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Wikimedia Foundation Report, November 2008

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ED Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, November 2008

  • Covering: November 2008
  • Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Prepared for: Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

My Current Priorities[edit]

  1. 2008-09 annual fundraising campaign
  2. India Wikimedia awareness trip
  3. All Staff meeting
  4. Development of grant proposals
  5. Bits and pieces: normal fundraising activities, Wikimania postmortem, NomCom, etc.

This Past Month[edit]


The GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 was released, which will allow the Wikimedia community to make content under GFDL available under CC-BY-SA if it so chooses. A first community discussion was started to discuss the parameters of the migration process.

All Staff Meeting[edit]

In November, the Wikimedia Foundation held its second All Staff meeting of 2008, in San Francisco. Staff gave presentations on their work, and staged un-conference-style workshops on topics such as fundraising and messaging in a time of economic turmoil; common objections presented by donors and how to counter them; as well as discussions about how to prioritize support of Wikipedia relative to the other projects, and how to make decisions across departments. Also, new staff members were photographed by Lane Hartwell.


The annual campaign for the fiscal year 2008-09 launched November 4, 2008, drawing significant energy and attention from all departments. A new donation module was implemented, including completely new designs, and a new back-end based on the open-source CiviCRM database. Agreements have been developed with interested chapters to highlight these chapters during the fundraiser; in return, they will invest 50% of their fundraising revenue in program activities agreed upon with the Wikimedia Foundation. The preference is for activities with an international impact, such as multi-chapter events and local infrastructure and software development support.

A lot of effort has been invested in creating high quality sitenotice designs, and on implementing real-time tracking to measure performance of different fundraising messages.

Other changes to this year's fundraiser include radio PSAs that are also available for download, and a "share your story" module that will be used for future communications purposes. We're also now automatically thanking all donors, and ask them for permission for future e-mail contact. The press release for the annual campaign is here: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/2008-9_Annual_Giving_Campain_Launch

In the month of November we received 46,209 donations smaller than USD 10,000, totaling approximately USD 1.3M. We also received major gifts totaling approximately USD 295,000.


Thanks to a generous equipment donation by Sun Microsystems, we were able to increase the file size limitation for uploads from 20 to 100 megabytes, which we hope will encourage people to upload more video and very large image and sound files.

The FlaggedRevs extension for edit patrolling and flagging was enabled in five additional Wikipedia language editions: Alemannic, Classical Chinese, Esperanto, Polish, and Hungarian, and on the English Wikibooks.

An instance of LimeSurvey was set up at http://survey.wikimedia.org for miscellaneous survey uses.

Erik Zachte has begun working on a prototype for a monthly report card to track key metrics, and on some detailed analysis of server logs on a sample. This work will be iterative in coming months.

Outreach & Programs[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation has commissioned long-time Wikipedia editor and author of "Wikipedia: The Missing Manual," to write an Educators' Guide to Wikipedia. It will be developed at http://howto.pediapress.com .

Various "how to edit Wikipedia" educational videos were shot and put into post-production, in Hamburg.

A second Wikipedia online course for senior citizens was launched in Düsseldorf, Germany. A Wikipedia Academy was held in Lund, Sweden, and Frank Schulenburg delivered a lecture on Wikipedia at the University of Cologne.

Planning for Wikimania 2009 scholarships has begun.


There was only one press release sent out in November: on November 5, the Wikimedia Foundation officially launched its fifth annual giving campaign, with the goal of raising USD 6 million to fund the Foundation's 2008-09 operating costs.

In November, we participated in media interviews with entertainment news website E-Online; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's flagship radio program Ideas; Linguamón (House of Languages: a consortium involving the Government of Catalonia, the UNESCO Centre of Catalonia and the Universal Forum of Cultures Foundation); Wired Magazine; technology recruiting site Valt.com; the Associated Press; the San Francisco Business Times; and the New York Times.

Finance & Administration[edit]

In November, the Wikimedia Foundation released its audited financial statements to the public, several months earlier than the prior year's audit. This was the first Wikimedia audit to be conducted with KPMG, an internationally-recognized accounting and audit firm.

Regular monthly financial reporting is now fully in place at the staff level, with Wikimedia Foundation staff receiving regular financial statements including actual-to-plan comparisons by the 20th day of the next month.

In Coming Weeks[edit]

  • Sue and Jimmy in India attending Free Software, Free Society conference plus outreach and media activities (Dec. 8 – 15)
  • Board Meeting in San Francisco January 9 – 11, 2009
  • Sue and Jimmy attending World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland (Jan. 28 – Feb. 1). Sue is planning to meet with the Swiss chapter after the conference.