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Wikimedia Foundation Donor Privacy Policy

From Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki


Welcome to the Wikimedia Foundation's Donor Privacy Policy. The Wikimedia Foundation ("WMF") has put this policy in place to protect the privacy rights of our donors. We recognize that our donors care deeply about how their personal information is used and shared, and we value the privacy and security of our donors. This Donor Privacy Policy addresses our practices for collecting, using, maintaining, protecting, and disclosing donor information. Please carefully read this policy together with our Terms of Use. We will never sell, trade, or rent your nonpublic personal information.

Important Information

By donating to WMF, you understand that your donation entails the collection, transfer, processing, storage, disclosure, and use of your information in or to the United States ("U.S."), and other locations that may have different or less stringent data protection laws than your country, for the purposes stated in this policy. If you do not agree with the terms of the Donor Privacy Policy and the WMF Terms of Use, please immediately discontinue use of Wikimedia Fundraising Services (as defined below).


"WMF", "us", "we", and "our" refer to the Wikimedia Foundation.

"Donor Privacy Policy" and "policy" refers to this document.

"Personal Information" is information you provide us or information we collect from or about you through the Fundraising Services that identifies or could be used to identify you. For more information, please see What Information We Collect.

"Wikimedia Fundraising Services" are Wikimedia Foundation fundraising sites, such as donate.wikimedia.org, as well as fundraising-related emails from WMF and fundraising-related banners on other Wikimedia Foundation sites.

What This Policy Covers

This Donor Privacy Policy covers the collection, transfer, processing, storage, disclosure, and use of information collected from you during the process of making a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation and through your interactions with the Wikimedia Fundraising Services ("Donor Information"). This policy does not cover the collection, transfer, processing, storage, disclosure, or use of your information related to your use of other WMF projects or features, such as Wikipedia. For more information regarding WMF's privacy practices in that respect, please review our main Privacy Policy. This policy also does not cover the collection, transfer, processing, storage, disclosure, and use of information collected from you during the process of making a donation to, or other interactions you may have with, a Wikimedia affiliate, such as a chapter. For more information about the privacy practices of those organizations, please review their respective privacy policies.

What Information We Collect

As a result of your interaction with our donation pages, making a donation, participating in a donor survey or providing feedback related to donating, or otherwise using the Wikimedia Fundraising Services, WMF may collect certain Personal Information, such as your name, contact details (such as address, phone number, email address, identification number on government-issued ID), financial information (such as bank account number), device details (such as IP address, web browser user-agent information), demographic details (such as gender or age) and information about your interests and affiliations. We also collect such Personal Information about U.S. donors through publicly-available sources and other commercially available sources.

We also collect or automatically receive some other information, such as:

  • the web page that referred you to our donation pages;
  • the amount you donated;
  • which of our pages you request and visit;
  • the date and time of each request you make to our donation pages;
  • comments and suggestions from you;
  • correspondence between you and WMF; and
  • any other information you provide to us.

We keep Donor Information confidential, meaning that we will not share this information outside of the Wikimedia Foundation except as permitted by this policy or in de-identified form.

Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

As you interact with the Wikimedia Fundraising Services, we may use automatic data collection and other locally stored data technologies such as tracking pixels, JavaScript, cookies, and local storage to collect certain information about your device.

WMF uses cookies and other locally stored data to enhance your donation experience. We also use this information to create a safer online environment and gain a better understanding of donor preferences and interactions with the Wikimedia Fundraising Services. In general, cookies and other locally stored data are used to:

  • Help the Wikimedia Fundraising Services function and deliver new and relevant content to you;
  • Provide you with a personalized experience by storing your preferences so that they can be used the next time you visit the Wikimedia Fundraising Services;
  • Analyze the performance of donation processes so that we can better understand how they work and improve them for you and other WMF donors; and
  • Analyze interactions with fundraising emails so we can refine and improve the donation process.

For additional information about the use of cookies and similar tracking technologies, please see our Cookie statement.

Limiting Data Collection by Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We believe that the collection of this data helps improve your donation experience; however, you may remove or disable some or all cookies through your browser settings. While not a comprehensive list, you can limit the use of cookies and other locally stored data on your device by:

  • Removing or disabling specific locally stored data on your browser's settings;
  • Using a browser that can block-third party cookies; and
  • Installing a plugin to block locally stored data, if available.

Although donations to WMF via the Wikimedia Fundraising Services are possible without cookies and other locally stored data, please note that the removal or disabling of these features may affect your navigation of these sites and the personalization of your experience.

Do Not Track

WMF is committed to protecting the information we collect from all of our donors. We do not share this information with third parties, except in the specific circumstances described in the "Sharing Donor Information" section of this policy. Because we protect all donors in this manner, we do not change our behavior in response to a web browser's Do Not Track signal. For information about DNT on Wikimedia sites, please visit the main Wikimedia Foundation Privacy Policy FAQ.

How We Use Donor Information

We use Donor Information collected from you for general administrative purposes and to operate our fundraising processes. This includes:

  • administering the Wikimedia Fundraising Services;
  • updating you about upcoming fundraising and other WMF activities;
  • thanking you for your donation; and
  • setting language preferences.

We engage in the foregoing activities to manage our contractual relationship with you and for our legitimate interests in managing the Wikimedia Fundraising Services.

We also use Donor Information collected from you to comply with various obligations relating to recordkeeping and reporting. This includes:

  • distributing donation receipts;
  • maintaining our internal records test features;
  • complying with applicable tax requirements;
  • reporting to applicable government agencies as required by applicable law; and
  • communicating substantive changes to this policy and related policies.

We engage in the foregoing activities to comply with our legal obligations and for our legitimate interests in managing our donation processes.

And we use Donor Information collected from you to improve and update the Wikimedia Fundraising Services. This includes:

  • customizing content (for more detail, please see below);
  • understanding donors' interest in WMF;
  • improving our fundraising processes and efforts;
  • conducting internal analyses, such as research and analytics;
  • providing greater security; and
  • conducting survey and metric reports.

We engage in the foregoing activities for our legitimate interests such as improving and protecting our fundraising processes and efforts.

Where processing is based on your consent, you may withdraw your consent at any time consistent with applicable law.

Providing Customized Services

To enhance your experience with Wikimedia Fundraising Services, we use your geographic location to customize the currency, content, and language of our banners. We may also customize what fundraising banners you see or messages you receive, depending on your interactions with past banners or messages.

Accessing Your Donor Information

WMF works hard to accurately process and maintain Donor Information. If you would like to request to access, correct, update, suppress, restrict or delete the Personal Information we have about you, object to our processing of such Personal Information, or if you would like to request to receive an electronic copy of your Personal Information for purposes of transmitting it to another organization (to the extent this right to data portability is provided to you by applicable law), please let us know by contacting us at donate@wikimedia.org. While we will make reasonable efforts to comply with your request consistent with applicable law, there are certain situations where we may not grant your request (such as when we cannot adequately verify your identity to give you access to Personal Information, when we are legally required to retain information, or when we are not technologically able to change or delete information at that time).

All emails sent relating to Wikimedia Fundraising Services (with the exception of receipts or administrative notices) include an easy option to unsubscribe. If you would like to change your communication preferences, you (or an authorized representative) can let us know by contacting us at donate@wikimedia.org at any time, or clicking the unsubscribe link in an email you receive from us.

Sharing Donor Information

We understand that donors may wish to remain anonymous, and we strive to honor such requests and preserve your anonymity. However, in limited circumstances, we use and share Donor Information in the situations and under the conditions described below. We will never sell, trade, or rent your nonpublic Personal Information.

With your permission. With your consent, we may share your information for a particular purpose. For example, we may give donors the option to have their name publicly associated with their donation.

In anonymized form. We may publish or share anonymized Donor Information. For example, we may share anonymized data sets to show donation trends.

Comments and suggestions. We may publish any comments or suggestions that donors provide us, including in promotional materials, in anonymous form. In the rare instance that we do publish such information with donor attribution, we will do so only with your written (which may be electronic) consent.

Online payment processors. In order to facilitate online donations, we have partnered with payment processors. When you make a donation to WMF through the Wikimedia Fundraising Services, whether by credit card, debit card, or other methods of online payment, you transmit your payment data directly to the payment processor. We do our best to use contractual agreements and other mechanisms to help ensure that these processors maintain the confidentiality of your information. However, please be aware that WMF is not responsible for the privacy practices of these processors; please consult the privacy policies of the applicable payment processor for more information about its practices.

Other service providers. We use third-party service providers or contractors who assist with the organization and facilitation of the Wikimedia Fundraising Services, or who help run our fundraising operations or improve your experience with them. Some of our service providers ask us to post links to their privacy policies; a list of these service providers and links to their policies can be found on this page. We may give access to your personal or non-personal information to these providers or contractors as needed to perform their services for us or to use their tools and services. While we cannot ensure the privacy or security of services provided by third-party providers, we do our best to use contractual agreements and other mechanisms to help ensure that these service providers or contractors treat your information consistent with, and in a manner no less protective than, the principles of this policy.

For legal reasons. On certain rare occasions, consistent with our legitimate interest and/or to comply with our legal obligations, we may access, preserve, or disclose to public authorities or other persons your Personal Information if we reasonably believe it is necessary to satisfy a valid and legally enforceable warrant, subpoena, court order, law or regulation, or other judicial or administrative order. If we believe that a particular request for disclosure of a donor's information is legally invalid or an abuse of the legal system, and the affected donor does not intend to oppose the disclosure themselves, we will do our best to fight the request. WMF is committed to notifying you via email at least ten (10) calendar days, when possible, before we disclose your personal information in response to a legal demand. However, we may only be able to provide notice if we are not legally restrained from contacting you, there is no credible threat to bodily harm that is created or increased by notifying you of the request, and you have provided us with an email address or other current contact information.

Nothing in this policy is intended to limit any legal objections or defenses you may have to a third party's request (whether it be civil, criminal, or governmental) to disclose your information. We recommend seeking the advice of legal counsel immediately if such a request is made involving you.

If the organization is transferred. In the extremely unlikely event that ownership of all or substantially all of the WMF changes, or we go through a reorganization (such as a merger, consolidation, or acquisition), further to our legitimate interest, your Personal Information may be transferred. We will provide notice to you via the Wikimedia sites, and a notification on WikimediaAnnounce-L or similar mailing list, at least thirty (30) calendar days before any Personal Information is transferred or becomes subject to a different donor privacy policy.

To protect you, ourselves, or others. If necessary, we may need to use or share your personal information to: enforce or investigate potential violations of our Terms of Use, this Donor Privacy Policy, or any Foundation or user community-based policies; investigate and defend ourselves against legal threats or actions; prevent imminent and serious bodily harm or death to a person; protect our organization, employees, contractors, users, or the public; or detect, prevent, or otherwise assess and address potential spam, malware, fraud, abuse, unlawful activity, and security or technical concerns. We do so to manage our relationship with you, further to our legitimate interest, and/or to comply with our legal obligations.

How We Protect Your Donor Information

To ensure a high level of security and confidentiality, WMF employs a variety of physical, administrative, and technical measures, policies, and procedures to help protect your personal and financial information from unauthorized access, use, alteration, disclosure, or destruction. However, you should be aware that no storage system or data transmission is 100% secure. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that our security protocols will not be compromised.

How Long We Keep Your Donor Information

Once we receive Personal Information from you, we keep it for the shortest possible interval that is consistent with the maintenance, understanding, and improvement of the WMF donation process, and our obligations under applicable law.

For information on Wikimedia's general data retention policies on the Wikimedia projects, please see our Data Retention Guidelines.

Wikimedia Affiliates

Wikimedia affiliates (such as chapters) are independent organizations, which sometimes conduct their own fundraising efforts. While some affiliates may give a portion of the funds they raise to WMF, WMF is not involved in processing donations made to these organizations. Wikimedia affiliates have different privacy policies and practices depending on local legal requirements and other considerations. This policy does not explicitly cover donations made to them.

Changes to This Donor Privacy Policy

From time to time, it may be necessary to modify this policy in order to accurately reflect our data collection and disclosure practices. We reserve the right to do so, and we will provide notice of such changes in a reasonable manner and time. We encourage you to review the most up-to-date version of our Donor Privacy Policy periodically.

Your continued use of the Wikimedia Fundraising Services after any effective date of a subsequent version of this Privacy Policy constitutes acceptance of that version of the Donor Privacy Policy on your part.

Contact us

WMF values what our donors have to say about our services and our policies. If you have questions or suggestions about this policy, or the information collected under the Donor Privacy Policy, we want to hear from you. See our Contact Us page for information on how to reach out. For more information about the privacy practices that govern the Wikimedia projects, please review our main Privacy Policy.

If you are located in the European Economic Area and have questions about your personal data or would like to request to access, update, or delete it, you may contact our representative via email at EUrepresentative.Wikimedia@twobirds.com, or via mail at:

Bird & Bird GDPR Representative Ireland
29 Earlsfort Terrace
Dublin 2
D02 AY28
Main point of contact: Vincent Rezzouk-Hammachi

If you are an individual located in the United Kingdom, and have questions about your personal data or would like to request to access, update, or delete it, you may contact our representative via email at UKrepresentative.Wikimedia@twobirds.com, or via mail at:

Bird & Bird GDPR Representative Services UK
12 New Fetter Lane
United Kingdom
Main point of contact: Vincent Rezzouk-Hammachi

Our European Economic Area and United Kingdom Representative can only be contacted for queries in relation to data protection.

Depending on your jurisdiction, you also may have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority competent for your country or region.

This Donor Privacy Policy went into effect June 25, 2021. Previous versions can be found below:

Donor Privacy Policy (June 2019)

Donor Privacy Policy (February 2017)

Donor Privacy Policy (September 2011)

Donor Privacy Policy (July 2011)

Donor Privacy Policy (2009)

Please note that in the event of any differences in meaning or interpretation between the original English version of this content and a translation, the original English version takes precedence.

Privacy-related pages