Introduction: Wikimedia UK 2015 Volunteer Survey
The volunteer survey opened on 22nd January 2016 and closed on 5th February. It was sent to 365 email addresses, of which 213 opened the email and 69 people took the survey (including 7 partial responses). 59 respondents chose to fill out the follow-up demographics survey, which was anonymous.
Statistical significance and methodology
Wikimedia UK's contact database was used to produce a list of people who have volunteered with the charity between 1st January 2014 and 31st December 2015. They were asked about their volunteering experience in 2015.
With small populations the sample size needed for a statistically significant result is considerable. For a population of 365 a sample of 272 would be required to provide a confidence level of ±3 and a confidence level of 95%. Consequently, the results of the survey provide a guide for the views and make up of the volunteer community rather than a definitive account.
In addition, there will be a natural reporting bias, in that those who were most likely to respond may hold views that are somewhat different to those who are less likely to respond and so these are more represented. For comparison, the response rate of 19% was comparable to previous large-scale surveys carried out by Wikimedia UK, the member survey 2012 (22% response rate) and 2013 (24%).
The numbers in brackets preceding statements refer to the survey question number as indicated in the main report.
- (1) 85% of people surveyed volunteered in 2015. Of these, a third volunteered at least once a month and are highly active.
- (2) The median number of volunteer hours reported was half that for 2014; the mean number of hours reported was also 40% smaller than the previous year. The smaller sample size of the 2014 survey accounts for part of this change, however there has been reduced programme activity and opportunities to volunteer for WMUK during the transitional phase of 2015.
- (3) 80% of people said they were likely to continue volunteering with WMUK, with a further 11% neutral on the question. This indicates a potential drop-out rate of 10–20%.
- (4) Only 60% of people felt there were suitable volunteer opportunities available in 2015. While there was no baseline data from previous years against which to compare this, the additional comments explained why this was. Significant themes were that there were not enough activities outside London, the charity's programme was reduced in 2015, and there was reduced communication from staff.
- (5) 80% of people said that they were likely to recommend volunteering with WMUK to a friend. As with (3) this indicates that despite reduced activity in 2015 the volunteer community remains one of WMUK's key pillars, and one which can be used to encourage other people to volunteer.
- (6) The three most popular volunteer roles were 'content contributor (project)' (chosen by 55% of respondents), 'speaker' (42%), and 'ambassador' (39%). This shows that our volunteers come from a varied background, with a significant proportion not primarily interested in editing Wikipedia. The answers can be used to inform action in relation to (4) and providing more relevant volunteer opportunities.
- (7) 70% of people said that the charity values their volunteering, though the survey does contain comments from those who feel their work is not recognised. Generally people enjoyed volunteering for Wikimedia UK and understand the importance of their work to the charity. The subject of available volunteer roles was highlighted as having lower satisfaction amongst volunteers, with only 44% saying they were satisfied and 38% remaining neutral on the matter.
- (8) Key themes to emerge from this were that volunteers wanted more support on projects they are involved in; more communication from Wikimedia UK around its activities; and positive feedback for the work they do for the charity.
- (9) Overall volunteers were mostly happy with the training available to them as a volunteer, but in most respects the answers to these questions rated lower than in 2014. 55% of people were satisfied with the amount of training available (35% neutral) and 64% felt the training was good quality (29% neutral). While people were less satisfied than the year before with the available training and the relevance and quality of said training, people felt that volunteering gave them an opportunity to learn.
- (12) Of the 51 people who know their membership status, 43% are not members representing a pool of people who could be persuaded to join the charity.
- (13) The final question was open-ended, asking for further comments. While the overall tone of responses to the survey was positive, this question revealed that some volunteers are unhappy with the reduced activity in 2015 and internal focus.
- Provide more opportunities to volunteer for Wikimedia UK, especially outside London. Potential avenues include:
- Promoting project grants for editing
- Finding more opportunities for volunteers to represent Wikimedia UK at external events and conferences
- Continue to run training events for new editors so the charity's trained trainers can use their skills
- Encourage our current volunteers to recommend volunteering with Wikimedia UK
- Have clear ways for people to volunteer with the charity
- Ensure regular communication with the charity's volunteers
- Perhaps in the form of monthly digests of upcoming events
- Make sure volunteers are recognised for the work they do and their contributions to the charity are valued
- Use volunteers skilled in project management to complement staff capacity and organise other volunteers
- Run more training events for volunteers to improve their skills, perhaps with a focus on
- project management
- media training
- Support the UK Wikidata community and explore the possibility of running a training workshop for new editors
- Explore the possibility of workshops in other languages (German and French being the most popular amongst volunteers)
- Promote membership to volunteers
- For 2014, 25 people reported estimated a total of 4,454 hours volunteering with Wikimedia UK (mean 178, median 24).
- The Likert values for the 2014 survey had 1 as 'definitely agree' and 5 as 'definitely disagree'. The 2015 survey swapped these labels. The questions which overlap between the two survey are listed below with their adjust 2014 value and 2015 value. In the final column a positive value indicates volunteers agreed more strongly with a statement in 2015 than 2014, while a negative value indicates they disagree more strongly.
Question 2014 Likert value 2015 Likert value 2015-2014 I was satisfied with the amount of training available to me as a volunteer 4.00 3.66 -0.34 The level of training was relevant to my volunteer needs 3.80 3.66 -0.14 The training I received was good quality 4.10 3.91 -0.19 Volunteering gave me a chance to learn new skills 3.80 3.85 +0.05 Volunteering gave me a chance to expand my knowledge 3.90 4.03 +0.13 Volunteering gave me more confidence 3.70 3.69 -0.01 Volunteering gave me an opportunity to improve my employment prospects 3.40 3.14 -0.26