Volunteer coordination and outreach/Travel sponsorship

From mediawiki.org

Guidelines for applicants and reviewers of travel sponsorship requests. This is not a policy, but a set of principles to help making objective decisions under common and transparent criteria.

These guidelines were maintained by the Engineering Community Team, and refer to travel sponsorship covered with the Wikimedia Foundation funds. Wikimedia Chapters and other organizations might decide other criteria with their own funds.

Travel sponsorship goals[edit]

  • Bring remote contributors together
  • Mix professional and volunteer contributors
  • Recognize and reward community champions
  • Invite remarkable contributors from other communities


  • Support remarkable contributors in their first Wikimedia event
  • Contribute to the success of the main themes of the event
  • Enable meetings of projects with 50-100% volunteers
  • Pair newcomers with experienced contributors and professionals with volunteers
  • Strengthen relationships with upstream projects or other established communities

The factor of proximity[edit]

Proximity is a basic principle that influences all the rest. There is a correlation between travel distances and travel costs. We want to encourage local participation in our events, including contributors from near territories. Therefore, the criteria below should be applied with increased strictness as travel costs increase.

While this might be a problem from contributors living far from the usual centers of activity, it will also help identifying regions where more local activities should be organized.

Problems we want to solve[edit]

  • Participants without a hackathon plan doing regular work behind their laptops.
  • Newcomers having difficulties breaking the ice and mingling with the rest.
  • Clusters of established teams/friends not mingling either.
  • Meetings of usual suspects missing a chance to get fresh air and new ideas from others.

How to assure your travel sponsorship[edit]

  • Find a complementary buddy (newcomer/veteran, professional/volunteer...), propose a collaboration plan, and we will do our best to accept you both.
    • You can choose someone with good reputation upstream or in some related project.
    • We can help finding your buddy in our community (Wikimedia Foundation included) or in other projects.
  • Propose an activity as a team of 50%-100% volunteers, and request sponsorship as a block. We might not be able to accept everybody, but in that case we will discuss the alternatives with you as a block.
  • Alignment with the main themes of the event will help.

Co-funding travel sponsorship[edit]

The travel sponsorship budget comes from a pool of contributions usually lead by the Wikimedia Foundation's Engineering Community Team and the local organization of the event. All Wikimedia chapters and related groups are encouraged to contribute to the pool, if only to fund one developer from their areas.

The collaboration process is actually simple.

  • Wikimedia organization pool their budgets, noting who is contributing how much. There is a possibility to commit to funding a number of people instead of an amount of money.
  • The WMF budget is allocated first, accepting travel requests based on global merit.
  • Then every organization selects additional developers from their areas.

We run this process successfully at the Wikimedia Hackathon 2014 in Zürich, and we are running it again for the Wikimedia Hackathon 2015 (for details, see phab:T88523).

Wikimedia Developer Summit 2017 Scholarship Decision Process[edit]

We are under a tight time constraint and need to figure out a good process for accepting people to receive scholarships to attend the Wikimedia Developer Summit.

In past years Dev Summit organizers have reviewed the list of scholarship requests and decided based on opinions / the content of the registration. This year we would like to extend the decision maker circle and have a process that is fair.

Time constraints:

Scholarship Registration Closes: October 24

Scholarship recipients announced: October 31


1) Choose decision committee by asking for volunteers from Technical Collaboration and the Developer Summit Program Committee

DONE - committee is final. October 12, 2016.

2) Publish names of decision committee on wiki

DONE - See committee here. Posted October 18, 2016.

3) When scholarship registration closes, Rachel will send decision committee a survey*** with scholarship requests and justifications.

Expected - October 24

4) People with the most "yeses" are approved for scholarships

5) If there are any ties for final spots, Main event organizers Rachel & Quim will break the ties using their judgement

6) Rachel will send the people who submitted scholarship requests approvals or rejections

Expected - October 31

***using a survey instead of a spreadsheet so that people are not influenced by others people's answers.