Student Organizations/Strategic Planning process for Wikipedian Student Organizations
Starting a Wikipedia student club: Strategic Planning Process
A holistic view of your campus will help determine the form your club will take. To assess your campus landscape, you should know about like-minded organizations that may already exist on campus and how your school is already involved in open resources.
Other clubs and like-minded organizations
Your school may have many student organizations already. It is important when understanding the dynamics of your campus to find out if clubs with missions similar to Wikimedia already exist. You may also want to consider organizations with seemingly unrelated mission whose members may be interested in using Wikipedia to further their own missions.
Spend some time thinking about the following questions and ideas.
What opportunities exist for collaboration across clubs and other student organizations?
Having strong relationships with other organizations on campus is very important, especially when your club is forming. Options exist for working with existing clubs, and based on your assessment of the landscape, you may choose to,
- Incubate: Your Wikipedia Club could start under the wing of a broader organization (e.g., Students for Free Culture), before breaking out into its own organization once there is interest. If an established club with a significant following already exists, it may make sense to leverage their existing membership base and reach while incubating a Wikipedia-editing program within their existing infrastructure.
- Combine: The goals of your Wikipedia Club may be so aligned with a similar organization that it makes sense to combine your efforts. This might be a good idea if your student body is not able to support the establishment of multiple free culture clubs.
- Work together: Even without an official partnership, you may combine efforts with compatible organizations to promote free knowledge. For example, you could cohost an event on FOSS.
What can you learn from other clubs or organizations that already exist?
- What things have they done well? What things could they do better?
- How have they conducted outreach, recruitment, and fundraising? Were they successful? Why?
How will your school's administration react to your new club?
As you explore answers to the following questions, you can gauge your school's receptivity to your idea. Most importantly, you will be able to identify potential champions or advocates for the Wikipedia club within your school's administration and learn how best to message the idea of a Wikipedia club.
- Are there currently programs on-campus that encourage the open source movement or open education? Are they supported or run by your school?
- Are there editors on campus? Are there Wikipedia-related activities, such as editing parties on campus?
- Is there a teaching and learning center? Is there a strong library program?
Student body overview
Looking at campus club information will help assess the need for an independent Wikipedia student group on campus, and surveying the student population helps inform,
- how to focus and structure outreach efforts
- how to recruit members.
Understanding your audience is important!
Leadership is incredibly important when forming a new club, and your team of founding members should broadly agree on why you want to start the club and what you want to accomplish. There are many different types of activities to engage in with your club, but you may want to prioritize 1 or 2 types of activities. You'll want to consider topics that are interesting to your founding members as well as to the general student body, in order to engage your core leadership while still maintaining broad appeal. You may want to consider the following areas,
- Content development (e.g., editing)
- Tech development (e.g., gadget creation)
- Outreach / class support (e.g., Wiki-academies)
- Open-source education (e.g., help host FLOSS conference)