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Hardware donation program

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki


This page describes a hardware donation program by the Wikimedia Foundation, with instructions on how to apply.

Approximate number of available laptops as of October 2023:
Next likely distributions of laptops:
Wiki Indaba 2023 (Agadir); Wikimedia Summit (Berlin)

About the program[edit]

In the course of its office operation, the Wikimedia Foundation regularly depreciates hardware assets and is interested in donating the hardware, still in good condition and usable for another few years, to its volunteer communities to help with mission-aligned work. The laptops are generally between 4 and 6 years old. New equipment is not available through this program.

The donated hardware is provided with a fresh installation of Ubuntu Linux, and a universal power adapter, to ensure it is usable by the recipient.

Below are a set of distribution criteria and process for this program.

The IT and Finance related processes are internal, and not documented here. This page describes who can receive donated hardware, and how.



To request hardware, applicants (including applicants representing groups or affiliates) must satisfy the following criteria:

  • applicant(s) must have a record of contribution to Wikimedia projects of no less than 1 year and no less than 1000 contributions across all projects. This is meant to ensure we give hardware to people with some proven commitment to our mission. It is a necessary but not sufficient criterion, and no number of contributions would guarantee receiving an asset.
  • applicant must agree to identify themselves to the Wikimedia Foundation, and to sign a brief agreement stating the intent of the donated hardware.
  • applicant cannot be a citizen of Iran, or appear in the United States Treasury's blacklist ("Specially Designated Nationals"). This is unfortunately imposed on the Wikimedia Foundation as a United States non-profit, and is not a Wikimedia decision.

Additional considerations[edit]

The following considerations would increase (but not guarantee) the likelihood of donating equipment to the applicants:

  • Applicants from low-income countries. No individual proof of income would be required or considered.
  • Applicants able to demonstrate accountable group ownership of hardware, e.g. a Wikimedia affiliate with adequate, public, and explicit procedures for determining allocation of hardware within the group.
  • Applicants with a successful record of putting Wikimedia Foundation resources (e.g. grants, scholarships) to impactful use.



Apply for a laptop by typing your exact username in the edit box and pressing the Request a laptop button below, and then filling out the simple on-wiki form.

Once submitted, your request may be endorsed by other volunteers, and feedback on the request may be posted on the request talk pages. However, feedback would not always be actively sought, and no particular time frame would be reserved for feedback before a decision would be made.

If the inputbox below doesn't work for you, create a page manually named Hardware donation program/YOUR_USERNAME (with your own user name instead of "YOUR_USERNAME"), and paste into it the entire contents of this page and save. Then you can edit the resulting page.


  • A program officer from the Community Development (CD) Team at the Wikimedia Foundation (currently Asaf Bartov) reviews requests as time permits, on a relaxed schedule (probably no more than once a month) and makes decisions.
  • Requests may be declined or approved; in case of doubt, the program officer may request additional information from the applicant, and the request would be re-evaluated in the next evaluation cycle. The decision is made by the CD program officer, and may not be appealed.
  • If a request is deemed valid, feasibility will be assessed (how easy/convenient/even possible) it is for the potential recipient to receive the hardware. If it is deemed infeasible, the request would be declined.
  • Once a request is approved, the decision would be recorded publicly, and the applicant would be sent the agreement letter to sign.
  • Requests may be reviewed even when there is no equipment available for donation, on the understanding that approved donations would be fulfilled once additional depreciated equipment becomes available, according to the WMF's Office IT (OIT) team's schedule.


Once the agreement letter is signed, the program officer would coordinate specific arrangements with the applicant over a private channel on how to deliver the equipment. Once a suitable mode of delivery is determined, the CD officer would contact OIT to receive the hardware, and proceed to deliver it as agreed.

  • To keep costs down, equipment would most often be delivered as opportunity permits by staffers agreeing to serve as couriers and carry the equipment with them on a trip where they would meet the applicants (e.g. Wikimania, Wikimedia Conference, regional conferences), or their compatriots (if they'd agree to deliver the equipment to the applicants by prior arrangement).
  • shipping the equipment may be considered if costs are quite low and the risk of customs delays or additional fees is known to be low.
  • the staffer would only bring the equipment to the international meeting if the applicant (or delegate of theirs) is known to be attending, i.e. has secured a visa and has a booked flight ticket.
  • All this means that it is entirely possible very deserving requests would not be fulfilled because it would be prohibitively expensive to get the equipment physically delivered.


Upon delivery of the equipment, applicants would confirm receipt of the equipment publicly, on the wiki page of the request. Once confirmed, the donation is considered effected, and closed.  Recipients of donated hardware are encouraged, but not required, to record the use the hardware is put to, on the request page, or in blogs or social media posts, linked from the request page.

Such documentation can be motivating for other volunteers to request hardware, and for the WMF Office IT team to continue putting in the work to prepare and provide this hardware.

Current donation requests[edit]

Open requests[edit]

Draft requests[edit]

Approved requests not yet delivered[edit]

Past donation requests[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2016–2017[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2017–2018[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2018–2019[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2019–2020[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2020–2021[edit]

No pages meet these criteria.

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2021–2022[edit]

No pages meet these criteria.

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2022–2023[edit]

Donated hardware in fiscal year 2023–2024[edit]

Design principles[edit]

In order of importance:

Principle #1: This program must be very low-cost, in both funds expenditure and staff time investment.

Principle #2: The goal is to get hardware in the hands of people who need it and who are very likely to use it to further the Wikimedia mission.

Principle #3: To the maximal practical degree, distribution should be fair. This does not guarantee anyone in particular receipt of hardware, but aims at equitable opportunities to be considered for hardware gifts, always respecting principles #1 and #2.

Principle #4: The program is not designed to meet short-term needs on any kind of deadline. If equipment is needed for a project with firm deadlines, it should be requested in the context of one of the existing grant programs. Due to principle #1, even if a donation is approved, there is no guarantee regarding the time and mode of delivery of the hardware.


See also[edit]