Talk:Fundraising

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Humble but awkward - does that work?Edit

Recently, I visited Wikipedia logged out, and was greeted by the following message:

To all our readers in Australia,
It might be awkward, but please don't scroll past this. This Tuesday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. ...

I felt that the phrasing wouldn't really appeal to an Australian audience, and maybe that "humble" isn't consistent with an organisation that aims to be the "essential knowledge infrastructure for the 21st century". (The wording of the primary blue message appeared to change partway through the campaign, though I saw humble and awkward ongoing in the red reminder messages.)

Putting aside whether the Foundation should position itself as the overdog or underdog, it does prompt me to think of the following questions:

  • Does the Foundation do A/B/C/D testing of different messages and assess their effectiveness in various markets during the main campaign or just in pre-testing?
  • Has this research been made available? If not, can it?
  • Are the fundraising messages recorded anywhere for the sake of transparency and future reference?
  • Can a campaign code ("They do mean things, but this is only known to those who created them..." [1]) be matched to a particular message, or is it one-to-many?

Cheers, Pelagic (talk) 10:30, 28 December 2020 (UTC)

Questions (from Wikimedia Enterprise discussion)Edit

Liam suggested in a discussion on Talk:Wikimedia_Enterprise where fundraising popped up a couple of times that I post fundraising-related questions here.

First, for context, here is the current status of the WMF fundraising figures, taken from here:

Year Source Revenue Expenses Asset rise Total assets
2019/2020 PDF $ 129,234,327 $ 112,489,397 $ 14,674,300 $ 180,315,725
2018/2019 PDF $ 120,067,266 $ 91,414,010 $ 30,691,855 $ 165,641,425
2017/2018 PDF $ 104,505,783 $ 81,442,265 $ 21,619,373 $ 134,949,570
2016/2017 PDF $ 91,242,418 $ 69,136,758 $ 21,547,402 $ 113,330,197
2015/2016 PDF $ 81,862,724 $ 65,947,465 $ 13,962,497 $ 91,782,795
2014/2015 PDF $ 75,797,223 $ 52,596,782 $ 24,345,277 $ 77,820,298
2013/2014 PDF $ 52,465,287 $ 45,900,745 $ 8,285,897 $ 53,475,021
2012/2013 PDF $ 48,635,408 $ 35,704,796 $ 10,260,066 $ 45,189,124
2011/2012 PDF $ 38,479,665 $ 29,260,652 $ 10,736,914 $ 34,929,058
2010/2011 PDF $ 24,785,092 $ 17,889,794 $ 9,649,413 $ 24,192,144
2009/2010 PDF $ 17,979,312 $ 10,266,793 $ 6,310,964 $ 14,542,731
2008/2009 PDF $ 8,658,006 $ 5,617,236 $ 3,053,599 $ 8,231,767
2007/2008 PDF $ 5,032,981 $ 3,540,724 $ 3,519,886 $ 5,178,168
2006/2007 PDF $ 2,734,909 $ 2,077,843 $ 654,066 $ 1,658,282
2005/2006 PDF $ 1,508,039 $ 791,907 $ 736,132 $ 1,004,216
2004/2005 PDF $ 379,088 $ 177,670 $ 211,418 $ 268,084
2003/2004 PDF $ 80,129 $ 23,463 $ 56,666 $ 56,666

The financial statements also mention that During the year ended June 30, 2016, the Foundation entered into an agreement with the Tides Foundation to establish the Wikimedia Endowment as a Collective Action Fund to act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to ensure a base level of support for the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. The Endowment is independent from the Foundation. They go on to say that the Foundation [has] provided irrevocable grants ... to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment. These amounts are recorded in awards and grants expense. (Source: Financial Statements 2019/2020, p. 14) So as I understand it some of the expenses in the above table are actually profits put into the endowment.

I and I am sure many others would be interested in answers to the following questions:

1.Originally it was envisaged that it would take ten years to bring the Endowment to $100 million. It was reported in January of this year to stand at $90 million, and was said to be approaching $100 million last month. So the WMF took $50 million more from the donating public than it would have needed to in order to fulfil its publicised plan. Who took that decision? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

Dear Andreas, as this is a question about the Endowment (question 1 on this list), I refer you to the answer to question 2 over on the Endowment talkpage, where you have also asked it. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:08, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear Julia, thanks for the re-numbering. However, this question is not just about the Endowment. Tens of millions of dollars raised through fundraising banners – banners claiming that the Wikimedia Foundation "really needs" money for Wikipedia "to stay online", "to defend its independence", etc. – have ended up in the Endowment, accounted for in the financial statements as Wikimedia Foundation expenses, under "awards and grants" (awards and grants of all types, not just to the Endowment, totalled $22.9m, $12.7m, $13.6m, $11.2m, $11.4m in the last five statements). Raising these tens of millions of dollars would not have been necessary in these years in order to grow the endowment at the planned and publicised rate. And to date, the key question has not been answered over on the Endowment page either: Who directs you to keep displaying fundraising banners well after your publicised financial goals have already been achieved? Is it a board decision, a CEO/ED decision, or an Advancement (Fundraising department) decision? If you could answer this question, it would be helpful. Regards, --Andreas JN466 09:12, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
As this is a question is further discussed on the talk:Endowment, I refer you to the answers to question 2. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:19, 28 April 2021 (UTC)

2.Why is the fact that you have been trying (and succeeding) to build a $100m endowment in half the originally budgeted time not more prominent in fundraising banners shown to readers? Most small donors give because they see banners, widely perceived as alarming, telling them that money is needed for Wikipedia to "keep thriving", "to stay online", to "protect its independence". They are not told that the Foundation supporting Wikipedia has net assets most recently reported to stand at $180m, along with close to $100m in an Endowment. --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

3.One might argue that some of the fundraising messages try to make members of the public, including in last year's fundraising drive in India, feel guilty for not donating – or to shame them into donating – to the Wikimedia Foundation. Is this appropriate, when all content on Wikimedia sites was built by unpaid volunteers who want this content to be available free of charge for everyone? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

4.You have grown your budget more than tenfold over the past ten years, and are planning to grow it further. Clearly, you are spending a lot more money than you did ten years ago. A tenth of the money you are taking now was enough to keep Wikipedia online ten years ago, and it would still be enough today. Why are you not making it more prominent to people what you want the other nine-tenths of the revenue for when you are asking the public to give you their money? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

5.How much money does the WMF actually have right now, expressed as a best estimate of net assets plus Endowment? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

6.The WMF reportedly took $124m (of a planned $125m, revised goal from $108m) in the first six months of this financial year. As you will by now surely have reached your target, will you stop fundraising for the rest of the financial year, and if not, by how much are you planning, or expecting, to exceed your revised goal? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

7.How much of the $124m taken from July to December of last year was due to the Indian fundraising campaign? --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

I would be very grateful for answers to the above. Many thanks for your help in advance. Regards, --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

Dear Andreas,
Thank you very much for your questions, we will get back to you as soon as possible, here and on talk:Endowment. --JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 09:42, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you, JBrungs (WMF), I look forward to that. Note that I have added a question above (no. 7). --Andreas JN466 09:55, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear Andreas,
Thank you for your questions. Without the generous support of our donors, Wikipedia wouldn’t be able to move forward, diversify, and improve as it has for the past 20 years. This is something we feel is important to share with our readers, many of whom don’t know that Wikipedia is sustained by donations. The key reason readers tell us they donate is because Wikipedia is useful to them. The fundraising team has the goal of raising the budget for WMF with the additional goal of also using the campaign to educate readers about Wikipedia and the community who creates it. We constantly create new messaging to reach both of these goals. Below are a few examples of new messages we ran in the Q2 campaign. In addition to highlighting the community, we aimed to call out the uniqueness of our donors and our deep gratitude for their support in particular in Q2. We will continue to iterate and improve messages and we would be happy to hear suggestions on the fundraising meta talk page.
Examples of recent messaging from Q2:
  • Show the editors who bring you neutral, verified information that their work matters.
  • Our community of volunteer editors ensures that the information you read here is evidence-based and reliant on facts. Show them that their work matters.
  • The average donation is $15, but every donor gives the right amount for them. Many first-time donors give $2.75. All that matters is that you're choosing to stand up for free, open information; and for that, you have our gratitude.
  • If you are one of our rare donors, you have our gratitude, and we warmly thank you.
  • When you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can to the Wikimedia Endowment, you’ll join the community of donors sustaining Wikipedia for years to come.
  • Our editors are volunteers. They don't get paid; they offer you their knowledge simply because they care. And our mission is to make sure they have the tools they need to keep enriching all of our lives.
Transparency with our readers is a critical part of our work. Our operating budget and annual plan are developed through an open, transparent process, subject to Wikimedia community feedback and board approval. The details of our budget, plan and reports (including where the money goes) are available to the public for further review.
In keeping with the standard practices for charitable organizations, we also maintain a reserve as a source of emergency funding. Our reserve is designed to sustain our work. Maintaining healthy reserves is a best practice in non-profit management. We have a responsibility to ensure that Wikipedia remains accessible, reliable, and useful to our millions of readers and editors around the world -- our financial management is an integral part of how we do this.--Ppena (WMF) (talk) 15:32, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
I'll add on here that we are confirming the latest financial totals with the finance team and will report back with updated information. We do provide a regional breakdown in our annual fundraising report. During the last reporting period, we did not however run a campaign in India. We ran a campaign in India during this current fiscal year. These totals will be included in the regional breakdown in the 2020-2021 report that we will post in the new fiscal year. Please note that we do not break down donations raised to a country level. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 15:43, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you, MeganHernandez (WMF). I look forward to further information on questions 5 and 6 appearing here later this week. (If this will not be possible, kindly let me know in the next couple of days.) As for question 7, I am aware you have an established reporting format (by continent). On the other hand, India is a subcontinent, and close to a fifth of the world population. Moreover, last summer's campaign was the first India campaign ever. I would have thought that it would be entirely compatible with the ideal of transparency to report the result – you must surely have a pretty accurate idea of it by now. Do reconsider – I am sure there is public interest in the result, and legitimately so. Best regards, --Andreas JN466 17:05, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for the sample of recent fundraising messages, Ppena (WMF). Here are a few that were reported to have appeared in India last summer:
  • "we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence ..."
  • "... help us keep Wikipedia online and growing."
  • "Wikipedia really needs you"
  • "We need you to make a donation to protect Wikipedia's independence"
Judging by screenshots posted online, people were shown some of these fairly alarming appeals at least nine (9) times. These messages are not about moving forward, diversifying, and improving, nor about knowledge equity, the envisaged "Hubs", Abstract Wikipedia or the Wikifunctions project designed to improve multilingual coverage, they are about not going offline, not losing independence, an urgent need of money to survive. Those are not the current challenges you're facing.
The current fundraising template here (whose wording is quoted in this press article, for example) similarly reads,
  • We'll get straight to the point: Today we ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. We're a non-profit that depends on donations to stay online and thriving, but 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. If everyone who reads Wikipedia gave just a little, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of a cup of coffee is all we ask. [...] if Wikipedia is useful to you, please consider making a donation of £5, £20, £50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia."
Your comments did not directly address questions 1 to 4 above. Could you please let me know over the next couple of days if you will be providing any further feedback on these questions? If I don't hear from you by then, I'll assume that's it. Regards, --Andreas JN466 16:37, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

Related press coverageEdit

I wrote an article for The Daily Dot based in part on the questions answered above, and related conversations on Talk:Wikimedia Endowment:

Published since then:

Radical approximation to the communitiesEdit

Dear colleagues, based on Ppena (WMF) suggestion here, I come to put a general proposal, for which I give an example too:

  • Bearing in mind that - 1) the goal of Meta-wiki is the other Wikimedia projects; 2) Wikimedia projects are mostly done by volunteers; 3) the original projects is where the volunteers are concentrated; and 4) all the found rising is made from these projects;
  • so - it seems wrong to me the way the financial issue is treated, namely, focused on the meta-wiki. There should be, I think, a radical approximation of the financial issues, and others important issues, of the original projects, like the Wikipedia projects;
  • It would be an example of this approximation - every vote or most important discussion in meta-wiki should be replicated in each of the largest Wikipedia projects to be debated there and in its original language.

Sorry for my bad English, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 17:34, 27 April 2021 (UTC)

Felipe, first off, if you have difficulty writing in English, try https://www.deepl.com/translator – it is the best site for machine translation and will produce fairly good English if you enter a Portuguese text (and fairly good Portuguese if you enter an English text). Thank you for the link to the discussion on pt.WP, which I understand refers to a current fundraising campaign in Brazil – along with India one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. I'm not sure it's the right decision for the WMF to fundraise in Brazil at all right now, given that the WMF has already – twice – exceeded its year goal for the current fiscal year, and had taken over $10 million more than planned by January (see page 11 here).
Moreover, I fully echo the sentiments expressed on the linked pt.WP page as to the wording of the banners. Here are three comments from pt.WP, machine-translated using the above site:
1. Today I had the displeasure of viewing Wikipedia in a browser in which I was not logged in. Without getting into the layout issue, it has a giant, intrusive banner asking for money. Is there a possibility of it being removed on Lusophone Wikipedia or is it something the Foundation controls? As far as I know the Foundation has more than enough money to keep Wikipedia operational, with much of what is raised going to events, campaigns, paying staff, among others. The reports and posts I read about this have several years, I do not know if it has changed since then, if not, it is at least shameful to ask for money when you already have, even more in the current economic situation... "Show the editors that their work is important" - does anyone here need money to be donated to the Foundation to feel valued? Anyway...
2. I agree with the removal of part of the text. He It is, excuse the word, immoral. I also had the displeasure of viewing it without being logged in and it is gigantic, making it very difficult to navigate.
3. I won't even say how much that text annoys me. I think it's good that they opened this thread on esplanade complaining about it. It's true q WMF hasn't done many campaigns in Brazil lately, but the timing couldn't be worse, and this broke beggar attitude using other people's work to ask for money is pretty ugly too. I agree that, if possible, this banner or sitenotice should be removed until there is a more decent text.
Editors want Wikipedia to be free. They do not want people feeling guilty because they enjoy a product designed to be free without paying ... that is what "free" means! The WMF today takes $130 million per year ... just a reminder, Wikipedia was a top-ten website in 2007, and the WMF had annual expenses of $2 million (see table above).
What I would like to see is editors coming together globally and starting a press campaign, "Not in our name", until these banners implying annual $130 million+ donations to the WMF are needed to keep Wikipedia "open for everyone", "to protect Wikipedia's independence", for "Wikipedia to stay online", "to show the volunteers their work matters" etc. are phased out. Because, frankly, I think this is the only way the WMF will listen. (WMF, I'd be happy to be proved wrong!) Best wishes, --Andreas JN466 07:24, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 Dear Andreas, thank you for the reply and the translator link, I am using it now, let's see how it does. Although I linked this proposal to the banner discussion on wiki.pt, this proposal is not limited to that discussion but is much broader in scope. What I am defending is that each and every important decision should go through the local communities, through the forums and in the language of the local communities, and that they should not be taken only in the metawiki, apart from the local community, including those about the banner. Best, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:30, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear Felipe, I absolutely agree with you. This should even make sense from the WMF's own perspective, as checking community sentiment beforehand prevents the kind of volunteer backlash we've seen so often – in so many language communities. That can be avoided.
What would be good to have on Meta is a central page that lists all the topics concerned, and the times and locations where these discussions between the WMF and the communities take place. That way it will be possible to get a sense of global community feeling about this or any other important matter. And people who feel unhappy with the banners (or whatever topic it is) will no longer think that maybe it's just their problem, and nobody else cares. (The translator did well.) Best, --Andreas JN466 11:44, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 Exactly what I propose. So let's see if we are going in the same direction: let's say there is an important debate about banners, in this case: one should a) open a topic on the metawiki (which works as a centralizer) and b) equal topics on the biggest local wikis. This way, everyone can participate locally and/or locally and globally, plus everyone will have access to the regional discussions and can know how the whole comundiade thinks about the topic. See... it is very different from what is done now... now the metawiki community, a small community far away from the real projects, decides everything.--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 12:05, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Felipe, my feeling is – it's not even the metawiki community who decides. The paid WMF staff decide. They may listen to what volunteers say on Meta, but the decision rests with them alone. The problem with the community is that it is fragmented and has no easy way to make its voice heard. A central page on Meta of the type you describe would help with that. You know the Latin saying "Divide et impera" – and the opposite of that: "United we are strong". --Andreas JN466 12:27, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 It may be, but at the moment I prefer to assume good faith, in any case the action proposed above may be efficient. Where do we propose this?--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 12:30, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 I am thinking in sending it to Wikimedia Forum, what do you think?--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 13:42, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Felipe, that seems like a good place to start. However, I'd also be interested in hearing here from JBrungs (WMF), who watches this page, whether discussing issues (notably the wording of upcoming fundraising banners, but also other significant issues) with the communities the way you've outlined, and keeping a central directory of ongoing discussions here on Meta, is an idea the WMF could get on board with. Julia, what do you think? --Andreas JN466 16:03, 29 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 sure. I will prepare a text before posting there and post it here so that we can analyze it together, preferably the three of us, and go to the general forum with a better elaborated text. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 18:22, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

Dear colleagues, I have very little experience with Metawiki, mainly because I consider it complicated and very distant, with the result that, to dedicate myself to it, I would have to dedicate myself less to my original project, Wiki.pt.

This, however, is not a disqualifier for this proposal, but quite the contrary, a qualifier: I write exactly from the point of view of someone who is more involved with the ultimate goal of Wikimedia, the development of the original projects (Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikispecies etc.), but who also realizes the importance of participating in the decisions of Metawiki.

Well, I am suggesting a model of relationship between Metawiki and base projects that is not of control and central decision, but of centralizer and organizer. I explain: today the important decisions (by important decisions I mean mainly those related to finance and security) are taken in Metawiki, mostly only by those older users who decided to migrate to Metawiki and thus decisions are taken far away from the base projects, completely separated from the base communities.

What I propose is to change this and make the important decisions be taken from the bottom up, i.e. from the base communities to the Metawiki, with the Metawiki acting as a centralizer and organizer of discussions.

In practice, this would work like this: every important decision about finance and security would have an open page on the Metawiki and immediately an open page on the largest Wikimedia wikis (x registered editors or other criteria), discussions would take place in all forums simultaneously and in several languages simultaneously (and also on the Metawiki).

This way, if someone wants to participate in these important discussions just from their own project, they can. Another advantage: if any editor wants to know how the communities of the other base projects think, he will have the link to their respective discussions, enough to translate the discussion electronically if he doesn't know the language.

There is certainly an automated way to do this, but this is a technical issue that would come later than the political decision.

Thank you.

Jayen466 please, take a look at it. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 20:37, 29 April 2021 (UTC)

Thanks, Felipe. My advice would be to make it more specifically about discussions between the WMF and the community – because I can't think of many things the volunteer community decides on Meta that don't involve the WMF. Specifically, when it comes to decisions about finance and security, I believe those are all taken by the WMF – with input from volunteers, yes, but the final decision-making authority lies with the WMF, as the owner of the various Wikimedia sites.
It might also be good to give some examples of the kinds of topics and discussions you are thinking of. The fundraising banners are one – here it would be good to be able to see on Meta, on a centralised page, in which parts of the world fundraising campaigns are currently taking place, what ongoing discussions with the local community there are (like the discussion you linked above when you started this thread), what concerns are being expressed, how they are being resolved and so on. Perhaps the discussions could even be transcluded on Meta, but as you say, that is a technical issue for later on. If you have other topics in mind, it would be worth adding them, so people can have a better idea of what discussions one would find on such a central "Village Pump" page.
But the key point is that the WMF needs to be willing and able (think about Japanese – I heard recently that there are no Japanese speakers at the WMF right now) to respond to local communities on the local wikis, as Pats did in the discussion above. Best, --Andreas JN466 10:02, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Jayen466 Sure, can you help me with this? Then we can make the proposal together. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:13, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Felipe, happy to help, but was too busy at work today. Best, --Andreas JN466 22:04, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Hi Felipe da Fonseca and Andreas,
We totally agree, publishing our fundraising report and plans about upcoming campaigns in more languages and relevant places is really important. In 2018-2019 we published our fundraising report in 5 languages for the first time. Due to decreased capacity with COVID 19, we were not able to do this in 2019/2020. We hope that we will be able to offer more languages again in the coming years, and we are planning to add Portuguese in our next round of translations for the Fundraising Reports.
I would love to hear from you what local spaces are best to contact the community about upcoming campaign plans. We are aware of the Telegram group and the Village pump, but are there meetings where this could be an agenda item, or are there other online spaces you can think of where people are? Please also feel free to contact my colleague Julia Brungs for suggestions on how to best reach the local community.
We really appreciate the feedback from the Brazilian community on the current campaign. From this feedback, we paused the campaign to make adjustments to the message and banner length. Thank you for your collaboration and ideas for future improvement!
The whole conversation around these points can be found in detail on the Portuguese Village Pump. --Ppena (WMF) (talk) 17:32, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Hi Ppena (WMF), thanks for the reply. It is exactly this kind of replication of meta discussions in the forums of the home communities (a term invented by me, I don't know how best to designate them) that I am advocating at here on meta. So I am happy and grateful for the quick incorporation of the idea. I would like, however, to point out that I advocate not only for publicity of acts, but also for effective participation of communities in decision-making processes. About communication channels: I must emphatically state that the most appropriate channels for Wiki.pt (we obviously expect colleagues to confirm or contradict me) are the intrawiki channels, the telegram, thus, does not seem to me the appropriate channel and I don't recommend it: I have the feeling that we feel safer in the Wiki environment. The Esplanada/anúncios is a great place for announcements, however discussions are not allowed there, for discussions I recommend Esplanada/geral, I personally think these two channels are sufficient. As you can follow in my posts on meta, I don't have much familiarity with that wiki, so I asked Jayen466 for help to better develop the proposal and find the best meta channel to propose it. There we already asked JBrungs_(WMF) for help and we are waiting for her manifestation. I will replicate this message in both forums. Furthermore, I personally think that everyone here would feel more respected if we were consulted in the above-mentioned forums about the banner, for example, regarding its format, size, text, etc. Att, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 18:08, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Hi Felipe da Fonseca, Thank you so much for clarifying which channels are best used for contacting the local Portuguese speaking community. I have made note of this for the next time! I also wanted to thank you for the proposal you drafted here. I will have a closer look and will consult with some people in my team before I get back to you with a more complete answer. Best wishes, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 09:08, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Hi JBrungs (WMF), thank you for your answer and attention to the document being drafted. I also need to warn you about something important, which has already been warned on Wiki.pt here, in the forum already mentioned above: today we don't have on Wiki.pt, any official offwiki channel, none, so any warning by these channels reach only part of the community. The only official channels we have are intrawiki. As you can see here, things are not going to change any time soon, since people are only approving unofficial channels. Best, --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 10:20, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for this. In your opinion the best place to reach the whole community is the Village Pump, if I understood right? In future I would rather post in all of the channels there are to make sure that as many people as possible hear about upcoming plans. So if this is primarily the Village Pump I will post discussions there and just replicate them as well in the other channels. What do you think? Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 12:09, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
JBrungs (WMF), in my opinion: the most important thing is to post in the Village Pump, this is of paramount importance (there are many admins, e.g., who do not participate in the offwikis forums, for various reasons, that cannot be discussed here.) Replication of topics in offwiki communication channels is obviously welcome: while there is no official offwiki communication channel and none should be treated as such, any place where editors meet and have access is a good place to publicize WMF actions and results. However: discussions and requests for feedback should be done exclusively in the Village Pump, otherwise the discussion or sampling will come out completely misrepresented. I further note that the proper place for posting information is here, but for discussion is here. Thank you for the effort to update WMF on our internal dynamics. Best,--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 13:14, 3 May 2021 (UTC)
Thank you Felipe da Fonseca for clarifying this. I will make sure that in future campaigns with the community this is taken into account! Best, JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:38, 3 May 2021 (UTC)



Hi again Ppena (WMF), I think the basic idea here involves two aspects:
  1. Involvement of the communities prior to an event (like a fundraising campaign starting, etc.), through discussion in the relevant language version
  2. Keeping an up-to-date list of ongoing discussions here on Meta with the appropriate links so people can have a look and, using machine translation (DeepL is miles better than Google etc., but Google has more languages right now), get a good idea of what is being said
Plus, once discussions have concluded, it would be nice to have a short summary of the outcomes here. Given that Wikimanias won't be happening for a while, this would actually also help to bring the global community a bit closer together. Thoughts? --Andreas JN466 21:21, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Exactly, and this theme ("bring the global community a bit closer together") is actually a very important point to consider, see: today, at least as I see it, Metawiki functions as a parallel community, where people try to impugn consensus of the original communities (I won't bring examples to avoid unearthing old problems). A real "global community" is not instituted in this way, from the top down, no community is, since by definition a community is organic (en:Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft). Therefore, for Metawiki to become an organic aggregator and form a global community, it must not function as an authority, but as an organizer.--Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 22:22, 30 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear Jayen466 and other participants in this debate, let's keep the discussions going here, but I am dissatisfied with my formulation of the proposal above, so I will write a better proposal here to take to Wikimedia Forum later. This will already serve as an illustrative example, as I will generate a parallel debate on wiki.pt. Andreas, if you are interested, I ask you to do the same with your home community! Andreas, you asked for a second example, it is clear to me that the same is true for the "Universal Code of Conduct", which is discussed only in the meta community and not globally. --Felipe da Fonseca (talk) 07:48, 1 May 2021 (UTC)

Felipe, I don't know if you and your colleagues on pt.WP read the English-Wikipedia community newsletter, the Signpost, but there is an interview in the current issue which touches on this year's fundraiser in Brazil and the rest of Latin America. Best, --Andreas JN466 14:03, 29 June 2021 (UTC)

Actually, JBrungs (WMF), both Megan and Lisa were pinged on en:WP and invited to participate in the talk page discussion for that Signpost piece by User:Nosebagbear. As Megan and Lisa probably don't log in to English Wikipedia often, I repeated the invitation on the mailing list. [2] So far, there has been no response from either of them. Could you please make sure that they are aware of the discussion? It would be good to know that the concerns have been heard and that going forward, some thought will be put to framing and testing some appealing banner messages that describe what the money is actually wanted for. As I mentioned in the Signpost discussion, the German language area has at times used banner messages that avoided the worst of these pitfalls. That might be a starting point. The result may not outperform the more dramatic banners, but the highest-performing banner is surely not the best if it causes us to lose our basic human integrity – and to be seen to have done so. Regards, --Andreas JN466 11:19, 30 June 2021 (UTC)

Add a Wikipedia donation... to your last will and testament???Edit

Likely because I'm a regular donor, I got the pictured email today asking me to add the Wikimedia Foundation as a beneficiary to my will. This would be extremely tasteless and undecorous even if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic in which many have recently lost loved ones. Wills are obviously very personal documents and the process of forming one doesn't really need a corporate entity butting in to ask for a piece of it. What was the thought process behind this particular fundraising gimmick and who were in the chain of approvals that got it to my inbox, User:JAdams (WMF) (CC: User:JBrungs (WMF))? Who thought this would be a good idea and not a PR disaster? The Wikimedia fundraising apparatus is becoming a parody of itself. Axem Titanium (talk) 22:15, 20 May 2021 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your questions. We will be able to get back to you early next week. JAdams (WMF) (talk) 19:29, 21 May 2021 (UTC)
Axem Titanium Thank you for your feedback. The fundraising team really appreciates you taking the time to express your views even if the subject made you uncomfortable. It was not our intention to offend donors; rather, we wanted to let them know of resources we have available should they be interested in making a legacy gift. Planned giving outreach like this is a common and expected fundraising activity for non-profits, especially in the US.
We carefully considered the global pandemic and its impacts as we planned this email outreach. While we understand that for some people the thought of making a will is especially sensitive at this time, many others are looking to make these future plans and have thanked us for this email message. When we first sent a planned giving email, we started with a very small list to monitor feedback from donors. This year, we continued sending this planned giving informational email based on a positive response from donors.
We know from bequests we’ve received to date that some donors who are unable to contribute during their lifetime prefer instead to make legacy gifts. Most of the donors who choose to leave a gift to Wikimedia in their will are leaving the majority of their estates to family, friends, or other loved ones, and only a small remainder to Wikimedia. We do not ask, nor do we expect, donors to leave all of their assets to Wikimedia.
Finally, I want to assure you that any donor who responds to our legacy email saying they are not interested in this type of giving is removed from all such future communications. Please email legacy@wikimedia.org with the email address you want us to remove so that you do not receive any further messages of this type. --JAdams (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 24 May 2021 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing your experience and your feelings! "A legacy gift [...] costs nothing to you now": now that's some terrible phrasing.

  • It's blatantly false. The present value of one's properties after their death is a non-zero (positive) amount, even if you assume very high discount rates and a wait of decades. The only reason property may not change value is that one can always change mind.
  • If it's meant to mean something like "will require you to pay no fees out of your current cash", then it should say so explicitly, without overbroad statements. If someone else is covering the immediate costs, the process probably only covers some countries and not others, so only persons in those countries would probably be emailed. The expected country or other requirements should be made explicit as well, to avoid misunderstandings (the message recipient might also have changed country). Depending on the process used, in Italy making a will can be very expensive.

Nemo 07:06, 22 May 2021 (UTC)

Nemo The email was sent only to donors who previously told us they were in the US. We appreciate your suggestion about making it explicit that this was intended for a US audience and will incorporate that feedback in the future. --JAdams (WMF) (talk) 20:07, 24 May 2021 (UTC)

Professional FundraiserEdit

Hello, I read the form 990 for the fiscal year 2019-2020 under that link after I havent found it on the website of the Wikimedia foundation. In the form at Schedule G it is about fundraising and there was the Trilogy Interactive LLC listed as a company that supported the Wikimedia foundation in Fundraising and the Wimiedia Fondation paid 437550 Dollars for that. I read the description what the Trilogy Interactive LLC did for the Wikimedia Foundation and I ask me why for emailing donors for fundraisers and for creating an fundraising banner an external consultancy was needed. From my point of view this is not something for what an external support is needed. Banners exist since many years and for sending E-Mails a external company is not needed. Please tell me why you think that for that an external support was needed.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:51, 25 June 2021 (UTC)

Actually, that company too has a brief mention in the Signpost piece I just mentioned above. Best, --Andreas JN466 14:06, 29 June 2021 (UTC)
We waste half a million bucks on a email- and phone-spammer, while in the banners we complain about being nearly bankrupt? That's the complete opposite of a morally just and fine enterprise, that's plain bad. We are awash in money, we don't need such professional beggars, and we definitely don't want to pay such people any money.Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 14:34, 29 June 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for your question. Trilogy Interactive LLC is an expert in the non-for profit fundraising space and their expertise has been very beneficial to us. They have been providing expertise by supporting best practices and implementation of our email campaigns. They have also been providing us with technical support with regards to internet service providers and ensuring a strong deliverability of our messages to donors.
This all is needed because of the complexity of our fundraising. We operate across many countries, languages, payment processors and methods. This immensely complicated work requires constant testing and performance evaluation which is what Trilogy has and is helping us with. They have also been assisting us with database management support and provided capacity around email and banner coding as well as feature implementations when we needed it. All this is needed in order for WMF to run smooth and effective fundraising campaigns across all the countries we fundraise in. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 06:03, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
But ain't that something the affiliates can and should do, as they operate in those many countries, languages, payment processors and methods and know best how to deal with that? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 06:50, 1 July 2021 (UTC)
Hello @JBrungs (WMF):, thank you that you have explained a bit more what for services Trilogy LLC did for the Wikimedia Foundation. What is the difference between the fundraising banners of the Wikimedia Foundation and the Fundraising Banner of Wikimedia Germany. Does the Wikimedia Foundation use the things developed at Wikimedia Germany in their teams who work on banners and other fundraising related things. I think it is important to make sure that there are not duplicate structures in the different Organisations related to Wikimedia and so I support the existence of the team at the Wikimedia Foundation what does Fundraising. Please think about what you really need and what not. The amount paid to companies who offer services to the Wikimedia Foundation should be reduced from my point of view. Something what can help is, if you ask the participating people in the Wikimedia Projects about a topic before you pay services for a high amount of money. At some parts there is maybe an internal solution that can be used instead of buying a service.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:04, 6 July 2021 (UTC)
WMF and Wikimedia Deutschland have regular meetings to exchange ideas, performances and functionalities. WMDE does run their own banner campaigns as they have resources available for this. WMF therefore does not show fundraising banners in Germany.
Additionally to this, we are working with other affiliates across the movement in sharing expertise, insights, learnings and success we gain from our work with Trilogy. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:03, 14 July 2021 (UTC)

1st time recentlyEdit

I'd like to direct your attention to This comment on the English Wikipedia's help desk. After responding to the person I came here and saw the message currently running for users in Japan, and I can see how the language in the banner, "This Wednesday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence," can be really confusing, especially since donation campaigns run at least annually if not more, and especially for people who have donated in the past. I would suggest that language be rephrased to something like "for the first time in X months," or better yet, dropped entierly. ONUnicorn (talk) 16:08, 14 July 2021 (UTC)

I would concur on this - the fact that we don't know when people donate mean that we should avoid making statements like this unless we can guarantee it's been at least a year since someone could have seen a fundraising request Nosebagbear (talk) 17:43, 14 July 2021 (UTC)
Dear ONUnicorn and Nosebagbear,
Thanks for your feedback on our banner language. We're aware that this has room for improvement, and we're working on it. We fundraise on a yearly cadence, so the "first time recently" is referring to the first time we are asking that specific group of readers that year. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:02, 21 July 2021 (UTC)

User:JBrungs (WMF), could you please check that the Japanese fundraising banners you link to are the right ones? They don't match this screenshot posted on Twitter. Or has the banner been changed since then? Regards, --Andreas JN466 06:18, 15 July 2021 (UTC)

The links we posted on the meta fundraising page were the starting point for our Japan campaign banners. They act as a "control" as we constantly A/B test them against other banners with language and design changes (e.g. banner language from last year's campaign - initially 50% of non-logged in users saw the new banners and 50% saw the banner language from last year), and we occasionally update control banners. We are sharing these control banners for each campaign because they represent the language and design that is most consistent throughout the campaign. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 10:41, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, Julia! Do you actually have these various banner wordings translated by Japanese Wikimedians or do you sometimes use machine translations? I'm asking because a Japanese friend (a native speaker) whom I asked about the banner felt the phrasing was odd and unclear, and did not sound like it had been written by a Japanese person. Regards, --Andreas JN466 16:14, 19 July 2021 (UTC)
Hi Andreas, we do work with native speakers on the translations of our banners and we work as much as possible with the local community to ensure that the banner language works. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 11:04, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
Thanks, Julia. Best, --Andreas JN466 13:02, 20 July 2021 (UTC)
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