Talk:Fundraising/Archive 6

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Humble but awkward - does that work?[edit]

Recently, I visited Wikipedia logged out, and was greeted by the following message:

To all our readers in Australia,
It might be awkward, but please don't scroll past this. This Tuesday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. ...

I felt that the phrasing wouldn't really appeal to an Australian audience, and maybe that "humble" isn't consistent with an organisation that aims to be the "essential knowledge infrastructure for the 21st century". (The wording of the primary blue message appeared to change partway through the campaign, though I saw humble and awkward ongoing in the red reminder messages.)

Putting aside whether the Foundation should position itself as the overdog or underdog, it does prompt me to think of the following questions:

  • Does the Foundation do A/B/C/D testing of different messages and assess their effectiveness in various markets during the main campaign or just in pre-testing?
  • Has this research been made available? If not, can it?
  • Are the fundraising messages recorded anywhere for the sake of transparency and future reference?
  • Can a campaign code ("They do mean things, but this is only known to those who created them..." [1]) be matched to a particular message, or is it one-to-many?

Cheers, Pelagic (talk) 10:30, 28 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Questions (from Wikimedia Enterprise discussion)[edit]

Liam suggested in a discussion on Talk:Wikimedia_Enterprise where fundraising popped up a couple of times that I post fundraising-related questions here.

First, for context, here is the current status of the WMF fundraising figures, taken from here:

Wikimedia Foundation financial development.svg
Year Source Revenue Expenses Asset rise Total assets
2019/2020 PDF $ 129,234,327 $ 112,489,397 $ 14,674,300 $ 180,315,725
2018/2019 PDF $ 120,067,266 $ 91,414,010 $ 30,691,855 $ 165,641,425
2017/2018 PDF $ 104,505,783 $ 81,442,265 $ 21,619,373 $ 134,949,570
2016/2017 PDF $ 91,242,418 $ 69,136,758 $ 21,547,402 $ 113,330,197
2015/2016 PDF $ 81,862,724 $ 65,947,465 $ 13,962,497 $ 91,782,795
2014/2015 PDF $ 75,797,223 $ 52,596,782 $ 24,345,277 $ 77,820,298
2013/2014 PDF $ 52,465,287 $ 45,900,745 $ 8,285,897 $ 53,475,021
2012/2013 PDF $ 48,635,408 $ 35,704,796 $ 10,260,066 $ 45,189,124
2011/2012 PDF $ 38,479,665 $ 29,260,652 $ 10,736,914 $ 34,929,058
2010/2011 PDF $ 24,785,092 $ 17,889,794 $ 9,649,413 $ 24,192,144
2009/2010 PDF $ 17,979,312 $ 10,266,793 $ 6,310,964 $ 14,542,731
2008/2009 PDF $ 8,658,006 $ 5,617,236 $ 3,053,599 $ 8,231,767
2007/2008 PDF $ 5,032,981 $ 3,540,724 $ 3,519,886 $ 5,178,168
2006/2007 PDF $ 2,734,909 $ 2,077,843 $ 654,066 $ 1,658,282
2005/2006 PDF $ 1,508,039 $ 791,907 $ 736,132 $ 1,004,216
2004/2005 PDF $ 379,088 $ 177,670 $ 211,418 $ 268,084
2003/2004 PDF $ 80,129 $ 23,463 $ 56,666 $ 56,666

The financial statements also mention that During the year ended June 30, 2016, the Foundation entered into an agreement with the Tides Foundation to establish the Wikimedia Endowment as a Collective Action Fund to act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to ensure a base level of support for the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. The Endowment is independent from the Foundation. They go on to say that the Foundation [has] provided irrevocable grants ... to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment. These amounts are recorded in awards and grants expense. (Source: Financial Statements 2019/2020, p. 14) So as I understand it some of the expenses in the above table are actually profits put into the endowment.

I and I am sure many others would be interested in answers to the following questions:

1.Originally it was envisaged that it would take ten years to bring the Endowment to $100 million. It was reported in January of this year to stand at $90 million, and was said to be approaching $100 million last month. So the WMF took $50 million more from the donating public than it would have needed to in order to fulfil its publicised plan. Who took that decision? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dear Andreas, as this is a question about the Endowment (question 1 on this list), I refer you to the answer to question 2 over on the Endowment talkpage, where you have also asked it. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:08, 21 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Dear Julia, thanks for the re-numbering. However, this question is not just about the Endowment. Tens of millions of dollars raised through fundraising banners – banners claiming that the Wikimedia Foundation "really needs" money for Wikipedia "to stay online", "to defend its independence", etc. – have ended up in the Endowment, accounted for in the financial statements as Wikimedia Foundation expenses, under "awards and grants" (awards and grants of all types, not just to the Endowment, totalled $22.9m, $12.7m, $13.6m, $11.2m, $11.4m in the last five statements). Raising these tens of millions of dollars would not have been necessary in these years in order to grow the endowment at the planned and publicised rate. And to date, the key question has not been answered over on the Endowment page either: Who directs you to keep displaying fundraising banners well after your publicised financial goals have already been achieved? Is it a board decision, a CEO/ED decision, or an Advancement (Fundraising department) decision? If you could answer this question, it would be helpful. Regards, --Andreas JN466 09:12, 21 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
As this is a question is further discussed on the talk:Endowment, I refer you to the answers to question 2. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:19, 28 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

2.Why is the fact that you have been trying (and succeeding) to build a $100m endowment in half the originally budgeted time not more prominent in fundraising banners shown to readers? Most small donors give because they see banners, widely perceived as alarming, telling them that money is needed for Wikipedia to "keep thriving", "to stay online", to "protect its independence". They are not told that the Foundation supporting Wikipedia has net assets most recently reported to stand at $180m, along with close to $100m in an Endowment. --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

3.One might argue that some of the fundraising messages try to make members of the public, including in last year's fundraising drive in India, feel guilty for not donating – or to shame them into donating – to the Wikimedia Foundation. Is this appropriate, when all content on Wikimedia sites was built by unpaid volunteers who want this content to be available free of charge for everyone? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

4.You have grown your budget more than tenfold over the past ten years, and are planning to grow it further. Clearly, you are spending a lot more money than you did ten years ago. A tenth of the money you are taking now was enough to keep Wikipedia online ten years ago, and it would still be enough today. Why are you not making it more prominent to people what you want the other nine-tenths of the revenue for when you are asking the public to give you their money? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

5.How much money does the WMF actually have right now, expressed as a best estimate of net assets plus Endowment? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

6.The WMF reportedly took $124m (of a planned $125m, revised goal from $108m) in the first six months of this financial year. As you will by now surely have reached your target, will you stop fundraising for the rest of the financial year, and if not, by how much are you planning, or expecting, to exceed your revised goal? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

7.How much of the $124m taken from July to December of last year was due to the Indian fundraising campaign? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I would be very grateful for answers to the above. Many thanks for your help in advance. Regards, --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dear Andreas,
Thank you very much for your questions, we will get back to you as soon as possible, here and on talk:Endowment. --JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 09:42, 13 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you, JBrungs (WMF), I look forward to that. Note that I have added a question above (no. 7). --Andreas JN466 09:55, 14 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Dear Andreas,
Thank you for your questions. Without the generous support of our donors, Wikipedia wouldn’t be able to move forward, diversify, and improve as it has for the past 20 years. This is something we feel is important to share with our readers, many of whom don’t know that Wikipedia is sustained by donations. The key reason readers tell us they donate is because Wikipedia is useful to them. The fundraising team has the goal of raising the budget for WMF with the additional goal of also using the campaign to educate readers about Wikipedia and the community who creates it. We constantly create new messaging to reach both of these goals. Below are a few examples of new messages we ran in the Q2 campaign. In addition to highlighting the community, we aimed to call out the uniqueness of our donors and our deep gratitude for their support in particular in Q2. We will continue to iterate and improve messages and we would be happy to hear suggestions on the fundraising meta talk page.
Examples of recent messaging from Q2:
  • Show the editors who bring you neutral, verified information that their work matters.
  • Our community of volunteer editors ensures that the information you read here is evidence-based and reliant on facts. Show them that their work matters.
  • The average donation is $15, but every donor gives the right amount for them. Many first-time donors give $2.75. All that matters is that you're choosing to stand up for free, open information; and for that, you have our gratitude.
  • If you are one of our rare donors, you have our gratitude, and we warmly thank you.
  • When you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can to the Wikimedia Endowment, you’ll join the community of donors sustaining Wikipedia for years to come.
  • Our editors are volunteers. They don't get paid; they offer you their knowledge simply because they care. And our mission is to make sure they have the tools they need to keep enriching all of our lives.
Transparency with our readers is a critical part of our work. Our operating budget and annual plan are developed through an open, transparent process, subject to Wikimedia community feedback and board approval. The details of our budget, plan and reports (including where the money goes) are available to the public for further review.
In keeping with the standard practices for charitable organizations, we also maintain a reserve as a source of emergency funding. Our reserve is designed to sustain our work. Maintaining healthy reserves is a best practice in non-profit management. We have a responsibility to ensure that Wikipedia remains accessible, reliable, and useful to our millions of readers and editors around the world -- our financial management is an integral part of how we do this.--Ppena (WMF) (talk) 15:32, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I'll add on here that we are confirming the latest financial totals with the finance team and will report back with updated information. We do provide a regional breakdown in our annual fundraising report. During the last reporting period, we did not however run a campaign in India. We ran a campaign in India during this current fiscal year. These totals will be included in the regional breakdown in the 2020-2021 report that we will post in the new fiscal year. Please note that we do not break down donations raised to a country level. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 15:43, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you, MeganHernandez (WMF). I look forward to further information on questions 5 and 6 appearing here later this week. (If this will not be possible, kindly let me know in the next couple of days.) As for question 7, I am aware you have an established reporting format (by continent). On the other hand, India is a subcontinent, and close to a fifth of the world population. Moreover, last summer's campaign was the first India campaign ever. I would have thought that it would be entirely compatible with the ideal of transparency to report the result – you must surely have a pretty accurate idea of it by now. Do reconsider – I am sure there is public interest in the result, and legitimately so. Best regards, --Andreas JN466 17:05, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for the sample of recent fundraising messages, Ppena (WMF). Here are a few that were reported to have appeared in India last summer:
  • "we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence ..."
  • "... help us keep Wikipedia online and growing."
  • "Wikipedia really needs you"
  • "We need you to make a donation to protect Wikipedia's independence"
Judging by screenshots posted online, people were shown some of these fairly alarming appeals at least nine (9) times. These messages are not about moving forward, diversifying, and improving, nor about knowledge equity, the envisaged "Hubs", Abstract Wikipedia or the Wikifunctions project designed to improve multilingual coverage, they are about not going offline, not losing independence, an urgent need of money to survive. Those are not the current challenges you're facing.
The current fundraising template here (whose wording is quoted in this press article, for example) similarly reads,
  • We'll get straight to the point: Today we ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. We're a non-profit that depends on donations to stay online and thriving, but 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If everyone who reads Wikipedia gave just a little, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of a cup of coffee is all we ask. [...] if Wikipedia is useful to you, please consider making a donation of £5, £20, £50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia."
Your comments did not directly address questions 1 to 4 above. Could you please let me know over the next couple of days if you will be providing any further feedback on these questions? If I don't hear from you by then, I'll assume that's it. Regards, --Andreas JN466 16:37, 20 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Related press coverage[edit]

I wrote an article for The Daily Dot based in part on the questions answered above, and related conversations on Talk:Wikimedia Endowment:

Published since then:

Radical approximation to the communities[edit]

Dear colleagues, based on Ppena (WMF) suggestion here, I come to put a general proposal, for which I give an example too:

  • Bearing in mind that - 1) the goal of Meta-wiki is the other Wikimedia projects; 2) Wikimedia projects are mostly done by volunteers; 3) the original projects is where the volunteers are concentrated; and 4) all the found rising is made from these projects;
  • so - it seems wrong to me the way the financial issue is treated, namely, focused on the meta-wiki. There should be, I think, a radical approximation of the financial issues, and others important issues, of the original projects, like the Wikipedia projects;
  • It would be an example of this approximation - every vote or most important discussion in meta-wiki should be replicated in each of the largest Wikipedia projects to be debated there and in its original language.

Sorry for my bad English, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 17:34, 27 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Felipe, first off, if you have difficulty writing in English, try https://www.deepl.com/translator – it is the best site for machine translation and will produce fairly good English if you enter a Portuguese text (and fairly good Portuguese if you enter an English text). Thank you for the link to the discussion on pt.WP, which I understand refers to a current fundraising campaign in Brazil – along with India one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. I'm not sure it's the right decision for the WMF to fundraise in Brazil at all right now, given that the WMF has already – twice – exceeded its year goal for the current fiscal year, and had taken over $10 million more than planned by January (see page 11 here).
Moreover, I fully echo the sentiments expressed on the linked pt.WP page as to the wording of the banners. Here are three comments from pt.WP, machine-translated using the above site:
1. Today I had the displeasure of viewing Wikipedia in a browser in which I was not logged in. Without getting into the layout issue, it has a giant, intrusive banner asking for money. Is there a possibility of it being removed on Lusophone Wikipedia or is it something the Foundation controls? As far as I know the Foundation has more than enough money to keep Wikipedia operational, with much of what is raised going to events, campaigns, paying staff, among others. The reports and posts I read about this have several years, I do not know if it has changed since then, if not, it is at least shameful to ask for money when you already have, even more in the current economic situation... "Show the editors that their work is important" - does anyone here need money to be donated to the Foundation to feel valued? Anyway...
2. I agree with the removal of part of the text. He It is, excuse the word, immoral. I also had the displeasure of viewing it without being logged in and it is gigantic, making it very difficult to navigate.
3. I won't even say how much that text annoys me. I think it's good that they opened this thread on esplanade complaining about it. It's true q WMF hasn't done many campaigns in Brazil lately, but the timing couldn't be worse, and this broke beggar attitude using other people's work to ask for money is pretty ugly too. I agree that, if possible, this banner or sitenotice should be removed until there is a more decent text.
Editors want Wikipedia to be free. They do not want people feeling guilty because they enjoy a product designed to be free without paying ... that is what "free" means! The WMF today takes $130 million per year ... just a reminder, Wikipedia was a top-ten website in 2007, and the WMF had annual expenses of $2 million (see table above).
What I would like to see is editors coming together globally and starting a press campaign, "Not in our name", until these banners implying annual $130 million+ donations to the WMF are needed to keep Wikipedia "open for everyone", "to protect Wikipedia's independence", for "Wikipedia to stay online", "to show the volunteers their work matters" etc. are phased out. Because, frankly, I think this is the only way the WMF will listen. (WMF, I'd be happy to be proved wrong!) Best wishes, --Andreas JN466 07:24, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 Dear Andreas, thank you for the reply and the translator link, I am using it now, let's see how it does. Although I linked this proposal to the banner discussion on wiki.pt, this proposal is not limited to that discussion but is much broader in scope. What I am defending is that each and every important decision should go through the local communities, through the forums and in the language of the local communities, and that they should not be taken only in the metawiki, apart from the local community, including those about the banner. Best, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:30, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Dear Felipe, I absolutely agree with you. This should even make sense from the WMF's own perspective, as checking community sentiment beforehand prevents the kind of volunteer backlash we've seen so often – in so many language communities. That can be avoided.
What would be good to have on Meta is a central page that lists all the topics concerned, and the times and locations where these discussions between the WMF and the communities take place. That way it will be possible to get a sense of global community feeling about this or any other important matter. And people who feel unhappy with the banners (or whatever topic it is) will no longer think that maybe it's just their problem, and nobody else cares. (The translator did well.) Best, --Andreas JN466 11:44, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 Exactly what I propose. So let's see if we are going in the same direction: let's say there is an important debate about banners, in this case: one should a) open a topic on the metawiki (which works as a centralizer) and b) equal topics on the biggest local wikis. This way, everyone can participate locally and/or locally and globally, plus everyone will have access to the regional discussions and can know how the whole comundiade thinks about the topic. See... it is very different from what is done now... now the metawiki community, a small community far away from the real projects, decides everything.--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 12:05, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Felipe, my feeling is – it's not even the metawiki community who decides. The paid WMF staff decide. They may listen to what volunteers say on Meta, but the decision rests with them alone. The problem with the community is that it is fragmented and has no easy way to make its voice heard. A central page on Meta of the type you describe would help with that. You know the Latin saying "Divide et impera" – and the opposite of that: "United we are strong". --Andreas JN466 12:27, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 It may be, but at the moment I prefer to assume good faith, in any case the action proposed above may be efficient. Where do we propose this?--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 12:30, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 I am thinking in sending it to Wikimedia Forum, what do you think?--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 13:42, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Felipe, that seems like a good place to start. However, I'd also be interested in hearing here from JBrungs (WMF), who watches this page, whether discussing issues (notably the wording of upcoming fundraising banners, but also other significant issues) with the communities the way you've outlined, and keeping a central directory of ongoing discussions here on Meta, is an idea the WMF could get on board with. Julia, what do you think? --Andreas JN466 16:03, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 sure. I will prepare a text before posting there and post it here so that we can analyze it together, preferably the three of us, and go to the general forum with a better elaborated text. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 18:22, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dear colleagues, I have very little experience with Metawiki, mainly because I consider it complicated and very distant, with the result that, to dedicate myself to it, I would have to dedicate myself less to my original project, Wiki.pt.

This, however, is not a disqualifier for this proposal, but quite the contrary, a qualifier: I write exactly from the point of view of someone who is more involved with the ultimate goal of Wikimedia, the development of the original projects (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikispecies etc.), but who also realizes the importance of participating in the decisions of Metawiki.

Well, I am suggesting a model of relationship between Metawiki and base projects that is not of control and central decision, but of centralizer and organizer. I explain: today the important decisions (by important decisions I mean mainly those related to finance and security) are taken in Metawiki, mostly only by those older users who decided to migrate to Metawiki and thus decisions are taken far away from the base projects, completely separated from the base communities.

What I propose is to change this and make the important decisions be taken from the bottom up, i.e. from the base communities to the Metawiki, with the Metawiki acting as a centralizer and organizer of discussions.

In practice, this would work like this: every important decision about finance and security would have an open page on the Metawiki and immediately an open page on the largest Wikimedia wikis (x registered editors or other criteria), discussions would take place in all forums simultaneously and in several languages simultaneously (and also on the Metawiki).

This way, if someone wants to participate in these important discussions just from their own project, they can. Another advantage: if any editor wants to know how the communities of the other base projects think, he will have the link to their respective discussions, enough to translate the discussion electronically if he doesn't know the language.

There is certainly an automated way to do this, but this is a technical issue that would come later than the political decision.

Thank you.

Jayen466 please, take a look at it. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 20:37, 29 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks, Felipe. My advice would be to make it more specifically about discussions between the WMF and the community – because I can't think of many things the volunteer community decides on Meta that don't involve the WMF. Specifically, when it comes to decisions about finance and security, I believe those are all taken by the WMF – with input from volunteers, yes, but the final decision-making authority lies with the WMF, as the owner of the various Wikimedia sites.
It might also be good to give some examples of the kinds of topics and discussions you are thinking of. The fundraising banners are one – here it would be good to be able to see on Meta, on a centralised page, in which parts of the world fundraising campaigns are currently taking place, what ongoing discussions with the local community there are (like the discussion you linked above when you started this thread), what concerns are being expressed, how they are being resolved and so on. Perhaps the discussions could even be transcluded on Meta, but as you say, that is a technical issue for later on. If you have other topics in mind, it would be worth adding them, so people can have a better idea of what discussions one would find on such a central "Village Pump" page.
But the key point is that the WMF needs to be willing and able (think about Japanese – I heard recently that there are no Japanese speakers at the WMF right now) to respond to local communities on the local wikis, as Pats did in the discussion above. Best, --Andreas JN466 10:02, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 Sure, can you help me with this? Then we can make the proposal together. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:13, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Felipe, happy to help, but was too busy at work today. Best, --Andreas JN466 22:04, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Felipe da Fonseca and Andreas,
We totally agree, publishing our fundraising report and plans about upcoming campaigns in more languages and relevant places is really important. In 2018-2019 we published our fundraising report in 5 languages for the first time. Due to decreased capacity with COVID 19, we were not able to do this in 2019/2020. We hope that we will be able to offer more languages again in the coming years, and we are planning to add Portuguese in our next round of translations for the Fundraising Reports.
I would love to hear from you what local spaces are best to contact the community about upcoming campaign plans. We are aware of the Telegram group and the Village pump, but are there meetings where this could be an agenda item, or are there other online spaces you can think of where people are? Please also feel free to contact my colleague Julia Brungs for suggestions on how to best reach the local community.
We really appreciate the feedback from the Brazilian community on the current campaign. From this feedback, we paused the campaign to make adjustments to the message and banner length. Thank you for your collaboration and ideas for future improvement!
The whole conversation around these points can be found in detail on the Portuguese Village Pump. --Ppena (WMF) (talk) 17:32, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Ppena (WMF), thanks for the reply. It is exactly this kind of replication of meta discussions in the forums of the home communities (a term invented by me, I don't know how best to designate them) that I am advocating at here on meta. So I am happy and grateful for the quick incorporation of the idea. I would like, however, to point out that I advocate not only for publicity of acts, but also for effective participation of communities in decision-making processes. About communication channels: I must emphatically state that the most appropriate channels for Wiki.pt (we obviously expect colleagues to confirm or contradict me) are the intrawiki channels, the telegram, thus, does not seem to me the appropriate channel and I don't recommend it: I have the feeling that we feel safer in the Wiki environment. The Esplanada/anúncios is a great place for announcements, however discussions are not allowed there, for discussions I recommend Esplanada/geral, I personally think these two channels are sufficient. As you can follow in my posts on meta, I don't have much familiarity with that wiki, so I asked Jayen466 for help to better develop the proposal and find the best meta channel to propose it. There we already asked JBrungs_(WMF) for help and we are waiting for her manifestation. I will replicate this message in both forums. Furthermore, I personally think that everyone here would feel more respected if we were consulted in the above-mentioned forums about the banner, for example, regarding its format, size, text, etc. Att, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 18:08, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Felipe da Fonseca, Thank you so much for clarifying which channels are best used for contacting the local Portuguese speaking community. I have made note of this for the next time! I also wanted to thank you for the proposal you drafted here. I will have a closer look and will consult with some people in my team before I get back to you with a more complete answer. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 09:08, 3 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi JBrungs (WMF), thank you for your answer and attention to the document being drafted. I also need to warn you about something important, which has already been warned on Wiki.pt here, in the forum already mentioned above: today we don't have on Wiki.pt, any official offwiki channel, none, so any warning by these channels reach only part of the community. The only official channels we have are intrawiki. As you can see here, things are not going to change any time soon, since people are only approving unofficial channels. Best, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:20, 3 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for this. In your opinion the best place to reach the whole community is the Village Pump, if I understood right? In future I would rather post in all of the channels there are to make sure that as many people as possible hear about upcoming plans. So if this is primarily the Village Pump I will post discussions there and just replicate them as well in the other channels. What do you think? Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:09, 3 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]
JBrungs (WMF), in my opinion: the most important thing is to post in the Village Pump, this is of paramount importance (there are many admins, e.g., who do not participate in the offwikis forums, for various reasons, that cannot be discussed here.) Replication of topics in offwiki communication channels is obviously welcome: while there is no official offwiki communication channel and none should be treated as such, any place where editors meet and have access is a good place to publicize WMF actions and results. However: discussions and requests for feedback should be done exclusively in the Village Pump, otherwise the discussion or sampling will come out completely misrepresented. I further note that the proper place for posting information is here, but for discussion is here. Thank you for the effort to update WMF on our internal dynamics. Best,--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 13:14, 3 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you Felipe da Fonseca for clarifying this. I will make sure that in future campaigns with the community this is taken into account! Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:38, 3 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]



Hi again Ppena (WMF), I think the basic idea here involves two aspects:
  1. Involvement of the communities prior to an event (like a fundraising campaign starting, etc.), through discussion in the relevant language version
  2. Keeping an up-to-date list of ongoing discussions here on Meta with the appropriate links so people can have a look and, using machine translation (DeepL is miles better than Google etc., but Google has more languages right now), get a good idea of what is being said
Plus, once discussions have concluded, it would be nice to have a short summary of the outcomes here. Given that Wikimanias won't be happening for a while, this would actually also help to bring the global community a bit closer together. Thoughts? --Andreas JN466 21:21, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Exactly, and this theme ("bring the global community a bit closer together") is actually a very important point to consider, see: today, at least as I see it, Metawiki functions as a parallel community, where people try to impugn consensus of the original communities (I won't bring examples to avoid unearthing old problems). A real "global community" is not instituted in this way, from the top down, no community is, since by definition a community is organic (en:Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft). Therefore, for Metawiki to become an organic aggregator and form a global community, it must not function as an authority, but as an organizer.--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 22:22, 30 April 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Dear Jayen466 and other participants in this debate, let's keep the discussions going here, but I am dissatisfied with my formulation of the proposal above, so I will write a better proposal here to take to Wikimedia Forum later. This will already serve as an illustrative example, as I will generate a parallel debate on wiki.pt. Andreas, if you are interested, I ask you to do the same with your home community! Andreas, you asked for a second example, it is clear to me that the same is true for the "Universal Code of Conduct", which is discussed only in the meta community and not globally. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 07:48, 1 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Felipe, I don't know if you and your colleagues on pt.WP read the English-Wikipedia community newsletter, the Signpost, but there is an interview in the current issue which touches on this year's fundraiser in Brazil and the rest of Latin America. Best, --Andreas JN466 14:03, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Actually, JBrungs (WMF), both Megan and Lisa were pinged on en:WP and invited to participate in the talk page discussion for that Signpost piece by User:Nosebagbear. As Megan and Lisa probably don't log in to English Wikipedia often, I repeated the invitation on the mailing list. [2] So far, there has been no response from either of them. Could you please make sure that they are aware of the discussion? It would be good to know that the concerns have been heard and that going forward, some thought will be put to framing and testing some appealing banner messages that describe what the money is actually wanted for. As I mentioned in the Signpost discussion, the German language area has at times used banner messages that avoided the worst of these pitfalls. That might be a starting point. The result may not outperform the more dramatic banners, but the highest-performing banner is surely not the best if it causes us to lose our basic human integrity – and to be seen to have done so. Regards, --Andreas JN466 11:19, 30 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Add a Wikipedia donation... to your last will and testament???[edit]

Wikifundraising.png

Likely because I'm a regular donor, I got the pictured email today asking me to add the Wikimedia Foundation as a beneficiary to my will. This would be extremely tasteless and undecorous even if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic in which many have recently lost loved ones. Wills are obviously very personal documents and the process of forming one doesn't really need a corporate entity butting in to ask for a piece of it. What was the thought process behind this particular fundraising gimmick and who were in the chain of approvals that got it to my inbox, User:JAdams (WMF) (CC: User:JBrungs (WMF))? Who thought this would be a good idea and not a PR disaster? The Wikimedia fundraising apparatus is becoming a parody of itself. Axem Titanium (talk) 22:15, 20 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you very much for your questions. We will be able to get back to you early next week. JAdams (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 21 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Axem Titanium Thank you for your feedback. The fundraising team really appreciates you taking the time to express your views even if the subject made you uncomfortable. It was not our intention to offend donors; rather, we wanted to let them know of resources we have available should they be interested in making a legacy gift. Planned giving outreach like this is a common and expected fundraising activity for non-profits, especially in the US.
We carefully considered the global pandemic and its impacts as we planned this email outreach. While we understand that for some people the thought of making a will is especially sensitive at this time, many others are looking to make these future plans and have thanked us for this email message. When we first sent a planned giving email, we started with a very small list to monitor feedback from donors. This year, we continued sending this planned giving informational email based on a positive response from donors.
We know from bequests we’ve received to date that some donors who are unable to contribute during their lifetime prefer instead to make legacy gifts. Most of the donors who choose to leave a gift to Wikimedia in their will are leaving the majority of their estates to family, friends, or other loved ones, and only a small remainder to Wikimedia. We do not ask, nor do we expect, donors to leave all of their assets to Wikimedia.
Finally, I want to assure you that any donor who responds to our legacy email saying they are not interested in this type of giving is removed from all such future communications. Please email legacy@wikimedia.org with the email address you want us to remove so that you do not receive any further messages of this type. --JAdams (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 24 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for sharing your experience and your feelings! "A legacy gift [...] costs nothing to you now": now that's some terrible phrasing.

  • It's blatantly false. The present value of one's properties after their death is a non-zero (positive) amount, even if you assume very high discount rates and a wait of decades. The only reason property may not change value is that one can always change mind.
  • If it's meant to mean something like "will require you to pay no fees out of your current cash", then it should say so explicitly, without overbroad statements. If someone else is covering the immediate costs, the process probably only covers some countries and not others, so only persons in those countries would probably be emailed. The expected country or other requirements should be made explicit as well, to avoid misunderstandings (the message recipient might also have changed country). Depending on the process used, in Italy making a will can be very expensive.

Nemo 07:06, 22 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Nemo The email was sent only to donors who previously told us they were in the US. We appreciate your suggestion about making it explicit that this was intended for a US audience and will incorporate that feedback in the future. --JAdams (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 24 May 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Professional Fundraiser[edit]

Hello, I read the form 990 for the fiscal year 2019-2020 under that link after I havent found it on the website of the Wikimedia foundation. In the form at Schedule G it is about fundraising and there was the Trilogy Interactive LLC listed as a company that supported the Wikimedia foundation in Fundraising and the Wimiedia Fondation paid 437550 Dollars for that. I read the description what the Trilogy Interactive LLC did for the Wikimedia Foundation and I ask me why for emailing donors for fundraisers and for creating an fundraising banner an external consultancy was needed. From my point of view this is not something for what an external support is needed. Banners exist since many years and for sending E-Mails a external company is not needed. Please tell me why you think that for that an external support was needed.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:51, 25 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Actually, that company too has a brief mention in the Signpost piece I just mentioned above. Best, --Andreas JN466 14:06, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We waste half a million bucks on a email- and phone-spammer, while in the banners we complain about being nearly bankrupt? That's the complete opposite of a morally just and fine enterprise, that's plain bad. We are awash in money, we don't need such professional beggars, and we definitely don't want to pay such people any money.Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:34, 29 June 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for your question. Trilogy Interactive LLC is an expert in the non-for profit fundraising space and their expertise has been very beneficial to us. They have been providing expertise by supporting best practices and implementation of our email campaigns. They have also been providing us with technical support with regards to internet service providers and ensuring a strong deliverability of our messages to donors.
This all is needed because of the complexity of our fundraising. We operate across many countries, languages, payment processors and methods. This immensely complicated work requires constant testing and performance evaluation which is what Trilogy has and is helping us with. They have also been assisting us with database management support and provided capacity around email and banner coding as well as feature implementations when we needed it. All this is needed in order for WMF to run smooth and effective fundraising campaigns across all the countries we fundraise in. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 06:03, 1 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
But ain't that something the affiliates can and should do, as they operate in those many countries, languages, payment processors and methods and know best how to deal with that? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 06:50, 1 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hello @JBrungs (WMF):, thank you that you have explained a bit more what for services Trilogy LLC did for the Wikimedia Foundation. What is the difference between the fundraising banners of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Fundraising Banner of Wikimedia Germany. Does the Wikimedia Foundation use the things developed at Wikimedia Germany in their teams who work on banners and other fundraising related things. I think it is important to make sure that there are not duplicate structures in the different Organisations related to Wikimedia and so I support the existence of the team at the Wikimedia Foundation what does Fundraising. Please think about what you really need and what not. The amount paid to companies who offer services to the Wikimedia Foundation should be reduced from my point of view. Something what can help is, if you ask the participating people in the Wikimedia Projects about a topic before you pay services for a high amount of money. At some parts there is maybe an internal solution that can be used instead of buying a service.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:04, 6 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
WMF and Wikimedia Deutschland have regular meetings to exchange ideas, performances and functionalities. WMDE does run their own banner campaigns as they have resources available for this. WMF therefore does not show fundraising banners in Germany.
Additionally to this, we are working with other affiliates across the movement in sharing expertise, insights, learnings and success we gain from our work with Trilogy. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:03, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
As a professional fundraiser myself, I can tell you that I'm not happy unless I've added enough value to raise at least double what clients have paid for that expertise within 6 months, and ensure that investment keeps growing after the contract is finished. My most successful client multiplied their income by a factor of 10 in less than 2 years. I have no doubt that without the expertise from this firm (and the experience they have gained in working with other causes), Wikimedia Foundation would be raising a whole lot less. --Rachelcollinson (talk) 22:16, 7 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

1st time recently[edit]

I'd like to direct your attention to This comment on the English Wikipedia's help desk. After responding to the person I came here and saw the message currently running for users in Japan, and I can see how the language in the banner, "This Wednesday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence," can be really confusing, especially since donation campaigns run at least annually if not more, and especially for people who have donated in the past. I would suggest that language be rephrased to something like "for the first time in X months," or better yet, dropped entierly. ONUnicorn (talk) 16:08, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I would concur on this - the fact that we don't know when people donate mean that we should avoid making statements like this unless we can guarantee it's been at least a year since someone could have seen a fundraising request Nosebagbear (talk) 17:43, 14 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Dear ONUnicorn and Nosebagbear,
Thanks for your feedback on our banner language. We're aware that this has room for improvement, and we're working on it. We fundraise on a yearly cadence, so the "first time recently" is referring to the first time we are asking that specific group of readers that year. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:02, 21 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]

User:JBrungs (WMF), could you please check that the Japanese fundraising banners you link to are the right ones? They don't match this screenshot posted on Twitter. Or has the banner been changed since then? Regards, --Andreas JN466 06:18, 15 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The links we posted on the meta fundraising page were the starting point for our Japan campaign banners. They act as a "control" as we constantly A/B test them against other banners with language and design changes (e.g. banner language from last year's campaign - initially 50% of non-logged in users saw the new banners and 50% saw the banner language from last year), and we occasionally update control banners. We are sharing these control banners for each campaign because they represent the language and design that is most consistent throughout the campaign. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:41, 19 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, Julia! Do you actually have these various banner wordings translated by Japanese Wikimedians or do you sometimes use machine translations? I'm asking because a Japanese friend (a native speaker) whom I asked about the banner felt the phrasing was odd and unclear, and did not sound like it had been written by a Japanese person. Regards, --Andreas JN466 16:14, 19 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi Andreas, we do work with native speakers on the translations of our banners and we work as much as possible with the local community to ensure that the banner language works. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 11:04, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, Julia. Best, --Andreas JN466 13:02, 20 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Feedback by fr-wp community[edit]

Please see fr:Wikipédia:Le Bistro/28 septembre 2021#Collecte annuelle de fonds de Wikimedia Foundation sur Wikipédia en français 2021.

Best, — Jules* Talk 13:02, 28 September 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Clarity[edit]

Please be very, very clear about who is asking for donations and what they will be used for. I am concerned that a reader seeing enwp's left sidebar headed "Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia" containing a link labelled "Donate" might naively mistake that for a way to donate to Wikipedia. (Similar considerations apply to sister projects.) Of course, everyone reading this page will know that the money goes to a different organisation in which the communities have little say and which spends the vast majority of the donations elsewhere, or simply keeps it, but we must do far more to make that obvious and transparent to potential donors. Certes (talk) 18:42, 8 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dear Certes,
Thank you for your message. We are committed to ensuring clarity and transparency with readers about how their support is used. On the donation page, it is clearly stated that donations go to the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia) and lists different ways the donation will be used. Additionally, the logo of the Wikimedia Foundation also appears on the site. If you have suggestions for improvements on the clarity, I am happy to hear those.   JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:34, 10 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The WMF does not run Wikipedia. While the WMF's contributions are valued (including both its hosting and other support activities), Wikipedia is a volunteer-run project. On reducing confusion: I recommend reverting the change to the landing page that was implemented this year, which added the Wikipedia text mark above the Foundation logo in the left sidebar. (Ideally, there would also be a rewrite of the text content, which has many problematic aspects in this area, but I doubt the WMF would accept that.) --Yair rand (talk) 12:55, 10 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I agree. The text content is misleading in that it features the WMF taking credit for Wikipedia and makes out that donations—
(1) are urgently needed (they are not, given that the WMF exceeded its own fundraising target in the year just completed by almost $50 million),
(2) are needed to keep Wikipedia thriving (Wikipedia grew into one of the world's top-10 websites at a time when the Wikimedia Foundation did not even exist or consisted of less than a dozen people, compared to over 500 staff today ... and Wikipedia is no longer a top-10 website),
(3) to the WMF are a suitable means to express gratitude to "The heart and soul of Wikipedia ... a community of people working to bring you unlimited access to reliable, neutral information", as though the money were somehow to be used to recompense them –which is not the case (while WMF fundraiser salaries appear to be skyrocketing),
(4) are needed to "sustain" Wikipedia when in fact the WMF is asking for more and more money every year (eyeing annual revenue of a billion dollars a year and more) not in order to keep Wikipedia going but in order to grow its own organization of paid staff.
An honest fundraising message would eschew all these manipulative and subtly misleading tactics. It would spell out something like this: that the WMF wants to raise money from Wikipedia in order to grow into a much larger organization, that it plans to drive and incentivize the creation of copious free content by generally unpaid volunteers in all languages of the Global South (for people to use for free and Big Tech to earn trillions with, through search engine advertisements, voice assistants, etc.), and wants to become the dominant source of reference information across the globe, shaping people's conception of reality everywhere in its image. Something like that Face-smile.svg ... --Andreas JN466 16:56, 11 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Isn't the WMF, by taking credit and asking people for money, all of which it keeps, essentially behaving as if volunteers were unpaid WMF staff? Because if that were true, then it would not be an interactive computer service but an online publication, with all that that entails. --Andreas JN466 17:06, 11 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, and that's a very dangerous road. I suspect that the barrage of unwanted changes has brought many of us to the brink of resigning. Still, $50m should fund plenty of paid editors to take our place. Certes (talk) 15:47, 15 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Avoid stating how many times you've seen the fundraiser[edit]

Just some constructive input. The most irritating thing when I visit news sites like The Guardian is that they've monitored exactly how many articles I've read. I find it creepy and intrusive. I think it's a bad idea monitoring how many times you've seen the fundraiser. That would make me less likely to want to donate than donate. I don't know how others feel but I find it intrusive and annoying.Encyclopædius (talk) 16:00, 3 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. A reminder that even the most seemingly-innocuous websites are always tracking you is not exactly something that gets me jazzed up about contributing to the cause of "the free online encyclopedia." -Elmer Clark (talk) 03:18, 4 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If you're going to spy on us, you need better spying. It always says it's my second time. Art LaPella (talk) 14:30, 6 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hard agree. It's creepy. Stuff like, "you donated XYZ in the past" makes sense to me, but how many times I've seen the banner? I'd be less likely to donate. Shushugah (talk) 00:07, 7 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I am a digital fundraising consultant and would LOVE to see if this particular line of text on how many times you've seen it has been tested and in which countries. My intuition is that it's off-putting, but I know I'm quite unusual sometimes in my giving behaviour. What I have seen tested elsewhere is the the '98% of people scroll past'... that text seems to create a social norm that people don't give and nor should you. I'd guess it's counterproductive and would love to see the test results. (As I always say to my clients, sometimes your audience bucks the trend so you always have to test.) --Rachelcollinson (talk) 22:10, 7 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for your feedback. We take reader privacy very seriously, and we don't track what people read on Wikipedia, or how long they stay in our pages (see Wikipedia's privacy policy for more information). That's a limitation we are proud to work with. Our banner seen count feature highlights the fact that we keep track of the appeals we show readers, which is very limited and on average much less than most nonprofits. We test improvements to this feature regularly and will continue to do so in the future, that's why your feedback is so valuable! So far, we have heard that with this count readers realize how much value they get from Wikipedia, but we know it's a balance between seeking the reader’s attention while having the least disruptive impact on the reading experience. We hear this feedback and will take it into consideration as we continue to iterate on the message throughout the campaign. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:19, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Regarding the fundraising banners[edit]

Copied from: en:Wikipedia:Village pump (WMF)

Why are fundraising queries ending up at the Teahouse and the Help Desk? The volunteers there don't run the fundraiser, the Wikimedia Foundation does. Shouldn't the foundation be answering these questions? Shouldn't there be some contact information included in the banner messages?
Many such comments are from people who think they can influence the content of the encyclopedia by donating or withholding donations. Of course they can't, but there's nothing in the fundraising banners (that I've seen) that would tell them that. But there is a lot confusing and inaccurate stuff like "this is the 6th time we've interrupted your reading", which might be correct for everyone using this IP put together, but not for me, the person reading the message. A lot of comments also point that out. I understand it's a technical limitation - but since there isn't actually any need to include something like that in these messages, the solution is obvious.
It turns out there are a few informational links included in the banner, but they're hidden until you click a button to donate. It's clear from the comments at the Teahouse and Help Desk that a lot of readers don't make it that far. The only contact information given for the Wikimedia Foundation is an email address at the very end of the FAQ.
This information should be included in the banner message, where people will actually see it, not buried in the fine print.
2601:194:300:130:78B1:37FF:1DC6:F52B 23:21, 4 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for your feedback and for your valuable work with the Teahouse and help desk. Our donor relations team is responding to thousands of messages from readers this week. If readers or donors reach out on other channels, please let people know our team is standing by at [[3]]. While readers may find other contact channels on the website, we proactively provide the [[4]] email in the FAQ link and Problems Donating link in the banner just below the message. We aim to lighten the burden of the fundraising campaign on volunteers as much as possible and are monitoring the donate@ inbox as well as fundraising talk pages. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:59, 8 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF):, aside from what the donor relations team are busy with and what information has been relayed to them, has there been any communication with the, shall we say, "banner design team", as far as the OP's feedback concerns them? Which seemed to be to be the main complaint, that the fundraiser banners' design & what information is presented on them seems to be falling short..2600:1702:4960:1DE0:75EB:E3E3:2B4C:6EA1 03:25, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes we do make sure that our design teams hear about community concerns and they are constantly working to improve the banners. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 07:22, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Fundraiser banner[edit]

Copied from: en:Talk:Main Page#Fundraiser banner

Some feedback on the banner which I don't find very intuitive. Firstly it always shows me £2. I am not from Europe, am not aware of Euro rates, and I don't have the conversion rate handy. There are no other helpful links for more details or FAQs in the banner (they are actually hidden, and show up only after we click on one of the payment modes). After some effort I managed to find my country-related link to make the payment, and got the values in my currency. On trying to make the payment there, it lists many mandatory fields (name, street, city, email) but gives no explanation of why these are required, or how we can make a payment with minimal information. Jay 09:06, 6 December 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for your feedback. There are several reasons why the amount shown to you might be in British pounds. You might have recently traveled there and your cookie cache has not redirected itself yet. You might have also recently used, or are using, a VPN in which case the cookies will pick this up as your location. If neither of these apply, we can connect to learn more info.
I am happy to hear that you found both the FAQs, we also link to them right below the banner text, and the payment methods for your country. We collect and use various personal information from donors that includes: amount donated, address, donor comments and email address. For more information on what information we collect and how we use it, please visit our policy. To clarify the language of the disclaimer, the only data we collect is from the donation form during the donation process, and the service providers that we share it with are simply the financial organizations that enable us to process donations. We would also like you to know that we neither process nor store credit card details or bank information. Instead, we work closely with third party payment processors affiliated with banks to process donations. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:05, 8 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The banner[edit]

I'm going to copy my comment I made on EN wiki's Teahouse talk page (I don't know how to link to another wiki from a different wiki). I recently went to the main page while logged out and HOLY CRAP THAT IS A HUGE BANNER. Seriously, I'd say that banner took up about half of my screen. It says this: "To all our readers in the U.S., Please don't scroll past this. This Thursday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Thursday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We ask you, humbly: please don't scroll away. If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to reliable, neutral information matters to you. Thank you." If you ignore it, when you go back to the main page, the banner is still huge (although slightly smaller) and says this, "Hi reader. This is the 2nd time we’ve interrupted your reading recently, but 98% of our readers don't give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. This Thursday we ask you to protect Wikipedia. All we ask is $2.75, or what you can afford, to secure our future. We ask you, humbly: Please don't scroll away. If you are one of our rare donors, we warmly thank you." and every time you reload the number increases to 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. The Teahouse and Help Desk have recently received an influx of questions such as "I've already donated! Why is it still asking me?" and Shushugah on EN Wiki has recently created a template response to these questions given the amount of them we receive. Also, after I looked at the main page while logged out and saw the giant donation banner and the increasing number of times they've "asked" you after that, I can see why IP readers are bothered by them. I've actually heard the WMF has plenty of money for the time being. So instead of an excessively large banner that continues to bother you even if you have donated (most IP readers have no interest in creating an account as they just want to read Wikipedia), why not a smaller message underneath the header at the top of the main page that asks the user to donate if they are able to. Also, if we must keep the banners, 1. Don't make the first one so giant and 2. Include information that tells the IP reader that WMF doesn't track the identity of an IP so there's no way of knowing if they have donated in the past, and include the steps they can take to get rid of the banners. Apologies for the length of this, but I think something should be done if IP readers are this bothered by it. Blaze The Wolf (talk) 18:17, 9 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for your feedback and for your valuable work with the Teahouse and help desk. One of your comments, about the amount of times the reader has seen the banners, is already addressed above. If you see readers or donors reach out on other channels, please let people know our team is standing by at donate(@)wikimedia.org.
Donation banners are designed to show to donors that have enabled cookies on their browser, and to hide after the banner is shown a few times or after a donation. Hiding, however, depends upon a cookie that we insert in the browser. Banner hiding won't work if you clear your browser's cache, delete cookies, or change browsers or computers. Also, if you happen to see a large banner, this is designed to show only on the first view, and will appear in a reduced size on subsequent views.
There are several options available to you to hide the fundraising banners in the future:
  • If you click the X in the corner of our banner (or No thanks/Close on a banner on a mobile device), it will hide for one week;
  • If you return to the ‘Thank You' page, it will give the browser cookie a chance to reinsert. If you read Wikipedia on multiple devices, please visit this page on each of them to suppress the banners; or
  • [You seem to already have an account but this is an option for IP readers] You can create or log in to an account on Wikipedia - banners are not typically shown to users that log in to Wikipedia accounts. More information on creating an account can be found here.
Thank you also for sharing your thoughts. We truly value feedback about the messaging in the fundraising banners, and appreciate you taking the time to send us your comments.
Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:43, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
So what you're telling me is that you have absolutely no interest in making the banner less obtrusive and instead just want users to hide it? You seem to not be wanting to address the problem but rather just hope it goes away. This in my opinion is absolutely unacceptable. Blaze The Wolf (talk) 14:09, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Julia can do nothing here. The board sets Fundraising the targets (and the task to exceed them). Everything about the banners is constantly A/B-tested, with revenue maximisation the top priority. I think you'll find the importance of your complaint pales into absolute insignificance when compared to the ability to bring in another million or however much the difference would be. If you're unhappy, don't complain here, where you will almost certainly be ignored – tell the people out there. --Andreas JN466 15:34, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Uh huh. So basically the WMF is just like every other corporate company. They only care about the money, and not their community. Only, their money comes only from donations. Also, if I'm unhappy about it and I"m ignored, then what on Earth is the point of this page? Blaze The Wolf (talk) 20:31, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Julia can do nothing here - perhaps not personally, but if she's the PR face that's put forward to handle....relations with the public, then it is her duty to relay whatever feedback she receives through appropriate channels.
  • As has been noted by several individuals here, the banners' verbiage has been less than honest. While the exact letter of the words may be free of outright falsehoods, they beyond a reasonable doubt portray the WMF's financial situation in a false light: they elicit donations from readers - many of whom are likely to be actually barely struggling to keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads - through shock tactic. They catch uninformed readers off guard by presenting the WMF as being strapped for cash and on the brink of shutting down in a matter of weeks unless all of the peasants chip in a few of their pennies that they're holding onto to pay for their daily cup of gruel with.
  • When in reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. WMF is rolling in cash. Please remind your millionaire executives that nonprofit organisations are supposed to provide for a common good. Are they not? Is not the point of being nonprofit to prevent the manifestation of an uncontrolled lust for greater and greater intake of revenues, by whatever means necessary? You say that is the only thing that drives the WMF decision-making entities now. Yet they are accomplishing this by preying on the uninformed readers by making them believe you're literally on the brink of bankruptcy. I am not a lawyer, but to my layman's mind that seems to be walking on a razor thin edge next to fraud.
  • regardless of anything else, these people have to know this tactic is working on borrowed time. Word does eventually get around, and none of these things are secrets. Do they seriously think it will be good for future donations if potential donors view them as dishonest money grubbers begging from peasants while rolling in millions and millions? Or do they care only about today, and that's it?
Thank you for your time, and my most sincere sympathies are with you for having to be the lone individual that communicates with all of us - I'm sure it is not in the slightest bit pleasant, and none of the things any of us are *****ing about [the uncensored version was blocked by the software] are even remotely your fault. So, a drink to you. Cheers 2600:1702:4960:1DE0:E188:AB34:F849:5200 22:47, 15 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Unacceptable[edit]

Just launched a private window, and honestly I have no words. This is absolutely unacceptable. JBchrch (talk) 02:00, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

These fundraising banners seem a bit excessive[edit]

If you open up any article on the English Wikipedia right now, you'll see a huge fundraising banner right at the top of the page... in the middle of the page content. It seems kind of unnecessary for it to be messing up the arrangement of the content (for example, today's featured article has the lead grotesquely sandwiched between the banner and a lead image, which makes the page look awful even when fullscreened on my 4K monitor). This is for the second one (the huge red one). The first one it shows you, which is blue, is even more massive to the point of occupying nearly an entire screen's worth of space. The obtuseness of this, to me, is reflected in the great volume of sad IP editors showing up at the Teahouse (and even ANI) to weep about this. I don't mean to meddle in the affairs of the WMF, but I will note that almost every person I've linked to a Wikipedia article in the last week has commented on the giant banners (and not because they were happy about them). JPxG (talk) 02:28, 10 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

As a volunteer, I'm unhappy that the effort and time I donate is compromised by obtrusive donation appeals using obsequious, fawning PR language, that the readers I serve can't escape. Tone it done, please! Jr8825 (talk) 19:02, 11 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you very much for your feedback. Your question is addressed in the answer above. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:45, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Twitter thread, social media[edit]

Anyone unhappy with the tone of the fundraising messages may want to retweet this thread by en:Hector Martin (hacker):

It was originally posted in May, but has now got a second lease of life. It is currently at about 2,000 Likes and over 1,000 retweets. --Andreas JN466 14:02, 12 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

If you have other social media accounts, your friends and followers may be interested in these articles on Wikimedia fundraising:

The graphic shown on the right is also very eleoquent.

Financial development of the Wikimedia Foundation (in US$), 2003–2020
Black: Net assets (excluding the Wikimedia Endowment, which currently stands at $100m+)
Green: Revenue (excluding third-party donations to Wikimedia Endowment)
Red: Expenses (including WMF payments to Wikimedia Endowment)

--Andreas JN466 14:18, 12 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It's been pointed out to me elsewhere "Managers get $400k salaries" in the above tweet by Hector is only accurate for the CEO (Katherine exceeded $400K). The Daily Dot article linked in the tweet says "Top-tier managers earn $300,000 – $400,000 a year", based on [6]. However, bear in mind that Wikimedia Foundation salaries increase every year in excess of inflation and the latest available figures are two or three years behind present salaries. --Andreas JN466 12:21, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Reducing the legitimate anger of "I donated but you won't leave me alone"[edit]

Every year we, completely unsurprisingly, see huge numbers of "I've just donated, and yet I'm still seeing the banner".

Could both the confirmation page, and the donation team email, that comes up after a donation (in an akin fashion to an order confirmation on a shop website), prominently note:

"You will continue to see donation banners. Please feel free to ignore them. If you wish to hide them, please register an account and go to [Hyperlink to banner preferences] to disable them" Nosebagbear (talk) 10:06, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Dear @Nosebagbear,
Thank you for this feedback. Most donors will not see the banners again after donation but it does indeed happen that they do. Part of your feedback is also addressed in the answer above.
I will pass your feedback on to the relevant teams. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:46, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Is it really not possible to add an "I've already donated" button? I doubt adding a single cookie tracking that for the duration of the fundraiser would be considered intrusive by anyone. Elli (talk) 16:37, 13 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Elli,
Thanks for this suggestion, I have passed this on to the team.
Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:45, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Nosebagbear,
Just quickly wanted to highlight the additional line which has been added to the Thank You page. Thank you very much for the suggestions and I hope this will help to improve donor and volunteer experiences. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 15:14, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
We're certainly getting a lot more grief than normal over at the en-wiki Teahouse about the size, tone and intrusiveness of the banner this year. So much so, that someone's created a template to help us give a stock answer to people who express their frustration at us. (And I'm thinking of inviting donations on my userpage to my personal PayPal account for anyone who feels they get their £2 worth out of all my efforts there. LOL) Nick Moyes (talk) 00:04, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Nick Moyes,
Thank you for highlighting this here as well. I replied to the request of the helpdesk here. Let me know other things and support you need and it is totally fine to just point everyone's enquiries, complaints, etc., to donate at wikimedia dot org.
Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:44, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): the fact that we can just point in your way is not really the principal issue here - it's a symptom. It's an indicator that the increased size/colour has significantly increased irritation from readers. It's not become any easier to complain on our Teahouse about it, so it indicates a large number who are unhappy because it has become so blatant.
Until Board, directors, and advancement team all formally start tracking "reader irritation" as a KPI and a goal that offsets donation value (obviously the primary goal) against reader irritation, there isn't the strength of motivation to turn it down.
You're significantly more communicative than the fundraising team has been before, which is great, but the intrusion of fundraising banners is even more significant than it has been for the last 3 years. But the consequences of that irritation, other than emails sent to your team are all felt by the editors. It's our help-pages with irked users, our content shunted around, our corps that has fewer individuals signing up, etc etc. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:56, 14 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I dunno. Maybe Wikimedia volunteers can start a campaign not to donate to the Foundation until these banners are made less irritating? -- Llywrch (talk) 00:12, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
If anyone asks me how they can help Wikipedia with money, I tell them to donate to the Internet Archive. Kusma (talk) 10:04, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

(more pile-on) Here’s what the reply template people see at en-wp Teahouse[edit]

en:Template:WikiDonation is intended as the canned reply to requests on the English Wikipedia Teahouse (help forum for newbies) and possibly Help Desk (help forum for the older ones). It contains instructions to turn off the fundraising banner and the email of the donation team, but it also has been recently modified to include the following:

None of the Wikipedia volunteer editors here who add and improve content in articles receive any financial benefit. We all simply contribute our time because we care about building a great encyclopedia for you and innumerable others around the world to use.

If you cannot afford it, no one wants you to donate. Wikipedia is not at risk of shutting down, and the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Wikipedia platform and is asking for these donations, is richer than ever.

Now, you might think this is petty and unhelpful. However, that is probably a message that the community (or at least the community of en-wp Teahouse responders) agrees with, and so that is the message that new users will meet.

Obviously, people who go on the Teahouse to complain about donations are a small fraction of all those who see the banner, and of those, a smaller yet fraction will switch from donate to not-donate because of this. But surely that is the kind of screenshot that will make the rounds on social media. Please factor that in your next calculations of fundraising optimization. Tigraan (talk) 10:11, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Shame on you WMF! Shame![edit]

This was recently posted on the English Wikipedia Help Desk:

Dear "Good Folks" At Wikipedia,

First, allow me to sincerely express my gratitude for being one of the finest Web services provided. THANK YOU to eacxh volunteer that unselfishlessly donates their time to Helping make our world a better & more knowledgable/informed place to live.

Second, While I am a very low income Senior [ live in Gov't. H.U.D. Apt.], I do still try to contribute to certain causes. Wikipedia is 1 such Group. I believe that I have given Wikipedia small donations for about 3 years now. While I do not have much to give, It is important that You know we appreciate the great work you undertake.

I do, respectfully, need to point out 1 "process" that Wikipedia implements that "disturbs/upsets" me. I just, accidentally, got rolled over to Wikipedia on a matter I am researcing. The Wikipedia "overlay" writing asking for Donations said this was 4th time You have asked me.

THAT "NOTICE" MADE ME FEEL VERY "GUILTY/BAD"....... Right now, I have $18.00 in my bank account ! That's It !

Soon, I will get my only source of Income [ a monthly Social Security Check] & will try to make a donation at that time. While I do not mind your "Reminding" me that Wikipedia can use Donations, Please quit stating this is 1st, 2nd, 3rd time......you have aqsked !

Thank You & Best Wishes, Thomas — Preceding unsigned comment added by 104.33.228.209 (talk) 00:16, 14 December 2021 (UTC)

Taking money from Thomas and then making him feel guilty for not giving more, this emotional blackmail (dare I call it extortion?) is truly despicable! You owe all the Thomases an apology and a full refund. This banner campaign is doing a lot of reputational damage, shut it down.

Until now I was proud to be a Wikipedian. Dodger67 (talk) 20:20, 16 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The latest (2020/21) Wikimedia financial statements have just been released. Here are the results in context. While people who are genuinely broke are made to feel guilty, the WMF sits on something like $350 or $400 million – is that estimate about right, including the endowment? --Andreas JN466 01:00, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Year Source Revenue Expenses Asset rise Total assets
2020/2021 PDF $ 162,886,686 $ 111,839,819 $ 50,861,811 $ 231,177,536
2019/2020 PDF $ 129,234,327 $ 112,489,397 $ 14,674,300 $ 180,315,725
2018/2019 PDF $ 120,067,266 $ 91,414,010 $ 30,691,855 $ 165,641,425
2017/2018 PDF $ 104,505,783 $ 81,442,265 $ 21,619,373 $ 134,949,570
2016/2017 PDF $ 91,242,418 $ 69,136,758 $ 21,547,402 $ 113,330,197
2015/2016 PDF $ 81,862,724 $ 65,947,465 $ 13,962,497 $ 91,782,795
2014/2015 PDF $ 75,797,223 $ 52,596,782 $ 24,345,277 $ 77,820,298
2013/2014 PDF $ 52,465,287 $ 45,900,745 $ 8,285,897 $ 53,475,021
2012/2013 PDF $ 48,635,408 $ 35,704,796 $ 10,260,066 $ 45,189,124
2011/2012 PDF $ 38,479,665 $ 29,260,652 $ 10,736,914 $ 34,929,058
2010/2011 PDF $ 24,785,092 $ 17,889,794 $ 9,649,413 $ 24,192,144
2009/2010 PDF $ 17,979,312 $ 10,266,793 $ 6,310,964 $ 14,542,731
2008/2009 PDF $ 8,658,006 $ 5,617,236 $ 3,053,599 $ 8,231,767
2007/2008 PDF $ 5,032,981 $ 3,540,724 $ 3,519,886 $ 5,178,168
2006/2007 PDF $ 2,734,909 $ 2,077,843 $ 654,066 $ 1,658,282
2005/2006 PDF $ 1,508,039 $ 791,907 $ 736,132 $ 1,004,216
2004/2005 PDF $ 379,088 $ 177,670 $ 211,418 $ 268,084
2003/2004 PDF $ 80,129 $ 23,463 $ 56,666 $ 56,666
The goal for the Wikimedia Endowment was 100 Million Dollar and there will be a own Institution for that fund, when it is accepted by the IRS after it is currently managed through the Tides Foundation. This Article from the Wikimedia Foundation Website is about reaching the goal of the Wikimedia Endowment. From my point of view the Wikimedia Foundation has enough money and I think there is no increase in Fundraising for the next years needed. But is probably important that they pay attention that the revenue of Wikimedia Enterprise is not more than 30 percent of the total revenue and so it could be that the Fundraising goals increase in the next years. The question what is necessary and what isnt, is a important and difficult question when looking to the increase in staff and Expenses at the Wikimedia Foundation in the last years. There I wish discussions about the topic until the next annual plan that will be published propably before the next fiscal year of the Wikimedia Foundation starts. What do you think is the right page here in Metawiki to discuss about that. From my point of view is a first thing that is interesting to know, to find the minimum amout of money that is needed to operate the infrastructure as it exists now.--Hogü-456 (talk) 13:36, 18 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I strongly agree with Dodger67 here. I can't go into the specifics, but as a VRT agent I've received numerous emails from people on limited incomes who are donating money they need because they believe that Wikipedia is in trouble and that they need to give money to keep it online. I'm absolutely disgusted by this, and I think it will catch up to us in the long-run, as people won't want to give once they realize how deceptive these campaigns are. Elli (talk) 04:00, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Don't bother to mention that here, they don't care, as long as there's enough money for more jobs in the WMF to employ more staffers to do more stuff nobody in the real communities asks for. They never ever listened to the community in this regard, they are just a buch of extreme greedy people without any decency. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 07:51, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Elli: Sänger is absolutely right about one thing: don't expect your complaints here to make a difference. IT IS THE SAME THING EVERY YEAR. This is a Wikipedia Signpost article I wrote in 2015: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2015-03-18/Op-ed Look at the quotes, what people said then. Wikipedians complain every year to the WMF, nothing changes, and next year the exact same thing happens again, only worse, because "more money". If you want to change things, go on social media. Look for people who are distressed because they are broke and can't give (or have given anyway ... the WMF do give refunds, see FAQ). Look for well-meaning people who tell people to give money to the WMF because "Wikipedia needs your support". Tell them what's happening, or link them to this page. Provide the public with actual info on WMF finances – isn't this the job we volunteered for, to counter misinformation and provide a way for people to know the facts? We currently have our own "fake news" problem, broadcast to hundreds of millions of readers on our own site, by people who value money more than truth. --Andreas JN466 11:22, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Jayen466 Honestly, I would consider going to enwiki and running an RfC to include CSS to disable centralnotice banners for while the donation campaign is going on. Would probably be more of a symbolic thing, but that might get them to listen (would also probably be better started by someone other than I). Indeed I'm not very hopeful about them listening to us, but it's better to try than to not. Elli (talk) 11:25, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Elli: I'm not against such an RfC, but it would take days. Christmas is looming ... by the time there would be consensus to do anything, the fundraiser is over and people forget until next year. This is how it is every year. But people outside of the Wikimediaverse who have once seen the financials never forget them, and they are likely to tell others. Thanks for sharing your VRT experience – I suppose you tell these people much the same thing, i.e. that the WMF is richer than ever? --Andreas JN466 11:36, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

This is absolutely unacceptable.[edit]

I'm not even gonna start this post with a friendly "Hello" like I normally do. What you guys are doing is completely unacceptable. I am absolutely appalled by what I"m seeing. You wanna know how bad this issue is? Here you go. That's a list of probably only a few of the questions me and other volunteers have answered that involves your terrible donation banners. Many users have come here and complained about them, and all you do about them is throw a templated message at them saying that you "appreciate" our concerns and that you'll let those in charge know. IN reality I bet you do absolutely nothing. All you guys care about is your damn money. You guys are ignoring your own damn community, and that does not give you a good look. In fact, on the Teahouse talk page, I had asked Shushugah if they had a list of all the times people have complained about the banners, and along with that list they said this, "How/what the funding is used for bothers me more. Or the lack of tooling for certain tedious tasks, like notifying mobile users bothers me far more; all the more considering how much money WMF has." You guys have a crap ton of money, and yet you take forever to fix some of the more important issues on Wikipedia. Stop with the fundraising banners, or start listening to your damn community and fix what needs to be fixed, and create some kind of way for you to track who has and who has not donated. And don't even give me that templated message saying that you appreciate my concerns and that you'll let those in charge know. Tell us the damn truth about what you are doing. Blaze Wolf (talk) 19:57, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Oh and one more thing, if you don't fix the issue of the fundraising banners, I'm going to start telling people to not donate to you guys and give their money to companies that actually need the money. Blaze Wolf (talk) 19:59, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you, Blaze Wolf, for expressing this so clearly (and in more moderate language than I could have managed.) Maproom (talk) 15:17, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Maproom No problem. It helps that I always avoid using vulgar language (such as the f word). Blaze Wolf (talk) 15:30, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Update on Annual Fund Campaign[edit]

Dear all,

I wanted to give you a quick update on our annual fundraiser. We have been seeing all your valuable feedback here as well as on the English Wikipedia Village Pump and very much appreciate it, in particular, your suggestions for improvement. There are quite a few aspects we would like to take forward and will do so in the next couple of days.

As of Friday, December 17th, 4pm PST (midnight UTC) we will be pausing our Annual Fund banners and we plan to come back with Endowment banners next week, Monday, December 20th. In the meantime, we are working on improvements based on the feedback we’ve received.

We hope that this will significantly lighten the burden of the volunteers who have been so patiently helping readers and donors across English Wikipedia. Thank you very much for all your work!

We will post another update on the campaign by mid-next week. Best wishes, Ppena (WMF) (talk) 20:10, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks[edit]

Thankyou, Julia and Pats for coming on-wiki this year and engaging with community concerns. It's something that I feel has been lacking in previous years when it seemed that the only way to be heard was to email wikimedia-l. (You want to craft donation pleas that are effective, but given Wikimedia's mission to spread free knowledge, not propaganda, and to combat disinformation, then the Foundation should aim for the highest standards of truthfulness in how it asks readers to donate money. I suspect this expectation among the user base make this a tougher gig than it might be elsewhere?) Pelagic (talk) 23:59, 17 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed, thanks to you both. Pelagic, it's also that the community primarily wants things other than financial donation to support the project; things which are not really correlated (sometimes negatively correlated) with increased fundraising revenue.
Pats, it seems the endowment banners have most of the same issues, even though the language has changed to talk about the future. Please read the metaverse re: size / tone / intrusiveness (not to mention the page-bottom pop-ups ~ the banner equivalent of YPIIAC!)
Let's make the enormous pool of attention we draw to banners one that spreads joy & shared purpose, not distress and forestalled anxiety. A central problem with our current approach is that it is not inspiring, to community members or to readers. There is no silver lining; the colors are harsh, the message is simply "please give", there is no call to act, highlighting of our work and focus for the future, or invitation to support the projects in other ways. –SJ talk  20:06, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Request for clarification[edit]

Although the banners are now paused according to #Update on Annual Fund Campaign, could a WMF rep confirm for future reference whether my understanding is correct in the points below, please? It will help with answering Teahouse/Helpdesk questions and with combatting some misconceptions among the user base.

  • Donation banners are only shown on Wikipedias, not on sister projects Commons, Wikidata, Wikisource, etc.
  • Donation banners are not shown for any logged-on users at w:en, there is no longer any need to go to Preferences and hide them.
    • Can you advise what year this began?
    • Does this apply for all languages or only some wikis?
  • When a reader clicks Close, seven-day cookies are set (already stated by JBrungs (WMF) above at #The banner, but listing here for completeness)
    • Currently called centralnotice_hide_fundraising, with a value that contains "reason":"close"
  • When a donor is taken to the Thank You page a cookie is also set.
    • centralnotice_hide_fundraising with "reason":"donate", but still only 7 days?
    • Could this short duration be one reason why donors are complaining about being re-asked?
  • The counter for "Hi. This is the nth time we’ve interrupted your reading recently,..." is stored not in a cookie but in the browser's LocalStorage
    • ... with key = CentralNoticeKV|global|impression_diet_bannercount_fundraiser_2021, value = {expiry: 1671315586, val: {seenCount: 3, skippedThisCycle: 0, nextCycleStart: 1642371585845, seenThisCycle: 3}} (obviously the timestamps will vary)
  • Readers in majority-en-speaking countries like GB, AU, US, get the campaign in the lead-up to xmas, but other regions like IN at a different time of year?

Part of the detail on cookies and localstorage is OR by me (see also here), but I doubt I'm the only one who has looked into that.

Pelagic (talk) 01:49, 18 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Thank you for your questions, I have copied and answered them below:
  • Donation banners are only shown on Wikipedias, not on sister projects Commons, Wikidata, Wikisource, etc.
    • Yes, this to minimise reader and volunteer disruption and has been in place for several years.
  • Donation banners are not shown for any logged-on users at w:en, there is no longer any need to go to Preferences and hide them.
    • Can you advise what year this began?
      • About 10 years ago.
    • Does this apply for all languages or only some wikis?
      • It applies to all languages. We don’t run any fundraising banners for logged in users on any wiki.
  • When a reader clicks Close, seven-day cookies are set (already stated by JBrungs (WMF) above at #The banner, but listing here for completeness)
    • Currently called centralnotice_hide_fundraising, with a value that contains "reason":"close"
      • Yes
  • When a donor is taken to the Thank You page a cookie is also set.
    • centralnotice_hide_fundraising with "reason":"donate", but still only 7 days?
      • No, if someone donates, the cookie is set to hide the banner for 250 days. Please be aware that this is per device/browser.
    • Could this short duration be one reason why donors are complaining about being re-asked?
      • We think one of the main reasons is that donors use Wikipedia across different  devices and browsers but the cookies are only set in one browser at a time. If a donor clears their cookies, banners will also appear again. We have added clarification about this point for donors on the confirmation thank you page:  We value your support and try to prevent donors like you from receiving more fundraising messages. If you clear your browser's cookies, or visit on a different device, you may still see additional banners. Copying the link to this page and opening it on your other devices will suppress the banners.
  • The counter for "Hi. This is the nth time we’ve interrupted your reading recently,..." is stored not in a cookie but in the browser's LocalStorage
    • ... with key = CentralNoticeKV|global|impression_diet_bannercount_fundraiser_2021, value = {expiry: 1671315586, val: {seenCount: 3, skippedThisCycle: 0, nextCycleStart: 1642371585845, seenThisCycle: 3}} (obviously the timestamps will vary)
      • I will need to confirm this with the team, but the banners that are being used now no longer have this message.
  • Readers in majority-en-speaking countries like GB, AU, US, get the campaign in the lead-up to xmas, but other regions like IN at a different time of year?
    • Yes. The English campaign runs in December in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, the US, and New Zealand. We also run banners in Spanish for users of the es WP in the US, and for users in Canada of the fr WP. Other countries have campaigns at different times of the year (e.g. we ran a campaign in Japan in July/August, France in September, Italy is coming up in Q3, etc).
Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 15:10, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Julia, you said above to Pelagic that "Donation banners are not shown for any logged-on users" and that this began 10 years ago. I am pretty certain that the last part of this is incorrect. As far as I recall, up until (and including) last year, I saw the banners when logged in (hence the preference setting editors have mentioned). Best, --Andreas JN466 14:24, 31 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Reddit and Telegraph[edit]

  • Reddit thread (731 upvotes at time of writing)
    • "I love Wikipedia, and part of loving an organization is telling them when they’re messing up. They must read the room. Everyone’s spread extra thin." (top comment, 350 upvotes at time of writing)
    • "It probably wouldn't be so bad if they didn't come off as claiming to be a group of humble church mice just trying to keep the poor box from being completely empty this Christmas." (funniest comment to my mind)
  • UK Telegraph (archive link): "Wokepedia's greed makes a mockery of the season of giving": "The WMF holds assets of $240m (£181m), which is an impressive increase of $49m from a year ago. A total $208m is held in cash and short-term assets which the foundation can use to pay any unexpected bill - making any notion of the emergency that the ads imply today quite preposterous." (Audit report)

When you have the Telegraph and Redditors united against you on an issue like this, you have a problem. --Andreas JN466 15:38, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@Jayen466: Just so you know, the UK Telegraph is paywalled for me. I wanted to see all of what they were wanting to say about WMF but was met with them yelling at me to buy a subscription. Blaze Wolf (talk) 16:05, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Blaze Wolf: Sounds familiar. ;) Update: I've found an open archive link and substituted that above. I've emailed you the text (which you can also see by prefixing the address in your browser with "view-source:" and then searching for "At Christmas"). --Andreas JN466 18:12, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Blaze Wolf: Typical hypocrisy of right-wing media. --Hassanjalloh1 (talk) 20:24, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Jayen466: This your article you keep pushing down on people is actually shallow and shameful even for you. While I believe that there are serious underlying problems with WMF's fundraising efforts, and this must be addressed seriously in a way that is favoured by a majority of volunteers; however, the way you're attacking the foundation is just childish. Your criticism lacks substance and is loaded with political undertones (like "Wokepedia") and crap that is normally found on social media among right-wing folks attacking Wikipedia in general. At least try some analytical approach about how the foundation spends the money; provide reasons as to why certain expenses are not necessary, and why people should know. Copying and pasting the annual statements provided is just not enough to support the kind of argument you are pushing through. And using social media likes to prove your point just makes it dumb. --Hassanjalloh1 (talk) 21:02, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Andrew Orlowski is a longstanding critic of Wikipedia writing for a right-wing paper. Reddit is probably the one place online where Wikipedia is most loved, and its demographics are quite similar to Wikipedia's own. Yet both are saying pretty much the same thing everyone says who's seen the actual WMF financials: that the aggressiveness and pleading tone of the banners are at odds with the actual financial situation. So it's not a question of left or right, or of views on "wokeness" (a term which the WMF chose to highlight), but a question of knowing the actual financials or not. --Andreas JN466 21:40, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
They don't highlight the word, merely link to some other resource that does. The fact of the matter is that while all organizations can be subject to criticism, it certainly does not prove anything to use a newspaper that is mostly used to campaign for a specific party, and other sorts of propaganda (not to mention plain lies, perhaps not to the extent of the DM, but still). And if your argument against fundraising like this is "an encyclopedia should only be written for one specific type of human", then I'm guessing that might be the worst argument... 88.109.68.233 21:36, 29 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I find it difficult to think of a better way of damaging the principles of Wikipedia as a reliable fact based reference source than to plaster every single page with self-serving lies in the name of fundraising. If this happens again, Wikipedia should put up a sitenotice countering any incorrect claims in the fundraising notices. Kusma (talk) 10:53, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Good idea. I've mentioned it on the en:WP Village pump. [7] --Andreas JN466 12:09, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Ignorance[edit]

I'm sorry WHAT?! So you removed the normal fundraising banners and then brought them back with different wording. WHAT THE FRICKING HELL! Not only is it still a giant blue banner the first time, but now it's also a popup on the bottom of the screen when you are viewing articles. STOP IGNORING YOUR FRICKING COMMUNITY AND GET RID OF THESE BANNERS UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY NEED THE DAMN MONEY! I have no hope anymore for the WMF. It's a good thing you haven't become EA yet and have started making it so you HAVE to donate in order to edit, or view an article, or leave a message on a talk page. Stop begging for money you don't need! You have $100 million in your endowment and have reached your goal. Stop begging us for money. I am so done with you begging for money that you have plenty of. Users have pointed out that this issue is starting to gain attention. If you ignore this then you'll probably continue to gain more attention and people might stop donating to the WMF because all you guys are, are greedy people who don't even care about what their community thinks and does WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT while lying to their users. Tell us the damn truth about what you are doing with the money and why you need so much of it. You have many MANY MANY issues that you could be fixing. What do you do about them? NOTHING! You have all this money you don't need. If you think you desperately need donations, YA DONT! Start fixing the issues you have so you have a reason to be asking for money, or stop with the fundraising banners until you actually start running low on money. Blaze Wolf (talk) 18:26, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The Non-profit classical music station here in Portland has a very audience-friendly approach to their fundraising: they set an amount for the campaign, & when they reach it they end the fundraising campaign.
IMHO, the Foundation should not keep increasing its budget -- & its fundraising goals -- unless they convince the volunteer community that more money is needed (e.g., a new service for volunteers, some cause related to free information). Maybe freezing the budget, & removing the temptation to spend unallocated funds, will prevent wasteful expenses such as re-naming the Foundation -- something that proved widely unpopular with the volunteers who actually create what millions of people actually use & value. -- Llywrch (talk) 18:44, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Llywrch: Thanks for your comment Llywrch! Honestly, if it's ok for the WMF to ask for money they don't need than I would say it's perfectly acceptable for users to ask for money. This needs to end now. I don't care what they think they need, they don't need it. Blaze Wolf (talk) 20:02, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Blaze Wolf: Can you honestly prove that WMF don't need the money they're asking for? 100 year old non-profits (including colleges and universities) have been receiving donations year-on-year. I think the underlying approach here is a overhaul of the foundation's fundraising approach and not a question about receiving donations from the general public. Money is security; which transforms into strength, independence and continuity. --Hassanjalloh1 (talk) 21:19, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
... and rising salaries. --Andreas JN466 21:48, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The "amount needed" seems to change in line with how much money can be gotten. This is otherwise known as "mission creep". No problem, but then tell donors about the new, expanded mission, so they know exactly what they're funding. And make clear that you are asking for money to grow, not money to survive. Cheers, --Andreas JN466 22:00, 20 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Jayen466: You've been throwing in a lot of preposterous accusations at the foundation that are really not helping in building a strong argument in support of the underlying view of - I believe - a majority of volunteers and users. This has zero to do with "mission creep". You're so focused on the monetary figures that you totally ignored the underlying projects and strategies that inspired the increase in revenues, hence expenses. If you really have any idea about how non-profits operate you would know that prior to any fundraising campaign, there are always plans, projects and strategies in place which normally serve as the main rationale for the campaign. So let's say hypothetically you were in charge of channeling funds to the WMF, and for the first time you decided to cut funding by 50%. The first question you might face is "how are we going to fund the programmes and expenses we've already made plans for?" My point is, before questioning how the money flows in and out of WMF, it's better to look deep into how plans, strategies and projects are handled, because these are the reasons for asking for money in the first place. --Hassanjalloh1 (talk) 21:52, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Links to other fundraising banners[edit]

Hi JBrungs (WMF), on the “Current fundraising activities”, you only link the current desktop large banner. I know as a matter of fact that there are other banner types, such as the sticky banner, small banner, the one that is lodged into the text and more. Is it possible these could be linked as well? — Yours, Berrely • TalkContribs 15:46, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

+1. –SJ talk  20:11, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Seconded. However note that the WMF fundraisers reserve the right to change the banner texts at any time. I understand there is ongoing A/B-testing during and between fundraising seasons. So unless all versions tested are displayed, whatever is linked on that page would only ever be a small sample of banners readers see. --Andreas JN466 17:46, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Sure, below are some of the banners we are currently testing. As Andreas pointed out above, we are testing a lot of different banner messages, and we are updating them based on feedback we receive. Below are some examples of the Endowment banners that are live now.
Desktop large
Desktop small
Mobile large
Mobile small
Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 14:34, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Recurring proposals[edit]

Tis the season of anecdotes: I get annual or biannual pings from some friends who persistently support Wikipedia on their holiday giving list. I started keeping track of their feedback years ago. About half are always "just gave again to WP, one of the wonders of the Web!" perhaps mentioning how they used it recently. The other half, perhaps more literal, have shifted towards confusion or worry. That does not inspire them to give the way that bold + ambitious campaigns by other foundations do, they want to know if Wikipedia urgently needs much more funding, in which case they would gladly try to rally larger donors, but to the extent there is no urgent need, it makes them less enthusiastic. (they wouldn't worry about the endowment appeal in the same way. a cousin asked last year "did [the previous year's] campaign not work? do you have a fallback plan if fundraising stops being effective?")

My recurring proposals:

Quantify image impact. Evaluate the reputational opportunity cost of a stark, pleading campaign, vs. warmer invitations, and model its impact over a few years, when making A/B/Z decisions. Share w/ the community for our enlightenment. :)
Corollary: Lampshade negative internal impact. Acknowledge up front that the current side-effect of the main banners on community motivation + engagement + help-desk work seems negative, if minor. (And that this varies by banner.) Monitor wiki help-desks expecting this each campaign, so someone on staff updates an on-wiki summary of how that's going, as an expected challenge to avoid / detune, rather than other community members coming here to complain.
Feature inspiration. Have at least one benchmark campaign that all community members are proud + excited to broadcast to their friends and family. Include in the main rotation. (Have at least one that we're all excited to see while logged in! say, reusing the wonderful banner image at the top of the "thank you" page)
Slaught-me-not. Reduce the # of banners to one IP/client in a given timerange. Two back-to-back seems insensitive; six back-to-back is mean. I want to feel seen and invited to help, not slaught on.
Hash more, hash better. I suspect we can do much more with one-way hashing of fingerprinting that is privacy-preserving while also being sanity-preserving for those who have donated. Probabilistic estimates of "likelihood to have donated/Xed away a banner" are fine -- a noised locality-preserving hash of less-unique characteristics can support a gradient from "never show again" to "show at max cadence".
Name compelling targets. To the extent we need large new fundraising drives, invest proportionate amounts of energy in articulating a major goal (in reach, impact, content, community, integration) that new resources will support. –SJ talk  20:11, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Sj: I am broadly in agreement with the points you make here and above. I too would like to see banners that say what the huge amount of extra money is supposed to accomplish – also so that people can check afterwards whether the extra money delivered value.
I do want to raise a point about targets though. The target set at the beginning of the 2020/21 financial year was $108M. According to the audited accounts, the WMF took $163M. It even went fundraising in South America in spring, at the height of the Covid pandemic there, when it was already 40 or 50 million dollars ahead of its target. (The board first asked for targets to be exceeded in 2014, following the panic about dropping pageviews.) So, having exceeded its own publicised annual target by $55 million, the WMF immediately went on to increase its target to $150 million. To me this looks like rampant greed: let's grab as much as we can. We can take $160 million when our goal was $108 million? Great! $150 million is our new goal then. Let's see if we can make it past $200 million! Throughout all of this there is nary a word to donors about this planned growth. Now, as ever, donors are told to "protect Wikipedia". Which we were told by WMF leadership in 2013 could be comfortably managed on $10+ million a year!
So I agree, it would be nice to have positive, inspiring fundraising banners. I have made the same suggestion ... I would even be happy for the WMF if they manage to reach the billion dollars a year they appear to be dreaming of, if the public giving these funds were aware of all the above and so enthused by what the WMF is actually doing with their money that they want them to do more!
But don't you feel there is a fundamental lack of ordinary human decency in the current fundraising approach? If the public and community are partners in this, do you feel they are being treated fairly and respectfully? --Andreas JN466 22:57, 21 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Hi@Sj: Thank you very much for such detailed feedback. Have a look at our latest post below: it addresses some of your suggestions and highlights some adjustments we were already able to make. We agree on the importance of evaluating feedback from multiple points and continually working toward improvements for our readers, donors, and volunteers. I really appreciate your thoughts here. Best wishes! Ppena (WMF) (talk) 19:25, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks @Ppena (WMF):, I appreciate that + the update looks great. Happy holidays :) –SJ talk  16:45, 23 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
No one "just gave again to WP", because there is no mechanism for giving to Wikipedia. I can understand how someone might mistakenly think that a Donate link in a sidebar headed "Wikipedia" would donate to Wikipedia, but of course all donations go the WMF and only a fraction indirectly benefits the relevant Wikipedia. If any banner or donation form gives the impression that all or most of the money goes to Wikipedia(s), then we have a serious problem. Certes (talk) 01:31, 28 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
It seems safe to assume that anyone giving by clicking on a banner on site X to support X or its parent entities, feels they are giving to X. –SJ talk  06:42, 28 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

English fundraising banner campaign - further update[edit]

Dear all,

We are entering the last phase of the English banner fundraising campaign and banners are scheduled to be removed from Wikipedia on the 31st of December. While we will have part of the fundraising team working through the end of the year, many of our colleagues, including me, are taking time off between now and the first weeks of January. Please bear with us as we reply to any questions or comments here in mid-January.

Some updates on the banners:

Last week, we lowered the number of banners a reader/IP address sees from 10 banners to 6.  Banners are no longer shown for people who have already donated, closed a banner, or seen 6 banners. We are currently showing banners on less than half of the eligible pageviews in the campaign countries for these reasons. Banners are not being shown to logged in readers, as has been the set up for many years. We are planning to disable banners from the 23rd to the 27th of December. Similar to past years, we will run our final end of year reminder with the Endowment banners, between December 27th through the 31st.

The team has received valuable feedback from volunteers during the campaign. One suggestion was to include a message on the confirmation donor thank you page about how to disable banners across multiple devices. We are currently monitoring the response to this new message on the page. Thank you for this great idea to improve the reading experience for our donors. We have also adjusted banner messaging (e.g. removed the sentence including the number of fundraising banners we’ve shown). The team continues to incorporate feedback and work on improvements for our donors in the last few days we have left of the campaign.  

At this time of year, we receive thousands of notes from readers and donors. Please take a look at a few of these notes:

My £21 donation to Wiki P.

so learning's available for folks like me

Includes the 80p admin fee.

With appreciation to you Jimm ee…

(Donor from the UK)

Just wanted to let you know that I increased my donation from a one-time donation to a monthly donation based on your team. After making my initial donation, I asked how I could avoid being asked again each time I accessed your site. I received a quick and very helpful response, to which I replied with a thank you, and received a follow up “glad we could help” message. Now I know you don’t just provide a great website, but great customer service. And great customer service is a rarity these days! Thank you, Wikipedia, and Happy Holidays to you and your staff

(Donor from the US)

Thank you for your kind words of gratitude for such a small donation.

I do look up Wikipedia from time to time and it would be a real shame not to have this wonderful resource available at our fingertips.

What a legacy you have created, founding Wikipedia 20 years ago. I hope you and your staff enjoy your 20th year celebration and I hope there are many more years to come.

You should be very proud of your and your staffs achievements.

(Donor from Australia)

In the meanwhile:

  • If you have specific ideas to share, please feel invited to add them to the fundraising meta talk page.
  • If you need to report a bug or technical issue, please create a phabricator ticket.
  • If you see a donor on a talk page, VRT or social media having difficulties in donating, please refer them to donate(at)wikimedia.org

Thank you all very much for your support and understanding during the campaign. We realise there has been pressure on volunteers monitoring the Teahouse and the Helpdesk these past weeks and we are very thankful to all of you who patiently responded to donor questions, complaints, and feedback.

I will be in touch again briefly at the start of January. (I also posted this message on the VP)

Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:58, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

I wish you'd work with the community to do some follow-up with these happy donors. How aware were they of the WMF's financial status? Did they know that thanks to them and millions like them the WMF's total funds have risen to their highest level ever, around $350 million? Did they know all the content is written and curated by unpaid volunteers? If they were not aware of this before donating, do they think the banners should be improved in any way?
This said, thanks for your work here, and I really do mean that: it's much appreciated. Happy holidays! --Andreas JN466 16:29, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Jayen466: Answers to all those questions can be easily accessed online by everyone. And Wikipedia has been around for so long for people that use the service to know most of those answers. You seem to be making things so weird for these WMF staff. The more time you spend unnecessarily attacking the foundation, the less time you'll have trying to build up constructive criticisms about how they handle this issue. (I'm just saying). --Hassanjalloh1 (talk) 17:47, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I'm a bit confused as to why it said I was pinged by this but that's good to know that you guys are listening. Blaze Wolf (talk) 17:23, 23 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
The honest feedback I have is perhaps rude enough to see me blocked: suffice it to say that positive messages from people happy to donate do not mean a damn thing when the majority of donors, and people pressured to donate, could not tell you where their money goes. These fundraising banners have gone far too fucking far. You have enough money. These banners may bring in WMF money but you are seriously jeopardising the community who actually write and maintain Wikipedia. Get rid of them. — Bilorv (talk) 11:23, 24 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Floating an idea: donor allocation of funds[edit]

A recurring point of contention between the foundation, affiliates, the community, and donors, is about allocation of resources. Some people don't like the idea of (or the size of) the endowment, some people don't like the idea of funding volunteers, some people don't like the idea of funding anything in wealthy countries, some people don't like the idea of funding anything but the technical infrastructure, etc. What do donors want their money to go to, though? Obviously some things aren't obvious or glamorous but need funding, so donors can't dictate where the money goes, but how much do we know about where people want their money to go?

How interesting it might be to allow, on a limited basis, donors to allocate their funds. Using sliders, they could specify percentages to go to, say, five different categories (e.g. ensuring Wikipedia's long-term financial health, improving the interface and technical infrastructure, improving global access to Wikipedia, improving support systems for contributors and users, and giving back to the community which creates the content). Those sliders could be consequential (actually allocate the funds) or could be for research purposes only (to be better aware of what donors want their donations to go towards). Has anything like this been attempted in the past? The logistics of actually allocating based on those sliders, with the necessary reduction of a vast range of costs/activities into a small number of categories, would be a nightmare, but it seems like it could provide useful information. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:28, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

An advantage of this idea would be that the Foundation would finally have to provide donors with a little bit more info than the claim that money is needed "to protect Wikipedia's independence" – e.g. options like investing money in building Wikipedia volunteer capacity in Africa, or India; spending money on a better mobile version; spending money on volunteer wishlists in Wikipedia, Wikidata, Wikifunctions, Wikisource, Wiktionary etc.; spending money on lobbying, global advocacy, copyright advocacy, racial equity, countering disinformation on its projects, human rights issues etc. etc. Readers would actually hear about some of the other things the WMF spends money on and wants these constantly increasing amounts of money for, rather than everything being hidden behind the Wikipedia fig leaf. --Andreas JN466 23:50, 22 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, but insofar as all that can be boiled down to, say, four pithy categories. :) Fig leaf implies the rest is shameful. Literally every nonprofit also has other expenses, staff they pay with donations, events they host, and a bunch of less compelling stuff which supports their primary activities in ways not easily conveyed in a short fundraising message. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:41, 23 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
@Rhododendrites: "The vast majority of Wikimedia’s value to ordinary people – the website we know and use – costs the firm about 30 percent of their $112.5 million operating budget ($33.75 million) to maintain according to Lisa Seitz Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer at Wikimedia." [8] Yet all the fundraising banners ever talk about is Wikipedia. It's as though I were asking for donations by showing only pictures of starving children in Africa, but in fact all the children in Africa are well-fed and I spend 70% of the money in my own backyard. --Andreas JN466 17:51, 23 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I am in favour of the donation system forcing donors to read about where the money will actually go, but I'm not sure the slider quite achieves this. If I were asked to do this with organisations I donate to (the WMF is not one of them) then I'd probably be confused and want to leave it at the organisation's discretion: if I didn't trust them to have the right priorities then I'd donate elsewhere. Of course, the WMF will naturally be opposed to anything we favour about increased education for donors/readers about where the money goes, because that will necessarily entail less money (otherwise they'd be giving more information already). — Bilorv (talk) 11:32, 24 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

English Wikipedia main page discussion[edit]

At en:Talk:Main Page#How_about_a_temporary_box_with_WMF_financial_information_this_month (permalink of status today) several ideas are currently being discussed and/or !voted on:

  1. Mentioning on the Wikipedia main page that Wikipedia is written by unpaid volunteers (currently the page only says that "Wikipedia is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation")
  2. Adding a temporary box containing WMF financial info to the main page
  3. Writing an open letter to the media, rebuking the WMF for pretending it needs immediate help to keep Wikipedia going

--Andreas JN466 14:37, 26 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Please[edit]

"Please don't scroll past this [...] 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way."

That's passive aggressive. We shouldn't treat readers like that. --NaBUru38 (talk) 17:40, 27 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

@NaBUru38: See Fundraising/2019-20_Report#Online_Fundraising_Banners_in_2019-2020, where the WMF reports:
“Don’t Scroll Away”
A simple, yet effective phrase that we were surprised to see resonate with readers worldwide was simply asking readers not to “scroll away” from or “scroll past” the fundraising message in the banner. We believe that addressing the context in which people donate helps improve the donation rate.
I have seen comments on social media that this phrase in particular made it sound like Wikipedia must be desperate for funding. The WMF calls this "resonating".
The money spent on WMF salaries and wages has increased by 20% in each of the past three years, from $38 million in 2017/2018 to $68 million in 2020/2021; see Wikimedia_Foundation_salaries#Total_salaries_per_financial_statements --Andreas JN466 18:40, 27 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
There are better ways to do that, such as "Think a second about how often you read Wikipedia". --NaBUru38 (talk) 19:08, 27 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
I am not saying I like the present wording, merely pointing out that its use is quite deliberate, because it "helps improve the donation rate", according to the WMF report. By now, the banners have been A/B-tested so much, they actually give the impression of having been written by an artificial intelligence, unencumbered by such a thing as a conscience. Best, --Andreas JN466 01:50, 28 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Another interesting fact: over the four most recent years for which we have Form 990s, the "Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits" figure per employee has risen by 38%, from $138,487.10 per employee in 2015 to $191,185.27 per employee in 2019. --Andreas JN466 16:38, 29 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

English fundraising banner campaign ended[edit]

Dear all,

The English fundraising campaign banners came down yesterday and are now no longer shown for non logged in users. We would like to thank all of you for your support, patience and understanding during the last month.

It is thanks to your support that we are able to sustain Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

Many of our colleagues will be taking the next week off so any questions you might post here will not be answered until mid-January.

Thank you again.

Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:10, 1 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Email campaign[edit]

For reference, here is the email text for the recently completed email campaign (emphases in the original):

From: jimmy@wikipedia.org

Subject Line: %firstname% - You are one of those rare exceptions

Preheader: I owe you an update

Dear %firstname%,

My name is Jimmy Wales, and I’m the founder of Wikipedia. %lastdonationyear%, you donated %amount% to keep Wikipedia online for yourself and millions of people around the world. Each year, fewer than 2% of Wikipedia readers choose to support our work. You have been one of those rare donors, and for this I want to thank you warmly. I’m grateful you decided to invest in the future of free knowledge with your generous gift. Every single donation -- no matter how small -- means so much. That’s why I’m here today, personally asking you to renew the help you’ve given us in the past. The world needs a place where knowledge is free, ad-free, and impartial.

Will you renew your solidarity with a %last amount donated% donation?

This is awkward to admit, but I have to be honest: 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way when we ask for an annual donation. We choose not to charge a subscription fee, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need support from our readers. We don’t send a fundraising email every month. We respectfully ask for just one donation this year so that Wikipedia may continue to move forward and offer knowledge to the world.

If all our past donors gave a small amount today, our fundraiser would be over. Unfortunately, most people will ignore this message. We have no choice but to turn to you: please renew your gift to ensure that Wikipedia remains independent, ad-free, and thriving for years to come.

We’re a nonprofit. That means we aren’t selling the articles that millions of people read on Wikipedia each day. We don’t profit from the knowledge you seek. In fact, we firmly believe that knowledge should exist outside of the realm of supply and demand. That's hardly a given nowadays; so much of the world's digital knowledge is driven by profit.

Wikipedia is different in that it doesn't belong to the highest bidder, the advertisers, or corporations. It belongs to you, the readers, editors, and donors. You’re our community, our family. You’re the reason we exist. The fate of Wikipedia rests in your hands and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s readers like you who safeguard our nonprofit mission. You help us maintain our integrity, quality, and accessibility. Today, you have the power to keep this wonderful website free and independent.

Now is the time we ask: can we count on you to renew your solidarity with a small donation? It will keep Wikipedia online, ad-free, and growing for years to come.

https://donate.wikimedia.org

Thanks,

Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia Foundation

[BUTTON: Renew your donation ]

You are receiving this email at %EMAIL% as a valued donor of the Wikimedia Foundation. If you do not wish to receive any future emails from the Wikimedia Foundation, unsubscribe now. If you’ve already donated recently, we may have an alternate email address on file for you. Please let us know it! We’ll be happy to unsubscribe any old email addresses.

--Andreas JN466 16:25, 7 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

@Jimmy Wales: Why do you use the term "Wikipedia Foundation"? There were widespread protests against the renaming process and due to that the process was paused. The name of the foundation still is "Wikimedia Foundation". You can not and you even may not use the name "Wikipedia Foundation", even more not after this term has recieved heavy rejections. Chaddy (talk) 16:10, 8 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@Chaddy: I'm not sure how responsive Wales is on Meta; it's been more than two days, and he generally posts here quite rarely. Could I suggest you ask him at en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales? Questions there usually get a timely answer. And – whatever the explanation turns out to be – the issue would benefit from the increased visibility it will have on the English Wikipedia user talk page, as opposed to this rather specialised page. Best, --Andreas JN466 19:03, 10 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you for flagging this typo. The email is signed by "Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder." The emails from our CEO are signed with the "Wikimedia Foundation." This was a typo on this specific document intended to share example messaging with our volunteer community. We have searched our records of emails sent and can confirm donors did not receive emails with the typo. We apologize for the confusion. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 10 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Oh, thank goodness, that was alarming. Thanks for the info, @MeganHernandez (WMF), glad that's cleared up. :) --Yair rand (talk) 20:57, 10 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
+1 for that, I think I could sometimes use a wee bit more AGF towards the WMF. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:45, 10 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you @MeganHernandez (WMF) for the clarification.
And also thank you @Andreas for your advice. But I don't think this procedure is needed any more. Chaddy (talk) 23:07, 10 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Updates going forward[edit]

Dear JBrungs (WMF),

I'd appreciate it if you could update us on how the negative feedback from the volunteer community regarding the tone (not just intensity) of fundraising adverts is being taken into account for future campaigns. More specifically, do the responsible team(s) remain aware of the strength of these concerns, and would you be able to relay to us what steps are being considered/taken to change things for the next fundraising drive (or let us know when these steps are taken)? I'm also curious as to whether negative media coverage, such as here in the WaPo, has been discussed internally? I presume so, but it'd be reassuring to have confirmation that you're aware of the poor optics these banners create. I'm keen to see a softer, less forceful (or emotionally manipulative, as I personally see it) tone in future banners – and it'd be quite frustrating if exactly the same issues appear the next time the banners appear. Sorry if some of these things have been raised elsewhere, as far as I'm aware volunteers of individual Wikimedia projects have no say on the content of these banners, other than the feedback we provide here. Many thanks in advance, Jr8825 (talk) 20:11, 15 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Dear @Jr8825,
Thank you very much for your message. Over the past weeks we have been listening and collecting the feedback we saw around the Helpdesk, the Teahouse, the general VP boards on English Wikipedia, and here. We will write up a more detailed internal document to highlight to all relevant teams the feelings, thoughts, and suggestions coming from our communities, readers and donors. I am happy to take a direct call with you and record the feedback you have on banner language and relay your suggestions to the teams. If others who are reading this are also interested in a feedback call, please do get in touch and I will set this up.
I will also share the banners we are testing prior to the next English campaign on the meta page and will highlight changes that are made in response to community feedback. I will also continue to provide updates here.
Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 06:26, 18 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
@JBrungs (WMF): thanks for the reply. I think sharing the wording for next set of banners here in advance sounds very positive – more transparency and opportunities for the community to provide feedback are always good. I think highlighting the changes that have been made (both initially and after any feedback) will also help us see how WMF has taken things on board, something that might not be obvious looking in from the outside. One thing I'm sure you're aware of is that the number of page watchers here is relatively low compared to community forums within individual projects (I certainly don't check my watchlist at meta anywhere near as frequently as I do on en-wiki)! While it's possible some editors might share the drafts at their local village pumps, it might be worth considering more proactive outreach on individual projects if you're looking to foster a sense of partnership and wider buy-in for different language campaigns. For example, I expect quite a few editors at en-wiki would be keen to take you up on your offer to discuss their thoughts on the previous banners if they were aware of it. I'm happy to share more detailed thoughts on the language with you; I'm hoping to drop into the virtual UK meetup this evening and can ask whether any others there have particular feedback they'd like to share, so will get back to you soon regarding a call. Cheers, Jr8825 (talk) 15:55, 20 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hi again JBrungs (WMF). Sorry for taking a while to get back to you, things have been a bit hectic! Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the UK meetup last month, the next meeting is 23 February. If you're available after the 23rd I'd be keen to organise a call and share my feedback/thoughts on the tone/wording, plus the thoughts of other UK editors if they have any. Best, Jr8825 (talk) 16:20, 9 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Hi @Jr8825,
Yes sure that sounds good. Why don't you send me an email after the meeting (jbrungs at wikimedia dot org) and we will set up a call.
Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:09, 10 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

WMF salary costs[edit]

What please was the 2019 salary cost per WMF employee, per the most recent Wikimedia Foundation Form 990?

According to the linked Form 990, the WMF had salary costs of $55,634,913 (page 1, line 15, "Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits") in 2019, and a total of 291 employees (page 1, line 5). On the face of it, this makes for an average salary cost of over $191K per employee.

Is this the correct figure, or if not, what is the correct calculation for the average salary cost per employee in 2019? Are there estimates for more recent years? Thanks, --Andreas JN466 17:34, 15 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Hi @Jayen466,
It is best if you ask this question on the 990 form meta page to get more accurate help. Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:12, 16 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Copied there as requested. Are you looking after that page as well, User:JBrungs (WMF), or will someone else reply there? Andreas JN466 01:18, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks @Jayen466, no this page does not sit within Advancement but is part of the Finance department. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 06:58, 17 February 2022 (UTC)[reply]