Annual Plan for Fiscal Year 2014–15

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This plan documents Wikimedia District of Columbia's program and organizational development plans for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2014 and ending September 30, 2015. Wikimedia DC embarked on a strategic planning process during Fiscal Year 2013–14; this process that will result in a completed strategic plan during the coming fiscal year. We have diversified our outreach efforts to include historical, scientific, and technological organizations, and we began improving our technical infrastructure to support our work.

This year, we are focused on increasing our outreach efforts to firmly establish our presence as knowledge workers while working to embed the values of the Wikimedia movement in our current partner organizations. We are developing an infrastructure of best practices and technologies that will boost our ranks as a membership and volunteer organization. This work is part of a multi-year effort to institutionalize Wikimedia DC as a Washington-based organization working to share our knowledge with the world.

Program initiatives

Recruiting content contributors

In 2015 our content programs will focus on encouraging individual content contributors and empowering broader institutional participation. During the last fiscal year we hosted several edit-a-thons with institutions in various subject areas, including the fine arts, chemistry, history, and law. These events allowed us to build connections with these organizations and to develop a list of over 100 potential Wikipedia editors. Through the research of Emily Temple-Wood, our Vice President and an Individual Engagement Grant recipient of the Wikimedia Foundation, we have developed a program to train small groups of motivated individuals to organize recurring workshops for developing Wikipedia articles. Our goal this year is to implement this program in at least two organizations. We will also continue to host regular edit-a-thons with organizations that share our goals.

Wikipedia Workshops

Wikipedia Workshops build on the edit-a-thon concept that has been successfully implemented at Wikimedia DC events. While edit-a-thons as currently carried out are successful promotional events that give participating individuals and organizations a taste of editing Wikipedia, additional efforts are required to sustain the interest of new Wikipedians. The workshop concept developed by Wikimedia DC works to improve the editing skills of participants through small instructional groups and pre-scheduled recurring events.

We are currently planning two workshop series in Washington, DC, one focused on art history and another on public health. Our goal is to recruit ten participating editors and one facilitator for each set of workshops. Each series will consist of multiple regular workshop sessions over the course of several weeks, focusing on creating content on Wikipedia. Our goal is to see one new article created, or one existing article substantially expanded, per person per session, for a total of 80 new or substantially improved articles across the two series. We'll consider an article substantially improved if at least 1,000 bytes of content is added or replaced.

Edit-a-Thons

This past fiscal year, Wikimedia DC supported 20 edit-a-thons. At these edit-a-thons, over 130 participants contributed over 250,000 bytes of content. More importantly, these edit-a-thons allowed us to become better acquainted with cultural, scientific, historical, or government institutions that share our mission, including the National Archives and Records Administration, the American Chemical Society, the Smithsonian Institution, the DC Historical Society, and the University of Maryland Libraries. There is growing interest in hosting edit-a-thons with our organization, with many organizations willing to contribute all the event hosting costs in-kind. There is also interest from existing partners to carry out longer-term Wikimedia-related programs, as reflected in our annual plan and in the National Archives' decision to hire a full-time Wikipedian in Residence.

As edit-a-thons are the primary recruitment vehicle for Wikimedia DC, we would like to continue hosting them this fiscal year. Our goal this fiscal year is to host edit-a-thons with at least 15 institutions, expanding on the prior year's nine. Of these 15, we would like to organize at least two with scientific institutions and three with government institutions. Between our edit-a-thons, our goal is to engage at least 175 participants.

Cultural Partnerships

Partnering with cultural institutions to share content with the world is one of our founding principles, and we have been expanding on our past work. In July 2014, Wikimedia DC kicked off Wikipedia Summer of Monuments, a campaign dedicated to improving coverage of historic places, particularly in the Southern United States. Between our work with cultural institutions and the contest, over 10,000 photographs of historic sites were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons between July 1 and September 30, 2014. This campaign allowed us to build connections with numerous historical societies and cultural institutions in our target region. We will be extending the contract of our project manager so that we can continue these relationships and allow for more time to reach our goal of having 50% photographic coverage of our five outreach states. This will help ensure we receive a maximum return on our investment. Our tentative plan is to extend the campaign into January 2015, although the contest portion of the campaign has already ended.

Thinking beyond Summer of Monuments, Wikimedia DC is interested in scaling institutional outreach efforts throughout the country. With our resources in Washington, DC, our programs training volunteers for the Wikimedia movement, and our experience managing outreach projects, we are in a unique position to provide infrastructural support to the GLAM-Wiki movement in the United States. We will be launching a one-year pilot this April to carry out cultural outreach in support of the national GLAM-Wiki effort. Our cultural partnership program will focus on giving cultural institutions access to the Wikimedia community and guidance on participation. We would like to target institutions for their potential to contribute primary sources, including media and source texts, and also institutions with highly knowledgeable staff who could contribute to Wikipedia articles. To sustain these efforts, we will be training volunteers through the GLAM Boot Camp training program, targeting Wikipedians in geographic regions according to the need to develop capacity.

The purpose of the cultural partnership program is to, very broadly, include the cultural sector as partners for promoting free knowledge. Specifically, by the conclusion of the program, our goal is to see ten new relationships established with cultural institutions, culminating in the upload of 10,000 media files and the recruitment of 30 new Wikipedia editors. We will be conducting this program over the course of one year, with half in Fiscal Year 2014–15 and the other half in Fiscal Year 2015–16, as we have observed that the key to cultural partnerships is being able to nurture a relationship over a longer term.

Building community around our mission

The role of our community programs is to build a community around the Wikimedia mission and to train volunteers in carrying out programs that mission. Wikimedia DC has been successful in implementing programs that train experienced Wikipedia editors to carry on outreach activity; these programs both teach practical skills and develop networks around a shared interest. GLAM Boot Camp successfully built a community of Wikipedians engaged in outreach work, and we expect similar returns from the Workshop Facilitator Training held in August 2014. Reflecting on our successes, we will continue to carry out volunteer training programs. We will also focus on community building in a broader sense through outreach to existing community groups, as reflected in our goals for Technology Programs. These efforts combined seek to engage more people in our mission.

Volunteer Training

We are currently planning two volunteer trainings. Our second Workshop Facilitator Training will be held in March 2015. This training focuses on recruiting Wikipedians who have the motivation and opportunity to hold workshops that address Wikipedia's systemic bias in coverage. These Wikipedians are taught best practices in hosting Wikipedia workshops that aim to teach Wikipedia-editing skills and improve coverage on a given subject area. This provides two benefits: we expand Wikipedia outreach efforts throughout the United States, and we can study these separate implementations of the Workshop program to learn more about what is effective in sustaining people's interest in editing Wikipedia and what potentially causes attrition. After training our first group of facilitators this past August, we look forward to training a second group.

After a highly successful GLAM Boot Camp in 2013, we are planning our second GLAM Boot Camp at the National Archives in June 2015. GLAM Boot Camp focuses on training Wikipedians in outreach to galleries, libraries, archives, and museums—GLAM. We introduce these Wikipedians to the broader GLAM-Wiki community, a group of volunteers and professionals that has emerged to engage the cultural sector as a partner in sharing knowledge. Alumni of GLAM Boot Camp have gone on to carry out other projects, including The Wikipedia Library and Wikimedia DC's Workshop Facilitator Training, plus partnerships with institutions throughout the United States. We plan on integrating our second Boot Camp directly with the efforts of the cultural partnership program; Boot Camp participants will receive organizing support from Wikimedia DC and will help us with our nationwide outreach efforts. This coordinator will make both programs more effective.

The goal with each training is to train ten volunteers per training, recruited on a national basis. These trainings are reiterations of successful programs we have conducted in the past; our trainings have been highly effective in motivating and recruiting volunteers to conduct outreach work in support of the Wikimedia movement.

Conferences

Wikimedia DC plans on hosting two conferences this fiscal year:

The Wikimedia Diversity Conference in June 2015 will be the follow-up to the initial Diversity Conference held in Germany in 2014. We seek to continue the conversation begun last year and continued at Wikimania 2014 in London on how to include more people on the Wikimedia projects. Inclusion and broader participation is at the heart of Wikimedia DC's strategic priorities, and we look forward to learning and sharing with the international community of organizers tackling this challenge.

The Wikipedia Public Health Summit in September 2015 is being organized in partnership with National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control. With people throughout the world—including medical professionals—relying on Wikipedia for medical information, we must ask: how reliable is it? How does it work? What should we do if something is wrong? This two-day conference will feature speakers from the Wikipedia community and NIOSH, who will address the ins-and-outs of Wikipedia, the growing community of medical professionals editing Wikipedia, and how public health agencies can use Wikipedia to effectively spread high-quality information to a mass audience.

WikiSalons and Meetups

As with last year, this year we will continue hosting dinner meetups and WikiSalons, each once a month. Dinner meetups will take place on weekends, while WikiSalons will occur during the week.

Imagining the future of sharing knowledge

Technology is the mechanism by which Wikimedia creates and shares knowledge. Wikimedia DC piloted a new technology program this past fiscal year with two "WikiHack" events, working to develop technological solutions to connect open government data to the Wikimedia projects. This data, with the right approach, can automatically enrich Wikipedia with new information, creating a self-updating encyclopedia. What we found through our WikiHacks is that we are just getting started with this conversation: open data at the federal level is still in its infancy, as is the Wikidata project that offers us a bridge between data and Wikipedia. Our relationship with the open government and technology communities in DC are still developing, and our community's understanding of Wikidata is still growing. Therefore, our approach to technology programs this year will focus on outreach to the existing civic technology and open government communities.

Our goal for this fiscal year is to participate as an organization in at least two sessions with Code for DC and to participate in the Transparency Camp unconference. At these events, our goal is to engage a total of ten participants in our Wikidata-related projects, developing at least three project prototypes for connecting data repositories to Wikimedia projects. Our mission more broadly is to sell the value of the Wikimedia projects as a use case for open data, in fulfillment of a shared mission of disseminating information. Taking these initial steps to expand our community will eventually allow us to develop more specific programs, seeking the incorporation of specific datasets and collaborations with specific organizations, including data-disseminating government agencies. In the long term, developing a base of tech-savvy volunteers will also allow us to participate more broadly in the Wikimedia technical community, working with volunteers around the world to improve the platforms that allow for content development and dissemination. Our long-term goals begin with engaging existing communities that share our mission.

Supporting Wikimedians across the country

Wikimedia DC, though a regional organization, supports the efforts of Wikimedia organizers throughout the United States. We provide support through our small grants program, which has supported events in cities across the country, and by supporting WikiConference USA, which was held this past May in New York. For this coming year, our goal is to support five events throughout the United States through our grants program, and to award 30 scholarships to WikiConference USA 2015. We plan to remain active in the planning of WikiConference USA, as we appreciate the opportunity to connect to Wikimedians across the country.

Organizational development

Our main challenges for the year include building our ranks as a membership organization, promoting our organization more widely, keeping better track of our contacts, and implementing the Wikimedia Foundation Global Metrics. We will address these challenges in three ways:

  • A unified workflow that bridges the gap between events, membership, and communications;
  • The development of a membership and partnership strategy; and
  • A new focus on communications.

We will be encouraging more advance registration for events. This will allow us to send reminders—boosting attendance—and will provide an overall measurement of participation by individuals, a metric that needs to be measured independent of participation by users. Participants will be invited to complete brief entrance and exit surveys once at each event. The entrance survey will collect usernames and a Wikimetrics opt-in checkbox, and on a separate collection form will collect experience and motivation questions derived from the Question Bank. The exit survey, administered during the event, will ask the same questions to measure the impact. Those who opted into Wikimetrics will have their edits analyzed for the number and size of their contributions. This three-part information collection mechanism satisfies the requirements of the Wikimedia Foundation Global Metrics.

There will also be an option during registration to enroll for the new Wikimedia DC email newsletter, which will allow us to continue communicating with participants after events. The newsletter will communicate information about upcoming events, developments in the national and international Wikimedia communities, and encourage people to become members. This is one facet of our communications and event promotions effort, which will now be led by the Secretary, instead of being split between the President and the Event Promotion Coordinator. This re-organization will allow the President to focus on event logistics and will ensure a more consistent communications effort.

As elaborated upon in the "staff and volunteers" section, existing programs will largely be overseen by other members of the Board of Directors. This frees the President to grow our community. Wikimedia DC currently sustains itself on referrals—others coming to Wikimedia DC, rather than Wikimedia DC going to others. This limits our growth. To be most effective in our mission we need to go to people where they are, rather than expect them to come to us. Therefore, the President will focus on partnerships and developing a broader membership strategy as part of the Strategic Plan, to be finalized by January 2015.

Staff and volunteers

Several members of the Board of Directors will be tasked with overseeing the programs that we are implementing this year.

  • The President will directly oversee technology programs and work more generally on membership strategy, partnerships, organizational workflow, WikiSalons and meetups, and event logistics.
  • The Vice President will directly oversee the Workshop Facilitator Training, the Diversity Conference, and the Wikipedia Public Health Summit.
  • The Secretary will oversee the small grants program, the WikiConference USA scholarship program, and communications and event promotion.
  • The Treasurer will oversee our government edit-a-thons.
  • A Director will oversee our science edit-a-thons.

We are also establishing the volunteer staff position of Cultural Partnerships Advisor, who will be responsible for providing general direction on our cultural partnerships and planning GLAM Boot Camp.

The paid Project Manager for Wikipedia Summer of Monuments will continue reporting to the President for the duration of the project. Starting approximately April 2015, the paid Cultural Partnerships Coordinator will be providing support to the Cultural Partnerships Advisor.

Our work will also be supported by a number of project and event volunteers. Two Wikipedia Workshop facilitators will be responsible for putting on the two Wikipedia Workshops described in the Annual Plan, supported by the Vice President. Edit-a-thon hosts will be responsible for generally planning edit-a-thons, while edit-a-thon volunteers will help newcomers learn the ropes of Wikipedia and provide additional support as needed. Conference volunteers will help plan our two upcoming conferences, and will be reporting to the Vice President. Communications volunteers will assist the Secretary in communications and event promotion work, and cultural outreach volunteers will provide on-the-ground assistance for the Cultural Partnerships Coordinator.

Fit to strategy

Each strategic priority is addressed by our slate of programs. Our Wikipedia Workshops help create welcoming environments for Wikipedia volunteers by focusing on skill development in small instructional settings. We are encouraging academic, cultural, and government institutions to contribute content and expertise through our edit-a-thons, which represent the first steps toward deeper collaboration, and especially through our cultural partnership program. Our trainings seek to promote women's participation in all aspects of the Wikimedia movement, and our leadership in hosting the Wikimedia Diversity Conference will allow us to compare notes with others in the Wikimedia movement as we address the issue here in our chapter region.

Our full strategic plan is still pending adoption, but substantial research in our strategic position occurred during Fiscal Year 2013–14. This included identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. While we are a friendly and welcoming organization, good at building relationships and holding regular events, we have been weak in defining organizing roles and ongoing communications with our members and the public. There is also the risk posed by unpaid volunteers burning out. Considering we are working to scale our operations this year, it was necessary to identify these weaknesses early so that we could begin to address them before they became problems. Our staffing plan addresses this by defining specific responsibilities for Directors, volunteer and paid staff, and project and event volunteers.