Verksamhetsberättelse 2020/Story: Experimenting with new ways to fundraise locally

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In this Story we are focusing on how we in 2020 have prepared and experimented in order to improve the local fundraising capabilities. The funds gained in Sweden would allow us to think more long-term about our different initiatives and further support the international movement.

Sweden is a wealthy country and Wikimedia Sverige has worked for the last 10 years to self-fund a large part of our activities. Nearly all of the funds collected has been through project grants. This has been successful over the years and has allowed us to increase our staff size to a total of 16 staff members in 2020, of which around half are funded by local means. However, project grants are, by the very definition, limited in time and with a set focus. This means that to maintain tools or initiatives over time we have had to look into different alternatives for funding. We have tried to identify funders that would be willing to cover our general operating expenses but have so far fallen short.

In 2019 we received funding from WMF to prepare our organization for a larger global role around content partnerships. However, the implementation of the next steps in this role are postponed until 2021 due to COVID-19 and we have instead received support to, amongst other things, develop our local fundraising capacities. Significant efforts to improve the information directed towards donors took place. Important insights were gained from the Swedish Fundraising Association Giva Sverige in this regard. There was also a larger team at Wikimedia Sverige involved in the preparations both with communication materials but also with direct work with donors and to develop grant applications etc.

During 2020 we activated different payment options, such as Direct Debit and the added fundraising options to our Facebook presence. The chapter also adjusted the cost of an organizational membership to promote it as a funding option.

In the beginning of 2020 a new staff member, Jenny Brandt, joined our team. She brought in multi-year expertise in leading Face2Face (F2F) fundraising (also known as street fundraising) for a number of Swedish NGOs. A team of 4 part time employees were hired to work with the F2F campaign in September-December 2020.

During this time we experimented with how to organize the team, who to approach, what messaging to use, how to utilize different locations in the best way possible and investigating the tools and other resources available and possible to use for us. The goal was to identify the most effective fundraising strategies in order to scale up the work in 2021/2022. Between May and December we regularly met and discussed with WMF's advancement team about their experience with fundraising to learn from their past experience. This has been valuable for us in moving forwards with our plans.

F2F campaigns have, to the best of our knowledge, not been used at scale by any Wikimedia affiliate to date. We are curious to see if this approach can be developed into another stream of funding for the movement and allow affiliates across the world to be more bold and ambitious in their plans. As such we have dedicated resources to prepare reports in English about our efforts and share them with other affiliates.

In September the outdoor F2F campaign was active, as the spread of COVID-19 was reduced. The team had clear instructions and training on how to minimize risks. When the amount of infection increased during Autumn we cancelled the outdoor F2F campaign. The campaign staff instead started working on a quickly organized telephone fundraising where we started experimenting with contacting companies about supporting the Wikimedia movement.

We also experimented with a social media campaign to attract donations. An analysis will be conducted in 2021 on how social media campaigns could be organized in the future.

Overall, these exploratory efforts have laid the foundation for a set of more expansive campaigns in 2021 and onwards and we have increased our fundraising budget for the coming year accordingly.