Fundraising

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This is a general information page on Wikimedia fundraising. If you wish to make a donation, please visit https://donate.wikimedia.org
Donation Amount Breakdown 2014-2015 Fiscal Year

The Wikimedia Foundation Fundraising team cultivates the resources that propel our movement. Every year, we engage over 2 million people from countries across 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.

Goals[edit]

A Global Project[edit]

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[edit]

Example of results from banner testing

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.

For more background on testing over the past several years, please see our fundraising reports from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Educating Readers[edit]

2012 Editor Video

Another 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.

Restricted donations[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation's attitude towards restricted grants and restricted donations has changed multiple times and is governed by the Gift policy on restricted gifts.

Since 2014, any grants that are not unrestricted will receive a special high level of scrutiny before being accepted.

One recent restricted donation was the 2016 Knight Foundation grant.

Frequently Asked Questions[edit]

Communication[edit]

Latest Update: Japan Reader Survey[edit]

Back in February of 2015, the fundraising team engaged Lake Research Partners (LRP) to conduct a detailed survey of English language Wikimedia readers. As we look to continue to improve our efforts fundraising in non-EN languages we decided to conduct a similar fact finding exercise in one of our larger fundraising countries. Japan, being an affluent country with a large population and where our projects have had a large reach, has in some ways under-performed and seemed ripe to deliver the greatest impact for such efforts.

With that in mind we again partnered with Lake Research Partners to run two focus groups consisting of readers and donors, and an online survey of 1000 Wikipedia readers and I am pleased to provide the findings of these.

We found the results show mostly favorable attitudes toward Wikipedia, with positive ratings on quality, look and feel, and readability, while accuracy is rated lower and mentioned as a concern among focus groups participants.

We found a more urgent, direct translation was perceived as better than a more natural translation. This may be because Japanese readers are less likely to donate spontaneously than some of our Western audiences; donors are generally motivated by significant events like natural disasters. We will have to balance an urgent tone with frank politeness when crafting our appeals, and are still working to find the right balance of direct and natural translation. Soon there will be a follow up survey of the Japanese Wikimedia community to help further our understanding and one of several means by which we are improving and strengthening the community involvement in movement fundraising.

Previous Updates[edit]

FY15/16 Q3 & Q4[edit]

It's the end of the WMF financial year and with that we reached our stretch goal target of $77 million*! Given the fantastic effort by all teams, the additional $5 million will be used to seed the Wikimedia Endowment rather than using funds from out of the operational reserve.

*Preliminary total as we are currently reconciling the final numbers for the 2015-16 fiscal year

[edit]

- Through Q3 & Q4 we ran fundraising campaigns in 19 countries across Europe and Latin America and in XX# languages
- Raised $6 million dollars - The highlight was our Latin America Campaign where despite the technical challenges ran in 6 new countries and in local currency rather than US dollars as has previously been done, raising almost $700K from 100K donors.

[edit]

- Large Desktop Banner: a shift from black to a dark/navy blue, softening of banner edges and a shift in banner text font.
- Small Desktop Banner: Interesting result from the use of orange in a test in the Netherlands. Potential future testing idea around colours associated with strong national identity.
- Mobile Small Banners: No longer placed within the article and appear at the top of the article.
- Interesting results when specifying the location of the donor. Generally between 3-10% increase depending on the country. Some countries appear to buck the trend and in these instances specifying location has a negative impact.

Email[edit]

- Sent informational emails with no fundraising ask to 2 million donors in US and GB, including content like the This is Wikipedia video, fun facts about Wikipedia, and Wikimedia newsletters. Emails got high engagement which showed donors were taking time to read even long emails. We will continue to use this as a way to educate donors about the Wikimedia movement.
- We tested over 80 variables, including GIFs, buttons, subject lines, and a photo of kittens.

Major Gifts[edit]

- Major Gifts and Foundations exceeded annual goal of $8 million USD, raising roughly $9.3 million USD (final number pending)
- Highlights include: $200,000 donation from craigslist Charitable Fund and our ongoing relationship with Humble Bundle, who gave $136,952.43 in the second half of this fiscal year, bringing their total support lifetime to WMF to over $750,000. We are grateful for the gifts and support of all our major donors.

Endowment[edit]

- As announced, the Wikimedia Endowment was set up to provide a long term secure source of funding for the preservation of the online projects, even in the event the Wikimedia Foundation itself was unable to support the projects for whatever financial, legal or other reasons.
- Setup with a goal of raising $100 million in 10 years.
- Seeded with $5 million of WMF existing funds.
- First donation of less than $1 million made by software engineer Jim Pacha
- Second donation of $1 million made by Craig Newmark of Craigslist

Fundraising Report[edit]

Work has started on a fundraising report for the 2015/2016 Financial Year and can be expected to be completed before the end of September 2016.

Mid-December Campaign Update[edit]

The fundraising team is wrapping up the second week of the December campaign and we’d like to share an update with you--where we are, what we’ve changed, and what you can do to get involved.

WHERE WE ARE:

We’ve passed the halfway mark to the $25 million campaign goal. So far, we’ve raised roughly $18 million (a preliminary total that is quickly changing and has not been reconciled with official totals from the finance department). Banners are running on desktop and mobile devices. We are also sending emails to past donors asking if they would give again this year. We’re monitoring the trends daily and look forward to sharing a post-campaign analysis with you. We will post an update on when we will be able to end the campaign when we have a clearer picture.

WHAT WE’VE CHANGED:

Over the past several months, staff members and volunteers have provided both critical and generative feedback and new fundraising banner ideas. Their help has been very valuable. Many of these new messages have been tried in pre-campaign tests and in the last two weeks. Thank you to everyone who has shared their time and ideas! A few message highlights:

  • We are no longer using the line "keep Wikipedia online and ad-free." It has been changed to “keep our work going another year.”
  • New text in the current banner: “We believe that knowledge is a foundation. It is a foundation for human potential, for freedom, for opportunity. We believe everyone should have access to knowledge—for free, without restriction, without limitation.”
  • "We survive on donations" has been changed to "We're sustained by donations"
  • "Please help us end the fundraiser and get back to improving Wikipedia" has been changed to "Please help us end the fundraiser and improve Wikipedia."
  • We have removed the persistent reminder from large banners. The reminder is still included in the small banners, which is consistent with the same style banners from the 2013 and 2014 campaigns.
  • The coffee cup image has been removed from banners

We have also run some initial tests with new messaging that show encouraging results. We're still working on more messages and sorting out how we'll incorporate new ideas into the overall banner, but here are some sentences we’re testing:

  • “Wikipedia has become nothing short of a global public library.”
  • “We don’t run ads. We respect your privacy. We don’t sell your data.”
  • “Wikipedia exists to verify, protect, and share the combined knowledge of humanity.”
  • "There is nothing else on the internet like Wikipedia. We are a global information hub with 15 billion page views a month, written by a community of volunteers with a passion for knowledge."
  • "The information in Wikipedia is constantly growing, but we need your help to keep up with rapidly changing technology. Wikipedia is like a library or public park created by a passionate community."
  • "Wikipedia changes every second of every day. We just hit 5 million English articles, but we need to continually grow to serve our readers."
  • "Please become a volunteer or a donor to help end us the fundraiser and improve Wikipedia. Thank you."
  • With just a couple weeks left to go in 2015, the team is working hard to make improvements. We’d love your help.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED:

Thank you to everyone for your support and to the fundraising team for working so collaboratively and such long hours throughout this campaign. And thank you to all those that have given thus far. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 11:20, 17 December 2015 (UTC)

December 2015 Campaign Launch Update[edit]

We are just a few weeks away from the launch of the December English fundraiser. The end of the year is the most critical time of the year for Wikimedia’s fundraising: The goal this year is $25 million. The campaign will launch in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland on Giving Tuesday, December 1st.

In these past months of preparation, we have relied on feedback from the volunteer community, readers, and staff through discussion pages, feedback sessions, phone calls, interviews, user testing, surveys and A/B tests. Thank you to everyone for participating! It has truly been a helpful experience and wonderful to hear from so many voices from all different parts of the movement.

In just the last two weeks, an independent research firm conducted a new survey of Wikipedia readers. (You may remember that we did a similar survey last February.) We heard from you last spring that there were some additional concerns that you would like us to explore with readers. We tried to look into those concerns in this survey. We have uploaded the survey report on Commons for anyone who is interested in reading it. We have also setup a section on the talk page to discuss the survey.

The feedback from readers, the volunteer community and staff has been critical to shape the campaign. Several improvements have been made so far as a direct result of this input. We have changed a few specific sentences of the message that were discussed heavily on meta pages and also tried a variety of design ideas based on comments.

We also have some fresh banner ideas that came about through a recent workshop with staff. We will be testing those new banner ideas in small runs throughout the campaign as well. And we’re still gathering ideas! To see the latest version of the message and submit your ideas, please visit the fundraising ideas page.

Since last year, we have made improvements to our banner targeting and analytics systems with the goal of raising the budget, while limiting the number of banners and disruption for our readers. We aim to run the campaign for roughly two weeks at a high traffic level and then at a much reduced level for the rest of December.

The fundraising team faces a great challenge this year: the highest revenue target in WMF history along with a decline in page views – particularly in desktop pageviews where readers are more likely to donate. The team has and will continue to work hard to make improvements needed to reach this goal. We cannot do this alone. Thank you to everyone who has offered input, expertise, time and energy into helping make this fundraiser a success.

We look forward to your ideas and questions. Since the team experiences an incredibly high volume of seasonal work, we will not be able to respond immediately to questions or feedback. We will review feedback and bug reports regularly and we have dedicated time to post an update by mid-December and again at the end of the campaign. Here’s how to get involved:

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the campaign preparations. More importantly, thank you to the entire Wikimedia community for building this incredible project that readers love and support with their donations. None of this would be possible without you. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 09:57, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

2015-2016 Q1 Update[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation has just wrapped up the first quarter of the 2015-16 fiscal year. Over these past three months, the fundraising team has been running campaigns in Japan, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, Belgium and Luxembourg and prepared for the upcoming year-end English fundraising campaign. The online fundraising team missed the $6 million goal for the quarter due to postponing the Italy fundraiser to October to support the Wiki Loves Monuments campaign. We raised roughly $5.7 million in the first quarter of the year and plan to make up for the loss in the next quarter. The 2014-15 fiscal year fundraising report was also posted in this quarter. If you haven’t read it yet, please do check out the report for a wealth of information on the last fiscal year.

The team has used this first quarter to test a wide variety of brand new banners. From images, to banners highlighting photos from Commons, and different messages, we’ve found a few new ways to share the fundraising message with Wikipedia readers. With updated designs, we’ve ended the quarter with a banner that performs roughly 20% better than the best- performing banner from last quarter. Better performing banners are required to raise a higher budget with declining traffic. We’ll continue testing new banners into the next quarter and sharing highlights as we go.

The banner message has also been updated with suggestions from the Wikimedia community. Thank you to everyone who has suggested improvements so far! We have changed “We survive on donations averaging about $15” to “We are sustained by donations averaging about $15.” We’ve also changed “Please help us end the fundraiser and get back to improving Wikipedia” to “Please help us end the fundraiser and improve Wikipedia.” These message edits did not positively or negatively affect donations and were made in response to community feedback. In the past, we have also relied on community feedback to improve our campaigns. In the last year, community feedback has led to improvements to the usability of the close X icon and a new line to highlight the editing community, “Wikipedia is written by a community of volunteers with a passion for sharing the world’s knowledge.” All of these community suggestions remain in the banner. Another sentence that was briefly tested on a small percentage of users about a year ago that received negative community feedback was “If everyone reading this gave $3, we could keep it online and ad-free another year.” We did not end up using that sentence for the campaign and we commit to not using it in any future campaign. In the next quarter, we are planning many more message tests -- with both brand new ideas as well as smaller tweaks to the existing text. If you have an idea to test, please share on the 2015-16 test ideas page. Thanks again to everyone who has shared ideas so far.

This upcoming quarter will be our biggest of the year with campaigns in Italy, France, the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. The team is focused on providing the best donation invitation and experience possible to readers. We will be sharing plenty of more information about the upcoming campaigns over the next couple of months. Thank you for your support! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:52, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

2014-2015 Fundraising Report[edit]

FY1415WorldMapCover.png

The fundraising team is happy to share the report on the 2014-15 fiscal year fundraising. Please take a look at the report and we look forward to your feedback on the report talk page.

Thank you to Wikimedia volunteers, readers, donors, staff and fundraising team for making this the most successful year yet. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 01:28, 1 October 2015 (UTC)

2014-2015 Fiscal Year Wrap-up[edit]

We’ve just ended the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The fundraising team is preparing our annual fundraising report for the entire fiscal year (as we have posted in past years). We plan to have the report posted by the end of this quarter. In the meantime, here you have a few quick updates on the past quarter and some upcoming information on the new fiscal year.

Since the December 2014 English fundraising campaign, the team has been busy running campaigns in many countries and languages. In the past six months, we ran desktop, mobile, and email campaigns in Israel, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Latvia, Romania, and Slovakia.

As we enter a new fiscal year, we are preparing another round of country campaigns – kicking off with Japan in July. We have plenty of new ideas to try and throughout the year we will be running tests around the world to find new material to effectively and respectfully get our message across to readers, while also motivating them to become donors. The team is working on preparing brand new banner ideas to test (just to name a few ideas: short messages, long messages, infographics, images, new designs, new messaging, etc.) If you have any ideas, please do share them on the fundraising ideas page on meta. We look forward to finding new breakthroughs this year and sharing the highlights with you.

A very big thank you to the more than four million readers who donated to make the 2014-15 fiscal year the Wikimedia Foundation’s most successful fundraising year in history. Thank you to the fundraising team, volunteers, and staff for an incredible year. Looking forward to a new year and new discoveries. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:27, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Reader Survey on the December 2014 English Fundraising Campaign[edit]

The WMF commissioned a randomized survey of Wikipedia readers to study their opinion of the December 2014 English Fundraising Campaign. Signpost covered the results in a story in their March 11, 2015 issue.

Wikimedia 2014 English Fundraiser Survey

2014 Campaign Ends: Thank you for keeping knowledge free and accessible[edit]

Thank you to all Wikimedia supporters for your commitment to keeping knowledge free and accessible for the world. A blog post was published announcing the end of the 2014 fundraising campaign. Please check out the blog post for an update on the end of 2014 fundraiser.

December 15, 2014 Campaign Update[edit]

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 :)"

MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 00:44, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

2014 Big English Campaign Launch[edit]

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:problemsdonating@wikimedia.org

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: 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.

Thank you again for all your support now and throughout the year! --CCogdill (WMF) (talk) 20:22, 5 December 2014 (UTC)

2013-14 Report[edit]

Where our donations came from in 2013-14.

The Fundraising report for the 2013-14 fiscal year has been posted. Peter Coombe (Wikimedia Foundation) (talk) 13:06, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

2013 Campaign Wrap-up Update[edit]

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.

Meganhernandez (talk) 13:06, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Archive[edit]

For past updates, please see the 2013 updates page.


See also[edit]