Talk:Fundraising/2018-19 Fundraising ideas

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Analogous guidelines[edit]

While not directly applicable to the WMF (except insofar as it does appeal for funds in the UK), there might be some good ideas in the Code of Practice of the UK Institute of Fundraising [1]. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:58, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Please be respectful of traditional conventions regarding mourning and grief[edit]

Hi folks, as per the comment on the Signpost article, please be respectful of traditional conventions regarding mourning and grief in your design choices.

You do good work, and am glad you are taking input as people's reactions to text and design vary greatly. I hope you can find solutions that deliver the results you need without making large numbers of people upset. I would urge you to take an extra look at the input where people say they are concluding that the organization is somehow deceptive, manipulative, or immoral, as public confidence in the integrity of a volunteer-based organization is one of the keys to its survival.

Several people have asked me in person over the years whether the organization is experiencing a financial crisis, not based on a close reading of fundraising appeals, but rather on the general impression they received overall from our banners. This has to do with the language itself-- which I see you continuing to adjust-- and how it plays with the graphic content around it.

This particular organization delivers good value to the public, so it should be possible to come up with fundraising appeals that maintain a straightforward, above-board sort of tone. --Djembayz (talk) 21:34, 19 October 2015 (UTC)

To clarify - are you referring to the colour of the banner - black? I agree that it's an unnecessarily 'scary' looking banner that is 'suitable for times of disaster' (as the comment on the talkpage that you linked to says), but are you suggesting that black is a colour that shouldn't be used as a general principle because it is associated with a particular thing for some people (the assassinations of American political leaders is the example you gave on that page). I'd counter by saying that every colour is going to be associated with something negative for some individual/groups. To continue your example - white is associated with death and mourning in Chinese culture, and purple is associated with it in Thai culture... Wittylama (talk) 18:24, 22 October 2015 (UTC)

Archive[edit]

  • "Wikipedia doesn't have ads - we're a charity sustained by your donations."
Thank you for the test suggestion! We have tested a version of the "sustained" sentence in a test a few days ago. We didn't test the exact sentence above to keep the message length consistent with our existing banner. The two sentences tested were "We survive on donations averaging about $15" and "We’re sustained by donations averaging about $15." The wording tweak didn't make a noticeable difference, so we'll switch to "sustained by donations" in our control message. Thanks again for the idea & please do keep ideas coming. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 13:28, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
"We get by on donations averaging about $15." Andreas JN466 09:58, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
"Please take one minute to keep our work going for another year." Andreas JN466 09:58, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
@MeganHernandez (WMF): Any updates on this? In particular, have you tested the second one of these ("Please take one minute to keep our work going for another year")?Andreas JN466 09:23, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
Hi there, we have tested a similar version (to control for word length). We tried "Please take one minute to keep it online and growing." We didn't get enough data in that first test, so will be testing again. We have a few high priority payment method tests lined up and limited testing space since we are not currently running the main English campaign. We'll post back in a few weeks with some news on this test. Thanks for posting the idea! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 00:13, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Megan, could you please test a version that does not contain the wording "keep it online", but refers instead to the foundation's actual work, as I suggested over a month ago above? What critics have alleged is that your fundraising success seems to hinge on introducing the notion that Wikipedia might go offline (or be forced to introduce advertising) if people do not donate (if I am asked to donate to keep something online, the implication is that it might go offline if I and others do not donate). Testing a wording that does not include that threat will make clear whether the donations are driven by the panic factor (Wikipedia might go offline!) or by readers' gratitude and generosity (in which case there is no need to frighten them). Andreas JN466 08:07, 3 October 2015 (UTC)
+1 to Andreas's suggestion. The only additional comment I have is that the response you get depends on the rest of the text, too, so it's good if we are clear what the rest of the text is. --LZia (WMF) (talk) 23:48, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
Good point, I've added the current fundraising message to the top of this page. Yes, we are preparing many brand new messages as well as variations on this line. We include a sentence in the beginning of the message that makes it clear we're not threatening to run ads, "To protect our independence, we'll never run ads." More message tests are on the way, but we are not able to test all message ideas right away since we are not currently running an English campaign. I am looking forward to the new messages very much! Thank you for sending feedback and new ideas, it's really helpful. I'll post back with more updates on the message tests and please send any new ideas as they come up. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
  • User-stories in banner message
  • Along the line of Andreas's suggestions: I'd like to suggest that we test a series of light-weight calls for donations, even things that are a bit playful and not very serious/heavy. These are just examples to give you an idea about what I'm thinking about: imagine an xkcd character that leads us to a donation button or an xkcd story about donation to Wikimedia/Wikipedia (if the creators are willing to offer such a thing, and I'm happy to be the person reaching out to them and see if this is viable). Or, imagine a little bee going from the left-hand-side of the page to the right-hand-side (in left-to-right languages), leading the eyes of the reader to a donation button. These will be the kind of messages people can look forward to see every year, think Google Doodles but you can only see it once a year. You feel almost lucky to see one. This needs design help, and again, I'm happy to have a chat with some of our designers to see if they'd like to help. Of course, what I'm saying here is something that the rest of the community may not like, so I'm putting it here for discussion and I'm open to hearing feedback from everyone. --LZia (WMF) (talk) 23:48, 7 October 2015 (UTC)
I like the idea of using some light hearted donation asks as well. We have actually worked with xkcd in a past campaign where the dog grew larger as the donations came in. It was a lot of fun and although we didn't use it for a full campaign, it was still a great collaboration and creative addition to our fundraising. We are playing around with some other humor based and pretty different ideas, thanks you for sending more. I'll share those with the team and look forward to hearing feedback from others as well.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
These are excellent ideas that are worth pursuing. --Andreas JN466 12:58, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
Quick follow up note to Andreas, we've used your suggestion and updated the message to say "Please take one minute to keep our work going for another year." Thank you for sharing that idea! You can see the latest banner changes in the Mid-December Campaign Update on meta

Spendeneu.jpg

+1. This banner proposal from 2011 makes me laugh :-) Maybe not mainstream enough, but for inspiration... --Atlasowa (talk) 16:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
hmmm. But he doesn't do your homework, does he, Atlasowa?! ;-) The cool thing about it is that it's light-hearted so I wouldn't take the message literally. :). --LZia (WMF) (talk) 16:53, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
Actually, maybe you could add a speedy-deletion animation to banners? Then replace it with a quality-warning-template ("neutrality", "peacock terms"?), followed by an edit-war animation, including fake colorful notification popups etc. OK, does anyone understand what i mean? ;-) (Get some british designers, they are born with selfdeprecating humour it seems) --Atlasowa (talk) 16:07, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Now that User:VGrigas_(WMF)'s "#edit2015" is published - would it be possible to use it in the fundraising campaign? It is the kind of "uplifting" content that people have been suggesting for fundraising content (not the doom-and-gloom style banner). I understand that there would be problems with both a) clickthrough rates dropping after watching a video and b) unsupported media formats for some browsers.... So maybe it can be used within the "thank you" page after donation, as part of the "call to action" asking donors to spread the word? It would seem a shame if all the effort to raise awareness for what cool things we've been doing over the year (in the video) and all the effort to raise awareness of the needed money to continue to do cool things next year (the fundraiser) are not working in tandem somehow. Wittylama (talk) 12:57, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
Hi Wittylama, I love the video and I also really like the idea of connecting it with fundraising. Last year, we sent emails to past donors with the #edit2014 video. We also included the video in the fundraiser thank you banner that ran in January. I don't think we'll redo either of those exactly this year, but we are looking into how to share the video with readers and donors. To start, we have a new email batch lined up to send with the video. Thanks and congrats to User:VGrigas_(WMF) for another great video this year :) MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 22:35, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Help support the one endeavor on the planet the proves that is is possible for the human family to cooperate across the "borders", "divisions", and "barriers" that typically divide us to create something that benefits the entire planet.Unicorn46 (talk) 17:41, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

Country Specific[edit]

  • A reformulation of User:Nemo bis's suggestion from Talk:Fundraising#Apparent_latest_banners: if you insist on using the 'price of cost of a cup of coffee' slogan, then please change not only the amount you're asking (a coffee doesn't cost the same everywhere) but also the image used. The one used in your banner test screams either "takeaway from starbucks" or "plastic mug with 'sippy' lid". That might work in the USA, but elsewhere it has the feel of "America fast food chain" or "something you give to an infant so they don't spill over themselves" - neither of which is a visual identity you want to associate with the brand... Wittylama (talk) 00:21, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
That's a great idea, the fundraising testing team has also been talking about alternate photos and images (worldwide as well as country specific versions). We haven't tested all options yet, but will send a note when we test this. Thanks for posting! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:26, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
We have tested a variety of graphic coffee cup images as well as photos of coffee cups in Italy, France, and the US. The current version of the banner uses a photo of a coffee cup. Thanks for the suggestion!
Adjust the amount asked for according to local currency exchange. "donations averaging about $15." this is translated to "donations averaging about £15." which is incorrect, it should be £10. People in Britain are being asked to pay 30% more than Americans. 87.102.44.18 15:42, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Hi there, we do actually use localized amounts in our banners and our current average amount in Britain is £10. Would you happen to have a link to the banner where you saw £15? Thank you for your valuable suggestions and feedback. JRobell (WMF) (talk) 15:55, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

I agree with "if you insist on using the 'price of cost of a cup of coffee' slogan, then please change the amount you're asking (a coffee doesn't cost the same everywhere)". For example, in Hungary from 3 USD you can buy at least 3 cups of coffee. It's misleading. Anyway it depends on where you buy the coffee. One cup means you live in a 5-star luxury hotel. It's irritating. --Misibacsi (talk) 14:06, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

  • In Switzerland, where French is one of the national languages, the fundraising banner begins with To all readers in France and then suggests donating Swiss Francs (CHF). This is really saddening. --VHF (talk) 17:44, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Language[edit]

  • Be clear about the target fundraising goal so that it's clear when it is reached and how close/far we are to reaching it. Last year there was a "stretch goal" which was not indicated in the published fundraising target (correct me if I'm wrong). This year there is also a "stretch goal" that is not included in the WMF Annual Plan in the "total" column (but rather, separated out as a side-note). If you only publish the formal "fundraising goal" in your communications to the donating public, then when you come to (hopefully) being able to reach the "stretch goal" it looks like your original target was disingenuous. Also, fewer people are going to be feeling keen on donating if they know you've already reached your target and are now donating to the surplus. So... instead of referring to it as a "annual plan target (+ stretch goal)", instead I would recommend calling those combined amounts the "fundraising target" and then mark the annual plan goal as an important milestone within that total goal. It's legally/technically the same thing, but looks more honest :-) See also this highly related comment. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • We are working on a fundraising report for the fiscal year where we will include the donation totals for the year. We are absolutely dedicated to being transparent about the funds we raise each year. It is going to be a difficult fundraising year because overall traffic (desktop +mobile combined) is down. We have a plan to reach the annual plan target of $68.2 million and are working toward that goal. The stretch goals could potentially be a discussion we have in the Spring, if we are able to reach the goal early. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:18, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • So, you're saying that $68.2M will be the target for the main fundraiser at the end of the year, and the "stretch goal" component will be a separate campaign a few months into 2016? If so, then you're going to have to be suuuuuper clear about why you're now asking for MORE money, having run the largest-ever WMF-fundraiser only 3 months earlier... In fact, this is basically the opposite of my suggestion about being up-front about how much you're hoping to raise since you're going to be publicising two different "targets" within the same year. Further, since it's a "stretch goal" it would be even-more-disengenuous-than-usual if you ran banners that sound financially-desperate, threaten ads next year, imply that 'only just enough people donate' etc. because you'll be literally asking for "spare" money, beyond what the budget calls for. Wittylama (talk) 00:39, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Please please please don't use language that threatens advertising if this fundraiser isn't successful. Saying "Wikipedia doesn't have ads - we're a charity sustained by your donations." is quite emotionally different from "keep us online and ad-free for another year" (which was the phrase used in 2014/15). Both are grammatically and legally the same but have a big difference in how they're perceived. It's probable that the more threatening one gets a higher donation-rate, but "threatening ads" and "threatening that we don't have enough money to keep the lights on" are the single biggest pain-points expressed by the community every year. Often, some community members even consider this to be outright lying. It would go a long way to rebuilding trust if these more 'extreme' phrases were avoided since we're the ones who have to defend them when our family/friends ask us if 'wikipedia is going to have ads next year'. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
I’m up for new messaging tests this year. Definitely. I added a section to the top of this page for test suggestions and stuck your line there. WMF is very fortunate to have supportive readers. It really is reader donations that keep us online and ad-free. Long ago, WMF decided to ask for donations, instead of running ads. It is a reason why people need to donate to Wikipedia. There are plenty of free sites on the Internet but they are supported by ads. Reader donations do more than just keep us online and ad-free. In the past year, we have added lines to the message to talk about more parts of the project (costs, programs, and the community volunteers sharing the world’s knowledge.) We aim to find more ways to educate our readers about more parts of the project, in a way that’s also powerful for raising the budget. Other suggestions to try? Will you add them to the top of the page in the test suggestions section? MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:18, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • You seem to be deliberately avoiding the point of my suggestion here... I said "Please please please don't use language that threatens advertising if this fundraiser isn't successful" and elaborated on what this means in both language-terms and principle-terms and your reply focuses on being willing to test different banner messages. Of course you're going to test different banners this year - A/B testing banners is a major component of the fundraising teams' job. My point is about NOT even testing banners that threaten advertising. By saying that I should suggest different banners both avoids the point and reverses the burden of responsibility. Wittylama (talk) 00:21, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. I think you are referring to language about "keeping Wikipedia ad-free." We have taken that language out of the banner. --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 08:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
So, "keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free" is a really, really bad reason to ask readers for more money this year. Because it has in all honesty nothing to do with what you are wanting the money for. You have enough money in the bank right now to pay internet hosting at the current rate until the year 2040. Andreas JN466 10:05, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions. Here is the language we are now using to summarize costs: "If Wikipedia is useful to you, please take one minute to keep it online and growing. We're a small non-profit with costs of a top website: servers, staff and programs." --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 08:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the update, Lisa, that's much better. I saw that the German banners currently running invite people "to give something back to Wikipedia" if they find the site useful. That too feels like a very appropriate wording. Thanks again! Andreas JN466 17:08, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Please don't use language that is culturally-specific. I'm referring to the "$2 cup of coffee" banners from last year in particular. I saw these in Europe as "2Euro cup of coffee" even though Euros and US dollars are not the same - and there is a great diversity of the cost of a cuppa across countries. Equally "a cup of coffee" isn't a universal measure of something-that-people-would-buy-daily. Making these kind of culturally-tied statements and then displaying them globally opens you up very quickly to claims of cultural insensitivity and silicon-valley mindset. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree. We work with local volunteers and translators across the world to make the message culturally relevant. One big benefit of spreading out the country campaigns across the year is that we can focus on localizing the content for one specific country/language at a time. That coffee line often comes up while working with translators. In a recent banner test we ran in Japan, we tested the concept of 'one coin price', referring to the 500 yen coin. The concept of the 'one coin price' is commonly used in Japan to refer to a small amount of money. I’m not sure where in Europe you saw the banner, but please do give us some ideas for what would do better where you are located (or for any country you know). I’ve also added an area in the test ideas section above for country/language specific ideas.
Along with messaging and translation variations, we also run localized testing for ask amounts, currency, and payment methods. We are always in need of translators / localization help. If you’re interested in helping out, please see the fundraising translation page or get in touch directly with Jessica Robell.
  • That's pretty neat about the "one coin price" story. If you're genuinely running different banners in different cultures to indicate a culturally appropriate concept for "small amount of money" then it would be super useful to document that somewhere on one page. Furthermore, it would be super-useful to differentiate the item/metaphor based not only on language, but also on country - you're already differentiating the currency based on the country, so changing the metaphor at the same time is technically feasible. Documenting this idea on one place would have two advantages: 1) it would make it easier for you to counter criticism of being culturally insensitive if you can easily demonstrate the dozen different culturally-appropriate metaphors you're working with and A/B testing. 2) It makes for an easy way (and obvious location) for you to ask for community assistance in providing culturally-appropriate metaphors for "small amount of money". Wittylama (talk) 00:31, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I can confirm that we do test out different banners in different countries with regards to the ‘a cup of coffee’ line, and also other culturally or country specific concepts. To give you more examples, we tested the concept of a ‘coffee and pastry’ in Israel, something that a is common in Israeli cafes, ‘um lanche’ similar to a snack (a soda and an empanada for example) in Brazil recently etc etc. We will look into how we can document and communicate highlights around those tests and ideas. I kindly ask you to keep in mind that we are a small team though and will not be able to report the results of every test and thank you for being patient. Also, as mentioned in my answer below, we are looking to find ways to communicate with a larger audience of community members around localization, translation and fundraising related topics. As a first step, we will add a sign-up form and more background information on our current translation page. More to come on this shortly. In the meanwhile, those who are interested in contributing with feedback are most welcome to contact me directly on my talk page. Thank you! JRobell (WMF) (talk) 13:40, 31 August 2015 (UTC)


  • As a follow up, I would like to inform you that a localization section has been added to our fundraising translation page. Those who are interested in providing feedback and answering questions regarding localization are encouraged to fill out this quick form, to become part of a list of 'local experts'. Please feel free to send this form around to friends and contacts who might be interested in signing up. Also, any country specific ideas for the equivalent of a "small amount of money" are highly appreciated and most welcome here Thank you! JRobell (WMF) (talk) 15:28, 22 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Please don't imply that fundraising is something that has to be endured or that it negatively affects Wikipedia's content. For example, "Please help us forget fundraising and get back to improving Wikipedia" (the final sentence of the email campaign last year. This not only reinforces the us/them mentality in the community about how we related to the fundraising department, but this sentence also implies that because of the fundraiser the number of people/activities relating to improving the quality/diversity of content on Wikipedia has been reduced. "let us get back to [it]" means that you're not doing something that you would otherwise be doing - but that is not the case (both because WMF doesn't create the content and because the fundraising team weren't seconded from other departments to run the fundraiser). Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)]
  • Again, we’re open to trying other message suggestions. That specific line has been included and eliminated from fundraising messages over the past of couple years. The line is in no way meant to create any us/them sentiment and is not directed at the volunteer community. The idea here is to ask the reader community to support us to get the fundraiser wrapped up quickly and back to regular, banner-less Wikipedia. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:18, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • If it's about getting back to a banner-less Wikipedia, then say that. Creating a false impression in readers' minds that people who'd normally be working on Wikipedia improvements are prevented from doing so because they're tied down with fundraising jobs isn't right. This applies in particular to the thousands of unpaid volunteers who add and check content and fight vandalism every day of the year. They're not prevented from doing that work by your fundraising effort; nor are the funds you collect being collected for their benefit. Andreas JN466 10:25, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Pretty much what Andreas said.... Your response here is like the one above about 'threatening ads'. Rather than addressing the point about using certain types of phrases, you say we should suggest other options. This both avoids the point and reverses the burden of responsibility. What I'm saying is that regardless of what banners you test, please don't write them in a way that implies that the actual work of improving Wikipedia has stopped because of the fundraiser or that the people who are actually doing that work will directly benefit from the money. Yes, the editors benefit in an indirect way - through the WMF's continued existence, software development, and through various kinds of grants - but once we're up to the "final $10M" of the fundraiser then that money will make no discernible difference to the community. Wittylama (talk) 00:48, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for all your comments. Update: the sentence has been updated to ""Please help us end the fundraiser and improve Wikipedia." MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 19:48, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Please don't imply desperation by using words like "just enough" or "survive". These sit somewhere between 'bare-faced lying' and 'stretching the truth for dramatic effect'. The problem that the community (and myself) has with these kinds of phrases is that we have built Wikipedia as a place where people can trust what they read to be neutral, factually accurate, and free of people trying to 'spin' the words. In fact, that sense of trustworthiness of what we say is what gives our brand such power and goodwill (and thereby, willingness to donate in the first place). So, while I understand the value of having a sense-of-urgency in the fundraising message, when we taint that core value of neutrality with hyperbole in our own fundraising messages, the community feels dirty and we're possibly harming the brand in the long run. Phrases like "we survive on..." would be appropriate if income was stagnant and we starting to cut programs, but isn't honest when the budget is growing by a sizeable % year-on-year. It's also a tautology that "just enough people donate each year" because we control the amount that we set as a target, and the length of time we run banners for. There is no way that this phrase wouldn't be true, regardless of the amount we receive.
  • Echoing Wittylama's comments, please be more clear and up-front, both in the banner and in emails to donors, about the actual work you are doing with this money: optimising Wikipedia software, funding chapters, etc. Avoid any phrases that could encourage the false impression that the Wikimedia Foundation is responsible for writing or checking Wikipedia content.
In the 2014/2015 thank you e-mail, donors were told, "Each year, just enough people donate to keep the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone [...] thank you for keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free this year."
In fact, 2014–2015 revenue (projected to be $75.4 million) marked a 43% increase over the year prior, and a fifteenfold increase over revenue in 2007–2008 (see figures here). Paid staff at the Foundation has ballooned from a dozen to several hundred over the same period, with most of the growth focused on the software engineering department, which now has paid professionals doing the sort of work volunteers did for free in the early days.
By no stretch of the imagination can the Wikimedia Foundation be truthfully said to be "surviving", and to have had "just enough people" donating "to keep Wikipedia online and ad-free". Please do not use such wordings again. Andreas JN466 13:15, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
yes, appeal to fear, is not as good as appeal to pride: "thanks to your previous support, wikimedia has grown in its mission to make freely available the sum of all knowledge;" "thanks to your support, we may end our fundraising early", "thanks to your support, wikimedia remains the only ad-free top 5 website" &c. Slowking4 (talk) 16:57, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
These are great suggestions. We no longer say "survive on donations." Instead, we say that we are "sustained" by reader donations, which was a suggestion from a community member. --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 08:49, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Design[edit]

  • Don't make the banners animated, or "sticky" so they follow you down the screen as you scroll. Enough said. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • With any significant banner change, we run user tests, A/B tests, and also closely monitor feedback channels to gauge how people react to new changes. We are committed to continuing this research as we come up with new banner ideas to test. (For more on the research performed and feedback channels please see the April 2015 metrics report.)
Banners from the last two years have included variations of a small “reminder tab” either on the side, corner, or top of the page. We received a lot of reader feedback that they meant to donate, but forgot to go back to the banner once they finished reading an article. Again, with these types of banner tests, we will continue performing reader research to ensure new approaches do not harm the reading experience.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I think you're talking about the 'reminder' when on mobile-view banners, right? The little yellow tab once you scroll away? I'm referring to the way that it [used?] to be that the full banner on desktop-view would stay stuck on the top of the screen even when you scroll down the screen - it should disappear of top of the screen, not stay docked. Wittylama (talk) 01:11, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the exact past version you are describing. The desktop banner that has run in recent tests does not stick at the top of the page. The overall banner scrolls away as the reader scrolls down the page, a reminder tab stays at the top. We are currently testing many very different versions of the banner, this could change in the next iterations. Any future iteration will have an option to easily dismiss the banner or reminder and we will continue to monitor feedback on any changes. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:26, 31 August 2015 (UTC)


  • make the banners more easily dismissible on mobile (...the impossibly-small "x" icon to dismiss). Personally, I've several times pressed the banner-to-donate when I was trying to press the "x" icon. Please increase its size.Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree, the close button (and all buttons) should be easy for our readers to click on all devices. All fundraising banners are dismissible (either with a close X, close text, or other icon.) We did hear feedback on the “x” icon around the December 2014 campaign and actually did increase the size and added more clickable space around the “x” icon on mobile. If you do encounter problem closing a banner, please report it so we can investigate the issue. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg Done Sweet, thanks. Wittylama (talk) 00:53, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Don't make them fullscreen or obscure article content. Although I acknowledge that a case has been made for these activities being a justifiable tradeoff between temporary imposition and lessening the fundraiser burden overall. All I can say in that case is for every increase in the imposition of the banners, there should be a commensurate increase in the ability to dismiss them. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Some banners have grown in size over the years, and some have decreased. The first banner impression readers saw in the December 2014 campaign was significantly larger than past years. However, the following banners that readers saw throughout the rest of the month were smaller than banners from past years.
As the budget increases, and our pageviews decrease in critical fundraising countries, the fundraising team must adjust the banners to raise the funds needed. We face a great challenge again in this new year. In the past few years, we’ve seen a decline in desktop readership and a rise in mobile readership. However, the rise of mobile does not completely offset the decline of desktop. The analytics team forecasts that by December 2015, the annual pageview growth rate in the US will be down 27% on desktop, up 25% for mobile, and down 5% for overall pageviews. This poses a great challenge for fundraising as we rely on the support from a wide reader audience to raise the budget. If less people see our banners, we need to make them more effective to raise a higher budget. Last year, we saw that making the banners larger and using urgent messaging significantly improved donation rates. The decline in pageviews is real and we will need to make changes again this year. We want to be open with everyone about the challenges we face. We will always aim to make the banners as educational and financially effective as possible, while striving to minimize disruption of the experience of reading Wikipedia. You can help us do that by making suggestions at the top of this page.
We will continue to include easy ways for readers to close banners. To limit the disruption from the fundraising campaign, we do not run banners to logged in users, all banners include a close button, and we also provide instructions for anyone who requests to not see banners anymore by clicking on this link or creating a user account. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not quite sure if you've actually addressed the point I was making here about "...for every increase in the imposition of the banners, there should be a commensurate increase in the ability to dismiss them." but I do take your point that the dismissibility of the banners is part of their design. Wittylama (talk) 17:44, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Correct, banner design (per device) includes careful consideration for the option to dismiss.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk)
i see google has a blog about banners, might want to consider http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/09/mobile-friendly-web-pages-using-app.html Slowking4 (talk) 20:48, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for sending this over. Copying over a reply on this same topic we posted on the main fundraising talk page:

Thanks for pointing that out. From Google's announcement and all the discussion that I could find, it looks like this change is targeted specifically at app install interstitials, and not ones used for other purposes. Also our fundraising banners are designed not to be loaded by Googlebot and other crawlers (you may recall the issue last year when they were), so this shouldn't affect us even if Google do broaden the scope. I double-checked using Google's testing tool, our interstitial banner doesn't show up and the site is still deemed mobile-friendly: [1] Of course we'll still try to limit the use of such banners (we currently aim to show a user roughly one per year, cookies permitting) and keep them easy to dismiss.


  • If fullscreen banners (e.g. on mobile) are here to stay, please make them "dismiss once for the whole campaign" and also ensure that it is clear that the content is still underneath/down. During the last campaign I clicked 'back' in my mobile browser the first time because I thought the banner was a whole new page rather than just an overlay. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • In the December 2014 campaign, each reader should have seen one large full screen banner on mobile. Unless you changed devices, cleared cookies, or browsed incognito, it was not intentional to show you more than one large mobile banner. Please let us know if this is happening to you and we will follow up individually to look into into the issue.
In the past, we have adjusted the amount of time banners remain hidden from readers (1 week, 2 week, etc.). The amount of time depends on the length of the campaign and also on the feedback we receive. We have heard feedback similar to yours as well as from people who just wanted to close the banner while they were looking something up quickly, but wanted another reminder the next time they visited. We take all feedback into account. (To see a breakdown of reader feedback from the Dec. 2014 campaign, please see our report from the April 2015 metrics meeting on making data driven decisions.) To minimize the disruption from fundraising, we do not run banners for logged in users and we provide instructions on how to disable banners to anyone who does not want to see them. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Assuming the same principle continues, that's great (re. showed once-only). However, you didn't my second point about the visual design of the "larger format" banner for it to remain evident that the content the reader was looking for is still there - just below/underneath the banner. My personal experience last year was that I didn't realise this and clicked "back" in my browser in the mistaken assumption that I'd somehow navigated to the fundraising landing-page rather than to the article I wanted. Wittylama (talk) 00:58, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I think we agree here. If you see a live banner that's not behaving in this way, please let us know & we can follow up directly.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 13:46, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Event specific banners[edit]

copying here from User talk:Pcoombe (WMF)

Hello, I realize that I might be suggesting this in the wrong place, if so it would be great if you could point me in the right direction. I'm also not sure if anything like this has been done before, like i said in the title it might be a bit weird or off the wall. The basic idea would be to put a banner similar to one of these at the top of UFC event pages the day of the event. The pages generate a fair amount of traffic on that single day (Example 1 Example 2 Example 3) and i believe it might be a great day to remind people they can support wikipedia. I can break down some stats if you would like, but one example would be UFC 193, just on the day that the even took place the article for the event and the biography articles for the fighters that participated had 988,625 combined views. My feeling is that if we catch people right on the exact day that they are enjoying the sport they are reading about they might be more apt to make a donation to wikipedia than on another random day. Food for thought, thanks for reading. Kevlar (talk) 19:53, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

I quite like this idea. It's certainly true from looking at the traffic reports that we do get large spikes for UFC and other sporting events. Super Bowl 50 might be another fun one to try (Wikipedia's "Super Bowl ad"). It would be interesting to experiment with a customised banner for the page, and focusing on one specific and scheduled event means we can avoid some of the edge cases that could crop up with the broader #Related content banners idea above. Peter Coombe (Wikimedia Foundation) (talk) 23:28, 7 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done We tried some experiments with independence day and also game of thrones. Has potential but very resource intensive both in terms of site performance and human resources. Something to potentially revisit. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 15:13, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Related content banners[edit]

  • I've always wondered whether banners based on related content in the article would have a high effectiveness... By this I mean, using the categories of Wikipedia articles to display a banner that was tested to appeal to people who are interested in articles related to that subject. Just as an example, could we do some kind of 'celebrity endorsement' thing where e.g. an astronaut would appear in banners showing on articles in category:Aerospace or an olympian from <your country> would be shown when you visit articles in category:sport. [This second example has the further criteria of showing to people in a specific IP range as well as looking at articles related to a specific category]. This kind of campaign might also be a good way to ask the community/chapters if they have good contacts with 'famous people who would like to endorse us'. I do note that some serious work would need to be done to address issues of CoI (e.g. you wouldn't want the CEO of a company appearing on the article about their company) or having negative effects (e.g. the aforementioned olympian appearing on articles about doping etc.). I realise that these would have a much higher degree of difficulty to create than a catch-all banner (notably the time commitment to convince these people to participate!), but perhaps it would be worth it if such targeting has a higher clickthrough/donation rate. We have a unique position of having very long-tail content that is very well categorised... So, my guess is that if someone is reading about a niche topic they'd be more likely to respond to a donation-request tailored to that interest. For example, a donation-banner featuring Cory Doctorow, shown to people in Canada, reading articles in category:science fiction; or a banner featuring Guy Kawasaki, shown in the USA, on articles in category:computer industry. Just an idea I'd always wanted to throw out there! Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    • A simpler-to-achieve version of this idea would do away with the 'celebrity' part, and just tailor the wording of the banner itself to the nature of the article based on the category. So, if someone's reading an article in category:medicine, the banner could reference the fact that access to quality medical information is difficult for many people and WMF/Wikipedia is helping to address that etc. etc. Wittylama (talk) 16:01, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
  • The fundraising team has talked about this quite a lot over the years as well. I actually assumed some sort of article-specific fundraising asks were being made when I first started. It’s really interesting and also really practically challenging for the reasons you mention. Celebrities are challenging for COI, the massive time investment in reaching an agreement, and also in finding a celebrity that appeals to an audience as wide and varied as our reader audience. If you do happen to know someone who could appeal to a wide audience & would be up for a quick test, let’s talk ;)
The category idea is simpler for a quick test, but could also pose great challenges in scalability to optimize for messages for each category. We’ve also thought about using the article name in the banner. For example, “Was the information you found on “article name” useful?” “If you value the information you received from the “article name” article, please consider making a donation.” Even those kinds of messages could be really strange depending on the article (the murder article, for example. There are plenty others.) We could probably find something that works for a quick test, but there are challenges to keep in mind.
Up until now, we’ve stayed focused on finding the message that works best across all readers. It makes sense (especially with the size of our team) to start with 10% gains on the overall reader population before trying for lots of 10% gains across many categories. But I’m also up for a quick test. I can look into how difficult it would be to target a banner to a particular category. (Since we don’t currently do this, I’m not sure how difficult it would be with our system.) Do you have a specific message you think could work on medical articles? If so, please add it to the top of this page.
Related to this idea, we are currently working on setting up more customized tests for banner sequence to figure out the best order of banners we should display to readers.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I completely get the point about wanting to focus on gains that affect the whole fundraiser rather than the 'diminshing returns' of improving banners that have smaller viewerships. I'm just thinking that if you're feeling like the 'general interest' banners are starting to be less successful that it might be time to start looking at different methods of targeting the audience. We have a great advantage with the long-tail of our WP articles in that we can somewhat-reliably identify the personal interests of a reader without requiring privacy-invading analytics. In short: if I'm reading about a really obscure Pokemon character, chances are I'll be emotionally receptive to a message about the depth of our pop-culture coverage :-) I also agree that the degree of difficulty involved with a 'celebrity' campaign (for all the reasons we've mentioned above) make it a hard sell to justify your time. Also, I'm skeptical about using the article-title directly in the fundraising message as this would look forced (e.g. emails that say "dear <name>") and have bad edge-cases (e.g. with very long article titles).
I'm thinking that if you ran category-based system, that might be a good case for the 'user-stories' kind of banners that were run a couple of years ago. Is it possible to dig-up one of those old banners that has a reasonably strong 'medical' or 'education' theme to it, and run a test of how successful it is in generating donations on a 'control' group of a random 1000 articles, vs. a 'target' group of 1000 specifically relevant articles? That would at least be an easy way to test the assumption that category-based banners might be more effective, thereby justifying to management your investing time in making more advanced tests? Wittylama (talk) 17:57, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I'll add "user-stories" to the suggestions at the top of the page. Given there could be technical work in the category idea, I'm not sure when we'll realistically be able to prioritize the category part of the test before the next English campaign. We do however have plans to test variations of stories and quotes in upcoming tests. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:04, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Technical[edit]

  • Banners frequently load later than the main content, meaning that I've several times unintentionally clicked/tapped on the banner when I was trying to click on a link in the opening few lines of prose. Frustrating, and also breaks some of your tracking stats. (specific technical point, but still.) Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • There has been significant work on this issue in the past (thank you to the engineering team for the improvements so far). We realize there’s still room for improvement here and have a phabricator task for this issue. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes check.svg Done Sweet. Thanks. Wittylama (talk) 17:44, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • An addendum - the task that Megan mentioned is one potential solution, but we have some ideas for others, particularly given the performance improvements to core on August 6. We've created a tracking task for all of it here, and will spin out other subtasks as we learn more. https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T109634 AGomez (WMF) (talk) 21:24, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Make "dismiss once, lasting the whole campaign" a general principle. I think in previous years the dismiss button only counted for that particular banner. I understand that you might have a "final push" banner and want to show it to people who've already dismissed a previous one within the campaign, but if you do that then you'd need to write some kind of acknowledgement of disregarding the previous dismiss into the banner text itself (e.g. "we know you've already seen this request, but we're so close to our goal" or something like that). That way people at least know that you're aware that they dismissed it - as opposed to feeling like the dismiss button doesn't actually work. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
  • In the Dec. 2014 campaign, we actually limited the banner impressions for all readers after the first two weeks of the campaign to five impressions per reader (so who had already seen 5 banners would not see any more banners). In the last few days of the year, we increased the impressions for a final push, but we did start the banner with variations of the year/campaign-end message (“Only a few days left,” “We’re almost there,” etc.)
Limiting and disabling banner impressions is something relatively new we’ve created and expanded in just the past couple campaigns. It’s a big improvement in the way we target readers without over exposing them to banners. (Thank you to fundraising tech and thewub for making this possible!) The system has not always worked perfectly 100% of the time. There have been some bugs in the past, but we investigate reports of banners issues and fix any problems as quickly as possible. It is a massive help when people report these issues. Please tell us as soon as possible if you spot a banner not dismissing properly with as much information as you can about the time, location, and issue. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:09, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm not entirely sure if you have understood the 'general principle' that I was talking about, but I'm glad to hear that the infrastructure is more fine-tuned to allow for better "impression limiting". So that's good to know! However, my point remains that I was saying if someone dismisses a banner then it should stay dismissed for the duration of the campaign.Furthermore, if you deliberately chose to override that choice, then you need to make it evident in the banner text that you've chosen to do to that (rather than it being a software bug). Wittylama (talk) 01:06, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Other[edit]

  • Maybe also a very general suggestion: Please communicate. At all. Directly, with the communities affected. And in time - even if you think it is obvious and unnecessary. And communicating is not telling how it's going to be, but also about asking for input in advance, and opening a two way communication with relevant stakeholders. I know that in some situations it is attempted, but as a general rule it seems to fail again and again - which is saddening. Effeietsanders (talk) 20:55, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
  • as the Fundraising team have confirmed above, they don't have a "community liaison" role in the staff nor is there going to be one at least in the near future. Unfortunately, this pretty much rules out the ability to do consistent/pro-active communication with the relevant parts of the community and certainly rules-out the ability to ask for input in advance (other than general-purpose pages like this one. A great pity. Wittylama (talk) 03:15, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Community[edit]

A lot of the feedback at the above "fundraising principles" page relates to communication (or perceived lack thereof) with the community. Ideas in that category, and also some new ones, include:

  • Use Phabricator to track specific bugs/reports of problems. This is now the standard tool for all WMF software reporting and, apart from being very useful software for tracking, would also help encourage the perception that WMF-fundraising is "part of" the movement rather than separate. If this IS already being used as the technical-issue tracking system then please indicate on the main fundraising landing page the correct tags etc. that should be used when reporting new bugs. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    • According to [2] this is already underway / being addressed. Thanks for updating that User:AGomez (WMF). Wittylama (talk) 13:02, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
      • You’re welcome! Thanks for pointing out that it should be there. Fundraising tech was actually among the first teams at WMF to switch entirely over to Phabricator in January with our first working sprint of 2015. If you come across issues, please tag tasks into #Wikimedia-Fundraising - https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/tag/wikimedia-fundraising/ I've also added this (as you saw) to the main landing page in the communication section. After tasks enter the workflow there, we'll figure out which part of the fundraising team should take it. We’ll plan to review the Inbox column at least every 2 weeks, though I do get notifications so any “Unbreak Now!” type things will be addressed sooner. AGomez (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Have a dedicated community liaison role within Fundraising. I thought that this already existed, but I heard at Wikimania that this position is not planned for 2015/16. The role has been crucial to the wider adoption and improved flow of feedback with the Visual Editor etc. so it's suggest that any major program needs to have this included. It's a kind-of "meta request" because it's not a specific communication but more about facilitating the fact of communication. (ping User:Rdicerb (WMF)). Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
We do not have a Community Liaison dedicated to fundraising. We are talking with the Community Engagement team about how we could improve here by working with them and within the fundraising team. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:25, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be a crucial point to a lot of the other things we've discussed here... if you've got no resources dedicated to community liaison then any claim to "responding to feedback" is pretty hollow. Equally, any attempt to ask the community for suggestions won't be very successful if there's no one to promote that idea to the community, or to escalate good ideas back to the Fundraising team. So, +1 to getting your team a C.L. role! Wittylama (talk) 18:00, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • While we do not currently have a dedicated community liaison role within the fundraising team, I would like to highlight that we actively engage with the community regarding our international campaigns, to the best of our ability. Just to make a few examples: we post messages on the local village pumps announcing details and dates regarding upcoming fundraisers, and ask for feedback from the local community. We also have one on ones with community members over email, IRC chat and talk pages. These conversations are extremely helpful as they allow us to receive feedback regarding localization, the cultural appropriateness of a particular message and reality check our test results and assumptions. I would like to send express our gratitude and send a warm thank you to all of you who have helped us with this process so far. We are keen on getting more community members involved in this process. In an attempt to do so we organized a ‘translation workshop’ at Wikimania last year. As a result, throughout our Japanese fundraiser that ran in July this year, we have been in frequent contact with some very helpful community members who attended that event. We are also looking to find ways to communicate with a larger audience of community members around localization, translation and fundraising related topics. As a first step, we will add a sign-up form and more background information on our current translation page. More to come on this shortly. In the meanwhile, those who are interested in contributing with feedback are welcome to contact me directly on my talk page. JRobell (WMF) (talk) 13:40, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
We are looking to hire a community liaison for fundraising right now. Please send candidates our way! --Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 08:59, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
  • A "reality check" mailing list. One of the common-expressed frustrations of the fundraising team is that the turnaround time of changes to the banners etc is so tight that it's not feasible to get community feedback etc. during the campaign. Furthermore, that when feedback is sought, it's difficult to filter between "practical" ideas for improvement and mere expressions of frustration. Perhaps a way to help alleviate that would be to create some kind of temporary project group of experienced community members who would volunteer to be 'on call' for a reality-check about new things during the campaign. These people could be hand-picked by the Fundraising team and given a private email list if that's a way that the team would feel more comfortable - to get quick, practical, useful feedback when something unexpected happens. [There is already the "fundraiser" list by the way] This idea is not a catch-all solution but might be a lightweight way to guard against potential 'groupthink' within the fundraising bubble. This wouldn't be a formal committee, nor have any power to override etc., but just a bunch of people with experience who could volunteer to be available to respond at short notice. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
These kinds of interactions can be really helpful. In the past, we have relied on community members in different countries to provide local, on the ground feedback before and during campaigns. They’ve sometimes taken the form of 1:1 communication and sometimes in a larger group communication. I’m not sure the best way to set this up, but will talk with the team about what we’ve tried so far and what we could experiment with next to expand this.MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:25, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Cool. YesY Wittylama (talk) 18:15, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
  • Community-written banners were requested and created years ago (can't remember where they are right now, or whether they were tested). I suspect that they weren't used much and that many of them might be 'fun' for people in the 'in-crowd' but not effective when show to the proverbial drive-by reader. Perhaps though a call can be made to create a community-centric campaign... Not for designing banners to be shown to logged-out users, but rather to create a fundraising-messaging pack of things that are easily sharable by wikimedians to their friends and family. [You'd possibly also be able to track inbound clicks/donations from people who donated via this 'recommended by a wikimedian' message rather than via the general banner campaign]. That would give a way for the community to get directly involved and to (hopefully) feel proud to share a message via word of mouth. While the banners that are A/B tested for the general public have the best efficiency for the general public, I would bet that they have virtually no impact on the editing community in terms of our willingness to 'spread the word'. Even if it's only a small part of the campaign in total, doing something like this would go a long way to addressing the question of 'community involvement in the campaign' and a direct 'nod' towards the fact the editing community should be seen as ambassadors for our movement. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
I like it, go for it! It seems like drafting ideas for the editing community to share would be good to come from fellow community members. How can we help? MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:26, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
This is reversing the burden of responsibility again... No one is going to seriously suggest banners ideas (or at least, not invest much effort into it) unless you're actually going to do something with it. This would be doubly so for a whole specific campaign. But, as above, if the Fundraising team isn't resourced with a Community Liaison person, then this idea is also a non-starter. Wittylama (talk) 18:19, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't think we've understood each other here. I think you shared a really good idea and was asking how we could support this. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:26, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Liam wanted your department to take responsibility and ownership for this, so that there would be some assurance for any volunteers investing work in this that their work would actually contribute to a finished product. I think this was quite clear from his wording; at any rate it was clear to me. In my time as a Wikimedia volunteer, I have several times invested months of effort in team work on proposals that in the end came to naught. There is only a limited number of times volunteers will do this. As I understood Liam, the idea was: your department leads, and volunteers will help, because you need some sort of centralised direction and commitment for anything to happen. Otherwise things just go round and round in circles, like in a radio phone-in show. What you have to battle here, Megan, is the impression any cynic will gather – that you knew very well what Liam meant, didn't want to do it, and turned it round on him knowing full well that if it was up to him, a single volunteer, it would come to nothing. Andreas JN466 15:09, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
here is an archive of 2010 suggestions Fundraising 2010/Messages/New. could be revived. Slowking4 (talk) 17:05, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
  • A "local contacts" list. A step up in complexity from the above would be some kind of published list of "official contact" list on a per-country and/or per-language basis. This could be used by both the Fundraising team to help disseminate messages to the right community, and equally, to allow those communities an easy way to contact the Fundraising team. This would be reasonably difficult to build but would be something very easily tied to the Community liaison role (mentioned above). Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Related to the previous question, we already do rely on local contacts for support but are talking within our team and with other teams at WMF about how we can expand this. Chapters and individual volunteers have been incredibly helpful in the past. We also currently contact local communities by notifying the chapters and posting a note on the local village pump to keep community members up to date and ask for feedback. Thank you to everyone who has participated so far! If you’re interested in helping out, please see the fundraising translation page or get in touch directly with Jessica Robell. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:25, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
This feeds back to the Fundraising team's lack of Community Liaison role. If you've not got someone who's job it is to find and escalate feedback (as well as ask for advice/info when needed) then any kind of contact-support idea is a non-starter. A pity. Wittylama (talk) 18:15, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
@Wittylama: Hey Liam, I thought its worth you knowing that over the last month I have been actively monitoring pages and escalating issues and suggestions to the appropriate persons within the team. Either responding directly or one of the team responding directly. It's also probably worth noting that this position will be responsible for much of this on a full time basis whenever that position get's filled. Jseddon (WMF) (talk) 23:20, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

General approach[edit]

Have a look at http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate

This contains a wealth of links telling prospective donors what CRUK are actually doing, with geographic and subject matter-related detail. Is this not something WMF could do? Describing projects funded in various parts of the world, different types of projects (software optimisation, GLAM collaborations etc.), and so on, rather than relying on a superficial bashing of the advertising strawman?

What I like about the CRUK page is that prospective donors can dig deeper into what the organisation is actually doing via the drop-down menus. In the same way, people should be able to read about what the WMF is doing with their money. Are you not proud and convinced of those projects, to the extent that you feel you have to hide them all behind the facade of "keeping Wikipedia online and ad-free"? Andreas JN466 14:43, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

We are extremely proud of the work happening throughout the movement. We have included examples of different projects in banners over the years and will try new ways of incorporating new projects into the banner as well. I don’t have a full list of every message we will test this year, but we are excited for this. Since we are proud of the work of the Wikimedia movement and to be transparent with readers, we also link to the FAQ from all banners and donation pages. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 13:42, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
Do you mean this FAQ, Megan, which is indeed linked on the "Donate" page? It is so generalised that it has remained essentially unchanged for years (this diff compares the June 2012 version to the current version). It lacks any specifics about which projects were funded from last year's donations, what the costs were, and what the benefits were, or why the Foundation now needs twice as much as it did in 2012 ($75 million vs. $38 million). Andreas JN466 14:51, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Contact_us_-_Donors says, "If you've got questions about where your money goes, what we spend it on or what our plans are for the future, you can find out here." The word "here" links to https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/FAQ/en#Where_can_I_find_more_financial_information.3F – which is a section that does not exist. I would suggest https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Contact_us_-_Donors should link directly to https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Financial_reports Would it be possible to have that edit made, please? (The page is protected.) Andreas JN466 07:04, 2 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for fixing the link. Andreas JN466 17:11, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

I just noticed accidentally that the German version of the FAQ contains a lot more info than the English version (about outreach work etc.). Could this not be included in the English version as well? (By the way, even the German FAQ is outdated by two years, describing 2013/2014 as the current year.) Pinging Mdennis (WMF) and MeganHernandez (WMF). --Andreas JN466 14:14, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Andreas. :) It looks to me like what the German FAQ has that the English does not is content that was intentionally hidden from view in English (through the usual markup <!--) by comms as being outdated. There is a drive to update the FAQ, but I'm not sure what the timeline is for that. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:41, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response, Maggie. Good to hear from you. :) Now, the main fundraiser appears to have kicked off in Germany today. (Discussion.) It is disconcerting that in a fundraising department of over 20 people, there is apparently so little attention paid on communicating with donors. The FAQ page is linked from the German "Donate now" page; for a live text like this to be outdated by several years is really not good enough. (Incidentally, the current link to that text on "Donate now" is written in what looks like 4-pt font. It really should be at least 9-pt, so people can actually see and notice it.) Andreas JN466 15:13, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Pinging Lila as well. Andreas JN466 15:16, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Donor allocation of their funding[edit]

I really like the Ubuntu donation form, which lists eight areas they are working on, each with $2 allocated by default, totalling $16 as the default contribution. Sliders allow the donor to select up to $125 for each of the eight areas, with a total possible contribution of $1000.

I would like to see WMF experiment with something similar, even if it is not the default page the donor goes to, and maybe not even easily accessible. I understand that the WMF likes a large unreserved pool of funds, so that should be the default donation path, however there are a significant cohort of people who are much more likely to donate if they have some control in how it is used, and more likely to donate larger amounts.

There is also the networking being lost by not offering this. People are significantly more interested in assisting in fundraising efforts if they can motivate their network to donate in a targeted way towards certain areas. e.g. the GLAM sector will promote donations towards the GLAM area; MediaWiki users will promote funding MediaWiki, etc. These groups are less likely to actively participate in fundraising if the funds go into a general pool. Especially if they can not endorse the entire Wikimedia movement, but feel able to support specific areas that are helping Wikimedia be 'better' in their view.

A quick stab in the dark for eight possible areas:

  • MediaWiki (Deskop)
  • Mobile/Apps
  • GLAM
  • Other outreach
  • Community/Affiliate support
  • Advocacy
  • Fundraising
  • Hosting

No doubt this type of donor page would result in "Hosting" being a commonly selected area for increased targeted donations, as it is what most people care about the most. Once the WMF targets for each area are reached, that area could be greyed out, requiring the donor to consider the importance of other aspects of running the Wikimedia system. Each area could link to stories, explaining how the area is necessary to support the global Wikimedia system. John Vandenberg (talk) 03:57, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Hey John. It's an good idea and interesting one. As you mention unrestricted funds have always been the preferred method of donation, for the main reason that with restrictions comes administrative overhead. Even if it was small scale, there would be a need to have several internal discussions about how to track such donations. With the big English campaign just around the corner it's not something that we will be able to look into immediately but its certainly something we could visit at some point in the future. Jseddon (WMF) (talk) 02:06, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
This is something I support. However, Wikimedia might not like people funding the wrong areas. And then of course users and the foundation will have different desires for its direction. Like you said, I theorize most people will care more about covering hosting expenses (which only require 2-3% of revenue) than staffing revenue that takes a much large chunk. Personally, I think there could be a better effort to educate people on what Wikimedia is spending the donation money on. Freebullets (talk) 15:54, 1 December 2015 (UTC)
It's a valid point you make Freebullets. Wikimedia Foundation is always trying to improve on the way we tell our story about the impact we make and the projects we run, so that those who are interested can educate themselves. The Annual Plan and Annual Report have historically been the primary methods of communicating this to donors. The last Annual Report received a major overhaul deliberately so that it was more accessible and in-keeping with the spirit of our online projects. Both are contained within this FAQ which is pretty much linked from every fundraising banner we run. Jseddon (WMF) (talk) 08:35, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Timestamp at top of page[edit]

The timestamp at the top of the subject-space page ("21:07, 13 July 2015 (UTC)") tripped me up a bit. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:55, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

Yup, now I don't know if I'm in the wrong place or what :) --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 16:55, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Easier sharing[edit]

I like to think that even small gestures like a tweet can go a long way, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd find it handy if you provided links to social media posts that others can like, share etc. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 16:55, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

User:MKramer (WMF), maybe you can convey this concept better than I did to the team? I can't think of actual reasons why the suggestion keeps getting ignored. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 09:28, 28 November 2017 (UTC)
Elitre (WMF) I don't think I've been involved in those conversations. We are planning to send information out to our community later today about the social frames and the videos that we plan to disseminate. MKramer (WMF) (talk) 14:10, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

2017 Archiving[edit]

Australia
  • See also the "one coin price" story below - and related idea about a page where the community can suggest appropriate country-specific ideas for the equivalent of "small amount of money". For example, in Australia and New Zealand, we use the phrase "gold coin donation" to mean "a couple of dollars" (this is used in contexts like a school-bake-sale, or a raffle-prize, or a charity donation). This is because our 1 and 2 dollar coins are "gold" (coloured) and because $2 is the minimum you can claim tax-deductibility for. No one outside Aus/NZ would know that "a gold coin" simply means $2. Wittylama (talk) 17:37, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Neat idea, I had never heard of this before. Thank you! We're following up 1:1 on this one. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:26, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
We tested the gold coin line in Australia. It only ran briefly so will retry this one again. Thank you for this new local idea, we'll post back! MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 19:46, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
  • I really like the watercolor facts that Zack created based on facts from Wikipedia. Idea for next year: invite artists to create banners / email banners based on their favorite fact. Make them into posters similar to how artists continually draw National Parks posters. Imagine 50 artist interpretations of facts, in a gallery. Imagine asking everyone to draw their favorite fact from Wikipedia. These could be included in banners, emails or designed as standalone elements. MKramer (WMF) (talk) 18:13, 2 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Get this gynormous ad out of my face, it bloody covers half my screen. 82.176.202.45 16:03, 22 March 2017 (UTC)


  • Some kind of lightweight "known issues" tracking page. One of my common-complaints is the idea of "if something breaks/is removed, tell the community who will be affected". I understand that Fundraising infrastructure relies on a lot of third-party systems and can be both very fragile and also have several of breakages/fixes in a single day. So, while it might not be possible to automate the reporting of these, nor convenient to proactively inform different communities, perhaps a sub-page for tracking these items could be created? I mean something really lightweight like: a page on meta with a chronological bullet point list, with a new page section each day. If something breaks/is removed then simply add a new bullet point to the list at the bottom (with a link to the Phabricator ticket when appropriate), and then strikethrough the bullet point when the item is no longer broken. At least this way community members who might be receiving complaints from local readers in xyz language, know where they can go to get up-to-date reports. This would also hopefully save WMF staff time from responding to emails like "did you know that xyz payment method is broken" if people can find it on that page already. Wittylama (talk) 16:25, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
    • We talked about this at Wikimania, and I'm definitely thinking about how to best communicate to the local communities. For the majority of our donors (who are not on Meta/Phabricator/Talk pages) we are able to answer their questions quickly through our donor services team at donate@wikimedia.org. As far as somewhere people could easily reference, I like your wiki page idea or maybe a view in phabricator (linked from the fundraising meta page). If we do it in phabricator, we wouldn't need to maintain the list in 2 places, which would keep it more accurate. More on this soon! AGomez (WMF) (talk) 20:43, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
      • Agreed re. not having to maintain something in two different places. Perhaps it's even possible for Phabricator to output some kind of automated change-log? I don't know, not a techie... Whatever works best for an "at a glance" view of what the status of various things are. Wittylama (talk) 18:12, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
        • So we've done some massaging of the #wikimedia-fundraising board and added a "payments outages" column. Let's keep working together on how to make this the most effective we can. There's always a TON of stuff in flight for fundraising tech, so I'm trying to find a way to show the right things on this board. How can we publicize this the best? AGomez (WMF) (talk) 18:36, 21 August 2015 (UTC). - Just realized I didn't ping User:Wittylama. We could put a notice on this page and/or send announcements to tech news or other places about this board in phab. I'll start pushing it out next week, but would love your input as well.
          • Just added a notice to the top of https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising - if anyone has more ideas for where to put this, please reach out to me agomez@wikimedia.org and I'm happy to continue to spread the word. AGomez (WMF) (talk) 22:23, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
            • I will try and put something together relating to this. I like the idea. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 16:34, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Use a stream processing solution to get realtime feedback on banner success and targeting. Ottomata (talk) 14:32, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Accept donations in Bitcoin (BTC/XBT) or Ether (ETH) (or other cryptocurrencies). Could however imagine this is tricky due to volatility of these coins --OlafJanssen (talk) 11:19, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
Hey @OlafJanssen: We already do! We don't offer it through the main payment flow because only a small percentage of the population use it. But you can find out more on our ways to give page: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Ways_to_Give#bitcoin Seddon (talk) 11:42, 23 March 2017 (UTC)
@Seddon: Excellent, thanks, I was not yet aware of this possibility. Given the substantial increase in transactions cost (1 USD at the moment) and the long confirmation times (in the order of hours), is WMF considering to add donations in TX-cheaper and faster altcoins, like Ethereum (ETH)? --OlafJanssen (talk) 09:28, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

Suggestion for an alternative appeal[edit]

Hello reader, This month we are running our annual fundraising drive.

The free[1] content of Wikipedia is provided for free[2] by our volunteer editors, but the running and development costs are financed entirely by donations freely[3] given by people who beleive that we provide a service of value to the world. If you find our project of value to you, say so with a donation you can afford.[4] Everthing helps.

For more information on how to donate and how the Wikimedia Foundation works, click here

  1. libre - you can use it as you wish
  2. gratis - we do not pay our editors, and anyone can contribute links to ToU and five pillars
  3. no obligations, no conditions, no advertising
  4. Average donation= $??
    Suggested donation=The cost of a small daily luxury you can live without

(enable mouseover for the footnotes) Cheers, · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:41, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

Payment alternatives for Sweden/Finland?[edit]

Hi! I added a link to Additional payment alternatives for Sweden/Finland this discussion/request for solution below the proper heading. If it was not the right place, maybe some clarifications and solutions can be added here? All the best.--Paracel63 (talk) 12:38, 16 February 2018 (UTC)

Request[edit]

Add donation banners to w:jbo:. KATMAKROFAN (talk) 01:07, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

"Unique opportunity"[edit]

Get a dictionary, learn the meaning of the word. Oh look, we have our own free dictionary, why don't you try using it? Really, this is embarrassing. Are Americans really that dumb that they fall for this bullshit? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 17:43, 25 May 2018 (UTC)

Truth/honesty in advertising[edit]

Why not try it some time? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 07:55, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

I agree that the ideas listed are insufficiently honest. The "unique opportunity" phrasing is incorrect and should not be used. "to prevent the loss of an ad-free, independent Wikipedia" is also very misleading. --Yair rand (talk) 06:35, 27 November 2018 (UTC)