Wikimedia Foundation managed to raise more than $8 million in its yearly fundraiser. On Monday morning, the non-profit behind Wikipedia is announcing that it aims to raise $16 million this year "so that Wikipedia and its sister projects can remain freely available to people around the world."Last year, the
Keeping Wikipedia free is no small feat, however, and the foundation has released a few stats about the world's fifth most popular Web property that help illustrate the challenges it faces.
Wikipedia was the 12th most popular Web property in the U.S. in September, with comScore reporting nearlly 80 million unique visitors for the month. By comparison, Google had 180 million, while Facebook had just under 150 million. But Wikipedia's English language content accounts for only a fifth of the collaborative encyclopedia's content. Looking at global traffic to Wikipedia, the site has doubled its monthly unique visitors since 2007, with just under 400 million in September. As opposed to its 12th place ranking in the U.S., these 400 million unique visitors make it the fifth most popular Web property in the world.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation, operating costs for 2010-2011 will come in at $20.4 million. Last year, the foundation received nearly a quarter million individual donations from more than 100 countries to reach its $8 million goal. This year, in addition to monetary donations the foundation is calling for readers to join in and become editors. The fundraiser itself, which the Wikimedia fundraising team has dubbed the "Fundraiser that anyone can edit", was created in collaboration with about 1,000 volunteers.
Of course, donating is important and good, too, in order to keep Wikipedia ad-free and organizationally unbiased.
"Over the past 10 years, Wikipedia has become a vital public resource for hundreds of millions of people. We've come to depend on it being there for us - free to use, without any bias or interference, and without advertising," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Sue Gardner, Wikimedia Foundation executive director, echoed Wales' statement.
"Wikipedia is the people's encyclopedia: it's written by ordinary people, and it makes sense that ordinary people would pay to support it," said Gardner. "Having a broad base of many donors from everywhere around the world is important to us: it means the encyclopedia is free to evolve to meet the needs of its readers, rather than being distorted or thrown off course by special interests. I'm glad so many people appreciate Wikipedia, and I'm delighted when they choose to support it financially."
The fundraising campaign will run through January 2011. Users can donate here or by clicking on the notice on top of each page on Wikipedia.