Volunteers are central to the work of Wikimedia UK, the national chapter for the Wikimedia movement. Volunteers are an important element in the delivery of our programmes, and the involvement (or potential involvement) of volunteers is one of the organisation’s key selection criteria for new projects and partnerships. Volunteers also form part of the development and decision-making processes of Wikimedia UK at every level, including the board, sub-committees, the evaluation panel and working groups.
The charity is constituted as a membership organisation, with volunteers encouraged to become members in order to elect the board of trustees and influence the chapter through the AGM and other means.
Wikimedia UK is committed to making the most effective use of our resources as a charity in which volunteers play a central role alongside paid staff and a non-executive board. This commitment informs our approach to all of our work, alongside the following operating principles in our strategic framework:
- We recognise that the contribution of volunteers is central to our activities
- We encourage, involve and engage members of our community
- We support, encourage and promote diversity within our community
Roles undertaken by volunteers
Volunteers are encouraged to support the work of the chapter by, amongst other things:
- Contributing to Wikimedia projects and keeping the chapter informed of activities
- Leading and supporting projects, events and other initiatives to further our goals
- Proposing new partnerships and initiatives for the chapter to pursue
- Becoming a member of Wikimedia UK and participating in General Meetings
- Standing for election to the board, or becoming a co-opted Trustee
- Participating in Board Sub-Committees as non-board members
- Participating in other advisory panels on behalf of the charity
- Organising and/or participating in a working group
- Representing the chapter and the Wikimedia movement to the public and the media
- Speaking at events or conferences on behalf of the charity
- Contributing to discussions and consultations about the work of the chapter
Resources and support available to volunteers
Volunteers undertaking activities on behalf of Wikimedia UK or as the charity's representative are covered by our insurance policy. We also have an Expenses Policy to ensure that volunteers are fully reimbursed for work they undertake on our behalf, such as travel and accommodation costs. This is particularly important to ensure the involvement of volunteers from a rich diversity of cultures, languages and identity and from all parts of the UK.
Our programmes team or communications staff can provide volunteers with merchandise, promotional materials and publications to distribute at events, subject to availability.
Other ways in which the charity supports and develops volunteers and editors includes the provision of training to develop volunteer skills and the distribution of small project grants, as well as signposting to other opportunities that may be of interest within our own or other organisations. We also have a wide selection of volunteer equipment (mainly IT and photography related) that can be borrowed for free by members, and volunteers are welcome to use our office space and Wifi on an occasional basis.
We recognise that two-way communication with volunteers is vital and there are a number of channels to support communication between the staff team and volunteers such as the wiki and the UK mailing list. We also run an annual online volunteer survey. We facilitate regular in-person meetings with volunteers, including the Annual General Meeting (where volunteers as well as members are encouraged to attend, although only current members can vote), and consultation, programme planning or strategy planning sessions. Where possible, we support the travel costs of volunteers attending such meetings.
Adherence with Wikimedia UK Policies and Procedures
All volunteers undertaking activities on behalf of Wikimedia UK must agree to follow the Chapters other policies, as they are relevant to their work, including (but not limited to) policies regarding data protection and donor privacy, the Diversity and Equalities policy, Safeguarding Policy and Safe Space Policy.
Any use of the Wikimedia UK brand and logo therefore have the explicit permission of the Chapter and must abide by the Wikimedia Foundation's trademark policy unless an exception has been made by the Wikimedia Foundation.
This policy shall be reviewed by the Board, in consultation with the Chief Executive and the community, every three years as per our policy review schedule.