Submissions/From a group of volunteers to a professional team

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission
From a group of volunteers to a professional team. The biggest challenge for Wikimedia Chapters
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
Beatriz Busaniche
E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)

Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Executive Director of Wikimedia Argentina. Public Leader of Creative Commons Argentina. Vía Libre Foundation
Personal homepage or blog /
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

After working for 8 years as a Project Manager for a Free Software NGO, where most of the people contributes as volunteers, I would like to share the enormous challenge of being the first formal employee of Wikimedia Argentina.

That's why I would like to focus on the challenge of becoming a professional NGO for a Wikimedia Chapter from the South. This Workshop will try to share not only my experience as PM for a free software NGO, but also as an active volunteer contributor to a Wikimedia Chapter from a Latin American perspective.

The problems and civil society culture we are dealing with in the South, specially in Latin America, are quite different from the challenges in the North. As a consequence, we need to think our own strategies, where integration between volunteers and staff, sustainability, fundraising and project management are certainly the most important issues.

Wikimedia Argentina is on its own professionalisation challenge, dealing with organisational, sustainability and bureaucratic problems.

This talk will try to address all these main issues, specially from a South American perspective:

  • Lessons learnt after 4 years of a pure volunteers chapter: learning from our own mistakes and experience;
  • Building a common vision and goals within the Chapter;
  • Why should we move from a volunteers organisation to a professional NGO;
  • How do we communicate that necessity inside and outside the chapter;
  • The long way to sustainability;
  • Dealing with bureaucracy;
  • Dealing with money issues and fundraising;
  • Thinking about projects: how to plan, get funding, implement and report the projects;
  • How and why should we address gender issues in these projects.
  • Building strategic local, regional and international alliances;

The workshop will not only focus on Argentinean experience but will try to analyse this experience to identify general and common aspects that might serve other chapters and groups with similar identities, problems and challenges.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)
Wiki Culture and the Community
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  1. Marinna 20:08, 25 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
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