If an API license raised a meaningful amount of money then whoever bought
it would have some influence over the organisation, and if it didn't raise
a meaningful amount of money I doubt it would be worth doing.
There are other options that should be less contentious:
Emailing donors, explaining that we have now launched an endowment fund and
inviting them to mention Wikimedia in their will. We currently email donors
annually - a mid year endowment fund email should not conflict with that.
License the logos for some merchandising aimed at the public. I would
happily buy a couple of Wikimedia calendars to give as Christmas/New Year
gifts, and yes I appreciate that for timing reasons that would mean using
the Wiki Loves Monuments 2015 winners to illustrate a 2017 calendar.
Shift from asking for one off donations to asking people to sign up for a
regular donation. I don't know about other countries, but this would be an
easy move in the UK - it's what every efficient charity fundraiser would do.
Where you can take legally advantage of the tax man, go for it. In the UK
if you have registered charity status as WMUK does, then under the Gift Aid
system the Taxman will add 25% to every donation where the donor confirms
they are a UK taxpayer. I would be disappointed if WMUK couldn't get a
clear majority of UK donors to tick the box if they took over fundraising
in the UK. But having looked at the current WMF system I seriously doubt
the WMF gets even a quarter of UK donors to go through Gift Aid.
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2016 21:59:50 +1000
From: Craig Franklin <cfranklin(a)halonetwork.net>
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Monetizing Wikimedia APIs
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
On 16 January 2016 at 19:23, Pete Forsyth <peteforsyth(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I'm interested to hear some perspectives on
the following line of
Lisa presented some alternative strategies for revenue needs for the
Foundation, including the possibility of charging for premium access to
services and APIs,
expanding major donor and foundation
providing specific services for a fee, or limiting the Wikimedia
Foundation's growth. The Board emphasized the importance of keeping free
access to the existing APIs and services, keeping operational growth in
line with the organization's effectiveness, providing room for innovation
in the Foundation's activities, and other potential fundraising
The Board asked Lila to analyze and develop some
of these potential
strategies for further discussion at a Board meeting in 2016.
Looking for additional revenue sources isn't a bad idea, but charging for
premium access is likely to annoy the community to a degree that will make
the great Visual Editor revolt look like some quiet and polite murmuring.