User_I_JethroBT_at_Wikimania
Photo by Ktr101, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

The opportunity to complete an IEG developed my confidence as a project manager, and allowed me to work in a team of people with diverse skills to bring an idea into reality.

– Chris Schilling (User:I JethroBT), Reimagining WIkipedia Mentorship

Last year, a small group of volunteer Wikipedians—researchers, programmers, and editors—wanted to build a help space that automatically matched editors to mentors and allow new editors to more easily decide how they want to contribute.  Through an Individual Engagement Grant (IEG), the team conducted research, design work, and testing, which culminated in the Co-op, a mentorship space now available to everyone on the English Wikipedia.

If you have an idea like or completely different from this that will improve a Wikimedia project, consider participating in IEG’s open call for proposals from August 30th through September 29th on Meta.  If your idea is still a seed, you can share it in our IdeaLab to seek staff mentorship, community feedback, and a team of collaborators to help it evolve.  If your idea has community support and your team is developed enough that you just need funding to launch your project, you can easily transform it into a grant proposal with the Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) program and submit it for review.  

In the current round, proposals for IEG funding will be accepted through September 29, 2015.  The program has a flexible schedule and reporting structure and staff will be available on Meta to support you through all stages of the process.  Proposals for up to $30,000 are considered; most grantees are awarded between $300 and $15,000 to support a wide range of activities and expenses, including project management, consultants, materials, and travel.

Viswanadh,B.K
Image licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
I’m excited to work hand on hand with eminent personalities of Telugu literature, public library movement.

– Viswanadh.B.K. (User:విశ్వనాధ్.బి.కె.), Digitization of Important Libraries
Book Catalog in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

After you submit your proposal, it will undergo review to make sure it meets all eligibility criteria. Proposals should support the achievement of Wikimedia’s mission and strategic priorities. We are looking for experiments with strong community engagement and a high potential for learning and impact, among other selection criteria.  Proposals are commented on by the community and reviewed by the committee before grantees are announced on December 4.  We are accepting new committee candidates through September 9.

During the month of September, we’ll be hosting several online Google Hangout sessions for real-time help on how to make your proposal better. The first one will take place on September 8 at 15:00 UTC.

Temple-Wood,_Emily_-_Cropped
Image by Emily Temple-Wood, freely licensed under CC-BY 1.0.

The grant application can be about anything. That’s how fluid and flexible the grant programs are. So if there is something that you want to try, submit it to the IdeaLab.

-Emily Temple-Wood (User: Keilana), Women Scientists Workshop Development

What’s new for 2015?

With help from the Engineering Community Team, we have made IEG more friendly for technical projects.  Software features requiring code review and integration will now be eligible for funding, so long as grantees and their advisors have the appropriate skills and credentials to plan, perform code review, and deploy the software independently.  We still need tech-savvy volunteers to join our committee.  If you’d like to engage with the new ideas coming out of the engineering community, contact iegrants@wikimedia.org.

By working together we can make an impact on the future of Wikimedia projects. We are excited to see the new ways your project ideas can support the Wikimedia community! Share your idea in IdeaLab or begin your IEG request in September. You can start today!

Marti Johnson
Program Officer Individual Grants
Wikimedia Foundation