both new memberships and the renewal of existing ones. In recruiting members we should further focus on finding people who can help with organizing events.
- Academic and educational outreach
- With the Wikipedia Education Program being spun off from the Wikimedia Foundation, we should work with them to coordinate outreach to academic institutions in our region. We should also coordinate with the Sunlight Foundation and other organizations working to provide data to the public to aid in developing Wikidata.
- Cultural outreach
- Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums have been a point of focus for the Wikimedia movement worldwide. Wikimedia District of Columbia seeks to increase awareness of the Wikimedia projects among cultural institutions in the D.C. area through editing/contribution workshops, by increasing the number of Wikipedians in Residence, and by procuring large media contributions from these institutions where possible.
- Government outreach and engagement
- Given that Wikipedia has been edited by federal employees in the past, it is in our interest in ensuring that those in the federal government who edit Wikipedia know how to do so properly. To that end, in 2013 we are interested in running workshops for federal employees who are interested in learning more on how to contribute to the Wikimedia projects. Wikimedia District of Columbia also seeks to remain current on legislative issues regarding information freedom and the Internet, and shall work to inform the public of the values of our mission where necessary. This includes working with government agencies and organizations that share our goals to make data available to Wikidata.
- International and diplomatic outreach
- As Wikimedia is an international movement, a healthy relationship with the many embassies in Washington helps us expand our scope of contributions to the projects. Wikimedia District of Columbia wishes to reach out with the embassies, hold events with them, and encourage them to contribute to the Wikimedia projects.
- Public outreach and education
- As evidenced by our successful Wikimania 2012 conference, there is widespread interest in Wikipedia in our region. Wikimedia District of Columbia is interested in fostering a community around this interest in Wikipedia, to increase awareness of the Wikimedia movement's goals and to increase interest in volunteering for the projects.
Planned activities and events
We seek to hold two main types of events: educational events, where we teach and inform on the proper use of the Wikimedia websites, including on how to edit, and networking/social events to bring the community together. We should aim to hold one educational event and one networking/social event per month, ideally on a consistent schedule (e.g., on the first and third Tuesday of each month). The list below should not be considered exhaustive; opportunities should be considered as they arise.
- DCPL Black History Month event
- Some sort of Wikipedia training event for new Hill staffers
- Women's History Month event
- FEDLINK Outreach Initiative
- Turn over a new leaf: how to work on biography articles
- A panel or workshop at the Newseum
- Embassy Outreach Initiative event
- Meet Jimmy event
- Cherry Blossom event
- SAIS / CSIS editathon/panel/happy hour
- Wikivoyage launch party
How are we going to raise money?
Currently, we have a Board of Directors, led by a President, that is assisted by several committees that aid in the governance, maintenance, and fiduciary aspects of the organization. However, there is no apparent structure for carrying out the programmatic goals of the organization. As such, Wikimedia District of Columbia should look into assigning programming responsibilities to individuals who represent stakeholder institutions or are otherwise valuable in carrying out our program goals. Where possible, this should include people outside the Board so that the number of people in Wikimedia DC leadership expands. These individuals constitute a Program Committee, with members having specific purposes within the committee. The Program Committee would work with the President and Board of Directors in deciding how to carry out the goals of the organization. Based on what is agreed to, volunteer event coordinators work with the committee to carry out these events.
By distributing the work across the Board, the Program Committee, and event coordinators, the day-to-day outreach and planning can be handled by a subsidiary board. However, those whom we would like to involve on outreach may not necessarily be available to plan events, which is where volunteer event coordinators become involved. These coordinators do not necessarily form a committee, but are appointed individually to work with the Program Committee to carry out a specific event, or a series of specific events. As a practical example, consider a scan-a-thon at the National Archives. Someone who represents the Archives or otherwise has good connections to them would develop a scan-a-thon event and clear it with the rest of the committee to prevent scheduling conflict. Then, an event coordinator is appointed to help with the logistics in running the event.
The point of this structure is not to create a bloated bureaucracy, nor is it to require a separation of roles. Indeed, a Program Committee member could serve as an event coordinator, and a Board member could very well have both of those roles in addition to his or her Board duties. Rather, the purpose is to expand the size of our leadership beyond the Board, and to create options for people who are interested in being involved with Wikimedia DC but do not have the time or interest in serving on the Board of Directors. As people express an interest in being involved with Wikimedia DC, they should be assigned a specific role where they have specific responsibilities.
Our intern over the summer of 2012 had many different duties, including communication responsibilities, planning events, and writing blog posts and Tweets. We are not likely to secure funding for an internship in the near future, so it is necessary to divide these roles so that they may be managed by volunteers.
- Communications—Emailed inquiries should be sent to the internal Wikimedia DC list so that someone appropriate may response, making sure to let the list know when a response has been sent to prevent redundant responses. Phone calls can be handled through the receptionist at our virtual office.
- Event planning—Those who are interested in volunteering to plan events should get in touch with Wikimedia DC. Additionally, Wikimedia DC should actively recruit volunteer event coordinators through the website and other means. Event coordinators will be responsible for planning events per the governance plan above.
- Public relations—The Twitter feed should be managed by a competent Twitter user willing to occasionally make posts to it. Blog posts should be written by those involved in Wikimedia DC programming, or it could be another volunteer opportunity for Wikimedia DC.
Logistics and infrastructure
What do we plan in terms of office space, equipment, technology, etc.?