Home Wikipedia Has Raised in a Week What Took a Month in 2009

Wikipedia Has Raised in a Week What Took a Month in 2009

The Wikimedia Foundation announced earlier this week that it would need to raise $16 million to keep Wikipedia ad free, double the amount that it raised last year. That sounds like quite the challenge, right?

Well, according to the real-time statistics on its fundraising effort, Wikimedia has managed to raise in a week what took a month last year and it has a few guesses as to why.

Wikimedia offers an in-depth, real-time look at its fundraising stats that show how 2010 is breaking away from years past. Looking at the year-to-date tab, we can see that at only eight days into the 2010 fundraiser, Wikimedia has raised just under $3 million ($2,968,388.51 at the time of this writing, to be exact). It took 36 days in 2009 to reach this same level. So what’s different?

A Groundswell of Support?

There might be a couple of things at play here. Looking at these same numbers, we can see that there have been a few big donations to get things going, but overall the average donation is within a few dollars of years past. The average number of donations, however, is well above previous years, with 10 to 15 thousand donations per day. The effect is donations reaching well beyond years past, as you can see below.

Moka Pantages, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson, says the drastic rise is a groundswell of support.

“I think more and more people everywhere are recognizing the impact Wikipedia has made on their lives– the rapid rise in donations this year is the response,” said Pantages. “It’s now the go-to place for anything you need to know. These donations are thousands of people all over the world expressing gratitude and supporting the efforts of the Wikipedians who work long and hard to keep this thing alive and growing.”

Look At That Purty Mug

Another reason for the huge spike in donations, Pantages tells us, is the banner atop each Wikipedia page featuring Jimmy Wales, the site’s co-founder.

While some are asking if a donation is enough to stop Wales from staring, the numbers don’t lie – the banner is a success.

“As you can see from the graphs, those huge spikes from years past were days we started running the Jimmy banner,” said Pantages. “So, what we learned from six months of testing leading up to this fundraiser was that the Jimmy banner out performs everything, so that’s what we started with, rather than waiting.”

David McCandless of Information is Beautiful created a telling infographic from Wikipedia’s banner testing effort that shows just how effective Wales’ pleading mug really is.

Will Wikipedia Remain Ad Free?

Whether it’s a groundswell of public support for the site that daily answers all your curiosities or its simply effective, tried and tested advertising, things are looking good for Wikimedia and its flagship product, Wikipedia, in 2011. At this rate, the site should hit its $16 million goal in just under a month and a half. But as they say, nothing is sure in life, but death and taxes.

To keep up with its fundraising efforts, you can watch the donations pour in in real time. And of course, you can make a donation at any time. The fundraising campaign runs through January 2011.

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