Education/Newsletter/July 2014/Macedonian internet marketing students learn about Wikipedia and suggest ways to improve its fundraising

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Macedonian internet marketing students learn about Wikipedia and suggest ways to improve its fundraising

By Igor Sazdovski (Macedonian Wikipedia and the NGO Shared Knowledge) and Kiril Simeonovski (Macedonian Wikipedia and the NGO Shared Knowledge)

The Wikipedians of Macedonia, organized by the NGO Shared Knowledge, for the very first time (to our recollection) have done two Wikipedia-related workshops as part of the tutorials in a subject taught at the Faculty of Economics at Saints Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The two workshops were held on 4 and 11 April as part of the tutorials for the subject Internet Marketing.

The first workshop was a presentation of a case study on the outlook of peer-produced versus price-incentivised websites in near future. The title was: “The future of the most influential websites” (in Macedonian: „Иднината на највлијателните страници на Интернет“). It’s about the Carr-Benkler wager. After the presentation, students who attended debated on who should win the wager.

The second workshop was a presentation of a case study on the Wikimedia Foundation and its fundraising. The title was: “How to raise $20 million without sales?” (in Macedonian: „Како без приходи од продажба до 20 милиони долари?“). The students were given a task to do a discussion during the presentation and after it, asking for details and sharing their opinions on the way of fundraising. They all had a homework with a deadline of 1 week which demanded from them to think of ways to improve the current fundraising methods. We heard and read a lot of interesting ideas worth sharing:

Simona Misheva
  • “Starting a cooperation with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the regional projects whose aim is to lower poverty and increase the educated population. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is specifically interested for the Africa region, but also other parts of the world in which education is for the privileged. Taking into consideration the fact that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a lot of funds, it would be a great success if some of those funds would be repurposed to improve Wikipedia in the local languages of the regions mentioned above.”
  • “A banner on the Wikipedia home page with famous people from different areas saying that they have donated to Wikipedia while asking for everyone to donate too.”
Daniel Kiteski
  • “Put a banner on the home page with photos of ordinary people saying: ‘Each contribution matters’.”
  • “Have a form with basic personal data (Name, city, country etc.) which everybody that donates could fill in. The form should not be mandatory. At the end of the campaign, or a few times during the campaign, publish a list of people who donated and to whom Wikimedia is grateful.”
  • “You could use the form previously mentioned (with the option for the people to fill in their email contact) to send personal thank you notes via email to everybody who donates.”
  • “An idea for rephrasing the slogan: Wikipedia is cost-free, but not costless”
Antonio Velinov, Mihail Vasilevski, Mersim Memedi, Marko Josimovski
  • “Put QR codes on public places that lead to different random Wikipedia articles. After reading (or during) a message shows up saying: Donate to Wikipedia.”
  • “The QR codes could be put on places near important sites and lead to Wikipedia articles about the sites. The message that shows up could then say: You read this article free. If you liked it/ found it useful, donate so we can keep it up.“
Elena Zikova
  • “When there is a book fair, or a similar event, publishers donate to Wikipedia and articles about some of the books that are published by them are promoted by Wikipedia for the duration of the event.”

This was a pilot project done with no resources, supported by the teaching assistant on the subject. Individual projects like this one are accepted among the teaching staff of the University (which means that they are willing to cooperate) as long as they are closely connected to the subject they are teaching. About 20-25 students attended each of the workshops. (The Internet Marketing class had 30 students that year.)