- Julia Brungs is the Lead Community Relations Specialist at the Wikimedia Foundation Advancement department.
At Wikimedia, collaboration is a pillar of everything we do. The Foundation is committed to building more of it into our efforts to raise funds to support our mission. The collaboration process for the 2023 English fundraising campaign is kicking off now, right from the start of the fiscal year.
2022 English Campaign
In December 2022, the English Wikipedia community ran a Request for Comment that underscored the importance of the Foundation’s fundraising team working with volunteers on banner messaging. The team kicked off a collaboration process that resulted in the campaign featuring more than 400 banners that came from the co-creation process with volunteers. The revenue performance of the banners declined significantly last year and resulted in a longer campaign with readers seeing more banners than previous years. The fundraising team learned a lot through the collaboration process and is eager this year to build on this work with volunteers to develop content that will successfully invite donors to support our mission. We aim to reach fundraising targets in ways that minimize the number of banners shown, to limit disruption and resonate with readers and volunteers.
Community collaboration in 2023 fundraising
The fundraising team took the community collaboration model created in the 2022 English campaign and expanded it in 2023 to Sweden, Japan, Czechia, Brazil, and Mexico. In addition to on-wiki collaboration spaces, the team created spaces to increase transparency around the fundraising program and worked with volunteers from each community on local language wikis, on virtual calls, and in other forums. Collaboration between communities and the Foundation early on in the fundraising process is critical. Each community gave their time to discuss their own unique context and input ranging from how to provide a strong local payment experience to the best ways to translate Jimmy’s new message from 2022 for a local audience. The focus for fundraising messaging in the 2023 campaigns was primarily centered on the quality of translations and localization. Affiliates often made up a key part of this process–working to provide localization expertise and also bring others to the table. The team is grateful to everyone who worked together with them on these campaigns, and wants to invite you to participate in the 2023 campaign.
Collaboration for the 2023 English banner campaign is starting now! The community collaboration page for the English campaign launched on Thursday (13th of July), before the start of the first pre-tests, to kick off collaboration right from the start of the year. The page provides information to increase understanding of the fundraising program, background on improvements around community collaborations that have been made since the last campaign, new spaces for collaboration, and gives messaging examples to invite volunteers to share ideas for how we can improve the campaign together in 2023.
Building from the campaigns that have run in the past six months, there will also be collaboration calls for community members to bring their ideas. Foundation staff will be at several in person and virtual community events throughout the upcoming months to open up collaboration opportunities where volunteers are gathering and are happy to come to other volunteer venues.
We will continue to iterate and improve this process in fundraising campaigns going forward. Be part of the conversation and help shape the 2023 campaign.
Background on annual planning
This change in approach to how we raise funds was accompanied by a change in how we spend funds in the annual plan for the 23-24 fiscal year. The Foundation made wider changes in its annual plan. Growth slowed last year compared to the prior three years. We also made internal budget cuts involving both non-personnel and personnel expenses to make sure we have a more sustainable trajectory in expenses for the coming few years. This year's Annual Plan provides more granular information on how the Foundation operates, and recenters Product and Technology work with an emphasis on experienced editors, aiming to ensure that they have the right tools for the critical work they do every day to expand and improve quality content, as well as manage community processes.