Annual Report 2023/Story: Requirements for Increased National Fundraising and Membership Recruitment

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In this story, we share our work in laying the necessary foundations as we increase our efforts to recruit new members and gather more donations for the association. The systems, routines, and platforms we currently use have historically sufficed for our needs but are, in some cases, underutilized or poorly scalable as the number of members and donations increases. By developing this capacity, we can better serve our members, create engagement, and generate interest in financially supporting the association both short- and long-term. By increasing brand awareness and membership numbers, the association's advocacy work is strengthened, as well as the opportunity to secure funding from certain financiers. The material we have compiled will be distributed to our sister associations to reduce their acquisition costs for CRM systems.

The effort has been divided into three tracks: transitioning to a new system for Customer Relationship management (CRM), preparing our website to be a part of our recruitment and fundraising efforts, and conducting a fundraising campaign with focus on recruiting members and testing messages.

The association currently uses a simpler CRM for membership management,, but handles the majority of donations and several aspects of membership manually. As a holder of a 90-account, the association is also subject to strict reporting requirements that currently require manual compilation and reporting. This approach is not sustainable if the number of members and donors is to increase significantly, during 2022 we therefore started the work of identifying a new system.

In 2023, we continued the work by reaching out to other Wikimedia associations both to gain insight into what kinds of CRM solutions they have chosen, and to better understand their approach when selecting systems. However, we quickly discovered that there were limited opportunities to collaborate internationally on these solutions, as CRM systems for fundraising often need to be tailored specifically to the country in which they operate. Instead, the focus shifted to identifying the solutions currently used by non-profit organizations that work with fundraising in Sweden. To do this, we turned to our requirement specification, discussions with contacts within Swedish civil society, including the Swedish Fundraising Association, and through internal experience with various systems.

For the candidates that made it through an initial screening, based on functionality, cost, and the systems being well-established, we then arranged meetings to receive demonstrations of the systems, discuss how an implementation would look for us, and finally request a quotation. We then broke down what these systems offered, as well as their costs, to be able to more easily compare the solutions. We specifically looked at the way costs are affected by the number of members and donations, as well as the differences between the initial implementation cost and the annual costs that follow. During this process, we had ongoing conversations with the candidates to gain further clarification.

Many foreign tourists visit Stockholm during the summer, which made it possible for the recruiters to talk about Wikimedia affiliates in other countries.

As the initial implementation cost is significant in several cases, we have applied for funding from WMF to cover this aspect of the costs for a system change. A proposal has been submitted and we expect an update in March. Based on the decision regarding this funding, one of the candidates will be selected during spring 2024. Together with them, a timeline for the implementation of the new system and migration of the information we have in our previous systems will be established. Internally, this will require both training in the new system and a review of all procedures related to members, donors, and volunteers. Workflows for donor trips will then need to be established and continuously evaluated to determine how they can best be adapted for both existing and new donors and members.

For this reason, we also ran a major recruitment project in the second half of 2023. We organized two F2F campaigns, with recruiters shared information about Wikimedia Sverige through qualitative conversations, with the aim of recruiting new members. The resources developed were analyzed together with the results to have good tools and methods ready for future fundraising and recruitment campaigns when the new CRM system is operational.

The first campaign was carried out during the summer when four recruiters were out in the streets and squares of Stockholm and Uppsala. The summer campaign was successful in that a total of 216 people got to hear our message and name, at least 34 of whom became members. When you recruit members out in the public, one challenge is that you need to quickly build up such a high level of trust and commitment to the association that your interlocutor immediately wants to become a member. However, Wikimedia Sverige is not very well known among the public, which probably affected the outcome.

In the fall, we continued with a low-intensity campaign, with one of the recruiters working in Lund a few hours a week. The focus was to recruit university students, to test our message on a university campus and to see if it was possible for a single recruiter to work on their own. The latter was an experiment not only for us but for the F2F concept as a whole, so we developed special safety guidelines specifically for this experiment, requiring, for example, that other staff is available while the recruiter is working. However, working as a lone recruiter proved to be challenging; at the end of the year the campaign was discontinued after resulting in 33 conversations and five new members. Both campaigns provided many lessons that we are taking with us for future F2F campaigns, which can also inform the digital campaigns we are planning for 2024.

A preparatory step for the digital campaigns is a renewed focus on the website Even though we have owned it since 2012, it has mainly been used as an alternative search interface for Wikipedia in the most commonly spoken languages in Sweden. With an average of 1000 visitors per day, it is one of the most popular places where we can recruit new members or reach out with our message. Although we had done some small-scale experiments in the past, the site has generally been neglected.

We started out by redesigning website from scratch. The new version is based on, developed by WMDE. The search functionality has been retained, but the look and feel have been modernized, the security of the site has been increased and it now works much better when accessed on a cell phone. The second change was to lay the groundwork for displaying a banner on the website in a way that makes it easily visible without limiting the usability of the site. An important aspect of this preparatory work was that it should be possible to add a banner without a technician having to make changes to the website.

Now that the foundations are in place, our wiki can be used to create the banner content to be displayed. To develop the content, in 2024 we will seek active support from the community and develop the content together with them. The idea is that everyone, even without technical skills, will be able to contribute to shaping the message that is displayed on With these improvements, can now become part of the broader digital fundraising and membership campaign that will be launched in 2024. Keep an eye on on Wikimedia Sverige's wiki for more information.