Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, so there’s no more fitting time for the Wikimedia Foundation to begin its year-end contribution campaign on English Wikipedia. During this time, we ask for contributions to support operating expenses of the Wikimedia sites and global outreach programs and to help keep the largest free knowledge resource accessible to the world.

Like Wikipedia, which is entirely written by a community of individual volunteers, the annual fundraising campaign is overwhelmingly supported by small individual donations averaging $15. It is a unique campaign that relies on the power of individuals to keep knowledge free and accessible for the world.

Together with its sister free knowledge projects like Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world, attracting nearly half a billion unique visitors and more than 20 billion monthly page views each month. Every month roughly 70,000 people edit Wikipedia, collectively creating, improving, and maintaining its more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages.

This year, hundreds of millions of people turned to Wikipedia to not just understand but also shape the world around them. From articles on national revolutions to feathered dinosaurs and comet landers to football tournaments, the world trusts Wikipedia. Here are just a few ways people used Wikipedia to make a difference:

  • This year the article on the Ebola virus disease on the English-language version of Wikipedia received 17 million visits in one month alone, and remained among the most visited articles on Wikipedia throughout the year. Wikipedians at the WikiProject Med Foundation worked with volunteer translators to make the article on Ebola available in more than 50 languages.
  • This summer more than 2,000 of the volunteer writers, readers, and users of Wikipedia met in London at Wikimania, to share and discuss the future of knowledge. Among them was 17 year old Jack Andraka who, as a high school student, used knowledge found on Wikipedia to develop a new test for pancreatic cancer.
  • This autumn, a group of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors were recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as among the world’s 100 top leading global thinkers for their project, Art+Feminism, designed to advance understanding of the contributions of the world’s female artists and innovators.

 
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit that supports Wikipedia, its sister free knowledge projects, and that community of volunteers. Small donations allow the Wikimedia Foundation to cover the costs of operating Wikipedia, including electricity, servers, and staff. These contributions also allow us to invest in improvements to the technology behind Wikipedia, such as this year’s introduction of a free, fast, native Wikipedia app for iOS and Android, and ongoing improvements to Wikipedia’s search functions and speed.

Donations also support Foundation initiatives to bring knowledge to people around the world, such as Wikipedia Zero. Wikipedia Zero is a program that enables people who can’t afford mobile data charges to access or contribute to all knowledge on Wikipedia for free on their mobile phone. An estimated 400 million people now have free access to Wikipedia, thanks to 40 operators in 34 countries. This includes users of MTN in South Africa, which introduced Wikipedia Zero after receiving an open letter from grade 12 students at Sinenjongo High School, in the township of Joe Slovo Park.

As with previous campaigns, users will see different versions of the banners over the course of the month. We are always trying new ways to reach our diverse global audience: This year, our goal is to reach our target more quickly while limiting the total number of banners each reader sees.

The online fundraising campaign aims to raise $20 million in December. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.

We thank all our contributors for their support and our volunteers who help make these campaigns a widely localized and internationalized effort.

To make a donation, click the fundraising appeal on Wikipedia, or go directly to donate.wikimedia.org.

Lisa Gruwell
Chief Revenue Officer

Megan Hernandez
Director of Online Fundraising