Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million in record time during 2012 fundraiser

The Wikimedia Foundation is happy to announce the successful completion of our ninth annual fundraising campaign in record time. Wikipedia readers donated $25 million and once again affirmed the value of the project by guaranteeing that the online encyclopedia will remain ad-free.

Donations help the Wikimedia Foundation maintain server infrastructure, support global projects to increase the number of editors, improve and simplify the software that supports our projects, and make Wikipedia accessible globally to billions of people who are just beginning to access the internet.

More than 1.2 million donors contributed to the campaign, which ran on English Wikipedia in 5 countries (United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand) for only 9 full days, down from 46 days in 2011. The most-successful 24-hour period for donations this year brought in $2,365,564 from 145,573 donors. Messages and formats optimized in this year’s campaign will be used in another short fundraising drive for the rest of the world in April 2013.

“I’m grateful that the Wikipedia fundraiser was so successful. Our supporters are wonderful and without them we could not do the job of delivering free content worldwide,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be able to introduce our readers to the editors around the world who create Wikipedia and to invite our readers to join in editing.”

Volunteer contributors are the heart of the world’s largest encyclopedia. To highlight the tens of millions of hours they put into the projects each year, the Wikimedia Foundation has started a thank you campaign with short videos that showcase some of the roughly 80,000 volunteer editors, photographers and free-knowledge advocates from around the world who regularly contribute to Wikimedia projects. The campaign started today and will run through the end of the year.

You can meet the Wikimedians who we’re profiling in our thank you campaign here and continue to tune into the Wikimedia blog for further profiles of volunteer contributors.

Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager

Categories: Fundraising, Press
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8 Comments on Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million in record time during 2012 fundraiser

Elmer Morie 3 years

I like reading through an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!|

Darren 3 years

I donated on the basis that you need money to “pay for the infrastructure and programs that empower the thousands of volunteers who create Wikipedia”. This made me beleive that the money was going directly into core activities like running servers and writing software. Then I read a report on The Register ( that the foundation has tons of money and uses it on a variety of peripheral (arguably frivolous) activities including political lobbying.

This really makes me wonder if I was right to donate.

Can you comment?

Matthew Roth 3 years

Hi Christian,
There is another ~$3 million from testing prior to the days counted on that fundraising statistics page.

Kozuch 3 years

I am happy you restricted the campaign to countries where probably the donation ratio was the highest and did not bug 1) other readers 2) logged-in editors.

Christian Lutz 3 years

Also from the fundraising statistics page for 2012 the cumulative total is $22.7 million. Which is it? Are the numbers on the statistics page not correct or do I miss something here?

Matthew Roth 3 years

Hi Ferdinand,
The fundraiser ran for 9 full days on the English Wikipedia in those five countries. Meaning that every logged out user saw banners every time they went to the site. That’s when the majority of the money was raised. There were a number of testing days from around mid November to mid December where the fundraising team tested different approaches to displaying banners, such as only displaying a banner once to a browser, only displaying 5 times, etc. On those days, the banner would not display full-time, so for lots of users of the site, they wouldn’t see anything. Those testing days did bring in donations and that money is included in the $25 million figure as revenue during the fundraiser.

The fundraising team will prepare a full report as the normally do sometime in early 2013. That will have a bunch more specific data points that should be of interest.


Ferdinand Thommes 3 years

While writing a news article on this great success, I find a problem with the numbers mentioned in this blog: If the campaign ran for only 9 days, and the most successfull 24-hour period brought $2,365,564, how does that add up to $25 Million in 9 days?

jolison 3 years

I still wonder why Wikipedia needs 25 million. Is it really necessary? Would the website work with only $5 million (as it did 5 years ago) and less projects that could be labelled as pointless?

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