Local groups of Wikimedia Canada, called "WikiClubs", are geographically-defined groups, generally around a specific city or region, that share the mission of Wikimedia Canada at a local level. They serve as main points to execute projects and activities of Wikimedia Canada and to put in place their own initiatives. They are the first point of contact between the local public and the Wikimedia movement. Generally they are informal groups recognized by the chapter.
The main reasons and benefits to form a WikiClub are:
Conviviality. Local groups allow to meet other contributors in-person. It is an opportunity to share points of view and ideas as well as to start collaborations between contributors.
Efficacy. To form a local group allows to coordinate the actions within a collective strategy. The competencies are shared, the knowledge of each one is added and the efforts are amplified. We win in terms of impact, visibility and credibility in regards to partners.
Funding. It is easier for a well-established local group to obtain funds to perform events, activities and projects.
Support. By forming a local group, the participants can benefit from a special support from the experienced volunteers of Wikimedia Canada and other local groups.
Each WikiClub is different, but they share the same goals: conduct actions in their cities or regions to pursue the vision of the Wikimedia movement. The exact activities conducted by the WikiClubs depend of the desires of their respective members. A few examples of actions generally conducted by WikiClubs are shown below.
Local exposure. WikiClubs can organize a range of activities with the goal to attract new members and new contributors. The most popular way to do so is to host workshops open to the public where experienced Wikimedians are there to answer questions, show presentations and offer help to newcomers. Those workshops can occur regularly or be one-time event.
Development of partnerships. WikiClubs can establish partnerships with local organizations such as Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Universities (GLAMUs). They can go meet those partners and offer them partnerships or to host events conjointly. For example, activities can include to put on Wikimedia Commons or Wikisource documents in the public domain that the institution own.
Events. WikiClubs can take in charge to organize events in theirs cities or regions. The types of events are many. It can be events within a more global event organized by the chapter such as the National Contribution Month or contests such as Wiki Loves Monuments and Wiki Loves Earth. It can also simply be to have a booth about Wikimedia projects during a local event.
Tools. WikiClubs can, through grants from the Wikimedia Foundation managed by Wikimedia Canada, acquire tools made available to their members and other Wikimedians in their region to answer specific needs. Indeed because of the size of the country, it is impossible for Wikimedia Canada to own tools and to make them available to their members and Canadian Wikimedians. The creation of WikiClubs allow the establishment of a structure where people are responsible locally, which allow the acquisition and the management of tools. Those tools can include, for example, photography equipment lent to document local events for Wikimedia Commons.
Valorization of the region. WikiClubs are experts of their regions. They can develop list of places, institutions or events for example that are admissible to have their Wikipedia articles or that are lacking pictures. Thus local contributors can refer to those lists to develop content. It is also possible to develop maps with the identified points on it. After that it is possible to organize activities such as photographic walks or workshops around those lists.
Meeting place. One of the most evident advantages of WikiClubs is to serve as meeting place for local Wikimedians to organize themselves. The creation of a WikiClub offers the advantage to be more visible to attract new contributors. In the long term the ideal for WikiClubs is to have a fixed public place to serve as meeting place such as a room in a community hall or a library. Those rooms can serve to store equipment that the group owns.
Expertise. The creation of WikiClubs allows to know the experienced Wikimedians in the region that can train the local trainers. For example, if Wikimedia Canada is contacted by an institution in a given region that wants to receive training about Wikipedia, the chapter can turn to a WikiClub of this region. If the WikiClub is visible enough, it will certainly be contacted directly by local institutions. WikiClubs can serve to share expertise between Wikimedians in the region by hosting informal meetings or training workshops.
Conviviality. WikiClubs can create and strengthen a local community. Before everything else it is a community that gathers to discuss, meet other contributors and plan actions. WikiClubs are often created from convivial meetings. It is possible to organize outings to establish a first contact between the contributors of a city or a region.
How to start a WikiClub?
First, check in the list above if a WikiClub already exists in your city or region. If so, contact them to join them. If not, you may want to create a new WikiClub. To do so, find other volunteers interested in your city and region. Identify a referent that will serve as the link between the group and the chapter. The referent should be a member in good standing of Wikimedia Canada, but not all members of a WikiClub need to be a member of the chapter.
The WikiClub must be organized in a democratic way and adhere to the friendly space policy|. Generally only one WikiClub can exist in one city or region, but there can be exceptions at the discretion of the Programs Committee of Wikimedia Canada if there are reasons for having more than one and there are enough local volunteers. For example, a WikiClub may be established for an university even if there is another WikiClub in the same city if there are enough members to justify it. Once you have gathered other volunteers and democratically identified a referent, contact the person below to start the process of being officially recognized by the chapter.
If the WikiClub is requesting a grant from Wikimedia Canada or has the control of equipment belonging to the chapter, it must put in place a committee of at least three persons that is in charge of the group.