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How to use wikis in your work

A lot of charity professionals are in uncharted territory when it comes to wikis. This how-to will explain what they are and the variety of ways of they can be useful to you.


Know what a ‘wiki’ is

When you hear wiki you think of Wikipedia or WikiLeaks right? Well no, Wikipedia is just one of WikiMedia’s projects to encourage the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content for free! But it’s not just Wikipedia. There are thousands of different types of wikis across the internet, from the enormously popular Muppets Wiki to our very own wiki platform that we are using right now – Knowhow's how-to platform, yep, that’s right you can edit exactly this. In short, wikis are commonplace, we already use them and they’re here to stay.

They offer three basic functions to every user:

  • to create their own page(s)
  • add content to existing page(s)
  • edit existing page(s).

Co-create events

Use it to create agendas

Be truly collaborative from the start and allow people to suggest what they’d like to talk about and when.

Use it for pre or post engagement

I have used it as a resource for workshop speakers to get a good idea of what their attendees know or would like to know before an event. We asked the workshop speaker to put together a skeleton wiki (a list of questions or statements) that attendees could go in and edit.


Use it to achieve your charity mission

Is it your organisation's role to dispel the public’s views on particular issues - what it means to have bipolar? What deforestation is doing to our forests or perhaps it’s just important to you that the public are getting the correct information?

Organisations like Cancer Research UK have joined forces with Wikipedia to improve Cancer information.

Given that so many people first go to Wikipedia to get their information means that we must use it!

How about we all start by getting on our charity page on Wikipedia and explain what it really means?


Become a more democratic, inclusive and collaborative organisation

Wikis invite participants to collaboratively craft public policy on any issue. The notion that participants can create real policy is bold. But it’s no more so than the idea that users (in their spare time) could collaboratively create the world’s best encyclopedia.


Help the sector keep their content up to date

We trialed our own wiki platform on KnowHow so that we could keep the sectors advice and support content up to date. Our How-to’s platform for example has seen over 300 voluntary sector professionals write or edit how-to guides.


Make it part of your training or projects

Wikis allow each team member or stakeholder in a project to view, edit and update wiki based documents at any time. This facilitates pooling of knowledge to create comprehensive documents.

Wikis are ideal for maintaining notes and sharing/discussing ideas and information with the project team. They can be used to draft the documents of various mind mapping sessions as well as provide a set of instructions and a class-based curriculum.


Page last edited Apr 30, 2019 History

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