Frequently Asked Questions 2010
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The 2008–2009 Wikimedia Foundation Annual Report covers the previous fiscal year (July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009) with a look-ahead to the next. This is our second annual report. The Wikimedia Foundation Annual Report is a summary of the organization's financials, program activities, milestones and accomplishments.
- Launch of Wikimedia's Usability Initiative
- Wikimedia joins the Creative Commons
- Wikimania conference in Alexandria, Egypt
- Wikimedia's open strategy planning process begins
- Successful fundraising and expansion of core operations
Download the 2008-2009 Annual Report:
As the organization's founder, Jimmy Wales, put it: "Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge." That’s where it’s going — and we need your help to get there.
Every month, more than 430,000,000 million people around the world use Wikipedia. It's available online, on your mobile device, on DVD, in books, and many other forms. We aspire to reach even more people, and to continually improve the quality of information that we provide. To do that, we are:
- making it much easier to contribute knowledge. We've recently launched a large-scale initiative to improve the user experience both for adding text and multimedia. You can find more information on the project website.
- creating learning and training resources to recruit more contributors: teachers, professors, students, photographers, filmmakers, scientists, librarians, archivists, curators, hobbyists, and many others. We're working with a growing network of 39 grass-roots Wikimedia chapter organizations around the world to reach out to these people, and encourage them to help us make Wikipedia better. More information can be found on the project website.
- developing new technologies and processes for quality assurance that do not conflict with Wikimedia's fundamental openness. For the technically interested, this includes technologies for flagging edits and for detecting potentially problematic changes.
- consulting with our global community of editors as well as experts, volunteers and thinkers around the world to develop innovative strategies for reaching more people, with higher quality resources, and for increasing the number of volunteers. More information about our five-year strategy project can be found on the project website.
- building a rich dashboard of metrics to support the work of the Wikimedia movement. See our monthly report card and our statistics portal.
Finally, it is our mission to protect the work that has been done so far: to reduce the risk that disaster or technical failure could eliminate portions of our work, and to ensure that it is regularly copied in many places. We're not an excited start-up company that will fade away in two years -- we're in this for the long term.
We believe increased participation makes Wikipedia better. At the same time, we must maintain the tough standards that have made Wikipedia respected by scientists, academics, journalists, and foundations.
The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. is the parent organization of various free-content projects, most notably Wikipedia, the award-winning online encyclopedia. Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia in January 2001 and created the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2003. From the beginning, we have existed for one reason: the free and open sharing of knowledge. We don’t sell information and we don’t accept advertising. Your donation makes our work possible. We bring the educational content from these projects to people in as many forms as possible. In particular, we help disadvantaged communities with limited connectivity to access and contribute free educational content.
We own more than 400 servers used to run our projects, along with all the associated domain names and trademarks. We support strategic software development on the MediaWiki software and related tools, which allow more people to participate and the existing volunteer community to work more effectively. This includes tools specifically related to ensuring high quality. We develop learning resources, support workshops and strive to think intelligently about other ways to bring in new contributors and to grow Wikimedia as an international movement for free knowledge.
In all this, we are supported by local chapters organized in many different countries.
The Wikimedia Foundation supports Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia and one of the five most-visited websites world-wide. From the founding of Wikipedia in January 2001, and the incorporation of the Wikimedia Foundation in June 2003, our growth has been staggering. The English-language Wikipedia, our first project, has expanded to more than 6,000,000 articles today. All Wikipedia languages combined contain more than 47,000,000 articles.
Besides Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation also supports:
- Wikimedia Commons, a media repository containing more than 43,000,000 freely usable images, videos, and sound files
- Wikibooks, a project to create free textbooks
- Wiktionary, a multilingual dictionary and thesaurus
- Wikisource, a library of source documents
- Wikinews, a citizen news website
- Wikiversity, an interactive learning platform
- Wikiquote, a collection of quotations
- Wikispecies, a directory of life on Earth
We lead and support the development of MediaWiki, the open source wiki software behind all our public websites. We help to organize outreach and community events to encourage people to contribute to our projects, and we provide downloadable offline copies and database archives of Wikipedia content.
More information may be found on the page about our projects.
The Wikimedia Foundation has a staff of 302, led by the Executive Director, Sue Gardner. The staff supports the work of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who contribute content to the Wikimedia projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is also supported by countless volunteers participating through committees, as interns, or on an ad hoc basis.
The Board of Trustees articulates the mission and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, reviews and helps to develop long term plans, provides oversight, and supports the Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising efforts. It is the ultimate organizational authority of the Wikimedia Foundation as defined in its bylaws. See Meetings for published Board minutes and Resolutions for published Board resolutions. The Board is partially elected from the community of contributors to the Wikimedia projects.
We have an office, located in San Francisco, California (USA), where most of our employees are working. All board members and remaining staff work remotely.
The Wikimedia Foundation receives donations from more than 50 countries around the world. The average donation is quite small, but their sheer numbers have ensured our success. People make contributions year-round, and once a year the Wikimedia Foundation makes a formal request for donations.
We are not considering advertising as a source of revenue.
The Wikimedia Foundation has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States. Donations made from other nations may also be tax deductible. See deductibility of donations for details. Click here for details on how to make a donation via PayPal, MoneyBookers or by postal mail. For all other types of donation, please contact us through donate wikimedia.org.
The 2010-11 plan posits revenue of $20.4 million, a 28% increase over projected revenue of $15.9 million for 2009-10.
Most of our funding comes from individuals -- people like you. We also receive grants from community and private foundations, as well as in-kind contributions from corporations. They can be seen on our Benefactors page.
For the fiscal year 2008-09, please Download the 2008-2009 Annual Report: PDF version (2.0 MB)
To donate, please visit our fundraising page. You can donate using any major credit card (including VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American Express), PayPal, Moneybookers, bank transfer, or by sending a cheque to the Foundation. Our donation options support most (although not all) currencies.
Send checks to:
- Note: donations by check are processed directly at our centralized lockbox location which is in Washington, DC.
Our preference is for checks in U.S. dollars, drawn on U.S. bank accounts. Checks in currencies other than U.S. dollars, or from bank accounts outside the U.S., can be very expensive for us to process, which reduces the value of your gift. If you do not have a U.S. bank account, you can maximize the value of your donation by giving via Paypal or wire transfer.
Please send all correspondence, including Payroll Deduction applications and Matching Gifts forms, to our secure lockbox address:
- Note: donations by check are processed directly at our centralized lockbox location which is in Washington, DC.
The Wikimedia Foundation accepts stock donations. You can make a donation by transferring stock from your brokerage to ours by providing your broker with our name, investment account number and DTCC clearing number.
- Account holder name: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Financial broker: Smith Barney
Investment account number: 546-0356C-14-782
DTCC Clearing account number: #0418
Please refer to the list of countries for the details of tax-deductibility.
If you donate by PayPal or credit card, you'll receive a tax receipt by e-mail, as long as your e-mail address was included with your donation. Donations by check over $50 will receive a tax receipt by mail, if you gave us your return address. You may also request a tax receipt for your donation by writing us at giving wikimedia.org (please include your contact information, the method you used to donate, and the amount of your donation).
Charities based in the United States, including the Wikimedia Foundation, are required to honor restrictions requested by donors. This means that if you specify your donation needs to be restricted for a specific use, we will either honor your request or return your donation. But before you decide to do that, please consider that unrestricted donations are much more useful for us. Every restriction imposes administrative overhead and planning costs, and increases internal complexity.
The minimum donation amount is $1. We receive small donations from people who don't have much money, and we are really, really grateful to those donors. Truly, if the gift is meaningful to you, it's meaningful to us. But, it's not uncommon for people to use donation mechanisms such as ours to test stolen credit cards to see if they work. Those people typically use a very small dollar amount for their testing: we find a $1 minimum donation amount seems to deter them.
Spread the word any way you can! Tell your friends and family. Tell them what Wikipedia means to you. Ask them if they use it and if so, what it means to them. Use this text as the signature file on the bottom of your emails:
We’ve created the greatest collection of shared knowledge in history. Help protect Wikipedia. Donate now: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Support_Wikipedia/en