Volunteer strategy consultation 2015/Chair
Volunteers: stepping up to our ambitions[edit | edit source]
Wikimedia UK has long aspired to be an open and volunteer-led charity, as is clearly set out in our volunteer policy. However, as the charity has matured it has over the years been criticised for becoming overly staff-led, with insufficient opportunities for volunteers to get fully involved in fundamental decisions. This is not a failure of ambition or of will, but perhaps one of practical implementation.
The board is keen to ensure that the charity has effective structures and processes in place to encourage volunteer engagement. Although the board are themselves volunteers, their role as charity trustees is to exercise strategic oversight and to lead on the charity's development. While individual programmes of course need to fall within the charity's overall strategic direction, the decisions, planning and activities should be volunteer-led with staff support.
These pages are part of a process towards that end that started more than a year ago. Last November we held a Volunteer Strategy Gathering to discuss the needs of the charity, and in particular how we can best support and expand our volunteer community. The discussions on that day and subsequently have been extremely useful.
On his appointment as interim CEO, the board asked D'Arcy Myers to review our staff structure with a focus on more efficient working within an open, volunteer-led environment. Now that the restructure is complete, with a significantly greater emphasis on roles for project and volunteer support, we are ready to take the next steps. We now want to move forward to the next stage which is to put in place specific structures and processes to implement our high-level goals.
The purpose of these pages is to pave the way for the next Volunteer Strategy Gathering to be held in London on Saturday 25 July (to be followed by the AGM) and to set out some specific ideas for community discussion and feedback. Nothing here is set in stone, and if it transpires that ideas need to be improved or totally re-thought then they will be.
Thank you to the volunteers, members, staff and trustees who have worked on this. By becoming more open to volunteers, offering new ways for volunteers to become involved, and enabling volunteers to become fully embedded within our operations we can do even more for the open knowledge movement in the future.
Michael Maggs, Chair