Fundraising/2019-20 Fundraising ideas

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This page in a nutshell: This is a tracking page for Wikimedia-community specific and usable suggestions for the 2019-20 WMF fundraiser campaign. Not to be confused with Talk:Fundraising principles.

Welcome everyone to the Fundraising Ideas page!

Here's what you can do:

  1. Take a look at our existing banners and suggest an iterative change. These are the easiest to test. Think about:
    • Changes in style
    • New sentences or changes to sentences
    • New layouts
  2. Suggest something bold! These are more difficult and will take time to test since they require more planning, time and resources
    • New payment methods
    • New banner functionality

Current Control Banners[edit]

These banners are our current best. They are what we test our ideas against.

(Large banners are shown only once per browser/per app)
  • Desktop Large Banner: link
  • Desktop Small Banner: link
  • Mobile Large Banner: link
  • Mobile Small Banner: link

Social Media Ideas[edit]

Fundraising and Comms are looking for suggestions for social media. We want to get people talking about the Wikimedia Projects, why it's important, the impact it has and something ultimately developed with community members. What ideas have you got?

We need your help: Story Ideas[edit]

We want to hear stories that represent why Wikipedia is important for you and the world.

Template to use

====Story Suggestion====
* '''Username:''' ~~~
* '''Interface Email Link:''' [ Email me here]
* '''Your story:'''

Submit your story:[edit]

Story Suggestion[edit]

  • Username: User:Seddon
  • Interface Email Link: Email me here
  • Your story: Wikipedia enabled me to understand my fathers illness. It helped me to come to terms with something in a way no doctor ever could

Story Suggestion 2[edit]

  • Username: Daniele Pugliesi (talk)
  • Interface Email Link: Email me here
  • Your story: The perfect encyclopaedia? Read, click, and write it... That's not magic: it's Wikipedia!

Story suggestion 3[edit]

  • Username: James Salsman
  • Contact: User talk:James Salsman or email as below
  • Your story: As a prospective contributor, I would like to be asked for alternatives to a $3 cup of coffee as follows.
  • Recommended Fundraising Message Performance Indicators: (Context: "If everyone reading this gave $(total/175000) then we would have __goal__.")
    • $B to pay for server and support expenses necessary take a typical article to Start Class
    • $G to pay market rate for what it might cost to hire a commercial editor to draft a typical article in accordance with Good Article status
    • $W to pay for the server, database, and support staff necessary to add a multi-cognate word to Wiktionary
    • $C to commission a voice- and pronunciation remediation-enabled version of the Climate0 sustainability quest recommendation game in the 4+tolchirp instructional branching scenario content format
    • $V to commission a custom audio recording of a discussion about how Scooby, a talking dog, was right in front of the Mystery Machine team all the time, to be released under the CC-BY-SA-4 license on Wikimedia Commons
    • $L to commission twelve Amazon Mechanical Turk transcripts and one novel student audio recording attempt for a web pronunciation remediation system to be released under the Apache License 2.0 in Mozilla Common Voice (or at least linked from an issue in their GitHub.)
    • $P to convert one page of PHP to Python
    • $T to commission a zero pixel caller-pays (e.g. 1-900) Asterisk, Twilio, and/or Ringcentral telephony pronunciation remediation application
    • $A to commission a general pulseaudio-compatible speech recognition-based virtual assistant chatbot pronunciation remediation extension
    • $M to inform the Spoken Language Interest Group (SLIG) about new on-line cost-effective pronunciation remediation tools and opportunities to obtain them
    • $D to commission general diphone scoring and remediation responses for pronunciation remediation systems
    • $N to commission a general tone feature extraction system for an Indo-European pronunciation remediation system, to support Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese
    • $H to pay all Wikimedia Foundation server, hosting, and support expenses for one hour
    • $I to analyze the speech of one utterance with a web pronunciation assessment API.
  • Recommend also stating fine print, "Disclaimer: estimates based on incomplete information, e.g., globally international purchasing power parity conversions, so there is NO GUARANTEE OF ACCURACY," until such time as the Research Department fact-checks the estimate(s). If you email Jim at SpeakClearly dot info, or leave your estimate in a sub-bullet point below, I will use the median estimates unless I believe they may not be in their respective 95% confidence intervals. I will try to have first draft estimates up by December 3. James Salsman (talk) 06:52, 1 December 2019 (UTC)

We need your help: Face Banners[edit]

Template to use

====Face Photo====
* '''Username:''' ~~~
* '''Interface Email Link:''' [ Email me here]
* '''My face on Commons link:''' [ My face on commons]

Suggest here:[edit]

Face Submission[edit]

Wikimedia Conference 2016 – Thursday & Friday – 24.jpg

Face photo[edit]

We need your help: Favourite Commons photos[edit]

Template to use

====Photo Suggestion====
* '''Username:''' ~~~
* '''Interface Email Link:''' [ Email me here]
* '''My favourite Commons image:''' [[File:Food_Polarization-Dierking.jpg|none|200px]]

Suggest here:[edit]

Photo Suggestion[edit]

Montreal night view.jpg

Photo Suggestion 2[edit]

New Ideas[edit]

Country/Language specific test ideas[edit]

Feedback: Ideas that are culturally specific to a country or a language

More timely appeals based on the timing of each country's financial (fiscal) year[edit]

It is common for fundraisers to run one of their larger donation appeals for the year just before the end of a financial (or fiscal) year. Financial years differ across countries. For example, the financial year in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia are all different. Appeals by Wikipedia could be made more timely by targeting these countries just prior to the end of their financial year.

Wording of the banners/emails[edit]

Feedback: The language/text copy used in our appeals in both email and banners

LARGE DESKTOP BANNER WORDING CHANGES (with justifications below)[edit]

Idea 1

Hi reader in the U.S. Jimmy Wales here, founder of Wikipedia. 

Today I ask you to help prevent Wikipedia from losing its independence. We’re a non-profit that depends on donations to remain independent and ad free. Although our U.S. donors give an average of $15, only a tiny portion of our readers in the U.S. actually donate. As such, today I’m offering you a unique opportunity to make a difference to Wikipedia’s future. If you give $3, Wikipedia could thrive for years to come. The price of your morning coffee is all we need - if that’s too much, even a quarter will help. Time is running out in 2018 to help us so please consider a donation to prevent the loss of an ad-free, independent Wikipedia. Sincerely, Jimmy.    

Behavioural science concepts used:

  • Simplification: I’ve reworded and shifted sentences around to make it shorter (reducing it by about 30 characters) and easier to read for users. This is based on an established insight in psychology that reducing any friction or complexity will generally increase the occurrence of the desired behaviour.  
  • Personalisation: Research suggests that communication is more effective at motivating behaviour when it is personalised, as opposed to generic and bureaucratic. I have increased personalisation by using “I”, “we”, and “you” wherever possible; by referencing the users location twice (in the greeting and when providing the average donation for U.S. donors – note, the average and perhaps even the currency will change based on the location), the local currency (“even a quarter will help”), and making the tone more conversational.
  • Loss aversion: Research shows that People are motivated more by a potential loss than a potential gain – a concept called loss aversion. To take advantage of this phenomenon I have reworded some sentences to make this potential loss for salient. For example, “prevent Wikipedia from losing its independence” and “prevent the loss of an ad-free, independent Wikipedia”.
  • Every penny will count: Sometimes establishing - either deliberately or by accident – expectations of donation size we can crowd out people who want to donate lower amounts from giving. This can reduce the total amount donated. Research has shown that simply telling prospective donors that every penny/cent/quarter counts can increase the amount donated. This has been executed with the following line “if that’s too much, even a quarter will help”. Note this will need to be changed to fit each country’s currency (which also adds to the personalisation mentioned above).  
  • Unique opportunity bias: research shows that when people believe they have a unique opportunity they are more likely to take up that unique opportunity. As only 1% of Wikipedia readers donate, I’ve reframed the act of donation as a unique opportunity because it is. Not many people actually donate. This is done through this sentence: “As such, today I’m offering you a unique opportunity to make a difference to Wikipedia’s future”.
  • Use of bold text: research has shown that highlighting key messages (e.g. bolding or underlining) makes messages more persuasive. As such, I have underlined the “unique opportunity” sentence in anticipation of making the line more impactful. This technique – as you are well aware - can be used elsewhere as well.

Idea 2

Hi reader in the U.S. Jimmy Wales here, founder of Wikipedia. 

Today I ask you to help prevent Wikipedia from losing its independence. We’re a non-profit that depends on donations to remain independent and ad free. Although many recent donations from our U.S. readers have been over $30, only a tiny portion of our readers in the U.S. actually donate. As such, today I’m offering you a unique opportunity to make a difference to Wikipedia’s future. If you make a donation, Wikipedia could thrive for years to come. No donation is too small and even a quarter will help. Time is running out in 2018 to help us so please consider a donation to prevent the loss of an ad-free, independent Wikipedia. Sincerely, Jimmy.    

Behavioural science concepts used:

  • I have used all the techniques highlighted in idea 1 above  
  • Anchoring: an anchor is a piece of information someone sees that is then used to make subsequent judgments.
    • In the case of the large desktop banner, the line “We depend on donations averaging about $15” could be acting as an anchor, suggesting to users that donations should be around the $15 mark. However, the $15 anchor could be watered down by the second dollar-related statement: “If everyone reading this gave $3”.
    • In my second idea I have doubled the anchor to $30 and removed the low $3 anchor, replacing it with “No donation is too small and even a quarter will help”. This idea could be used to test any number of different anchor combinations

Idea 3

Hi reader in the U.S. Jimmy Wales here, founder of Wikipedia. 

Today I ask you to help prevent Wikipedia from losing its independence and to support our volunteers. Wikipedia volunteers work thousands of hours each year for free to ensure pages like the one you’re on now are reliable, unbiased and always improving. Although our U.S. donors give an average of $15, support is always needed to preserve Wikipedia’s independence. Today I’m offering you a unique opportunity to make a difference to Wikipedia’s future. If you give $3, Wikipedia could thrive for years to come. The price of your morning coffee is all we need - if that’s too much, even a quarter will help. Time is running out in 2018 to help us so please consider a donation to show your support for our hard-working volunteers. Sincerely, Jimmy.

Behavioural science concepts used:

  • I have used most of the techniques highlighted in idea 1 above  
  • Reciprocation: Wikipedia is made up of many thousands of active users who essentially work for free. Why not highlight the hours of voluntary work done by the community to increase donations. This idea is based on the principle of reciprocation – that people feel compelled to respond to positive actions (e.g. free editing of Wikipedia pages) with their own positive actions (e.g. donating to Wikipedia). I’ve tried to capture this with the following line
  • Social norms: Test the impact of removing the line “only a tiny portion of our readers in the U.S. actually donate”. Research from psychology shows that people tend to conform to the behaviour of others. One study found that simply telling hotel guests that most guests re-use their towels increased towel re-use among subsequent guests. Likewise, a sign trying to prevent the removal of petrified wood from a forest mentioned that “Many past visitors have removed petrified wood from the park” – this sign had the unintended consequence of increasing the removal of petrified wood. The line about small portion of donors could be acting in a similar way, unintentionally suggesting that most people don’t donate and, therefore, the person receiving the message shouldn’t have to donate either.


Feedback: Cookies, payment flows, central notice, banner targeting

  • Please measure the cost per dollar of,, and I predict all will cost less than Facebook which was measured in the past year, and I predict they will have relative values in that order. James Salsman (talk) 07:44, 5 November 2018 (UTC)
    Strongly disagree that this should be tested, just as the Facebook test should never have been done. We cannot rely on external advertisements for fundraising, for the same reason we can't profit from ads on the wikis themselves. It would be completely against Wikimedia principles to have something like that. --Yair rand (talk) 06:08, 27 November 2018 (UTC)
    The idea that we should refrain from measuring these seems strange, since it costs so little. I'm not suggesting to rely on external ads, so much as to include them in the toolbox of banners, email (which is an external service, too) and the like. I'd also really like to see what and can do, on a cost-of-donations basis, especially as the endowment grows. James Salsman (talk) 01:46, 13 December 2018 (UTC)


Feedback: Banner and Email design elements

Mobile advertisement[edit]

Copying my comment here from the message I sent to Wikimedia-l, per Seddon's suggestion:

Hey all,

I feel a little bad raising this because I know there was some community vetting of fundraising initiatives that I ignored, but please forgive me. I brought this up in the Wikimedia Weekly Facebook group asking where best to raise the issue, and it was suggested I post here.

I was looking something up on my phone just now, apparently not logged in to Wikipedia, and I discovered that mobile users in the US (and presumably elsewhere) are being shown enormous ads. It took four full page scrolls for me to reach the content of the article I was hoping to read. Even once I made it past the ads at the top of the page, I was greeted with a pop-in banner from the bottom of the page, as if I could possibly have not noticed the four pages of text asking me to donate. (Screenshots attached).

I understand that we need donations to keep the site running and all, but this seems excessive. I particularly worry for people who use assistive technology who are having to listen to or try to skip through four pages' worth of text-to-speech before they can get to what they want to know. The WMF needs donations, but I think we need to weigh the need for cash against the goal of providing free and accessible information to our readers. A couple of page scrolls might not seem like much, but I assume if they're off-putting to me (a reader with good vision and generally high tolerance for WMF money pleas) they'll be off-putting to others.

So much of this text could be cut out. I work for a marketing/sales company in a non-marketing role, and I've heard from colleagues that it's frustrating when people writing copy like this hear from people who are not educated about appealing to people, so I don't pretend to know better than you at the WMF or your consultants about how to write good donation copy. But to my (admittedly uneducated eye), copy like "It's a little awkward to ask you, this Friday, as we're sure you are busy and we don't want to interrupt you." and "We can't afford to feel embarrassed, asking you to make a donation—just like you should never feel embarrassed when you have to ask Wikipedia for information." seems like at best it's not adding anything besides more words to have to scroll past, and at worst it's pretty cringey to read. Are you really expecting people will read all four pages?

– Molly (GorillaWarfare)

I'm not going to upload the screenshots here because I'm not confident of copyright status, but they're visible at the Wikipedia Weekly thread ([1]) if you're a Facebook user. GorillaWarfare (talk) 12:30, 30 November 2018 (UTC)

Hey Molly,
Thank you for your feedback, it is really appreciated. There are a fair few points you’ve raised so I will do my best cover them all. For some background, mobile fundraising is vitally important. Desktop page views have been in decline for the past 2-3 years from 4.36 billion (Oct 2016) to 3.64 billion (Oct 2018). Likewise, the relative effectiveness of mobile as a fundraising platform has historically been substantially lower compared with desktop. So we’ve been working hard to ensure that as user behaviours shift. we are well prepared and that the future of the movement is safeguarded.
We show two types of banner to users on both desktop and mobile. The first banner is larger and shown only once to user in their browser followed by a second banner that is show to the user typically up to a maximum of 9 times and is substantially smaller.
Our mobile large banner changed last November from a splash style banner to the current text message style. Since then one of the things that has constantly surprised us, is that people seem to genuinely read the extra content. We’ve repeatedly tested over the past year removing content and every time, the shorter banners loose. Now this could just imply that it was length that was producing move effective banners. So we decided to confirm if people were actually reading our banners. We tested two banners of similar length, one with our best copy and one where we replaced some of the lower paragraphs with copy that had historically lost out in previous testing. Our best copy won and confirmed that people are actually invested in reading our banners. So the copy is long and we are continuing to try and shorten it, but we genuinely believe its not just impactful but of genuine value to our readers and donors.
When we implemented this style of banner we made sure to add a toolbar to the top that enabled users to skip straight to the article. You mentioned on facebook that you didn’t notice that we will look to see if we can make the toolbar a little more visible to users.
Regarding the bottom red banner, that is something that was retained from previous versions of this banner. We actually have just instrumented our banners so that we could track the effectiveness. We got data that this additional call to action was not performing as originally expected, most likely due to the format of the banner having changed since last year. We re-tested removing this and the effect was minimal and so we have removed this in our large banner on the first impression.
We completely agree that it’s vitally important to ensure our readers who use assistive technologies are supported and we are going to look at how we can improve our banner content to ensure compatibility and provide a good experience including improving descriptions, providing better descriptions and maybe look at suppressing some content for screen readers to reduce some of the impact for them.
I will copy this to your cross post on wiki too :) Thank you again for your feedback, genuinely appreciated and the fundraising team are actively acting on it.
Seddon (WMF) (talk) 23:06, 30 November 2018 (UTC)

Communication to community[edit]

Feedback: Community communication, involvement and engagement

Accept payments through the Brave Rewards system[edit]

Becoming a Brave verified publisher would allow users of the Brave web browser to contribute funds easily and painlessly. At the moment, it is also cost free to potential donors, because Basic Attention Tokens are granted free from the User Growth Pool. This happens when a user enables Rewards for the first time in their browser, and grants of more tokens are offered to active users from time to time.

Updated Jimbo message[edit]

There is an opportunity here to update this statement and mention the Wikimedia movement as a whole, alongside the other Wikimedia projects. Mention that the Wikimedia movement originated with Wikipedia, but has since grown substantially, and that not only is there a free encyclopedia, but also free image and other media repositories (Commons), free dictionaries (Wiktionary), free repositories of historically important sources (Wikisource), free knowledge databases (Wikidata), free tree of life projects (Wikispecies), and the like.

Likewise, a statement that funding doesn't only go for tech and keeping things running, but also towards [insert a couple of strategic goals], including collaborations with GLAM, outreach, helping Wikimedia chapters, or whatever else it is you do with that $100M you get.

This would also apply during the banner design state of fundraising campaigns.

Headbomb (talk) 14:15, 2 December 2019 (UTC)

+1 it feels like we should be highlighting spending money on communities doing outreach and education on the ground.Sadads (talk) 14:32, 2 December 2019 (UTC)