Proposal:Make Wikimedia scale

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


Wikimedia started as a server by Jimmy Wales, and grew quickly to become a 25 people organization in california with over 20 chapters all over the world. This proposal lines out that we should make sure that the organization will scale.

Sub proposals


Note: This is a wide angle proposal. Several sub-proposals might be possible, reaching ultimately for the same goal. This proposal is mainly aiming to set broad goals.

We should make sure that we will be able to continue to grow as we see fit in the coming years. To make this possible, we should make sure that there are no big bumps in the road while going there, and that we are on one line where we are going. To get there, some steps will have to be taken. By Wikimedia, I do not only refer to the WMF, but to the movement as a whole.
We should define where we are going, in which direction. This is a step mainly covered in this strategy process already. We should make sure that the movement as a whole is supporting this vision, and not just the Wikimedia Foundation. Ideally, this final vision would be officially supported by the body of chapters at the very least.
Worldwide structure
To reach the vision, it is very likely that in time, the organization will have to grow. It is also likely that a geographically spread organization is needed for that, and that more and more activities will have to be executed all over the world. A strong world wide organization will be required to continue to grow. It should be researched by a tandem of WMF and chapters how such an organizational structure can most efficiently be set up.
Financial sustainability
Several components of that network will have to be considered to improve. First of all, the chapters and the WMF will need to make sure together both are sufficiently funded from a variety of sources to be financially sustainable. This means that opportunities both in the area of fundraising and (commercial) partnerships will have to be made possible for chapters and WMF, of course for both under the necessary conditions as to be agreed together. A chapter will not be able to build up a costly organizational structure without the ensurance or at least likelyhood of sustainable funding.
Volunteer motivation
Besides that, chapters need to exchange best practices regarding the volunteer sustainability. Chapters are driven mainly by volunteers, and it should be ensured in some way that this will remain possible. Professional advice might be very helpful here. Also the WMF could help by ensuring and motivating the volunteers by outreach, clear communication and a deep understanding for how the chapters work. For example, the WMF could work on its communications to ensure that the volunteers feel appreciated.


The Wikimedia Foundation is a single organization, and will not be able to scale infinitely. There is a large network of chapters waiting to help with that, but it needs some help to get there.

The chapters are currently in a dependent from the WMF and insecure position. Some seem to have a feeling that they can not be sure of their future, and see many threats from the WMF side. Both finance and volunteers are a challenge to keep up for a long period of time, and the WMF and chapters should ensure sustainability of both together.

Key Questions

  • Where will we go?
  • How can chapters help Wikimedia Scale
  • How can chapters be financially sustainable
    • How to make sure both WMF and chapters are funded from multiple sources
  • How can chapters be volunteer-sustainable
    • How to motivate chapter volunteers
  • What should be the WMF-chapter relationship?

Potential Costs

  • Staff time
  • Advisory costs from external experts


Community Discussion

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