Wikimedia Foundation Breaks Record With Fundraising Campaign

Chris CrumBusiness

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The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, has wrapped up its annual fund raising campaign, breaking a record with $20 million raised from over a million donors in “nearly every country in the world”.

It appears those big banners at the top of Wikipedia, which have been ridiculed a few times, have been a success.

The ridicule was mostly over the layout, where a user could look at a page for something like “bitch” or “rapist” and see the word appear right under a big photo of co-founder Jimmy Wales or various volunteers. It became something of a meme, though some were much more light-hearted.

“Our model is working fantastically well,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Ordinary people use Wikipedia and they like it, so they chip in some cash so it will continue to thrive. That maintains our independence and lets us focus solely on providing a useful public service. I am so grateful to our donors for making that possible. I promise them we will use their money carefully and well.”

The campaign has indeed been Wikimedia’s most successful ever. On top of that, it’s part of a streak that has seen donations rise every year since campaigns began in 2003. Since 2008, the number of donors has increased ten-fold, and the total dollar amount raised in the campaign has risen to over $20 million from $4.5 million.

Wikimedia’s sites attract over 470 million people each month, and is the only major site supported by donations rather than ads, the foundation says.

The money from this campaign will go to servers and other hardware, development of new site functionality, expansion of mobile services, legal defense, and support for volunteers (there aree over 100,000 of them).

The foundation's total 2011-12 planned spending is $28.3 million.

Wikipedia itself has over 20 million articles in 282 languages. It will celebrate its 11th anniversary on January 15.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.