Inviting reflections on the Wikimedia Foundation’s draft annual plan

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Earlier this month on Tuesday, April 18, the Wikimedia Foundation published its draft annual plan. The Annual Plan outlines the main goals of the Foundation for the coming fiscal year of July 2023-June 2024 and beyond. This post gives an overview of the annual plan — including its history, goals, and budget ($177 M) — and highlights ongoing opportunities for Wikimedians to share their feedback and recommendations.

Evolution of Annual Planning

This year’s annual plan represents an important evolution in the Foundation’s processes and output around annual planning. In last year’s Annual Plan, we focused on radically changing how we did our work. We organized our work with a new regional focus, in order to better meet the different needs of communities around the world, and began refreshing the Foundation’s values to improve our own levels of collaboration. That set the stage for us to more meaningfully shift what we do in this coming fiscal year, especially in response to the trends we see in the world around us. 

The Annual Plan also includes several new sections from the past year, as part of our goal to increase financial visibility into the Foundation’s policies and practices. The Foundation is publishing this information to live into our longstanding commitment to openness and transparency with Wikimedians and the general public. To increase visibility and accountability, this annual plan includes more detailed financial projections, such as various budget breakdowns of how we allocate our resources. It also includes information about the structure of the Foundation’s budget, future financial projections, and possible revenue/product trade-offs that will inform our long-term planning. The last section outlines our approach to compensation and other employee benefits, and proactively share compensation details for new executives including our new CEO and new Chief Product and Technology Officer.

Overview of the Annual Plan

Like last year, the Foundation’s plan begins by looking outward and asking the question that our CEO Maryana Iskander asked when she first joined the Foundation: “What does the world need from us now?” This question continues to be at the core of how we plan. It builds on the external trends in the world and how we can best respond.

For the second year, the Foundation’s annual plan is anchored in the movement strategy, with four goals that align to specific movement strategy recommendations for the coming fiscal year. This ensures that we are working alongside affiliates, chapters, and other movement bodies to advance our progress towards the 2030 Strategic Direction:

The Foundation’s plan is focused around Product and Technology, which is described in its first goal of Infrastructure. This goal emphasizes our unique role as a platform for people and communities collaborating on a massive scale. This large goal is split into three parts. The main area of work within this goal, called “Wiki Experiences,” focuses on supporting volunteers, specifically established editors, including those with extended rights, like admins, stewards, patrollers, and moderators of all kinds, also known as functionaries. There are two additional areas: “Signals and Data Services,” to collect, store and provide analytics and machine learning capabilities for data from the main objective in order to enable decision making across the movement; and “Future Audiences,” to accelerate innovations to engage diverse audiences as editors and contributors. 

Alongside the focus on product and technology, the Foundation will continue our work advancing knowledge equity in order to reach the movement’s 2030 strategic direction. This area of work encompasses several initiatives, including further support for Equity in Decision-Making via movement governance and the forthcoming Movement Charter; formalizing how we work within each region with unique priorities for each region in order to empower local communities; and coordinating across stakeholders around three global organizing themes: Education, Culture and Heritage, and Gender.

The third goal of the Annual Plan recognizes the challenging legal and regulatory environment that the movement is operating in, when our communities are facing unprecedented challenges that threaten the future of the Wikimedia projects and free knowledge overall. To support this goal, the Wikimedia Foundation aims to protect the Wikimedia projects and communities from external threats, to advance the environment for contributing to free knowledge, and to support community self governance and risk mitigation efforts.

In order to meet these goals, we will continue to improve the performance and effectiveness of the Foundation itself, as part of an organizational commitment to evaluate, iterate, and adapt.

Two-Way Planning with Communities

A core part of the Foundation’s annual planning process is planning alongside the movement. Beginning last year, the Foundation has prioritized building in time for two-way dialog with Wikimedians across the globe around the annual plan during the drafting stage. This year, we continue to strengthen our approach to community engagement. Like a good Wikipedia article, the Foundation’s goals and processes for the upcoming year benefit from crowdsourced wisdom from Wikimedia editors, developers, movement organizers, and other contributors, as well as staff at all levels of Foundation. 

This year, the Foundation kicked things off by publishing draft priorities (“buckets”) followed by objectives and key results for our Product and Technology work, which will shape the focus of the organization as a whole for the coming year. Product and Technology teams are currently organizing focus groups with volunteer contributors to help shape and refine these metrics. 

For the overall annual plan, we’re hosting a series of five community calls as well on-wiki outreach in over 20 languages. Wikiconference India this past weekend also included an in-person Q&A session about annual planning with an audience of 180 people.  You can find recordings of these community conversations and share feedback on wiki throughout the feedback period which runs through Friday May 19th. We hope you will share your thoughts and questions as we prepare to finalize the Annual Plan in June.

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