Fundraising 2007/Why Give blog/Where'd My Money Go?
Maybe you're thinking of donating to the Wikimedia Foundation. We're glad that you think that, and glad that you're reading on to find out more about the spending of the Foundation. The projects that Wikimedia hosts are very appreciative of the Wikimedia Foundation for being so open about their budgets and most internal going-ons in the Foundation.
As documented on the Foundation's website, most of our spending goes toward technology, which keeps Wikipedia, Wikinews, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, and Wikiversity online.
Next, we come to Finance and Administration. Wikipedia isn't entirely kept online by volunteers. There are several paid staff members who work behind the scenes to make sure Wikipedia is running as up-to-date as possible, and that you can see it wherever you are, whenever you want, and however you want.
Part of that is our management staff, which includes the Office of the Executive Director, the Wikimedia Foundation's on-planet headquarters for handling private requests, and managing everything in the cyber-world. This office will be moved to San Fransisco in the upcoming year. Therefore, some extra funding was needed for this, since nothing can be edited in the real world as it can in Wikipedia. If that were true, there would have to be a lot more admins :-).
Next up, is Program Services. Wikipedia has partnerships around the world, some of which cost money, and some of which are free. This category, in other companies, would be referred to as Public Relations. For example, some of our Wikipedia Academies cost money (i.e. renting a location, providing internet access, etc.). Special Consultant Sue Gardner explained it a lot better than I could on this page.
Another interesting point is our legal department, headed by Mike Godwin. The Wikimedia Legal Department defends Wikipedia from lawyers that want to sue us blind. The Wikimedia projects are live, and some small edits can go unnoticed for long periods of time, resulting in the Chris Benoit controversy, and the Seigenthaler controversy.
Part of the Foundation's organizational structure is the Board of Trustees. This group controls the Foundation's direction by creating resolutions, and helping the Wikimedia communities grow as large as they can. The Foundation's activities can be openly tracked on their Website. The Foundation is very open about their activities. Sometimes the Board needs additional funding for travel to meetings, and for other Wikimedia-related expenses. Some funding is reserved specifically for this purpose to avoid last-minute panic.
The Wikimedia community annually hosts a conference, known formally as the International Wikimedia Conference, but unofficially as Wikimania. This year, Wikimania will be held in Alexandria, Egypt. The Wikimedia Foundation gives some funding to the Wikimania conference team each year to help with expenses. This funding is reserved for this purpose to ensure that the conference planning and execution goes smoothly.
Finally, the Communications category provides money for the Foundation's office communications, as well as other things that relate the the Foundation's communication. For example, we pay for a secure server for our OTRS system (email support/handling system).
We hope that this encourages you to donate, and thanks again for reading.