I can absolutely that removing the donation text from
all the pages
has resulted in a significant drop in incoming funds, as expected.
We should set a clear new goal once the DB server is set up, and then we
can do a real fundraiser. Such a fundraiser needs one thing most
critically: live or at least daily updates of the current balance so
people get motivated to "reach the goal". Once we have acquired the
necessary funds, we can remove the donation text again. The "Donations"
link in the sidebar will always be there.
What do we need most critically? I still feel that hiring a DB expert to
look over parts of the code, especially the search, could greatly help our
performance, and restore the search functionality (which I miss a lot!).
Of course it would be nice to get this expertise for free, but so far it
hasn't been forthcoming. More web servers would be good and there are
plenty of non-techie uses for money, but I think we should try not to be
pushy asking for money. Let's try to refine our product first -- approval
mechanism, mediation process, yadda yadda yadda.
Maybe what we really need is a decent roadmap, not necessarily for the
nebulous "Wikipedia 1.0", but for Wikimedia as a whole.