Wikimedia budget/Sample budget

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Here is an example budget, for people to comment on structure, etc. Individual budget items were chosen with varying degrees of care; costs are only estimates.

Two salaries/retainers are listed for positions requiring living in a particular place (secretary near the office; sysadmin near the prrimary colo); both positions could also be filled by volunteers.

Cost in time, where listed, is a very rough estimate, and intended only as a sample of potential bottlenecks—concerted effort required of a small group of people, not easily distributed among many willing hands. For instance, the two major projects listed under 'software' are unlikely to be carried out at the same time, since each would involve some of the same people. Ditto for the collateral-creation projects. It is probably unreasonable to naively sum such time-costs outside of a single section. There are of course many thousands of hours of distributed effort put into Wikimedia projects every day; this time is not estimated here. +sj+

Hosting & Bandwidth[edit]

Net Total: $62k (gross total: $78k)

100% of these costs were covered by donations until Q3 2004, and 50% of costs from Q3 2004 to Q1 2005. 100% of costs included in the budget starting Q2 2005.

Bandwidth (rough estimates)

  • Q3 avg. b/w was 25 Mbps @$80/mo = $2,000/mo. for the quarter.
  • Q4 projected avg. b/w: 45 Mbps @ $75/mo = $3,400/mo. for the quarter
  • 2005 projected avg. b/w: 80 Mbps @ $66/mo = $5,300/mo. for the 1st three quarters (assuming global squids start to handle part of the load, we get another rate cut, etc.)

Gross: $58k (Q4|Q1|Q2|Q3 : $10k + $14k + $16k + $18k)
Net: $46k (half of Q4, Q1 covered)

Hosting (very rough estimates)

  • Q3: $700/mo., Q4: $1200/mo.
  • 2005 estimates: main colo - $1600/mo. through Q3;
    • Assuming we don't need a second 100Mbps port or a full room (~$2500/mo), and that we can get offsite colo hosting donated

Gross: $20k (Q4|Q1|Q2|Q3 : 3.6k + $4.6k + $4.8k + $5k)
Net: $16k (half of Q4, Q1 covered)

Hardware & support[edit]

Total: $160k + $1200/mo.

Hardware estimate for Q4 2004[edit]

(all machines with 3-year warranties)

  • Apache farm (8 x 1-CPU 3GHz P4, 1GB RAM): $12,000
  • Squid farm (6 x 1-CPU 2.6GHz P4, 4GB RAM): $11,400
  • DB server (Dual Opteron 248, 8x1GB RAM (PC2700 ECC), 2-port RAID controller, 6x73GB 15k SCSI hard drives (Seagate), redundant power supplies): $12,000
  • Fileserver (dual Opteron 242, 2x512MB RAM, 8-port RAID controller, 6x250GB hard drives, redundant power supplies): $4300
  • Search server #2 (dual Opteron 242, 6x1GB RAM, 8-port RAID controller, 6x250GB hard drives, redundant 460W power supplies): $5800
  • Spare RAM (12 x 1GB RAM): $2400
  • Spare Disks (5 x 250GB ATA): $1000
  • Extra Gbit switch (24-port Netgear): $700

Total: $49,500

Hardware estimate for Q1-Q3 2005[edit]

including equipment for a proper offsite failsafe site, including a 10% price-drop for above specs, assuming software improvements help hold back traffic impact on hardware growth

  • Apache farm (15 x 3GHz P4, 2GB RAM): $25,500
  • Fat squids: $23,000
    • (2 x 2.6GHz P4, 1GB RAM, 12 x 40GB 7200 RPM hard drives): $9500
    • (2 x 2.6GHz P4, 4GB RAM, 12x10K SATA drives): $13,500
    • Offsite squids (20 x P4, 2-4GB RAM, 1-4 disks, around the world): free
  • 2 more DB servers: $21,500
  • Search server #3: $5500
  • Extra, large switch (48-port ?): $3000

Subotal: $87k

  • Offsite apaches (4): $6000
  • Offsite squids (2): $4000
  • Offsite DB server: $11,000
  • Offsite Fileserver (as above, 6x250GB drives): $4,000
  • Offsite backup equipment (20 x extra 250GB ATA, hot-swappable 5-drive unit): $6000

Subtotal: $31k

Total: $110k


  • Talented support staff (x1) living near the primary colo, on retainer for 40+ hrs/mo of work, firefighting, emergency shopping : $1000/mo. (because s/he loves WP)
  • colo support, across main and offsite colos: 2 hrs./mo. @ $100

Total: $1200/mo.


Total: $5000 + 450 hrs.

Wikimedia infrastructure improvements[edit]

  • DB schema upgrade : extension, auditing, optimization; implementation of unified login; migration plan; handling migration: 250+ h
  • Membership: 70+ h
  • Unified login: 20 h (largely done)
  • Migration from NFS? (to AFS/coda?): gradual testing, switch, firefighting watch: 100+ h

MediaWiki development[edit]

  • Prizes (many) for implementing various important MW patches & features: $5000+

Third-party services and products[edit]

Total: $6k + $75/mo.

  • Credit-card billing service: $75/mo. + 2.2% + $0.30/transaction; for $110k of contributions/yr., with an average contrib. of $20: $4000 + $75/mo.
  • Savings account: 1% interest on an average balance of $50k: $(40)/mo.
  • THAWTE SSL certificate - 5 key domains? @ $100/domain/yr.: $40/mo.
  • Currency conversion: In Dec/Jan of 2003/2004, over $500? of the $30k of donations went to conversion fees. Assuming this increases with donations: $2,000
  • Domain name registration: $8/yr. (semi-bulk) x 10 base names x 30 major tlds: $3000

Networking Infrastructure[edit]

Total: $7300 + $120/mo. + 35 h

Many aspects of infrastructure grow proportional to the number of languages covered. Let's say for this budget we're sticking to the 13 natural languages with over 10,000 articles.

  • see also Foundation Employee #1, under Operations; an active secretary is useful to coordinate all of this
  • Official phone numbers (press contacts, for interviews & official responses, in each major language) : $120/mo.. Also email addresses (forwarding addresses @wiki[mp]
    • finding phone-forwarding providers, setting up dedicated phone numbers with voicemail in various countries—voicemail only, or forwarding to someone's mobile, or a 2d line in someone's home or office... Perhaps sharing voicemail among many people, or using a shared answering service [expensive]. Once people have been found to respond reliably to such contacts, ~$9/month x 13 languages
  • Business cards (with logo, title, email address [see above]). 200 people x 40 cards @ $10 + 40 people x 500 cards @ $50 : 30 h + $4000
    • Involves layout (different logo for each lang? different layout for zh: and ja:), print type, color choice, logo choice; choosing printer; deciding how many to print for each person.
      Bulk discounts available... if everyone wants 500+ cards. Assume $50/500 cards for each distinct person or card layout. Alternative, print small batches onto perforation-free business-card sheets; these can be done all in one batch at a print-shop. With printing costs, this comes to ~$2.50/10 cards.
  • Global transaction costs—faxes, telephon[ey] calls, shipping costs
    • Everyday mail— Snail-mail invites, letters, and applications: 2000 @ $0.35: $700
    • Bulk mail—newsletters, flyers, etc.; shipping to central locations in many countries for distribution to bookstores, universities, tech-savvy cafes, the lobbies of friendly orgs. 100 lbs. of dead tree @ $2/lb. + 2000 packets @ $1.00/packet: $2200
    • Faxes—useful around the world. 1 fax machine for each major chapter as it emerges. 10 machines @ $100: $1000
  • Official envelopes & stationery—2000 of each @ $100/1000: 5 h + $400
    • for thank-yous, grant applications, invitations to WM events, &c. Involves basic multilingual layout & paper decisions. Envelopes & stationery are similarly-priced.


Total: $8k + 750 h

  • Flyers: Introduction to Wikipedia w/mention of Wikimedia, encouragement to find out more and join the projects (audience: new users). Initially printing ~500 dbl-sided 1-color copies: $200 + 100hrs.
    • Printing ~10k dbl-sided 1-color copies, and 5 langs x 2k copies, @ ($120 + $0.10 each): $2.7k + 150 h
    • Careful selection of graphs, images, content excerpts and quotes. Probably worth distributing a few hundred in just one language first and getting feedback before printing a multilingual version in high volume. Initial run: digital print; second run: offset. Editing, rediting, elegant layout: 50 hrs.; community revision: 50 h; translation: 30 h; final proofs: 20 h
  • Newsletter: Communication with members and active fans (including the small minority of donors). Development of full online newsletter, printing ~1000 8-pg copies @ ($300 + $0.30 each) : $600 + 200 h
    • 500|1000|2000 copies : 90¢|60¢|45¢ each.
    • Printing a 4-pg. version : 55¢|35¢|25¢ each.
    • Printing 8 langs x 100 copies @ ($0.60 each) : $500 + 100 h
    • En copies : 2-color cover, 1-color internal pages, offset printing. Other copies: grayscale, digital printing.
  • Datasheets
    1. List of the Wikimedia projects, with logos, screen-shots, elevator pitches and summarized stats for each. Printing ~800 dbl-sided color copies (~50 per language, double for en, de) @ $2: $1600 + 100 h
      • Why is the project useful? Who uses it? How many entries, edits, distinct editors, languages does it have?
      • Involves calculating further stats (for 5 projects), gauging target audience and writing pitches for the projects, layout (~60 h). Translation into 11 langs, prereleases (~20 h), layouts (5 h). Imagine 10+ wasted copies & 2 h finalizing layouts
    2. Numbers of Wikipedia editors, by location and language, over time. (First cut: Text with multicolor charts. Later: World political map with superposed usage icons.) Printing 800 glossy color copies @ $1.00 : $800 + 50 h
      • Likewise the number of registered users, edits per day, articles per week. Exposure to WP in developing countries is a big deal for certain audiences. Involves estimating location, # of actual users vs. puppies, generating charts; running var db queries on a dump (~30 h). Translation into 11 langs, pre-releasing to the community (~15 h); layouts (5 h). 2 h finalizing layouts.
    3. Plans for the future. Brief rundown of the Foundation mission statement. Description of projects in the works, fundraising targets and exposure milestones for the next few years. $350 + 50 h
      • Involves writing 1500 words of copy, layout (20 h), translation & prereleases (30 h).
        [en:] 2000 B&W copies @ ($20 + $0.03/copy) : $80;
        [other] 13 langs x 300 copies (average) @ $0.07/copy: $280
  • Case studies: How Wikimedia projects have been used in various capacities—in schools, as a medium for practicing translation (cf. our teacher from Hawaii), as a source for learning materials (cf. Wizzy Digital in S. Africa), as a medium for teaching research technique (cf. Fuzheado). 2 or 3 cases, w/a few paragraphs each. 600 matte color double-sided copies @ $1: $600 + 100 h
    • Involves 500 words of context, identifying good cases, soliciting input from users, editing for conciseness, screenshots, overall layout (70 h), translation & pre-release (30 h), proof layouts (10 h)
  • Press packets : Press sheet: extended contact information, links to press resources on wiki[mp], perhaps a few paragraphs of the most recent news (from press releases). 2000 packets/yr. @ $0.25: $500 + 20 h
    • Translation (15 h), proofing (5 h). Large printed envelopes (to hold stats sheets, press sheet, &c.) @ $.20, press sheet: $0.05/page.


Total: $6500

  • Accountant (US): $3000
  • Lawyer (Copyright): on retainer for nothing, 20 h @ $100 ('cause he loves us): $2000
  • Lawyer (Int'l Law): 10 h @ $150: $1500

Research & Development[edit]

Total: $8500 + 150 h

  • Investigation of new projects (3 major projects/yr.?): analyzing existence of similar projects, audience size and interest, potential for self-sustainable growth through external support. Involves focused market research & librarianship, 3 x 50 h: 150 h
  • Seed money for new projects (e.g., the WikiReaders; $5k up-front?), 2 green-lighted projects @ $5k: $10,000
    • Early return on investment: $(1500)

Marketing & Branding[edit]

Total: $7k + 50 h

  • Flyering, etc, (covered under collateral, above)
  • Logo redesign: 50 h,, with lag time for polls and active group discussion.
  • Subsidized artefact production/sale: toys, shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, &c,: $1000
  • Trademark registration
  • Domain name purchase from squatters/legal action against them: ~$500/domain x 4 domains/yr.: $2000
    • Similar name registration : $10/yr. x 5 base names x 10 supermajor tlds x 2 common misspellings: $1000


Total: $12k + $40k [employees]

  1. Foundation Employee #1?: Half-to-fulltime WM secretary & en: press liaison in Florida (Terry Foote assistant?) : $4000/mo. (incl. employee insurance, etc.), starting in Jan. = $36k for 9 mo.
    • This summer, such a person might have helped plan travel arrangements, the AE awards ceremony in New York, set up a contacts list and written thank-yous, started organizing financial paperwork and looking for potential local sysadmins...
  2. Summer intern next summer: 2 mo. x $2,000/mo.—$4000
  3. A real office. Let's assume rent is cheap, and a space can be shared with another group, or that a friendly incubator can be found.
  • Moving in (minor) and relocation: $2500
  • Rent (shared): 500 sq. ft. @ $8/sqft/yr.: $4000
  • Utilities (shared a/c + broadband + phone, $50/mo.): $600
  • Furniture: (much of it shared): $1000
  • Office machines: Computers (3 @ $800), fax/phones(2 @ $100), scanner & copier ($600), printers (2 @ $300), duplex collating espresso maker ($200) : $4000


Total: $30k

  • Petty cash reserve: 2 big machines' worth: $10,000
  • Emergency reserve: 10% of critical budget: $20,000

Entire sample budget[edit]

So far, for 1 year (w/major expenses of hardware ($170k), bandwidth ($60k), and secretary ($35k for 9 mo.), and noting that some of these are one-time expenses, and others [like publishing flyers and business cards] may provide material for more than a year):