The annual global fundraising campaign by the Wikimedia Foundation, the organisation that supports online encyclopedia Wikipedia, has raised a record $20 million from more than one million donors in nearly every country in the world. Donations have risen every year since the fundraising campaigns began in 2003.
Since 2008, the number of Wikimedia Foundation donors has increased ten-fold, and the annual campaign total has risen from $4.5 million to over $20 million.
“Our model is working fantastically well,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Ordinary people use Wikipedia and they like it, so they chip in some cash so it will continue to thrive.”
The funds generated help pay for the servers and other hardware, legal services, volunteer support and to develop the site functionality.
The Foundation, which has a budget for $28.3m for 2011-12, also secures funding from grantmakers and receives small donations throughout the year.
Its fundraising appeal is increasingly sophisticated. For some years it has analysed which banner ads and which messages on its site generate more funds. This year more than 100 volunteers translated the banners and appeals into dozens of languages, reaching hundreds of millions of people.
As well as Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation also runs 10 projects including Wikimedia Commons, Wikibooks, and Wiktionary.
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