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Wikimedia Raises Record $20M During Annual Fundraising Campaign

January 5, 2012

The Wikimedia Foundation announced on Tuesday that it has raised a record-breaking $20 million from more than one million donors during a 46-day fundraising campaign.

The San Francisco-based non-profit foundation, which oversees the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, said it had generated one-third more this year than the $15 million donated during last year’s campaign.

The 10-year-old volunteer-driven site is one of the Web´s most popular reference tools, amassing an index of more than 20 million entries in 280 languages. It received visits from roughly 474 million people worldwide in November, according to research firm comScore Inc.

The annual initiative accounts for most of Wikimedia’s revenue, but the foundation also receives money from grants and other donations throughout the year.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife were among this year´s donors, with their organization contributing half a million dollars in November.

The foundation´s year-end fundraising campaign, which concluded on Sunday, marks the end of the donation-seeking banner ads Wikipedia has been featuring with pictures of founder Jimmy Wales and the site’s editors.

Wikipedia´s free articles are compiled and maintained by some 90,000 volunteer editors who share their research and knowledge. However, the site´s management has been concerned about whether they would be able to afford the needed technology upgrades to stay relevant.

Wikipedia has been actively investing to make the site more accessible on mobile devices, which are slowly replacing desktop and laptop computers as the primary way people seek information online.

The foundation said the funds would be used to “buy and install servers and other hardware, to develop new site functionality, expand mobile services, provide legal defense for the projects, and support the large global community of Wikimedia volunteers.”

Enticing and retaining editors has also become more challenging, something Wikipedia attributes to its reliance on outdated software for editing its entries.

Indeed, the number of editors contributing to Wikipedia has fallen from its all time high of 100,000 during the past year, although the foundation believes it can reach 200,000 editors and 50 million articles by investing in software upgrades, adding more engineers and upgrading its mobile tools.

The site is targeting revenue of $29.5 million during its fiscal year ending June 30 — a 19 percent increase from the $25 million it generated during the previous year.

The success of this year´s fundraising campaign has given Wikimedia renewed confidence it can achieve their revenue target for the current fiscal year, said foundation spokesman Jay Walsh on Tuesday during an interview with The Associated Press.

The foundation also said it expects to spend $28.3 million in the current fiscal year, with roughly half of the funds going towards salaries for its roughly 90 workers and other staffing costs.

Wikipedia celebrates its 11th anniversary on January 15.

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Source: Redorbit Staff & Wire Reports



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