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Admittedly, this is a year of growth and testing for the Wikimedia Foundation Fundraising team. We have 4 new members and the Annual Fundraiser is a new experience for all of us. In fact, I’m not sure how many fundraising projects have had this kind of reach (250+ million unique viewers in November).  This provides us with an amazing opportunity to test different pitches through our site notices. With the fundraiser reaching a huge audience, we knew we had a great chance to test different messages and see what works and what doesn’t.

We started the Annual Fundraiser on November 3rd with 4 site notices (the big banners across the top of every Wiki article). Our tech team worked to track each notice and each notice had a randomized 25% chance of displaying on any given article (on every Wikipedia, in localized languages, and in other other Wikimedia projects). In theory, every notice had the same number of views. You can see the 4 site notices here:

Now, which notices do you think did the best? The results are surprising:

Phase 1 11/3 to 11/17 Display Click Number Percent who
Total Average

% Throughs Donations Donated Given Gift

Edu1 Wikipedia is a non-profit project: please donate today. 25.00% 6423 994 15.48% $28,936.00 $29.00
Edu2 Wikipedia relies on your donations: please give today. 25.00% 44482 4444 9.99% $126,664.00 $28.50
Market1 Wikipedia is there when you need it — now it needs you. 25.00% 29886 5071 16.97% $140,913.00 $27.00
Market2 Wikipedia: Making Life Easier. 25.00% 56577 5620 9.93% $155,136.00 $27.60
No meter 1 – collapsed n/a 13839 1156 8.35% $33,208.00 $23.00

People love to click on the links with the thermometer…but less than 10% donated after clicking-though. However, it’s interesting to see the strength of the “Wikipedia is there when you need it — now it needs you” message. While it had significantly less clicks, nearly 17% of people donated after clicking on it.

What do you make of that? What other conclusions would you draw?

And what do you think our next test should be?

Rand Montoya, Head of Community Giving