Wrapping up an amazing 2009/2010 Annual Fundraiser

Wow!  We’ve just closed the most successful fundraiser in the history of the Wikimedia Foundation thanks to our  amazing donors. Over 230,000 people came together and showed their support for our project and mission: to provide free and open knowledge to everyone around the world. Thank you!

Again, we’re ending our annual fundraiser early due to the overwhelming and rapid support from everyone.   We’ve hit and surpassed our fundraising goal of $7.5 million, raising over $8 million in just two months.

Even more, we’re humbled by the fact that during serious global economic stress, folks were still willing to help out and contribute.  More than 230,000 donors have shown that they want Wikipedia to continue to be a place for free and open information.  More than 230,000 have joined together to keep Wikipedia free of ads.  We are extremely grateful for your generosity.

I cannot say enough about how amazing the steadfast support from everyone has been: our donors, our contributors, our chapters; everyone involved directly influenced the immense success of this year’s effort. Again, a huge thank you from me and everyone from the Wikimedia Foundation.  We look forward to sharing some more detailed findings about this year’s fundraiser in the coming weeks.

Happy New Year,

-Rand Montoya
Head of Community Giving

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11 Comments on Wrapping up an amazing 2009/2010 Annual Fundraiser

Roy Stannard 6 years

I’m one of the contributors (with a small amount). Why did I do it? To ensure that Wikipedia remains a community based enterprise. To admit advertising, as Jan Bollaert suggsets, has one highly significant and overriding danger. It will expose Wikepedia to pressure from advertisers. And don’t imagine this is just a paranoid fantasy, it is a fact of commercial life. Advertisers with large budgets can and do influence content and editorial standards in all the media.

This is exactly the kind of situation that Wikipedia or any other organization dedicated to factual and, as far as can be achieved, unbiased reporting, needs to avoid. Editorial and content independence are priceless. The fact that Wikipedia is supported by hundreds of thousands of people around the world is no small thing. For me, Wikipedia represents the ideals of the Enlightenment; freedom to express one’s thoughts, views and opinions free from political or sectarian pressure, and, just as important, a commitment to rationality. In our strife-ridden world, this is no mean achievement.

Jan Bollaert 6 years

Dear Maria,

Please don’t misunderstand me, I think Wikepedia is brilliant and I use it frequently.
So I’m as much a ‘fan’ of it as you are.

Now regarding the art and the business. What you wrote gives me the chance to make a perfect analogy between my position as a professional artist and Wikepedia. If I wouldn’t maximise my income by being as commercial as I can, without compromising my artistic goals I would never be able to make a decent living out of it. In order to make it in life one should be flexible and there is a lot of grey in between just painting for the money and never being willing to compromise a little bit.

Same goes for Wikepedia, I never proposed to fill every page of it to the brim with advertising and popups. That would be stupid indeed. Nor do I see a conflict of interest between accepting advertising and the freedom of the content of Wikepedia. Those are totally separate things. And I’m sure there is a way to put some advertising on some of the pages in a non intrusive way, not mixed with the actual articles. Since Wikepedia is the #3 most visited site on the globe, a very small amount of advertising would go a very long way. One tiny banner could pay for all the costs to run Wikepedia.

But if it was up to me, I wouldn’t stop there and go further to raise money for education, after all isn’t that the thing we all value the most here !

Oh and by the way, you desperately need to read some art history, most of the great works of art where made out of maximizing commercial value. Michelangelo was the richest man in Italy in his time, or do you think he painted the Sistine chapel out of idealisme, he did it for the money as much as for any thing else.

Not many people seem to know this but this guy was loaded, and so where most of the artist in history. I think this misconception of the starving “real” artist started with Van Gogh, but he was the big exception. By far the vast majority of the artists we all know and admire where very wealthy, and they where because they knew how to combine there artistic ambitions with the demands of their clients.

I just wanted to say that with a little bit of flexibility and being practical you get much further in life not only for yourself but also to help others. Ask Bill Gates and Warren Buffet or the Medici family in Florence 600 years ago.

AnOddName 6 years

I agree with Maria. I go to Wikipedia and friends to seek some sort of verifiable truth, and escape the folklorish memes, urban legends, and irritating popups and banners of the internet. I could say “Bring on the banners!” and throw a blocker at the more inane ones, but I’d rather be treated as more than a second-class “ad impression” from the start.

Bring on the pledge breaks!

Maria 6 years

To Jan Bollaet,

I think you make your judegement too quickly.

Firstly,I hate online advertisement and I believe most people do too.The idea of pulbishing free information to just lure users into advertising revenue is disgusting to me. Here we enjoy neutral knowledge without harrassment of those flahses.

Secondly, the donation and the amount to donate are completely personal desicions out of your own willingness. I have happily done so within my capability. No one woud judge you if you couldn’t .

Thirdly, you said yourself an artist. Have you seen any great art created out of maximizing commercial value ? Wikipedia is an art ! It is an art of humanity , an art of equalization, an art of collaboration , an art of creation ! You should be able to understand this better as an artist ?

The fact that wikipedia has such a successful fund raising only tell you how important this source has become to most of us. I have been using wikipedia for many years,the value it creates worth way more a small donation . And I will continue support its independence.


Jan Bollaert 6 years

This is one of the most immoral things I have ever heard.

Wikipedia is worth a fortune in advertising revenue, and out of “principle” you are refusing to use this, but you have no problem accepting donations from benefactors who otherwise most likely would use that money for causes and people who really don’t have any alternative.
And you think this is “doing the right thing” ? This is the most stupid and immoral form of political correctness I have ever heard of.

How about being a bit more fair, practical, less narrow minded and realy being smart about things if you want to do the right thing.

You could start with a minimum of advertising just to cover your own costs, this way no waste of time to get donations. And the people who gave you the money would spend it in places where it is really needed.
And if you want to persue a larger worthy cause you could go a step further and optimise your advertising potential. And use that vast amount of money to fund education programs in developing countries just to name one that should be close to your heart and cause.

What you are doing now is acting like you are poor, but you are one of the richest foundations on the net if you would stop being so pigheaded and be realistic and practical for a change.

At first it sounds like you are doing a good thing, financially speaking, but if you think this through there is only one conclusion. This is stupid and immoral.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a huge Wikepedia fan, I think it’s brilliant.
But what you are doing on the financial front is so wrong, now you are giving free information and education to all the people with a computer, very noble.
But if you really want to make a change, how about optimising you resouces and using that money to do some good to people who can’t afford a computer or even basic education.

Keep up the good work , but please get your heads out of your asses ;-)

PS: I’m not affiliated to anybody in the advertising industry, I’m just a poor artist who thinks only more education and information can save the world.

ytb 6 years

it’s so good!!

Pich 6 years

@Coren. Actually, it is “revenue” and this is the word you’ll find in all of the annual plans/reports and financial statements.

Corey 6 years

It’s not revenue when it’s a non-profit organisation.

Pich 6 years

Yet another post scriptum: kudos to you and your team Rand.

Pich 6 years

addition to previous comment. Is the explanation for the 8M$ claim simply that it takes into account the Omidyar Network matching?

Pich 6 years

If the campaign brought in over “8M$”, why does the fundraiser stats page give a total of 7.84M$? Are the >10K donations counted separately? The ContributionStatistics page claims a total of 9.5M$ since July which of course is great news but I’m not sure what that number represents. Is it total revenue? Revenue from donations only? Donations + grants? (I’ve also asked this question on the fundraiser feedback page but I’m not sure the fundraising team reads it!)

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