Wir für Demokratie: “Again and again, we learn how valuable it is to involve people with different perspectives in our work”

Wir für Demokratie

Wir für Demokratie is much bigger already than many of the other political innovation projects that we are supporting. You probably have many things you could be doing, so how do you decide which opportunities to pursue?

In everything we do, our focus is on how we can generate the greatest possible impact for our democracy and enable many committed volunteers to work with us. Our clear theory of change is used as a reference point whenever we prioritize, make strategic decisions or set our quarterly objectives. Of course, we are in a constant exchange with our community about which topics we want, can or should work on.

It’s probably a big year for Wir für Demokratie with many elections taking place in Germany. What are some exciting things you are focusing on right now?

Yes, 2024 is a big year for us and democracy in general. We are working on many exciting topics, such as the project ‘hand in hand’, which connects, strengthens and makes civil society engagement in Brandenburg, Thuringia and Saxony visible. In contrast with the public perception, the democratic civil society in these states is extremely active, despite difficult circumstances like, for example, the existence of established neo-fascist structures. With the upcoming state elections in September, our project aims to support and connect the people defending our democracy in town squares, in local football clubs and wherever people meet and talk about politics.

With the federal elections coming up next year, we will be holding several workshops in the coming months to empower people to get involved in party politics. Our focus here is primarily on people who are currently politically underrepresented. 

These are just two of the exciting projects we are currently working on and will be working on in the coming months. We are also constantly expanding our volunteer community to broaden the foundation of our democracy-promoting work in the best possible way and give people easy access to political participation. It inspires us to see the energy and dedication that our volunteers contribute every day. 

So while the polls, public debate and comments on social media clearly demonstrate the pressure under which our democracy stands, it is exciting to work with so many dedicated people who are eager to defend democracy. 

What is your main goal right now, the thing you are dedicating most of your time to in this project currently?

Our main goal is to give people easy access to political participation and empower them to make their voices heard, be that as volunteers with ‘Wir für Demokratie eV’, in other civic engagement, or democratic parties. We connect civil society organisations, create a wiki-like knowledge-basis to enable the sharing of best practices, and connect them with politics and open spaces for exchange and cooperation. 

Any recent learnings that you think would be useful to share with our community of political changemakers?

Again and again, we learn how important and valuable it is to involve people with different perspectives in our work. This means open slack channels, quick and broad sharing of ideas, concepts and even strategic documents – the more we share in the community the more we profit from its rich experience, perspectives and know-how. Even if you have to leave your comfort zone from time to time, it not only improves the outcomes but also enriches the collaborative culture in the teams and broadens our personal views on things enormously.

What are some things you have been able to do with the support provided by Multitudes Foundation so far?

The support from the Multitudes Foundation enables us to focus on our content-related work and expand our team to maximise our effectiveness and impact. A key aspect is that the support by Multitudes Foundation is unrestricted core funding, which is not only a sign of trust empowering our team but also proves to be extremely important on an operational level as it allows us to focus on the highest-impact activities and to adjust the focus and activities constantly based on learnings and feedback.  

As an example, we are quite successful in reacting to the recent pro-democratic protests with millions of participants across Germany. Because the core funding allows us to react swiftly without having to first find supporters and write new project proposals, we were and still are able to channel the huge momentum of the protests into civil society structures. Based on our outreach and networking in reaction to the protests, more than 50 new volunteers joined us and we were able to support the organizers with our know-how and network to continue and stabilize the movement. The support has also enabled us to continue building the small donations community, which is an essential part of our funding.