Annual Plan for Fiscal Year 2019–20

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This plan covers Wikimedia DC's planned program activities and operations for the 2019–20 fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2019 and ends on September 30, 2020.


The Wikimedia DC program portfolio for the 2019–20 fiscal year consists of three key program areas:

Institutional Partnership

The institutional partnership program area includes programs whose principal objective is to leverage the resources, holdings, and expertise of institutions in the cultural, academic, and government sectors to improve the Wikimedia projects and other free knowledge repositories. This is achieved both through the direct contribution of institutional records, collections, and other holdings to such repositories under suitable free licenses, and through the participation of institutional staff and other affiliated individuals in such projects.

Over the course of the 2019–20 fiscal year, we will collaborate with at least 30 institutional partners; we expect that most collaborative activities will continue to take the form of discrete events, including various forms of edit-a-thons and training workshops. We will continue to engage heavily with the numerous prominent cultural, academic, and government institutions that have formed the bulk of our historical partnership work, as well as engaging new types of partners, including local and regional museums, community organizations, and institutions outside of the DC metropolitan area.

While our historical focus has been on the year-to-year growth of our aggregate partnership portfolio, our ultimate goal is to develop long-term relationships with our partners, so we will collaborate with at least 15 existing institutional partners during the 2019–20 fiscal year. In addition, as we continue to engage with both new and existing partners, we will ensure that at least 50% of our partnership activities address diversity in some form, including diversity of content and diversity of participation.

Leadership Development and Support

The leadership development and support program area includes programs whose principal objectives consist of providing professional development opportunities, financial and administrative support, and non-financial resources to established and emerging program leaders across the Wikimedia movement.

In prior fiscal years, we have supported volunteer training and development for high-performing Wikimedia movement contributors through the leadership boot camp model; this model has resulted in significant program impact as well as a steady flow of new leadership into the organization. As we continue to build on the historical success of the boot camp model, we will host a leadership boot camp for at least 10 new participants. The target audience of the boot camp will include current and potential Wikimedia project organizers and event facilitators from across the United States, and the event will aim to increase the participation of under-represented communities in these activities.

In addition to our core leadership development efforts, we will continue to provide a spectrum of support for sponsored programs that are independently led by a community of Wikimedia program leaders; this support will include direct support from Wikimedia DC volunteers as well as other forms of financial and non-financial support, as appropriate for each program. We have identified three key sponsored programs that will receive a significant degree of support during the 2019–20 fiscal year:

  • Women in Red — We plan to provide technology support for the overall Women in Red initiative, as well as fiscal sponsorship for a range of activities, including one or more planned contests. Further, we aim to work closely with the program leaders as they explore potential organizational structures, including the possibility of developing an independent nonprofit entity to provide ongoing support for their work.
  • WikiConference North America — We will continue to provide technology support for WikiConference North America 2019, as well as exploring new ways to support the program leaders as the structure and scope of the conference continue to evolve.
  • Wiki Science Competition — We plan to provide technology support and prize funding for the 2019 Wiki Science Competition; this will be similar in scope to the support which we provided to this program during the 2017–18 fiscal year.

Public Policy

The public policy program area includes programs whose principal objective is to encourage regulatory and legislative changes that will benefit Wikimedia projects and the broader free knowledge and culture movement. During the 2019–20 fiscal year, we will continue with exploratory public policy engagement across issues related to copyright, mass digitization, intellectual property reforms, the public domain, and online safety and privacy. To the extent possible, we will coordinate with and support the Wikimedia Foundation's public policy department, other chapters, user groups, and other like-minded organizations.

Organizational Development

The Wikimedia DC organizational development portfolio for the 2019–20 fiscal year consists of three key operational areas:

Planning, Evaluation, and Reporting

The ongoing Wikimedia movement strategy process has the potential to significantly impact Wikimedia DC; while the specific nature of these impacts is not yet certain, the expected publication of the strategic recommendations early in the 2019–20 fiscal year is expected to provide a significantly increased degree of clarity on the matter. Once the recommendations have been made public, we will develop a new strategic plan that will address our local organizational context and objectives while reflecting the broader implications of the movement strategy process and the expected evolution of the Wikimedia movement as a whole.

While our program portfolio has continued to expand and mature, our methodology for program planning and evaluation remains largely the same as it was when Wikimedia DC was founded. We have continued to focus on discrete, quantitative indicators of program success (such as raw numbers of events held and articles improved); while such metrics provide some visibility into the volume of our program activity, they paint a picture that is, at best, incomplete when it comes to evaluating the long-term impact of our work. To improve the effectiveness of our planning and evaluation processes, we will develop a new framework for evaluating the impact of our institutional partnerships, including both quantitative and qualitative metrics that will enable us to holistically assess the degree to which our partners have engaged with the Wikimedia mission and movement and provide a better understanding of the actual impact of our outreach and partnership activities.

Similarly, our reporting has historically focused on raw, numerical outcomes rather than program stories, which has limited its impact and made it challenging for funders, partners, and the global Wikimedia community to understand the impact of our work. To address this, we will develop a standard quarterly reporting format that will include program highlights, case studies, and storytelling as well as quantitative and qualitative program metrics and results. Based on this new format, we will prepare and publish quarterly activity reports within 30 days of the end of each fiscal quarter.

Membership and Community Engagement

The size of our membership has not mirrored the growth of our organizational footprint and program activity; our total membership has remained generally stable over the past several years, with the majority of the membership being composed of long-term, renewing members rather than new members who are joining us for the first time. The limited number of new members has made it challenging to grow our volunteer capacity, to develop new program ideas, and to incubate future leadership for the organization. To remedy this, we will grow our total membership by 20% over the course of the 2019–20 fiscal year through a combination of methods, including actively recruiting new members through events and programs, more clearly presenting our membership options in our online and offline marketing materials, and identifying and using new tools specifically designed for nonprofit membership management.

Our engagement with our current membership has been limited, with many members participating primarily through program activities or formal governance processes, such as the annual election and annual membership meeting; while we have explored broader frameworks for social engagement in the past, this has not been a focus in the past fiscal year. Increasing our members' engagement with the organization will help to support its continued growth; consequently, we will host at least 1 social event each fiscal quarter, with the aim of engaging with our members and the broader local volunteer and partner community, recruiting new members, and empowering informal mechanisms for exchanging new ideas and feedback regarding our activities. We will additionally explore new ways of engaging our existing members, including virtual events and virtual participation at in-person events.

Fundraising and Capacity Building

The changes in our funding profile over the past two years have enabled Wikimedia DC to maintain and grow an active, staff-supported program portfolio during a time when many Wikimedia affiliates have struggled with securing a steady stream of funding to support their operations. However, our current pool of funders is limited; this has made it challenging to grow the aggregate funding to meet demand for new and expanded programs, and requires us to expand our fundraising portfolio in new directions if we are to continue our growth.

During the coming fiscal year, we will explore new fundraising directions, with an initial focus on external, non-Wikimedia grant funding; while we have occasionally engaged with external grantmakers, such as the Knight Foundation, we have not historically done so in a systematic manner. In order to develop a broader funding base as well as organizational fundraising expertise, we will apply for at least 5 external grants to support our planned programs or potential new program ideas. To support this objective, we will engage with external resources, including fundraising experts and professional grantwriters, as necessary.

Wikimedia DC is not the only Wikimedia organization that faces challenges in fundraising and capacity building, and we need not approach these challenges in isolation. We will engage with other Wikimedia organizations, informal groups, and program leaders from around the United States to explore innovative new ways of sharing resources, including staff, funding, and technology, across organizational boundaries.