Annual Report 2019 Wikimedia CH

Bagawathram Maheswaran, Wikimedia CH Board President. (#3 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

A Word from the President

For Wikimedia CH, 2019 was defined by both continuity and change.

At an organizational level, we saw continuity in our governance. One new board member – Mr. Jon Becker – was elected while I was reelected as president. With minimal changes at the board level, we were able to maintain more stability throughout our organization.

We also helped ensure continuity by beginning strategic planning even before the year started with an extraordinary General Assembly on December 10, 2018. The online nature of the event allowed more members to participate. Wikimedia CH used the event as an opportunity to present its 2019 budget, giving members a better understanding of the year to come. The budget was adopted unanimously.

The chapter also saw significant change, as it ramped up its fundraising and outreach efforts and aimed to streamline its databases. The team worked hard to put in place the resources and systems that will allow them to operate more effectively and better manage relationships with members, donors and partners. By creating a strong foundation for outreach, Wikimedia CH will be better prepared to implement the 2030 strategy recommendations when they are ready. Already in 2019, these efforts resulted in several new partnerships with high-level international organizations.

I’m very pleased with the progress Wikimedia CH made in 2019, and I look forward to building on these efforts in the coming year!

Bagawathram Maheswaran

Wikimedia CH Board President

Jenny Ebermann, Wikimedia CH Executive Director. (#5 - Photo credits at the end of the page.)

A Word from the Executive Director

Seen globally, 2019 was a year of significant changes on multiple fronts for Wikimedia CH. While we took a major step forward to streamline and professionalize our fundraising systems and database management — all the more critical in light of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — we also had to adapt to important personnel changes.

The changes in staff presented an opportunity to reevaluate our resources and ways of working. We found a creative solution that sees a mix of in-house and outsourced team members, which has helped us improve our communication and outreach efforts.

Further supporting this work has been our focus on professionalizing our fundraising endeavors and streamlining our internal systems. In 2019, we put in place tools such as an efficient content management system that will help us link our databases, protect donor and member data, work more efficiently and better communicate with our stakeholders. As a result, we were able to make great strides in being more visible to both existing donors and members, as well as potential partners, who are becoming more aware of the association behind Wikipedia and its sister projects. While these efforts required significant time and resources on the front end, they support our long-term goals of becoming more financially sustainable and standing on our own legs as a chapter.

We also saw significant achievements at the program level. The team worked hard to create several new partnerships and initiatives in GLAM, Education and Community. Program GLAM expanded its reach through new partnerships with the Swiss National Sound Archives and the archives of the Montreux Jazz Festival, which have engaged us for Wikidata projects on audio and audiovisual content. Program Education also cultivated important relationships with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where one contact led to several others, creating cooperation at multiple levels. Last but certainly not least, Program Community successfully fostered a new partnership with a large international organization, as well as other chapters. The Wiki Human Rights project, for example, involves collaboration with Wikimedia Argentina, WikiFranca, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. The project exemplifies how to break down high-level discussions into concrete initiatives that have brought the project to the French-speaking world.

I am exceedingly proud of our team’s hard work in 2019 and the progress made at every level. We have built a strong foundation that will serve us well in 2020. Thank you very much to all of our volunteers, members, partners, supporters, donors and stakeholders; without you, none of this would be possible!

Jenny Ebermann

Wikimedia CH Executive Director

Fact & Figures

1.9 million+ people reached in Switzerland.

298 newly registered users among 1,845 total participants.

70,000+ content pages created or improved across all Wikimedia projects.

6,300+ items of content reused by other Wikimedia projects, showing we focused on quality impacts over mass uploading.

Strategic Direction at a Glance

The image of a house represents Wikimedia CH’s impact directions for the 2017-2020 strategic period. The house itself is made up of our three impact directions – Education, GLAM and Community – and the roof symbolizes our mission of curating and disseminating free knowledge.

Communication, Diversity and Technology/Know-how are enablers that support the impact directions. They equip us to evaluate whether a project or activity should be integrated into our annual plan or not.

The walls of the house represent Wikimedia CH’s tools, processes (policies, financial, guidelines, ICT, etc.) and soft skills (human resources, people development). The house’s windows are transparent, indicating good governance. There are no hidden closets or pitfalls.

Finally, the foundation is a solid legal background that allows the house to rest securely and sustainably within our community. Outside of the house, our neighbors are like-minded organizations, other chapters, the Wikiverse and, of course, the Wikimedia Foundation.


(Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums)

Wikimedia CH can look back upon a successful year of achieving more stability, continuity and diversity for the GLAM program. We consistently followed the GLAM strategy, and the results are showing. Read more...


In 2019, we rethought our Wikimedia CH Education Strategy for three reasons. First, we aligned our chapter’s approach with the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy. Second, we incorporated the latest thinking among Switzerland’s education experts. Read more...


Wikimedia CH implemented a new strategy for Program Community in 2019. The strategy divides activities into four areas: community building, community health, recruitment and international collaboration. We stressed the first two this year. Read more...

Partnerships & Outreach

Wikimedia CH strives to be a trusted resource on issues concerning free, open and unbiased knowledge, nationally as well as internationally. In 2019, we began work on a new communication strategy that will help us promote a more consistent and compelling message to our audiences. The strategy embraces the Wikimedia Movement’s 2030 strategy and will be a tremendous help in our outreach to our main stakeholders, partners and members. Read more...

Outlook 2020

In 2020, Wikimedia CH plans to both continue the work we started in 2019 while looking ahead strategically to the future.

At the program level, we aim to build on the partnerships we forged this past year to create stronger relationships with like-minded organizations. We also plan to continue expanding upon and enhancing the activities that have proven successful, scalable and responsive to our diverse community and partners. Last, we hope to grow our community through a new recruitment strategy that we will articulate in the coming year.

We also aim to finish our work to link our databases and professionalize our outreach efforts. While we have made enormous progress, there is still work to do to optimize the new tools and systems in place. We also look forward to finalizing and implementing our new communication strategy – which includes creating new materials and training our team – as well as crafting a new outreach strategy.

More globally, 2020 is the last year in our current five-year strategy. We will therefore use the coming year to work on the next strategic period. Our planning process will include a workshop with key decision-makers, community members and partners to not only design our chapter’s strategy but also ensure it fits into the movement’s strategic direction and the 2030 recommendations. As this strategic period comes to a close, we have the opportunity to really think through and define what we want to accomplish going forward.

Finances 2019

Operational Expenses


Membership Fees

Membership fees increased significantly in 2019 when compared to 2018.

Budgetary Distribution in Switzerland, Total: CHF1,297,075.03

Distribution of Total Funds (WMCH & Wikimedia Movement), Total: CHF2,723,093

Support Free Knowledge!

Join us in supporting access to free and unbiased knowledge. Besides being an active member in Wikimedia CH, or a contributor to Wikipedia and its sister projects, you can give tax-deductible financial support. Wikimedia CH is an independent nonprofit. Your donations directly support some of the most popular collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world.

Wikimedia CH would like to thank the staff, community, board, partners and donors for making these projects possible. Together, we are working towards a diverse, open and, above all, knowledgeable society in Switzerland and beyond.

Photo Credits

1. Château de Morges, a medieval castle in the Swiss municipality of Morges in the canton of Vaud. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. Photo by Ekaterina Polischuk - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82432331.

2. Tourbillon Castle, a castle in Sion in the canton of Valais. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance. Photo by Kateryna Baiduzha - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82490235.

3. Bagawathram Ram Maheswaran, Wikimedia CH Board President. Photo by Wikimedia CH.

4. Werdenberg (Wahlkreis) or Wahlkreis Werdenberg, a constituency in the canton of St. Gallen. Photo by Shesmax - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82395764.

5. Jenny Ebermann, Wikimedia CH Director. Photo by Wikimedia CH.

6. Swiss National Library, Level 1 reading room workplaces. Photo by Simon Schmid / Swiss National Library - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30961487.

7. Federal Palace of Switzerland, North Facade, the building in Bern housing the Swiss Federal Assembly (legislature) and the Federal Council (executive). Photo by "Axel Tschentscher", CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82195756.

8. ETH Library in Zurich at twilight. Photo by ETH-Bibliothek - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45799882.

9. ETH Hönggerberg Campus, one of two campuses for ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich). Photo by GurkanSengun - Own work of author, transferred from the English Wikipedia (original image was en:Image:ETH-Hoenggerberg-2008.jpg)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4476226.

10. The beautiful clock tower in the old town of Solothurn, the capital of the canton of Solothurn. Photo by Countdan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82678818.

11. Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room of the Palace of Nations, where the meetings of the United Nations Human Rights Council take place. Photo by Ludovic Courtès - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45464991.

12. Gantrisch Nature Park. Gantrisch is a mountain in the northwestern Bernese Alps. Photo by Heaven 721 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60235491/.

13. Pfäffikersee by night. Pfäffikersee (or Lake Pfäffikon) is a lake in the canton of Zurich. The lake was created in the last ice age when a moraine blocked off the ability for the lake to empty north towards Winterthur. Photo by Lriese 1 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49061475.