“Do you know that Wikipedia is a Non-Profit?”
This year, we have come to learn the importance of asking this simple question when we talk to the Wikimedia community, the general public, or prospective donors. The key message – “We are a Non-Profit” – is inherent in all that Wikimedia does. It signifies that we are a mission-driven charity that depends on the good will and philanthropy of others. However, many people do not know that we are a non-profit. This may be because the actual “work” of creating educational content is done by a global community of thousands of volunteers.
While this collaborative effort is the key to our success, the Wikimedia Foundation provides the backbone of support and organizational structure that keeps Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects up and running. The Foundation is responsible for supporting the community through wide ranging program initiatives, hardware, technology, and the like. In doing so, we ensure that quality content is made available to the public – free of charge and free of advertising. However, we would not be able to support this global collaborative venture without financial resources. And this is where fundraising comes in.
Our most important job in fundraising this year has simply been to build awareness that we are a charity – and that gifts and grants account for over 90% of our revenue. Until this year, we did not have a staff dedicated to fundraising who could spread this message and encourage donations. As with any non-profit, a fundraising program and staff is central to our efforts because it produces the revenues that keep us running. One of our key goals – building organizational maturity – has been partially achieved through the hiring of dedicated fundraising staff, and the development of a fundraising program that has three key focus areas: community giving, major gifts, and foundation giving. We are also building a partnerships program which will allow us to work more with like-minded foundations to maximize our impact.
Overall, we think that there is great strength in numbers: whether it is increased contributions and edits on the site; more people participating in the projects; increased funding to bolster our activities; or the formation of new partnerships to increase the availability of free, quality, educational content. We will continue to raise our sights on all fronts!
And on the topic of contributions, you can always donate to Wikimedia through our on-line giving portal. We’ll have more to say about the next annual giving campaign in the coming weeks.
Head of Foundation Relations and Partnerships<