2018 Revenue strategy/Past
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“The past” will consist of a retrospective and analysis on what got us to this point, looking at annual budget, growth rate, revenue and funding sources. It will be informed by financial reports, audits, fundraising reports, fundraising surveys, annual reports, and annual plans.
How did we get here?
- How much have we raised?
- How have we raised it?
- What worked? What didn't? What have we learned?
- How have we used it?
- 1 Subpages
- 2 How much have we raised, and how?
- 3 What have we learned?
- 4 How have we used our funds?
- 5 Notes and references
How much have we raised, and how?
Very descriptive section
Evolution of the amount raised; breakdown by channel (e.g. banners, email, MGF), source (e.g. Wikipedia vs other sites), geography
Until now, we haven't really been intentional about what kind of revenue stream should fund what kind of activity.
- Relationship with the community
- A note on payment processing and relationships with affiliates (to be expanded below)
Major gifts and Foundations
Fundraising platform and technology
Links and topics to sort
- foundation:2016-2017 Fundraising Report
- foundation:2015-2016 Fundraising Report
- foundation:2014-2015 Fundraising Report
- Fundraising 2013-14/Report
- Fundraising 2012/Report
- Fundraising 2011/Report
- Fundraising 2010/Fundraiser report
- Fundraising 2009/Report
- Fundraising 2008/Report
- Fundraising 2007/Report
- foundation:Fund drives/2005/Q1, foundation:Fund drives/2005/Q3, foundation:Fund drives/2005/Q4
- foundation:Fund drives/2004/Q4
- foundation:PayPal donations/2004
- foundation:PayPal donations/2003
- Fundraising, Fundraising/Updates and Fundraising/Updates/Archive
- Talk:Fundraising and its archives
- Fundraising principles
What have we learned?
Many small-dollar donors; major gifts and foundations; merchandise/store
Restricted vs. unrestricted grants
Research and experimentation
- Wikimedia survey: Findings on fundraising questions (2014)
- Wikimedia focus group and survey findings: Japan
- Wikimedia survey findings (2015)
- Practice of research, testing, and experimentation in online fundraising
- newer experiments like Fundraising/Updates/FBAdsExperiment
- A lot of real-time research and experimentation on messaging / banners have significantly shaped how are campaigns have been running
- Testing ethos of the online team (A/B testing!) has made a huge difference -- we don’t assume anything; we don’t let the tests dictate everything, but they do inform what we do
Top reason for giving: readers give because they use Wikipedia often and value it
Other top reasons: to keep Wikipedia online; no ads; free knowledge
Link to awareness: brand awareness, and awareness of nonprofit status
Governance and relationships between movement organizations
When it started in 2001, Wikipedia didn’t really have a business model. The site was hosted by Jimmy Wales’s company, Bomis, until he created the Wikimedia Foundation in 2003.
In its first few years, the Foundation, relying on a purely donation-based model, held small fundraising drives, as did chapters in an ad hoc manner. Fundraising goals and methods evolved over the years to keep up with the growth of the movement and the increasing popularity of the websites.
In 2008-2009, banner fundraising, payment, and revenue were governed by fundraising agreements between the Foundation and chapters. Most of the movement’s revenue came in from a large number of donors giving small amounts through banners.
By 2011, small, volunteer-run chapters were raising large sums in a way that was deemed by the Foundation to lack financial accountability and to be disproportionately favorable to chapters in affluent countries. The Foundation limited the chapters’ ability to conduct banner fundraising and created the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) to distribute funds across the movement.
In 2019, several affiliates are now financially self-sustaining, and others are supported by the Foundation through different kinds of grants. The movement is facing external challenges to its current fundraising model, and simultaneously the ambitious strategic direction for 2030 is calling for an increase in revenue beyond incremental growth.
- Fundraising and Funds Dissemination and the creation of the FDC
- Fundraising and Funds Dissemination/Final recommendations from Sue
- Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees letter regarding fundraising accountability
- Payment processing
- Some chapter fundraising campaigns lacked specialized knowledge and compliance
- Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Roles & Responsibilities/Timeline
Relationship with communities
Striking the balance between too much and too little communication
Communities are now part of how the Foundation creates the fundraising and annual reports.
The Communications department has helped more effectively communicate with the communities.
Relationship with readers
Working with OTRS
- Years ago, the Foundation wanted to make progress on specific projects, but didn’t have the resources to do so
- Yet, even when it had more resources, it wasn't always able to make a lot of progress
- Wikipedia is complex and it’s created by a decentralized network of volunteers -- therefore its projects are also complex
- Fundraising team felt like it was always playing catch up during the first few years of big growth -- just keeping head above the water
- Now it feels like we have a greater bandwidth to be more strategic and long-term focused
- WMF was instrumental in creating a successful small dollar donor model that we now see in other nonprofits and political campaigns alike
- Now the WMF have strong small and large donor bases
Banners and emails
- 2009 Wikimedia Forever: External agency paid to write the copy. Lesson learned: “stay in house”
- Jimmy works
- Tested emails from Sue and other staff members
- Campaigns used to be 2 months long- using others allowed a break from Jimmy.
- Banners no longer shown to logged-in users
Public understanding and storytelling
The level of public understand of how Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement work is still an obstacle when talking with donors, particularly major donors. What do they need to know and understand about us?
How have we used our funds?
Links and topics to sort
- 2011–12 Plan (PDF)
- 2012–13 Plan (PDF)
- 2013-14 Plan
- 2014-2015 Plan
- 2015–16 Plan
- 2016-17 Plan Mid-year check-in
- 2017-18 Plan
Notes and references
- "Why Wikimedia’s new revenue strategy makes me happy". Sue Gardner's Blog (in en-US). 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2018-02-14.
- "What’s *really* wrong with nonprofits — and how we can fix it". Sue Gardner's Blog (in en-US). 2013-10-20. Retrieved 2018-07-02.
- Discussion 1