Preparing Together: Updates on 2023 English fundraising

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This evening I wanted to plan changing trains at Kettering. The station map shown by National Rail was too small. I Googled: Does Kettering railway station have lifts?
And the answer came from Wikipedia. Yes there are lifts to all platforms there. Thank you. Now I can plan my journey.

Donor from the UK

This year the Wikimedia Foundation’s fundraising team kicked off a community collaboration process earlier than ever before at the start of the fiscal year in July. Today, we’re providing an update on what has happened since, what we are planning going forward, and how you can continue to be involved. 

Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation raises the funds for its annual operating budget. These funds cover site reliability and server maintenance, software development and support, legal protections, public advocacy work, and language accessibility in hundreds of languages and across all Wikimedia projects. They also financially support community members and affiliate organizations through grants, events, and other resources such as trainings and organizing support. 

Collaborating on the English fundraising banners

On Giving Tuesday, November 28, the Foundation will launch the banner fundraising campaign on English Wikipedia in six English speaking countries (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The campaign runs to readers who are not logged into a Wikipedia account through the end of the year. Over the past four months, the Foundation fundraising team and the English volunteer communities have actively collaborated, listened, and talked to each other on the community collaboration page. This has been a period of rich discussion and trying new ideas, many of which were tested in short rounds on English Wikipedia.A range of themes were discussed and incorporated in banner testing, such as Wikipedia and AI, as well as our movement’s commitment to providing high quality information for everyone, which is increasingly hard to find online. Volunteers helped to standardize grammar and form, and discussed several new messaging ideas. The fundraising team is grateful to volunteers who have engaged in the process to prepare for a strong campaign together. 

Example banner message based on a suggestion of a volunteer on the collaboration page:

It is hard to know what to trust online these days. Disinformation and scammers are everywhere. Wikipedia is different: not perfect, but also not here to make a profit or to push a particular perspective. It is written by everyone, together. Wikipedia is something we all share, like a library or a public park. We are passionate about our model because we want everyone to have equal access to high-quality information – something that is becoming harder and harder to find online.

At Wikimania, fundraising staff hosted a constructive in-person workshop on banner messaging that had participation from a range of community members, including volunteers from non-English speaking countries, sharing their thoughts and ideas around banner messaging. Fundraising staff and volunteers also discussed ideas for the campaign together at Wiki Conference North America this past weekend. Disinformation, AI, and the need for more volunteers were also themes that were discussed at the conferences. 

As we are entering the main campaign phase, we will continue sharing updates and engaging on the collaboration page and are looking forward to discussing more ideas together. 

Highlights from the fundraising report

Along with engaging in the fundraising collaboration spaces, the Wikimedia Foundation recently published the annual Fundraising Report. The fundraising report provides an in-depth overview of fundraising activities, from banners, to emails, to the Endowment, and major gifts. We provide this information as part of our overall commitment to transparency to volunteers and the general public about our fundraising practices. We produce this fundraising report every year to share what we learn from engaging with millions of donors around the world. This is a unique report and, as far as we know, the Wikimedia Foundation is the only major charity to share this type of fundraising information transparently with the public. The Foundation also publishes other reports to inform and engage our community of readers, volunteers, and donors throughout the year. These include our annual report, which focuses on our impact, and our audited financial report that outlines our overall financial activities and financial position. This year’s highlights include:

  • Changes to the process around writing banners which became more collaborative during the last year
  • Improvements to our fundraising emails, including increases in the number of recurring donors we were able to recruit via email
  • The Wikimedia Endowment’s new 501(c)3 and all the policies and governance documents which make it work (you can also read more on this in the latest Endowment Diff post)

Collectively, the report shows the versatile systems that are in place to ensure that we can implement the annual plan for this year that was co-created with Wikimedia communities, and that Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects will continue to exist in the long term future

Collaboration going forward

As the main banner campaign is quickly approaching, the fundraising team is grateful to everyone who has worked together to ask readers to support a resource they value. The fundraiser is a unique campaign that relies on the power of individuals to keep knowledge free and accessible for the world. Thank you to all of you who make this incredible effort possible. 

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