The Wikimedia Foundation Fundraising team cultivates the resources that propel our movement. Every year, we engage over 2 million people from nearly every country in the world to support Wikipedia and its sister projects. The overwhelming majority of the Foundation's funding comes from individual readers from all over the world giving an average of $15.
Donations help the Wikimedia Foundation maintain server infrastructure, support global projects to increase the number of editors, improve the software that supports our projects, and make Wikipedia and its sister projects accessible globally to millions of people. The fundraising team is responsible for raising the Foundation's budget by running banners on Wikimedia sites. These banners have the additional goal to educate all readers about Wikipedia and how our movement works.
A Global Project
Readers around the world show their support for Wikimedia each year. The Wikimedia Foundation receives donations from nearly every country in the world in over 80 currencies, 20 payment methods, and 50 languages. We strive to provide readers worldwide with the best localized donation experience possible by offering preferred local payment methods and high quality messages in local languages. If you would like to help translate fundraising messages, please get involved.
Testing and Optimization
The online fundraiser is based on constant testing and optimization of different themes, messages, designs and user flows. We aim to educate all Wikipedia readers about our movement, provide a convenient donation process, and minimize the disruption of fundraiser banners on the reader experience. Only a tiny portion of readers donate -- therefore, we must always be improving our methods.
A primary goal of the fundraiser is to educate Wikipedia readers about the Wikimedia movement. We do this through the messages displayed in banners as well as through creative content featuring the Wikimedia community. Over the years, we've run personal appeal messages from community members, featured videos introducing Wikimedia volunteers, and invited readers to join in editing.
We've however never assessed the educational efficacy of this communication, e.g. in terms of increased levels of understanding of
- the functioning of Wikimedia projects,
- the ways users can help,
- free knowledge,
- the strategy, plans (including budget and financial reports), programs and products of the Wikimedia Foundation, including the processes by which they are established and how to contribute;
- the same for other Wikimedia movement components.
Some preliminary assessment has been performed by some, based on anecdotal evidence from Twitter users.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Please stay in contact with us on the fundraising talk page.
- IRC channel: #wikimedia-fundraising (publicly logged)
- Mailing list: fundraiser (archive). This is the open-subscription and public successor of the now closed private fundraising list (see Mailing lists/Fundraising).
December 15, 2014 Campaign Update
We are two weeks into the English fundraising campaign. We've had incredible support from our community of readers these past two weeks and we are thankful to everyone who has contributed so far.
We have raised roughly $18 million from 1.6 million readers since we launched the campaign on December 2nd. This number is preliminary as donations are still coming in and settling in our accounts. The team is on track to reach the $20 million campaign goal this month.
Banners have been showing to all readers these past two weeks. At this point, we are starting to limit the number of banners each reader sees. We will run the campaign at a higher traffic level again at the end of December for a final year-end push.
Thank you again for your support. I also want to thank everyone on the fundraising team as well as staff and community members who have worked on the campaign. We work incredibly hard throughout the entire year, but there has been exceptional effort the last month. Thank you.
One of my favorite parts about the campaign is reading the notes from our readers. Please take a moment to read through some of these comments. And thank you for making Wikipedia a treasured resource that people are happy to support :)
Quotes from Wikipedia readers:
--"I consider Wikipedia one of the few (the only?) big internet company who are actually trustworthy. I value Wikipedia and I want to support it."
--"Wikipedia is too valuable to be taken for granted. Donating is for me an act of fairness, responsibility, and gratitude."
--"I read a comic about a Wikipedia-Comcast merger. It was terrifying."
--"Keep doing what you are doing. I love Wikipedia. My most visited site by a mile. Any time I watch a new documentary, nature show, or read a book about a topic I find fascinating, I always Wikipedia the information. Irreplaceable!"
--"It's so convenient to pop onto the computer (Wikipedia) and find out almost anything I want to know. Sure beats the old encyclopedias I grew up with. It's helpful with medical advice and also, at my age, when you can't think of a name of somebody famous, etc. It makes life easier to find out RIGHT NOW instead of waiting for your brain to compute the answer 3 days later."
--"Very helpful! As a nursing student I frequently use Wikipedia to reference science and engineering topics so I can get a deeper understanding concepts and extra learning. Ilove it. As a young child in the early 1960s I thought that computers were going to be giant machines you could ask any question and get answers, Wikipedia is that machine! It's wonderful! Just sharing."
--"It's 10pm and I have to write a history essay. I'd love to sit and tell you about all the times Wikipedia saved my ass by giving me quick start points on projects. I simply love Wikipedia, keep it up guys! :)"
--"It can finish a debate in a couple of clicks"
--"Reduces intellectual irritation: Whenever, I encounter a word I don't know or am fuzzy about, I look it up on Wiki; whenever I need facts to resolve a political, religious, scientific or technical question, Wiki is there."
--"Once upon a time far far away I wanted a set of encyclopedias, but, alas I could not afford them. Wikipedia now fills that void."
--"I visit and utilize Wikipedia multiple times every week, sometimes daily. Going to Wikipedia has become second nature to me. It is synonymous with knowledge - there's nothing more profound. I support it with the small donations I can afford in the hope of setting an example, and so that others may have the same opportunities I've had."
--"There have been so many ways that the internet has disappointed me in my hopes that it would improve the human condition. However, there is this one shining exception, and from my least expected source. Wikipedia is that best thing that humanity has done with the internet, contributing to both a common knowledge set and re-learning how to find areas of agreement with others, instead of just shouting and not listening."
--"I use Wikipedia for 'fact checking" & naming space ships, realizing that it still a secondary source... but trust the communal effort to gravitate towards a mostly accurate "centerpoint". The Encyclopedia Galactica of Trantor in the making......"
--"You've killed the "bar-gument" but that's okay, I'd prefer to be informed rather than simply louder than the next guy. ;)"
--"Most often I turn to Wiki in order to answer a question that my grandson has asked about life, the universe and everything...in the old days we had a kids' encyclopedia on the bookshelf, but it became outdated and Wiki has taken its place."
--"I frequently look things up while watching TV or movies. For example, while watching Mad Men, I have frequently looked up specific dates or locations to learn more about what was happening as it was portrayed on the show. I learned more about the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy assassination, Viet Nam, riots, music, movies and general culture of the period. I always know I can count on Wikipedia to provide a thorough synopsis of whatever it is I'm looking for."
--"Knowledge is the key to so many locks. Thank you"
--"Wikipedia is kinda like having my mom sitting next to me when I was a kid. She knew everything :)"
2014 Big English Campaign Launch
We launched our end of year English fundraising campaign on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Please read below for a little more background on the mechanics of the English Wikipedia campaign, and where we are on our goals this year to-date.
Starting today, banners are being shown to 100% of anonymous readers on English Wikipedia in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our end of year campaign goal is $20 million. As Lila mentioned, our goal is to serve more powerful reminders to be able to limit the total number of banners each reader sees. We are constantly experimenting with new methods to reach our readers and optimize the donation experience.
Around the world, banners have been showing to a low level of traffic since the start of the fiscal year in July. We have also run campaigns to 100% of traffic in Japan, South Africa, Malaysia, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and France. These campaigns have shown good results, and we look forward to sharing more detail in our regular annual fundraising report.
If you spot any errors or have problems donating, your can reach us quickly at: mailto:email@example.com
We also anticipate some of you will want to know more about this process and may have questions. If you have questions or comments, please let us know on our Meta talk page: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Fundraising
We look forward to answering your questions to the best of our ability, but the team has limited resources and everyone will be working at an increased pace in December, particularly during the launch week (12/2-12/5). Unfortunately, this means we will not be able to respond to all questions as they arise -- so instead we have set aside time to review your questions on Meta, and post an update by December 15 and again in January.
2013 Campaign Wrap-up Update
Happy New Year! We successfully wrapped up the fundraiser in December, big thanks to everyone whose hard work made this possible.
We're working on a full report to share, but in the mean-time, here are a few quick facts to hold you over:
- In December, the fundraising team ran the year-end online campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
- The campaign ran full blast for two weeks.
- Roughly $18.7 million USD was raised from more than one million donors in December (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling).
- Year-to-date, approximately $32 million has been raised from online fundraising banners.
- The team created and tested approximately 250 different banners.
- We sent 2.6 million emails to donors from previous years asking them to give again.
- We responded to 15,000 reader emails during the month of December.
A full report will be posted publicly in 2014. We're currently preparing to run campaigns in all other countries and languages. The multilingual campaigns will be spread out throughout 2014. Heads up: We will need help translating messages and localizing the fundraiser. If you're interested in helping out, please let us know.
Thanks for all the support and keep an eye out for more updates.
For past updates, please see the 2013 updates page. For previous years, see:
- Fundraising 2012
- Fundraising 2011
- Fundraising 2010
- Fundraising 2009
- Fundraising 2008
- Fundraising 2007
- Fund drives/2005
- Fundraising meeting, September 2004