Contacting external organisations

Revision as of 16:16, 13 May 2010 by Sarah (talk | contribs) (try to improve the language of this)

This page is intended to be an area where we can develop and share best practices for engaging with external organisations. Wikimedia Australia is likely to have contact with contacts and representatives from a broad range of organisations, so developing and sharing best practices is a key process for the chapter and members. It's important to remember, however, that most contact between members and outside organisations will be informal and in a personal capacity and not as official representatives or spokespersons of the chapter. Members initiating contact with external organisations should be careful they are clear about this and do not create an impression that they are official representatives of Wikimedia Australia.

How to initiate contact

Initiating contact is usually as simple as sending an email to a publicly listed contact of an organisation, and if possible suggesting a short meeting at a suitable time and place to discuss any desired outcomes. It is generally possible to find appropriate contacts at the target organisation on their website or by simply calling the organisation and asking to be ut in touch with an appropriate contact person.

It's important to identify early on any "mission fit" between Wikimedia's mission and that of the external organisation. Most institutions have a relatively narrow focus and mission and a limited budget, so don't over-estimate or assume an alignment or fit with Wikimedia’s mission.

It can be useful to move contact from generality to the specific, ie. from a general introduction to more specific proposal of specific projects or partnerships. However, it's important to remember that we're dealing with professionals and we don't want to create an appearance of playing games, manipulating, wasting time, or coming into a meeting with a hidden agenda, so if you have something specific in mind that you want from the contact, you should be honest and upfront.

This process can be easier if you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face or are able to arrange for a mutual contact to introduce you at a public meeting, a conference or social event. If you have business cards, they can be useful by reminding the person of you later and ensuring they have your contact details. It can be beneficial to follow up with the contact by telephone or email after you've met, but be careful to present professionally and not to appear as though you are harassing the contact.

The committee urges the membership to be active participants in the community, to engage with cultural organisations, institutions and other outside bodies, and to pursue ideas and projects that have an appropriate mission fit with Wikimedia Australia, the Wikimedia Foundation or its projects, however, members need to ensure that they are clear with external contacts that they do so in a personal capacity only and that they do not represent the chapter and cannot speak in an official capacity or make any promises on behalf of Wikimedia Australia.

If initial contact has been made with an eternal organisation and there is an interest in pursuing a shared project as a Wikimedia Australia activity, the committee can be contacted for assistance and advice by emailing


Notes regarding some of the organisations some members have had contact with can be found on the workspace sub-page.

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