(The Hosting News) – The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), the non-profit behind Wikipedia, today announced the launch of its annual fundraising campaign. This year’s goal is to raise $16 million so that Wikipedia and its sister projects can remain freely available to people around the world. The $16 million raised in this campaign will help fund the Foundation’s total 2010-11 operating budget of $20.4 million. And for the first time this year, the campaign will also invite readers to donate time as well as money, by joining the Wikimedia community of volunteer editors. Once the financial goal has been met, the campaign will encourage Wikipedia’s nearly 400 million monthly readers to become editors.
“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. “If you can afford to make even a small donation, that’s important. You’re helping to keep Wikipedia available not just for yourself, but for others –kids, people in poor countries– who themselves can’t afford to donate.”
The 2010 campaign seeks to raise the funds needed to preserve Wikipedia, the world’s fifth-most-popular site, as a space for the free and open sharing of human knowledge. As Wikipedia continues to grow in size and readership, it needs to increase spending on servers and bandwidth, and to invest in supporting the continued health and diversity of the editing community.
“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 Sue Gardner, Executive Director. “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.”
In 2009, the Wikimedia Foundation raised just over $8 million from more than 240,000 individual donations (up from 139,000 donations during the 2008 campaign). The average donation in 2009 was $33, and donations came in from over 100 countries.
The 2010 campaign will run through January 2011, with notices at the top of pages on Wikipedia and its sister sites, asking readers for their support.
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About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization which operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive 398 million unique visitors per month, making them the 5th most popular web property world-wide (Sept, 2010). Available in more than 270 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 16 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of more than 100,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.