WMF Chapter Roles and responsibilities

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Logo Wikimedia Belgium

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and the Chapters (Affiliates) have a shared and complementary matrix of rights, obligations, and mutual responsibilities.

Both are dedicated to empowering and engaging people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to structure and disseminate it effectively and globally. Within their area of responsibility, they collaborate with user communities, other organisations, partners, the community, and individuals to fulfil their mission.

General principles[edit]

Freedom ends where
the right of the other

Freedom is bound by rights, obligations, and responsibilities.

WMF and the Chapters are legally independent, though they are bound by a mutual contract and are serving congruent objectives within and amongst their organisation(s):

  • The Foundation is legally bound by the Californian and USA legislation.
  • The Chapter is legally bound by Regional, Belgian Federal, and European legislation.
  • The Chapter agreements are bound by the Californian legislation.

The Foundation and the Chapters have a mutual responsibility towards the movement and the volunteers.

Matrix overview[edit]

The below is an attempt to document this Roles and Responsibilities matrix, in order for (board) members, and others, to understand how the Wikimedia organisation as a whole (needs to) behave(s), also with respect to the Wikimedia movement, and its volunteers.

WMF and Chapter Roles and Responsibilities
Wikimedia Foundation Chapter/Affiliate
Rights Obligations
  • Legal and operational independence
  • Owner of the logo's and the (server) infrastructure
  • Verify if logo's and infrastructure are used according to the rules
  • Investigate the due diligence of the affiliates
  • Agree with and apply WMF policies
  • Be a non-profit organisation
  • Be ethical and transparent[1]
  • Produce midyear/end-of-year reports
  • Produce Affiliate compliance reports
Obligations Rights
  • Accept the legal and operational independence of the Chapter
  • Accept and adhere to the cultural diversity
  • Be ethical and transparent[2]
  • Provide the proper means for the affiliate to function
  • Legal and operational independence
  • The right to use the Wikimedia logo's
  • The right to use the (server) infrastructure
  • Having cultural diversity
Responsibilities Responsibilities


  • Validate and align the strategy
  • Global Funding
    • International funding
    • Manage global budgets
    • Review and approve national grants
    • Review financial Chapter reporting
  • Setup and manage global projects
  • Manage the worldwide organisation
  • Give legal (international) coverage


  • Build and approve the strategy
  • Chapter funding
    • Local funding
    • Setup, manage, and monitor yearly budgets
    • Request and manage grants
    • Projects setup, planning, and review
    • Conduct financial and operational transactions
    • Perform Financial reporting
  • Setup and manage national projects
  • Manage the national organisation
  • Comply with the national Legal administration
    • Member administration
    • Declare and pay taxes
    • Declare yearly balance and income/expenses
    • Organise yearly General assembly
    • Board changes and administration
    • Perform and vote upon any required Statute changes
    • Insurance policy
Limitation of liability


  • No control on content
  • Not responsible for user contributions (because of having no control, and the nature of the CC BY-SA license)
  • No mutual liability (as a consequence of the legal and operational independence)

See also[edit]

Chapter agreements