Our annual fundraising campaign reached a successful conclusion today having raised a record-breaking USD 20 million from more than one million donors in nearly every country in the world. It is our most successful campaign ever, continuing an unbroken streak in which donations have risen every year since the campaigns began in 2003.

Wikimedia Foundation websites serve more than 470 million people every month. It is the only major website supported not by advertising, but by donations from readers.

From Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation,

Our model is working fantastically well.

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 number of Wikimedia Foundation donors has increased ten-fold since 2008 and the total dollar amount raised in the campaign has risen to over $20 million from $4.5 million.

Funds raised in this campaign will be used to buy and install servers and other hardware, to develop new site functionality, expand mobile services, provide legal defense for the projects, and support the large global community of Wikimedia volunteers. The Wikimedia Foundation’s total 2011-12 planned spending is 28.3 million USD. The bulk of that is raised during the annual campaign and the remainder comes throughout the year in the form of grants from institutions (such as the Sloan Foundation) and many other small donations year round.

This year’s campaign highlighted staff and volunteers who help to create Wikipedia. It featured testimonials from volunteer editors in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States ranging in age from 18 to 76, explaining why they edit Wikipedia and why they think readers should support the Wikimedia Foundation. More than 100 volunteers translated the banners and appeals into dozens of languages, reaching hundreds of millions of people.

A special thanks goes to all the contributors who work on the fundraiser year-round, the editors who helped tell their story, the translators who helped spread the message of the fundraiser, Wikimedia foundation employees, and to the readers of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects for their support.

With over 20 million articles in 282 languages, Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia in human history. Over 100,000 volunteers work on Wikipedia and its 10 sister projects (including projects like Wikimedia Commons, Wikibooks, and Wiktionary), furthering the Wikimedia Foundation’s mission to freely share the sum of all human knowledge. On January 15, 2012, Wikipedia will celebrate its 11th anniversary.

Jay Walsh, Communications