Alliances and partnerships/es

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Alliances and partnerships could be important mechanisms to advance Wikimedia's mission. This page lists some possibilities. Please contribute your ideas!

There is an Alliances and Partnerships Task Force that is exploring the following questions:

  1. What assets can Wikimedia leverage to form alliances and partnerships to further its mission?
  2. What types of partnerships has the Wikimedia movement formed to date re: content sources, technology infrastructure, revenue streams (included in-kind), outreach, innovations (e.g. mobility), and contributors?
  3. What can be learned from our past experience in forming these partnerships? What are best case examples of effective partnerships that could serve as models in the community?
  4. What types of partnerships are critical to advancing Wikimedia's mission?
  5. What types of partnerships should volunteers, the Chapters, and the Foundation be responsible for launching and sustaining?
  6. What tools, governance, and supports are needed from the Foundation to make it simple for volunteers and Chapters to create and sustain partnerships?
  7. Who is needed to support this strategy (e.g., Wikimedia Foundation, chapters, individual volunteers, external partners), and what do they need to do?

Community discussion regarding these questions.

Industry specific suggestions

What kind of strategic level plans should Wikimedia make in these areas of partnerships:

Potentially relevant proposals on this topic

Content partnerships propsals

Revenue/Business partnerships

Tech partnerships

Notes on Alliances and Partnerships

Below are some general notes from a conversation w/Liam regarding a few topics from these threads; plus a few additional thoughts that were not included in proposal/recommendations that I submitted.


The difference between the terms “Alliance” and “Partnership”:

  • Possible Definition of “Alliance”: an ongoing relationship with another organization or group of organizations, that serves to strengthen the greater culture of open source, free culture, etc., and is continually built upon. (An example of this would be Wikimedia-OSM).
  • Possible Definition of “Partnership”: a relationship that is forged to create specific outcomes, where measures of success are well defined in advance. A “Partnership” would be a relevant term to use for funded projects involving two or more organizations, on which we are accountable to report progress and milestones to the funder. An example of this would be wiki-to-print. The Greenspun illustrations project as an example as well, although the fact that WMF could not successfully facilitate this speaks to the limitations of WMF's capacity to play a role in smaller-scale partnerships, and whether funding or one central entity is really the best means towards improving specific community-led projects. This, vis a vis a massive content donation, for example, which is something we know WM-DE and others are very good at facilitating.


Questions re: the Wikimedia Foundation's role in partnerships and alliances:

  • Should WMF spearhead multi-party alliances in OS, OER, etc., or simply participate in them?
  • What is WMF's role or responsibility to advocate alliances of which it is a part, given Wikimedia's broad reach and impact, and communications platform?
  • What can the community and chapters “not” resource or do on its own, and how can WMF facilitate its work based on this knowledge?


Miscellaneous Notes:

  • When we have a stronger basis, support, and general plan for partnership development, should there be an outreach aspect/RFP for partners, or do we let the relationships evolve organically?
  • General parameters for partnerships must be defined, and perhaps given a committee (and/or WMF board) stamp of approval. See, for instance, the general guidelines for partnerships for Room to Read http://www.roomtoread.org/Page.aspx?pid=233. Such general parameters/guidelines might serve as an MOU or statement of principles that would be the basis for all partnerships and alliances.
  • It seems energy and resources devoted by WMF to partnerships should be in proportion to the priority that a partnerships program will take in the overall scope of the organization's work, post-strategic plan, and that facilitating volunteers is a the best path to success (see my proposal/recs).
  • Immediate priorities for partnerships: 1) Follow-through with already existing projects, such as OSM, and prioritization of longstanding relationships. 2) Outreach/work with Educational and research institutions (this is work that is already taking place, as discussed).