Kicking off the 2009 Wikimedia Fundraiser

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Today, I’m excited to announce the kick-off of Wikimedia’s annual fundraising campaign.
Lots of people love Wikipedia, but surprisingly few know it’s run by a non-profit, the Wikimedia Foundation. The Wikimedia Foundation has just one purpose: to support the free and open sharing of knowledge. We don’t sell information and we don’t accept advertising.  Your donation is what makes Wikipedia possible.
When Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia in 2001, it was just an experiment. Nobody imagined Wikipedia would really succeed — least of all, probably, Jimmy.  He just thought it would be interesting to try.
But now, fewer than 10 years later, the number of people who use Wikipedia has grown to 330 million.  Students, teachers, tourists, entrepreneurs, parents, job-hunters, retired people, doctors, artists, engineers — everywhere around the world.  We use Wikipedia because it’s free, it’s convenient, and it gives us the information we’re looking for.  It’s always there when we want it.
This fundraising campaign offers Wikipedia readers the opportunity to celebrate Wikipedia and protect it for the future — for yourself, and for everyone else.
I’m aiming this year to raise 7.5 million dollars, up from five million last year.  That money will go towards technology and people — the servers and bandwidth required to operate the site, and the staff of 30 people who keep it running. You can find more information about how the money is spent, here.
There are some changes in the campaign this year.

  • For the first time, you can give through your cellphone.  Just text WIKI to 25383 to make a ten dollar donation that’ll be charged to your phone bill. Currently this will only work for US cellphones, but in future we’ll expand it beyond the US.
  • There are also buttons and badges you can put on your own site to encourage your friends to donate.
  • Now you can donate via credit card, without having to enter the PayPal site. (For some people, the PayPal branding has been a deterrent — they thought they might need to join PayPal to donate.) To give easily without joining PayPal, using your VISA, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card, go here.

You can stay up-to-date on the campaign by checking back here at the Wikimedia Foundation blog, where Wikimedia’s Head of Community Gifts Rand Montoya will be giving regular updates.  On and Twitter, you can look for, and use yourself, @wikipedia and @wikimedia.
Thank you so much for using Wikipedia.
Since 2001, people around the world have joined together to create the greatest collection of shared knowledge in human history.  We are united by our love of knowledge, by our sense of curiosity and discovery, and by the understanding that we know more together than any one of us could possibly know alone.  Please donate to support Wikipedia, and everything it stands for.
Sue Gardner, Executive Director

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Checking into the underlying links I found that no new servers have been bought since early 2007. Interesting, how come we manage to have such growth without more servers? Or could it be that the page has not been updated for a long, long time?
I guess the last explanation is the most likely and that the underlying links for the campaign has severely outdated information gives me no urge to give. And – I have mentioned this several times, but no attention has been paid to update the page.
Ulf Larsen
Voluntary contributor, Wikipedia/Wikimedia

That link is waaay out of date, and it was an oversight that it was there: I had already pointed it out before, but somehow it didn’t make its way into the final update. My apologies. I’ve removed it, and will now remove it from all the translations. The canonical list of Wikimedia servers is at , plenty of which have been purchased in the last 12 months.

So given all the time and money spent preparing this, why do other projects such as Wikinews have a Wikipedia logo on their donation banners? Do you realise that the links don’t even work in Internet Explorer, the most widely used browser?
The community could have helped design a better fundraiser, as it has in the past, for free. Instead you’ve spent a vast amount of money on a PR company, who have just come up with something that is frankly embarrassing, and then ignored people’s feedback.

Is supporting the 2009/2010 fundraiser with now a one-year-old Annual Report (July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008) a joke or do you really mean it??? I can also confirm previous comment – the foundation’s website is a little tragedy, outdated as a whole… go and do something about it. Just opening it a bit more to the public could save the whole problem… it is a wiki after all.

Hey Kozuch – thanks for your note. Our report is coming out in the next few weeks. The information is still relevant, but yes – it’s time for a new report and we’re working with a designer right now to get things finished up as soon as possible. We’re absolutely looking at a refresh for the whole Foundation Wiki as well, but we want to do it thoughtfully and with lots of members of the community as well. And I think it totally makes sense to have areas of the foundation wiki where people can comment, share, and offer new… Read more »

Kozuch, just FYI, the Wikimedia Foundation board is meeting this weekend and will be approving the 2008-09 audited financial statements. Once that happens, we’ll publish the statements on the Foundation wiki. So you should see them within the next few days, and they’ll be accompanied by a detailed Q and A.

By the way, what ever happened with the data that was going to be collected on ? Were all of the less obtrusive button text and designs mentioned on the talk page tested against the large banner, or not?

@Sue Gardner: Thanks for info. I still think the Annual report should have been in place at the time of fundraiser start though… never mind. What are the 30 employees of the foundation doing all the time? Can you tell us??? I have to bite sometimes because I feel like the foundation has been turning its back to the community recently and its actions are not transparent at all. Transparency and listening to the community should be top priorities as they can save you a lot of research and trouble. Do you have ever employees reading the few core community… Read more »

PS. It is just embarassing that the fundraising banner says “Wikipedia” instead of “Wikimedia” forever… I could understand this on a banner at Wikipedia itself, but at other projects it is just wrong…

@Kozuch I would imagine that Wikipedia has much more name recognition than Wikimedia. While you and I, being community members, know the difference, most people (and, I would imagine, most people this fundraiser is targeting) don’t. If a less correct banner helps get more money, that’s what we should do. I do agree that tweaking the project name and logo on the banner for each project (Wiktionary, Wikiquote, etc.) would have been a trivial thing that the fundraising team could’ve and perhaps should’ve done. (Disclaimer: I was not involved with this fundraiser at all, and these are just my opinions… Read more »

@Roan: I think you are wrong. Where does the banner have the most traffic? At Wikipedias. Most traffic means people already know Wikipedias and there is no need to promote it even further… apart from the fact that having two Wikipedia logos (ordinary site logo + logo within the banner) on similar page just looks badly… What needs to be promoted is Wikimedia, the diversity of itself and the fact that it is more projects than just Wikipedia. Therefore Wikimedia should show on the banners to further promote it. Finally, I am sure it does not matter what the banner… Read more »

Quote: “Today, I’m excited to announce the kick-off of Wikimedia’s annual fundraising campaign.” – Maybe the board is excited together with Sue, I haven’t seen any user who is exited by the banner. The opposite seems to be true, almost all users I have seen reacting think the banners couldn’t have been much worse/uglier and are very disappointed in the persons who organized this. The Foundation should be an international organization, who should think worldwide and should represent all those user around the globe who expand the projects with new content. That Sue is excited about this fundraising illustrates how… Read more »

Kozuch, I send monthly reports to foundation-l. If you’re interested in the activities of the staff, that’s where to find it.

[…] post on the Wikimedia Foundation blog by Sue Gardner, Executive Director of Wikimedia, says that the 2009 drive began last […]

As much as I like wikipedia and would love to see it last forever I don’t see how this particular fundraiser helps that goal. It is almost misleading to even say wikimedia “foundation” when really it is just a standard year to year nonprofit. If my donations really were going to a foundation whose principle was never touched and wikipedia ran off of the interest I would donate. As it is it doesn’t matter how much people give this year, they will have to give the same amount or more next year just to ensure the survival of wikipedia. That… Read more »

[…] We’re excited to learn today that the Webby Awards have chosen Wikipedia as one of the ten most influential “Internet moments of the decade.” The timing is excellent as we’re now well-underway with our 6th annual fundraising drive.  It’s a great time to think about the extraordinary efforts of thousands of volunteers to make Wikipedia and its sister projects, and to make a donation to help ensure Wikipedia forever. […]

you are able for donation .

[…] been tracking a huge amount of data during this year’s fundraiser so we can better understand which messages work well and which don’t.  We have two sets of […]

Wikimedia maps really suck, e.g., no surrounding towns are ever indicated. The moral equivalent of stick figures, really. The maps are definitely the weakest link. Please upgrade to something more useful.

I’ve just made a donation to the cause because I’ve been using Wikipedia for years now as my go to source to verify facts in my online marketing business. Keep up the good work and I wish you the best in your fund raising efforts.