Caitlin Virtue: Free Knowledge

At NPQ, respect for our readers’ work, intelligence, and insight is core to all we do. And, indeed, research says that the nonprofit workforce is motivated differently than the other two sectors. So, we thought we would go out and ask them. The result is this special online series that will run every workday for the next month, illuminating what motivates each of twenty profiled workers.

We think much of what they say will resonate with you, but this is also who NPQ serves each day. They are why our work is so important, and NPQ can’t exist without your contributions.

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Why NPQ serves Caitlin proudly…

I’m the Development Director at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Wikipedia and a number of other free knowledge sites. I grew up in a very nonprofit-focused household.  My mother worked in a variety of nonprofit health settings, including the Red Cross, and my father was a nearly lifelong employee of the YMCA. Working in the not-for-profit space is part of who I am, and it’s a field I’m deeply committed to working within.

Our mission at the Wikimedia Foundation is to allow everyone, everywhere to freely share in the sum of all knowledge. At the Foundation, I lead the Major Gifts and Foundations team. We work with the Foundation’s major donors and tell them about Wikipedia, the Wikimedia projects, our work at the Wikimedia Foundation, and how their donation supports free knowledge in the world. Our generous donors come from around the globe.

One of the most interesting things we’re doing these days that I like to tell our donors about is the New Readers program. The program aims to better understand the needs of Wikimedia readers in countries where internet access is quickly growing. So far, we’ve conducted research in Nigeria, India, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, and Egypt. We’re excited to use our findings from this research to begin to test new tools and local collaborations to better serve the needs of Wikimedia readers around the world.

Like many of those who work in the nonprofit sector, I believe in making a difference for everyone.  I know that I’m positively impacting my family and those around me by being an active participant in my local community, but I work here because I know I have a global impact as well. My work and the work of the Foundation is having a positive impact on people that we will never meet and that’s incredibly fulfilling for me.

Why Caitlin cares about NPQ

I get the daily newswire from Nonprofit Quarterly and enjoy reading them a couple of times a week.  Several of the emails I also forward on to colleagues and friends in the field.  I value NPQ as a leading voice in the not for profit sector and I really enjoy the perspective you use to approach the field — it provides more color and insight into some of these issues that I don’t always find from other outlets.