Wikipedia’s Nonprofit Parent Raises $20 Million from Donors
The nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation – which operates Wikipedia and related websites solely on donations – raked in a record-breaking $20 million during its just-concluded 2011-12 fundraising campaign. The San Francisco-based foundation has been conducting annual fundraisers since 2003.
“Our model is working fantastically well,” Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a news release. “Ordinary people use Wikipedia and they like it, so they chip in some cash so it will continue to thrive. That maintains our independence and lets us focus solely on providing a useful public service.”
Wikimedia’s 2010-11 fundraising campaign garnered $16.1 million.
Funds raised in the campaign will be used to, among other things, buy and install servers and other hardware; improve the sites’ functionality; and expand mobile services. The Wikimedia Foundation’s planned spending for 2011-12 is $28.3 million. Donations from the annual fundraiser are paired with grants and small donations received throughout the year.
The just-finished fundraising campaign collected money from more than 1 million donors around the world.
According to comScore, Wikipedia is the fifth most popular web property worldwide, attracting more than 470 million unique visitors every month.
Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is the only major website supported not by advertising but by contributions from readers. On Jan. 15, Wikipedia will celebrate its 11th anniversary. Wikipedia is available in more than 280 languages.
“When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different,” founder Jimmy Wales said in a recent fundraising appeal. “We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.”