The grand adventure of the Annual Report

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Wikipedia editor and high school student Ntsika Kellem on graduation day, near Cape Town, South Africa.
See related video. Photo by Sydellewillowsmith, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Today, we launched our 7th Annual Report. Rather than this becoming a standard exercise, we thought it was time to take a step back and reconsider the goals of the report. The result was a complete overhaul. This year’s Annual Report has a whole new format and caters to a much larger audience: everyone who reads Wikipedia.
What has historically been a print and wiki based document sent to donors has now been revamped with a new design and concept meant to have far greater reach — just like Wikipedia itself.
The report shares the vision of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation: the quest to freely share in the sum of all human knowledge. It shares recent stories of community members creating content, improving education, participating in change across the globe, and expanding local language projects all over the world. It includes an edit counter that tracks live changes to Wikipedia and allows readers to Listen to Wikipedia as it is edited in real-time.
While the Annual Report details the financial realities of a top ten website, its focus is the daily human impact of Wikipedia’s free knowledge, from sparking the passion of a retired photographer to nurturing the curiosity of a budding cancer researcher.
The making of the 2013-2014 Annual Report
In October, the Foundation’s Communications team sat down with our counterparts in Fundraising and Finance to explore the purpose of the Annual Report — who it’s for, and what it should do. We realized the old, printed format wasn’t telling a clear story of who we are. So we reflected on what we want to accomplish.
We want to help contributors connect to our mission. We want people to understand what it takes to run the world’s largest free-knowledge resource. We’d like to share the value of our impact with various partners and organizations. But most of all, we want to share our identity and our passion, and inspire people.
Concept development
An Annual Report has some practical requirements like donor lists, financial statements, and charity ratings. But it is also an opportunity to tell important stories, and an open door for creativity.
We decided to frame this year’s report around a central defining theme: “knowledge is a foundation.” Our Executive Director, Lila, planted the seed of “foundation” as a multi-faceted word and concept that means a lot to who we are — after all, we are literally the Wikimedia Foundation (pun intended).
But plays on words aside, the concept of foundation allows us to explore aspects of support, collaboration, and empowerment. Importantly, it signals there is more to build.
As the world’s go-to resource for understanding the world, knowledge is absolutely our foundation. That is what drives our community and everyone at the the Wikimedia Foundation. We all devote incredible time and energy to the same mission — to share the sum of human knowledge with the whole world. We do this because we believe in it.
Final product
This Annual Report is a brief, intentionally basic introduction to the ecosystem of Wikimedia, centered around the basic agreement that knowledge is a foundation.
Wikipedia is a foundation for knowledge. With 34 million articles spanning 288 languages, Wikipedia receives 500 million unique visitors every month. Because Wikipedia is written entirely by volunteers — ordinary people — people are the foundation of Wikipedia. And every year, the financial contributions of more than 2.5 million people are the foundation of support and sharing of free knowledge — they are how we keep the Wikimedia projects online and independent.
Our job at the Wikimedia Foundation is to be a foundation for this work. We are here to support the projects and communities. The Annual Report explores each of these elements and illustrates how we have been establishing the foundation for the future of Wikimedia, Wikipedia, and free knowledge.
The Annual Report recounts:

  • 250 billion page views.
  • 4.5 million new articles.
  • 2.5 million financial contributors.
  • 77 thousand active editors.
  • As well as the work of chapters, groups, developers, countless individual community members, and more.

Thank you for an amazing year of creating, sharing, working, and giving.
Heather Walls, Communications Design Manager
View the Annual Report on this special site — or on this wiki, where you can help translate it.

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