We are four months into 2018 and still learning from all that our donors taught us in the last months of 2017, when we embarked on our biggest annual fundraising project: a six-country campaign in which millions of readers around the world decided to become donors, contributing to Wikipedia’s continued sustainability and longevity. In the final months of 2017, we educated our readers about our mission, highlighted the community of volunteers who make Wikipedia possible, and told the authentic story of our movement that motivated new and past donors alike to give and support the future of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement.
We told our donors about the story of an editor in the UK who could not afford a library card as a child. So, as an adult, he invests his own time to make Wikipedia better for people around the world who depend on us as an educational resource. Or the perspective of a community member who leads a campaign to promote gender balance on Wikipedia. Every month, she helps organize editathons aimed at creating thousands of new articles on notable women in the fields of science, politics, and business.
Each year, we see our fundraising content as a wonderful opportunity to share the mission and values of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia movement, and also to explain that creating and supporting all the world’s knowledge takes time, hard work, and resources. We are grateful and astounded by the millions of people who find value in Wikipedia every day and choose to contribute something back to it. Together, their contributions have kept Wikipedia independent for more than 15 years.
The fundraiser is a chance to remind our users that, whether they are a donor, a reader, or a contributor to the content of the site, they are part of something miraculous: an example of our shared humanity—knowledge built by and for the world.
When our readers saw a fundraising banner, a video message from Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales, or opened an email from the Foundation’s Executive Director Katherine Maher, we reminded them of our story—of people around the world, giving to something greater than themselves, to ensure that we all retain our right to learn and understand the world around us, free of any corporate interest or hidden catch.
And after telling that story, we asked them: will you support this project? Will you share a bit of yourself, and of your own work, to make this work of a lifetime possible?
In 2017, millions of people said “yes.” From all of us at the Wikimedia Foundation, we want to say thank you. Here’s to another year of knowledge, discovery, and joy.