Press releases/Wikimedia Foundation launches year-end contribution campaign

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Wikimedia Foundation launches year-end contribution campaign

Wikipedia appeals to readers to support the world’s largest free knowledge resource

On December 2, 2014, Giving Tuesday, the Wikimedia Foundation kicked off its year-end contribution campaign on English Wikipedia, requesting donations to support the operating expenses of the Wikimedia sites and global outreach programs. Wikipedia is overwhelmingly supported by small individual donations averaging $15. It is a unique campaign that relies on the power of individuals to keep knowledge free and accessible for the world.

Wikipedia is written entirely by a community of volunteers who have a passion for sharing and expanding the world’s knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia, its sister free knowledge projects, and that community of volunteers. Every year, we ask those who value the site to make a contribution to ensure Wikimedia projects are freely available to everyone around the world, in their own language.

Wikipedia attracts nearly half a billion unique visitors and more than 20 billion monthly page views each month. Every month roughly 70,000 people edit Wikipedia, collectively creating, improving, and maintaining its more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages. From articles on national revolutions to feathered dinosaurs and comet landers to football tournaments, the world trusts Wikipedia. Together with its sister free knowledge projects such as Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world.

This year, hundreds of millions of people turned to Wikipedia to not just understand but also shape the world around them. Here are just a few ways people used Wikipedia:

  • This year the article on the Ebola virus disease on the English-language version of Wikipedia received 17 million visits in one month alone, and remained among the most visited articles on Wikipedia throughout the year. Wikipedians at the WikiProject Med Foundation worked with volunteer translators to make the article on Ebola available in more than 50 languages.
  • This summer more than 2,000 of the volunteer writers, readers, and users of Wikipedia met in London at Wikimania, to share and discuss the future of knowledge. Among them was 17 year old Jack Andraka who, as a high school student, used knowledge found on Wikipedia to develop a new test for pancreatic cancer.
  • This autumn, a group of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors were recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as among the world’s 100 top leading global thinkers for their project, Art+Feminism, designed to advance understanding of the contributions of the world’s female artists and innovators.

Small donations allow the Wikimedia Foundation to cover the costs of operating Wikipedia, including electricity, servers, and staff. These contributions also allow us to invest in improvements to the technology behind Wikipedia, such as this year’s introduction of a free, fast, native Wikipedia app for iOS and Android, and ongoing improvements to Wikipedia’s search functions and speed.

Donations also support Foundation initiatives to bring knowledge to people around the world, such as Wikipedia Zero. Wikipedia Zero is a program that enables people who can’t afford mobile data charges to access or contribute to all knowledge on Wikipedia for free on their mobile phone. An estimated 400 million people now have free access to Wikipedia, thanks to 40 operators in 34 countries. This includes users of MTN in South Africa, which introduced Wikipedia Zero after receiving an open letter from grade 12 students at Sinenjongo High School, in the township of Joe Slovo Park, as featured in this short film.

As with previous campaigns, this year the Wikimedia Foundation will use a variety of banner formats to reach the movement’s diverse global audience.

“We are always looking for new ways to reach our readers while minimizing interruption of their experience on Wikipedia,” said Megan Hernandez, Director of Online Fundraising at the Wikimedia Foundation. “This year, our goal is to reach our target more quickly, in order to limit the total number of banners each reader sees. We thank all our contributors for their support and our volunteers who help make these campaigns a widely localized and internationalized effort.”

“Wikipedia content is growing every year, and it is growing most where it is needed the most. From Cape Town to Naypyidaw and Cairo to Kyiv, Wikipedia is there with free, uncensored content. Individual contributions from ordinary users all over the world are what makes it possible to share knowledge beyond languages, borders or generations” said Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

“All knowledge gathered on Wikipedia is being shared freely and for everybody to edit, change and use as they will. It has been created by the work of hundreds of thousands of people, for the use of millions more. Wikipedia relies on the contributions of many people -- in the form of edits and small donations -- to maintain this independence. It’s always a testament to how much Wikipedia matters that so many people come out to support it every year!” said Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia.

The online fundraising campaign aims to raise $20 million in December. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.

To make a donation, click the fundraising appeal on Wikipedia, or go directly to donate.wikimedia.org.

About the Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikipedia consists of more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages. Every month, roughly 80,000 active volunteers contribute to Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. According to comScore Media Metrix, the projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive 460 million unique visitors per month on desktop alone, making them one of the ten most popular web properties worldwide (October 2014). Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact

Katherine Maher

  • +1 415-839-6885 ext 6633
  • katherine@wikimedia.org