Annual Fundraiser: our best day ever

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Hey All–
First and foremost, a big thank you to all our donors, community, and supporters for all the time & money given to this Annual Fundraiser.  The Wikimedia Foundation would not exist without the support and goodwill of our community.
We have some more statistics and information to share with everyone about the great success of this year’s fundraiser.
As you all can see, our progress this year has been pretty darn good.   Our “Jimmy Appeal” is working quite well, making $430,000 on its first full day up, and another $345,000 on the second.  This picture (from WMF techie Trevor Parscal) probably shows it best:    I hope to discuss that in a future blog post.
Secondly, a long awaited link:  This is part of the data that we use to evaluate site notice performance.  You will see the number of donations, total donations, and largest gifts for our different site notices for each day.  Eventually, we would like to put out all the data for all fundraising dates; however, due to processing limitations, we can only have one week of data available.
Landing pages names Support, Support2, and Appeal2 are different types of pre-payment pages.  Sometimes we test different versions to compare results.   For the current Jimmy Appeal, most donors are randomly shunted to either (Appeal ==> Support2) or (Appeal2). We are comparing those results for future campaigns.  In the past, we also tested 5Facts and Change the World landing pages.   PP = donations made via Paypal and CC = credit card payment through our new credit card gateway.   You can also sort by column by clicking on the sort arrows.
Thirdly, I think I need to admit that I’ll never have a perfect understanding of how well any particular site notice will do.  I can suspect that certain ones will do well, or certain ones will fail, but I’m constantly reminded that the donation data from our users never quite aligns with what I expect.
For instance, we developed a banner based on this donor quote:
“I couldn’t ignore that banner at the top of the site anymore… I use Wikipedia far too often to ignore the need!”
To me, it’s too long and a bit awkwardly phrased.  I did not think it would hold up well to sweet, simple, short phrases we’ve tried in the past.   I do acknowledge that it has some humor and poignancy behind it.
The results?
2009_Notice42 did incredibly well.  “Crushing all in it’s path” (this is before the onset of the Jimmy Appeal) would be more accurate, but the message is drawing in a number of donors.  Running at 20% of English page views with 5 other banners in rotation, the results are glaring:

Date % of Total Site Notice Payment #Donations Total Average Highest
WP views Type Pay Type Amount Gift Donation
12/9/09 20% 2009_Notice18 pp 625 $9,971.38 $15.95 $250.00
12/9/09 cc 443 $10,585.42 $23.89 $1,000.00
12/9/09 20% 2009_Notice22 cc 254 $9,247.23 $36.41 $250.00
12/9/09 pp 251 $4,871.59 $19.41 $114.72
12/9/09 10% 2009_Notice30_bold cc 162 $4,607.08 $28.44 $250.00
12/9/09 pp 161 $3,224.05 $20.03 $100.00
12/9/09 20% 2009_Notice40 pp 276 $6,164.59 $22.34 $250.00
12/9/09 cc 196 $6,061.62 $30.93 $365.25
12/9/09 10% 2009_Notice41 pp 153 $2,787.11 $18.22 $100.00
12/9/09 cc 83 $3,054.72 $36.80 $250.00
12/9/09 20% 2009_Notice42 pp 992 $20,897.33 $21.07 $470.93
12/9/09 cc 875 $24,067.96 $27.51 $2,000.00

Now, why do you think it’s working so well?   Is it a combination of previous messages?  What other messages do you think would work well?
-Rand Montoya
Head of Community Giving
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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[…] Also: Learn More and Slice & Dice the Numbers with Rand Montoya from the Wikimedia Foundation « Posting […]

I wrote this question on an earlier blog post but I don’t think anyone noticed so let me repeat it here. Do the current fundraising stats include the Omidyar Network matching program? If it does, then the daily stats may be skewed until the 500K$ ceiling is reached. (I’m guessing that it will be reached since the sum of the max daily donations already exceeds 50K$)

Have you considered a system that automatically adjusts view rates based on minute-to-minute donation income? You could throw ads at it as fast as you could think them up, have them all start at 0.1% or something, and let it figure out which ones are most effective a lot quicker than with manual intervention. Of course, you’d need to get software developed to do this, but with this level of difference between different ads, I’d think it would be worth it! Notice42 there made over $30,000 more than Notice40 in the course of one day with both running at equal… Read more »

Pich, the current numbers do not have the $500K from the Omidyar Network. We will be producing a report for them when our audited totals are ready.
Aryeh, I’m torn about that. On one hand, pushing one successful banner may generate more income, but I also wonder how different messages appeal to different people. I think your idea is worthy of follow up and testing. -Rand

Thanks Rand. Two further question in the same direction.
1- The fundraiser stats page puts last year total at 4.6M$. However, in [[Press releases/Wikipedia fundraiser surpasses $6million USD January 2009]] the claim is that the fundraiser generated 6.2M$. What’s behind that discrepancy?
2- For accounting purposes, will the Omidyar Network matching programme be counted as >10K donations or as grant money?

My take is notice42 works because you kind of work with the emotion of guilt. There are many people, me included, who have an attitude of “I’m not donating, because there are richer, more financially independent people than me”. Notice42 talks directly to those people who need to have a push – for how long will you keep ignoring this notice and the need to donate? If everyone will think like you, the donations will not be collected and this site might even stop operating. Will be interesting to see you develop other notices around that idea of having a… Read more »

Rand, if different messages appeal to different people, then a properly-designed algorithm would settle on a roughly ideal mix. If one banner gets most of the coverage and starts to become less effective as a result, other banners will start generating more income per view, and the dominant banner won’t take over completely. To more effectively account for the possibility that multiple messages would be better than a single message, though, you could always measure the marginal income from changing the view percentage of a message, rather than the average income from the message. So if message A made more… Read more »

I am so happy I suppressed display of the fundraiser banner in my prefs so I dont have to worry about donating… actually I think I donated way too much of my time already.

Please donate so that Wikipedia reaches over 7 Mil. Thank you Stuart Drossner
I have donated myself.

Try the NPR route……a combo of guilt and citizen duty.
“Don’t be the college roommate who never pitched in for the pizza, but who always came running for a slice.” If you use Wikipedia, shouldn’t you chip in for the pie?

I feel bad I cannot donate. I absolutely love Wikapedia. I am disabled,so I don’t get much money, however I am on the internet and spend quite a bit of time surfing the big dub. Anyway, Merry Christmas to whomever may read this.

@Jim – if you’ve got too much time on your hands, feel free to give Wikipedia content rather than money 😀

[…] urmă cu două săptămâni, apelul personal al lui Jimmy Wales (fondatorul Wikipedia) a depăşit toate aşteptările în materie de strângere de fonduri, când Wikipedia a primit donaţii în […]

The banner is good, but maybe a button with ..”already donated?” that leads to infos, maybe stats (stats may become a disadvantage when you get close to achieving the objective).

What you guys doing is just wonderful and amazing.
God bless you WiKi media and have a wonderful 2010!!

The CC and PP charges to Wiki must be cutting into the total donation. In Europe most of us use IBAN, a free bank and or country wire transfer. Any Chance Wiki has a European account donations can be wired to in this fashion?

personally, I feel that a banner add or some sort of small add would work as long as it was from various institutions of higher learning across the globe. Also, organizations that stress education and knowledge.

I think the reasoning is pretty clear. The messages appeal to people at different stages of the donation process. Most people are initially off-put about giving money, but then see the message about giving a little but with sincerity (#18) and realize they don’t have to give much to help. This sways them. Those who still hold out then see message #42 and realize they too have been ignoring the banner, and this sways them, too. People generally don’t like to do anything alone. These messages are easy to relate to, and #42 is particularly timely since all of us… Read more »

Is there a option, where in I pay 2 dollars every time I use Wikipedia possible.
This would be great for the users to know how much they use the system as well as to be happy about the donations as they have used the services.
I do not mind paying on a regular monthly basis a amount for my use from my paycheck.

The automated adaptation that Aryeh Gregor is suggesting is a fairly well studied problem, . This kind of expectation-maximizing is already widely used for internet advertising. You can address the possibility that some mixture of messages is more potent than the messages alone by running the many-armed bandit contest with mixtures as competitors rather than single messages. The real power of automated adaptation comes in if you take it further and derive distinct mixes depending on the article and viewer. E.g. someone in the US viewing a film article gets different message probabilities than someone in Australia viewing a… Read more »

I’d not acted on the banner seen for a few days but today saw “Last chance to donate” and a call to read the appeal by Jimmy Wales so I clicked. First the photo of Jimmy had a strong impact, he looks serious about his business, intent on making it better, very genuine. The text was quite perfect, to the point and dignified. I posted about the appeal on a travel site I use often. Someone replied immediately that this latest appeal had convinced them to make a donation & they were doing it now. I tried making a donation… Read more »

@Ryoki You actually *can* donate via IBAN. On the donation page, click “Other ways to give” and you’ll reach this page, which has our IBAN number on it.

Please incorporate donation in INdian Rupee also. today I had to donate in USD thru my Rupee credit card with more than 1 billion population,
you can tie-up with any Indian Bank for this purpose.

Back in late 2001 or 2002 I found Wikipedia while surfing around. It had just gotten a good start then. I would visit several times a year-mostly when I had something technical to look up. When I didn’t want to fight the pop-ups and other ads.I have not been on the net for a couple years due to health problems.But I returned a couple weeks ago. Was glad to see Wikipedia again, and was glad to donate $50.00 to help out.
Keep up the GREAT work everyone. Happy New Year!!!