2012 Membership strategy consultation

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

This page is created to collate contributions from interested parties about what Wikimedia UK should consider including in a membership strategy. This is a strategy as opposed to a plan - it is looking at what the aims for developing and sustaining membership growth (in numbers) and development (in terms of a 'skills base' or engaged group) should be as tied to the growth and development of a chapter overall. I've included some key areas that I think need to be considered - please feel free to add others, as many contributors with have the benefit of experience from involvement in the movement and our chapter over several years to bring to the table! Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:16, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Should have clarified - I'm instigating this as, despite my role being primarily about Fundraising, this falls under my remit 'Develop Wikimedia UK’s membership activities and membership communications.' - see Fundraiser_job_description - I'll be working with the Office and Development Manager (who administers membership records) and the Comms Organiser (who oversees WMUK's overall communications strategy) on how we go about delivering improvements. Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:35, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Recruitment[edit | edit source]

Relevant section of the draft Five Year Plan

Broadly speaking, the obvious intent is that membership numbers grow considerably from current numbers (approximately 250). This will present challenges as well as opportunities:

  • More administrative time maintaining records and dues
  • Communicating well and regularly with members to ensure that it is not just a core of the most active that speak for the majority
  • Ensuring that even the least engaged are empowered to contribute on some level
  • Increased numbers will lead to a broadening of our base
  • A more diverse set of concerns for the Chapter to satistfy.

The suggestions about regional groups are great, and I think would be a strong platform for having a greater reach in areas where we are under-represented and therefore potentially leading to WMUK having broader influence and recruiting more editors.

What sort of recruitment strategies would best meet these challenges, and promote strong regional participation? Should we have regional membership volunteers as a first point of contact, who liaise with the Board or staff on recruitment - ordering resources, helping update membership records, and coordinating events? We may need to create a dedicated place for members to work together online - i.e. a members wiki - could this be considered a benefit? Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:30, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

As set out in the draft Five Year Plan, we need to balance growth in numbers with the activity levels of the membership. I'd suggest having a discussion with some of the other larger chapters - WMDE, WMFR, WMNL about things that can be done to avoid ending up with a large inactive membership that takes lots of resource to service.
Personally I would also like more to be done to link in the membership of WMUK with the communities of UK Wikimedians. One way to do this, for instance, would be to offer free membership to any editor who qualifies for a vote in the WMF elections [1]. In addition a particular effort should be made to encourage the key contributors to UK minority language projects to join WMUK - particularly the Welsh, Irish, Manx, Gaelic and Scots versions but also for immigrant languages where a significant number of contributors come from the UK such as Serbian, Arabic, Polish, Lithuanian etc [2] AndrewRT (talk) 20:01, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Another great idea that has been talked about before is having a "self-service shop" where someone, for instance, could download or order online a pack of material that could help you set up a local wikimeet or discuss with your local library how we can do a partnership or whatever. This could be a great way of "scaling up" our activities and involving grassroots members. AndrewRT (talk) 20:04, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Makes a lot of sense to me - thank you for these suggestions! When I've gathered feedback on strategy though this page I'll make sure that these find a place in the draft plan. The idea of contacting other chapters is a good one - certainly I hope to go an observe WMDE at some point before the end of the year and bring back ideas for best practice and the lessons they've learned. I'll get in touch with contacts in the others and share any results on here :) Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:16, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

Communications[edit | edit source]

I hope, and would prefer, that the suggestions for how members want to hear from WMUK and what about come organically from the results of a members' survey - but we have to consider what those methods of communicating are in place to achieve strategically. I would suggest at least the following:

  • Retention of current members
  • Recruitment of new members
  • Providing a forum to raise concerns and ideas that pertain particularly to members' roles
  • Keeping members informed about the work of the Chapter and the Board
  • Getting members more involved/informed in policy making reviews
  • Getting members more involved in supporting the board and staff to deliver WMUK's programme through participating in advisory groups, giving oversight and advice
  • Getting members more involved/engaged with governance, and particularly candidacy for the Board and scrutiny of Board business.

These diverse aims can't all be met with one type of communication - a range of options can be considered, including perhaps e-newsletters, SMS updates, a members wiki or forum, a members hard copy magazine or publication. More suggestions please! Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:42, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Member benefits[edit | edit source]

There is a staggering range of opportunities to invest in member benefits, such as:

  • Offering members the opportunity to identify themselves on their user pages with a WMUK membership user box
  • Negotiating preferential access to JStore or other online library and journal resources
  • Offering an explicit members facility at Development House to host meetings or use if visiting London (and/or similar opportunities in other cities)
  • Negotiating discounted entries to cultural and historic institutions
  • Access to members-only communications (Magazines, forums etc) - a members' only wiki?
  • Access to members-only events, lectures, dinners etc
  • Access to members-only merchandise - badges, T-shirts, stickers
  • Ability to make policy that will advise the board or be binding on the chapter
  • Pre-condition to access Microgrants

Please suggest others for consideration!

Member benefits should be aligned to strategic goals - they should encourage members to edit, stand for the board, give their time towards building the movement, and reward them for their time and hard work - recognising their importance and improving retention. They should be rigorously considered in terms of cost-benefit given that charitable donations will fund member benefits - they cannot be excessively expensive unless this is justified by meeting our charitable aims. (unsigned by Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:35, 11 October 2012 (UTC))

Member role; member development[edit | edit source]

What do we think the role is for members in WMUK and the movement? How is it different from 'the community', 'Volunteer', 'Editor', 'Donor', 'Reader' etc and how do we link membership to a strategic journey we want people to move on taking them through a process that is both personally fulfilling and benefits our organisation.

This is complicated - many non-members are experienced Wikimedians but similarly, it is likely we might see membership as a 'point of entry' for readers who we want to draw in to becoming more involved in the movement and as editors. I would think as a starting point there are several key characteristics that should define how members are different to other stakeholders and how we might meet those needs and develop members:

  • Membership is grounded in governance, as a role that determines our Board composition and approves our accounts.
  • Beyond this, Membership could be developed into being more of a forum for generating active volunteers and editors - while not expecting all that all volunteers or editors will be members.
  • Members should be seen as a group specifically invested in the interests and direction of Wikimedia UK within the movement - this is less global in approach than the community, or an editor might be.
  • Members may naturally become donors, but they could also become ambassadors for Wikimedia UK and serve on Fundraising campaign boards or host fundraising events or drives.
  • Should members expect that their membership will afford them an elevated 'stake' in Wikimedia UK, not only in terms of voting rights, but in terms of influencing the direction of the charity? How will this be realised?
  • Should members be encouraged to develop advisory policies, in consultation with the community, for the Board to approve or reject within their remit as outlined by the Charity Commission? (unsigned by Katherine Bavage (WMUK) (talk) 09:35, 11 October 2012 (UTC))
I think this is a really important way we as a chapter can realise the vision set out in the Volunteer_Policy. There's lots of really great stuff set out in there that will keep the chapter close to the values of the Wikimedia movement. AndrewRT (talk) 19:39, 11 October 2012 (UTC)