Wikimedia budget

(Redirected from Budget)

This page provides information about the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia movement budgets. See the reports on the WMF wiki for more complete information, and Reports for links to reports of all sorts, including individual budgets of movement entities.







2014-15 Wikimedia Foundation Plan


2013–14 was expected to be presented by Sue, revised by Stu and then approved by the WMF board in June 2013



On 27 July 2012, the 2012–13 Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan was released. It includes for the first time resources for the movement beyond the WMF's budget, to be allocated via the Funds Dissemination Committee being formed this year.

  • It can be viewed here
  • A non-editable "Questions and Answers" page is also available here

Discussion was initiated on the Wikimedia-L mailing list.


Technology v. other programs
Reserves and other contingencies

The annual [minimum] reserve was increased to 6 months from 5.2 months in 2011–12.

An endowment has been discussed again but not included in this year's fundraiser; a targeted effort to build an endowment (likely specifically for long-term hosting and technical support) is still on the drawing board.

2009– ... –2012

For these budgets, see the financial reports page on the WMF wiki. Discussion was mainly held on the foundation-l mailing list.



Information on the Foundation wiki, with questions and answers here and a PDF outline here.


See also the old hardware wishlist.

2006 budget planning


late 2005 budgeting


early 2005 Provisional budget


see also Talk:Wikimedia budget/2005/Q1

Current budget: Wikimedia budget/2005

A meeting was held on Feb 7 to set the new budget. Below are notes from beforehand:

We need to prepare the meeting :

  • Actual 2004 budget : [2]
  • Last quarter provisional budget : Wikimedia budget/Q4
  • List of already planned or expected expenses for year 2005
  • List of already planned or expected expenses for first quarter 2005.

During the meeting, we expect to reflect on last year budget, and prepare a report about it.

  • Current funds: $40,000 (roughly)
  • Hardware budget: (Q4 $30,000, last 90,000) - 2005/Q1 Hardware
  • Bandwidth and hosting: (last quarter $2,500)
  • Travel costs: (last year 11000$ but lacking some reimbursement)
  • Insurance: (last )
  • Accountant: (last $ )
  • Office expenses : (last year $788)
  • Contingency fund: $10,000 (not enough ?)
  • Domain names : Domain names (last 6731 with trademarks - needs to differenciate those ?)
  • Trademarks :
  • Bank : (last year $250)

  • Total: $???

About the budget


The Wikimedia budget has to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for Not-for-Profit Organizations and must have specific goals set forth.

It should be viewed as a financial action plan that is used to monitor and measure progress - a benchmark.

  1. Well-conceived and approved by the Board.
  2. Broken down into periods corresponding to periodic financial statements.
  3. Financial statements must be prepared on a periodic basis through the year.
  4. Board must be prepared to take action when budget and statements conflict.

Creating the budget must be a joint effort by many people and result in a working document that forms the basis for action.

  1. Lay out goals (milestones & projects) for the next year.
    • Existing goals
    • New goals not addressed in previous budget.
  2. Estimate cost of each goal.
  3. Estimate expected income.
  4. Balance the budget.
    • Compare estimated income with estimated expenses for all programs.
    • Prioritize and cut where needed to balance the budget.
    • Figure in a good safety margin for errors.
  5. Submit the proposed budget for board ratification.

Quarterly budgets


The Foundation tries to establish a budget 4 times in the year, as well as to make prospectives in the coming year.

  1. Analyze income and expenses for the previous year.
    • Place special gifts aside since that cannot be depended on as regular income.
  2. If budgeted income is lower than expected or expenses are higher in the previous ending quarter's budget report, then the board will have to fix the situation. Expenses will have to be reduced or a fundraiser will need to be planned at that meeting.
    • Form a subcommittee to ensure this gets done.
  3. Make year-to-date comparisons with current budget. Prepare on a monthly basis if possible. Keep budget up-to-date throughout the year so that information does not go stale.
    • Record depreciation of computers as an expense.
  4. Make it easy to doublecheck the budget, to notice shortfalls immediately.
  5. Make a graph showing expenses and income over time.
    • A variable budget is needed when expenses rise significantly each year; variable budgets have to be recalculated each month. Track deviation from the budget, indicate if it is favorable or (unfavorable).
  6. Prepare a narrative summary explaining deviations (both under and over budget items). This would be prepared by the board chair and reviewed by the treasurer before the board meeting. The budget is a planning device that every board should take seriously and act upon as needed.


  • How predictable is income?
  • How predicable are expenses? Estimate chance of unexpected increase in expenses (several servers have to be replaced, have to start paying bandwidth) .
  • What is the ability of the board to quickly tap new revenue sources if the need arises?
    • Existing donors giving more?
    • Help from another foundation?
    • Creditors willing to postpone payments?
    • Assets available to sell on short notice?
    • Available lenders? Line of credit with SunTrust?
  • Possible cutbacks: planned non-essential expenses.
  • How risk-tolerant is the Foundation?

Rule of thumb: always have 3 to 6 months of reserves. Then keep level of reserve in check and reevaluate on a quarterly basis. Leave this amount in savings and/or safe investment account and only tap it when needed. The Board must determine the amount of the reserve. It is difficult to get in trouble with the IRS for having too large of a reserve . The IRS is mainly concerned with how money is spent. The foundation must, however, still balance the wishes of the donors that their money is being used.

Need to form a budget committee from the board, headed by treasurer (who should not dominate the process). This will require expansion of the board or at least the addition of an appointed financial officer, controller, and other interested people (a tech person is absolutely needed in order to estimate future server needs). In larger organizations officers are responsible for this and are challenged by the board (checks and balances).

Previous budget


Last quarter budget 2004


The Wikimedia budget for last quarter is at Wikimedia budget/Q4. More detail on the hardware budget is at Wikimedia budget/Q4 Hardware. You can also find official budget information at the foundation site.

2004 Provisional budget


Q4 Hardware

~$45k (estimate as of the start of October), assuming a little help from the French squids, and assuming we try to stay ahead of traffic increases without waiting for the next bottleneck.

Details at /Q4 Hardware.

Q3 Hardware

The projected increase in page requests from Q2 to the end of Q3 is 85%.

Provisionally budgeted server expenses (this model is still under development):

$27,000 to $31,000 USD


The exact server order will be drafted by the development team at Q3 and Q4 2004 hardware order worksheet

  • Another revision is needed; each usage of the the word 'hits' needs to be replaced by 'page requests' since those are the data used in the model. --Daniel Mayer 17:56, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • I just revised my January filler figure from 5000 K hits/day to 1600 K hits/day since that is the carryover number from the last time we had data (October 2003). Also, IIRC the server farm wasn't installed until late January so a lower figure is probably closer to reality. This revised down projected Q3 server expenses. --Daniel Mayer 07:27, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)
  • The board of Trustees have not yet approved the above server budget. So this is not official yet. Also, any projection beyond 2004 will be increasingly tenuous since we do not have enough data to know with any degree of certainty what our traffic will be in the mid to long term. --Daniel Mayer, Wikimedia CFO



The board, in consultation with the membership, must look ahead and anticipate possible problems along with long term goals and objectives.

Set up a committee of three people who play a policy-making role in the foundation. Each member should develop a list of all goals and objectives that he/she thinks are important to accomplish for each of the next five years without consideration of cost. The committee should then meet and discuss their ideas in order to find consensus on where to proceed, again without consideration of cost. If the committee cannot agree, then it must go to the board and ask for direction.

When a set of objectives is finally agreed to, then the committee will consider cost (including inflation). Once those figures have been determined, the committee will determine how these projects will be financed. Consideration of special fundraisers and/or seeking grants should be considered. The resulting master plan should be reviewed annually. Master plans are needed to make sure the foundation stays true to its goals.

Such a plan only provides for a general accounting of costs that leaves a surplus for each year in the plan.

Sample budget items


See also