Wikimedia selects Fenton for two-pronged marketing task

SAN FRANCISCO: The Wikimedia Foundation has selected Fenton Communications for a $250,000 project to build the credibility of its popular Wikipedia site and help boost the organization's fund-raising efforts.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Wikimedia Foundation has selected Fenton Communications for a $250,000 project to build the credibility of its popular Wikipedia site and help boost the organization's fund-raising efforts.

Jay Walsh, head of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, told PRWeek that Fenton would work on a retainer for the tasks over the next 11 months. Although the organization considered hiring multiple firms for the two-pronged project, the majority of the 55 agencies that submitted proposals showed interest in working on both fund-raising and Wikipedia.

The RFP was open to PR, digital, or advertising agencies, but mostly PR agencies pitched, he added.

“Most of the RFPs we received said [our challenge is related to] Wikimedia's story, and its story impacts both of these pieces of the business,” Walsh said. “We were looking for an agency that had demonstrable success of supporting clients in the nonprofit space.”

The more traditional PR task involves targeting key audiences with stories about the site's nonprofit mission and its volunteers. The RFP also solicited agencies to develop creative strategies to help Wikimedia reach its goal to raise $6.5 million this year.

The organization opted for an open RFP process because, Walsh said, it wanted to identify several agencies that could potentially take on additional work in the future.

Given the organization's limited resources, most of the upcoming PR and marketing initiatives will be “super practical that don't need a huge amount work,” he added.

“But that's not where we always want to be,” Walsh said. “We'd like to evolve to being a more resourceful organization that can be innovative and do incredible work in public outreach.”

Dean Hollander, chief digital officer for Fenton, told PRWeek via e-mail that the agency is “thrilled” to be working with Wikimedia.

“No other foundation can leverage the popularity of [Wikipedia] to fulfill the promise of the Internet: openness, collaboration, self-empowerment, and the true democratization of knowledge and self-expression,” Hollander said.

Walsh said Peppercom, Morris & King Co., and Solid Ground are among the firms Wikimedia has previously worked with on a project basis.

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