Wikipedia raises $16 million

Wikipedia raises $16 million

If you have visited Wikipedia over the last six weeks or so, you will have surely noticed the banners that appeared at the top of every page carrying appeals for donations. Wikipedia and its umbrella organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, were conducting their annual fundraising exercise.

The success of that effort became apparent over the weekend, when the banner was replaced with a link to a thank you note from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. The Wikimedia Foundation received over $16 million in donations, making it the most successful fundraiser in Wikipedia history, despite also being the shortest.

Wikipedia is now the fifth most visited web site in the world but, as the organization is quick to point out, it operates with a staff of just 50 and a budget a fraction the size of the other top sites. Despite relying on grants and donations, the online encyclopedia has thrived. As it approaches its 10th anniversary, there are Wikipedias in over 270 different languages. The English language version has over 3.5 million articles and a total page count of 22,700,000. There have been over 435 million individual page edits.

The statistics associated with the fundraising effort were equally impressive and reflect Wikipedia’s everyman roots. There were over 500,000 donations to the Wikimedia Foundation and another 130,000 donations to local Wikimedia chapters worldwide. The average donation size was $22. The funds will be used to upgrade and maintain the Wikimedia IT infrastructure…and keep the various Wikipedia sites ad free.

As Jimmy Wales writes: “This fundraiser had all the ingredients of what we love about Wikimedia projects: people come together, contribute what they have, and together we do something amazing.”

Loved by students, loathed by many teachers, but used by everybody, Wikipedia remains the quintessential Web 2.0 collaborative effort. It’s great to know that it’s financially secure for at least another year.

Comment by Tim, posted 1/3/2011, 7:41 PM:

So nice to see sites like wikipedia that are subscription-free, ad-free, and user-friendly. The ultimate labor of love, written by people who love teaching for people who love learning.

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