Submissions:2016/The five and a half biggest mistakes we've made when thinking about program impact — and what we’ve learned from them

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The five and a half biggest mistakes we've made when thinking about program impact — and what we’ve learned from them
Academic Peer Review option
Type of submission
LiAnna Davis
E-mail address
User:LiAnna (Wiki Ed)
Wiki Education Foundation

As more and more user groups, thematic organizations, and chapters pop up in North America, it's more important than ever for groups to collaborate, share learnings, and make sure we're not re-inventing the wheel or making the same mistakes repeatedly. In this presentation, the Wiki Education Foundation’s LiAnna Davis will focus on mistakes she and the rest of the team running the U.S. education program have made when thinking about program impact.

Program impact is an important area for anyone running an outreach program to consider. Measuring your impact is crucial for justifying your funding, ensuring you’re using staff or volunteer time and energy effectively, and creating a sustainable model for your program. While we in the Wikimedia movement talk a lot about impact, we don’t talk a lot about how program leaders should think about impact, and how that can help you make decisions in how to run your outreach programs. We hope to start that conversation in this session.

With six years of experience running a program that’s taught 22,000 students how to edit Wikipedia and has added 25 million words (or more than 44 copies of War and Peace) to articles, we have thought a lot about impact — and we’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way in how we defined impact and our program.

In this session, we'll share the five (and one half!) biggest mistakes we've made — and how we've adapted because of them.

Wikimedia organization leaders and others running programs will hopefully benefit from our stories of what we did that worked, and what we did that didn’t work, when it came to thinking about the impact of our programs. We’ll share what we’ve learned that inspires our funders, ensures our staff or volunteer time is spent wisely, and helps us scale our program quickly.

We hope program leaders will walk away from this session with an understanding of what lessons we learned from our mistakes so they will not make the same ones as they design programs and outreach activities. While the examples will come from the education program, the lessons learned are applicable to any outreach program.

Length of presentation
30 min
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