A plan to interact with high profile supporters

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Comment This plan is currently being drafted. Comments on this draft are most welcome, please post them on the discussion page.

(Please note: this short paper is intended to focus on encouraging high profile supporters to get involved. However, the same principles can easily be applied to supporters who aren't so well known too.)

Shortly after the beginning of the annual fundraising appeal, Derren Brown tweeted that he'd made a donation to Wikipedia, noting how easy it was and how much he valued the site. This becons the question: how do we currently interact with high profile supporters and how we should develop such support. This is a huge opportunity for us to gain added (non-financial) value from such support.

In Wales two high-profile individuals have supported Wikimedia UK's objectives in public: Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales and Rhys Ifans.

Why should we do this?[edit | edit source]

There is a lot of benefit in building relationships with high profile supporters. Aside from the fact that this will be a large help when it comes to communications, there are also the same opportunities that come with less well known supporters: membership, teaching to edit, project participation, potential volunteers...

If we can engage some high profile people to take part in some Wikimedia UK-delivered activity there is a good chance they will tell people about it. For instance, at time of writing, Derren Brown has over 1.4 million followers on Twitter, many of whom will have seen that he has donated to Wikipedia. That's a really significant audience to see such a significant message.

How would we go about doing this?[edit | edit source]

It may be that we find about people lending their support entirely by chance, as happened with Derren Brown after one of our supporters retweeted him. This will not always be the case, so there needs to be some way of finding these supporters. A good way is to search for relevant terms on Twitter, such as Wikipedia, Wikimedia and wiki. This gives an opportunity to identify supporters and potential supporters. Once identified, we would make sure that the person showing their support isn't already a member (assuming they aren't using a pseudonym) before making contact.

The next step is to get in touch! A good first step is to send them a tweet (less intrusive than email, and definitely not a direct message as these are often ignored and seen as spammy) thanking them for their support and asking if they've ever edited Wikipedia (best to say Wikipedia rather than “our projects” here, simply because it's the best known). At this point, if we don't get any further contact then we should cease contacting them. However, if they engage with us, we can then begin to offer things like editing training. A good first step is to share our Welcome to Wikipedia booklet (digitally) and send them a link to our events page, then build the relationship from there.

Anything else?[edit | edit source]

Over time, if supporters become more engaged in our activities, it may be that we invite someone to become a patron of our charity. There would also be some excellent communications and promotions opportunities associated with this.