[Foundation-l] Online Fundraising

Daniel Mayer maveric149 at yahoo.com
Sat May 5 15:58:43 UTC 2007

--- Alexander Keely <alexander858 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I sent this message to a staff member at the foundation, but I haven't heard
> anything back.  I hope these suggestions will aid the organization in its online
> fundraising.  I look forward to your comments.

Hi Alexander. I apologize that your email was not answered. I was Wikimedia's CFO for two years
and now serve on the Foundation's fundraising committee. So rest assured, your suggestions are now
being heard. :)

> 1.  Online Fundraising Suggestions
> a. Google Checkout - https://checkout.google.com/
> From the Wikimedia_2006_fs.pdf, in the Statement of Activities, there are
> $45,617 of Paypal fees noted.  I'm not exactly sure what all of these fees are
> for as they could be transaction fees, or currency exchange fees, et cetera...
> However, if they are transaction fees, I believe you could save a lot of money
> by using Google Checkout.  They are offering a free transactions until December
> 31, 2007.  This would literally make all people's donations, 100%, going
> straight to the organization.  Also a GREAT marketing point to offer to
> potential donors.

Boilerplate response:
There are a great many possible payment options available to us and we constantly get requests to
sign up with many of them. We understand that many different people have their preferred ways to
transfer money online, but adding any payment option has a cost associated with that.

Our current mix aims to catch as many potential donors as possible while minimizing the overhead
associated with having to maintain too many accounts. 

The foundation does, however, periodically reevaluate some of the requests and will consider your
idea at that time.

My response:
Truth is, PayPal is still the big boy on the block in terms usage and they are available in a
growing list of languages and currencies. While not the cheapest, their fees are reasonable (about
4% of gross on average last time I checked) and being presented with too many options has been
proven to turn people away. MoneyBookers is the secondary online option we provide. Mostly due to
their lower fees, and larger list of accepted currencies. However, they are not nearly as easy to
use as PayPal. 

> b. Change the ask - "Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running!"
> People move their eyes in an S motion depending the location of the most
> significant starting point.
> Wikimedia Analysis
> All Wikimedia pages have their main titles at the top left, therefore people's
> eyes will move in a backwards S down the page.  This makes the "Your continued
> donations...." text probably the least seen item on the page, especially since
> it is so very small, giving a feeling of being shy or timid in asking for a
> donation.  After clicking on the featured article of the day which was also
> available in audio, it seems as though the ASK text (Your continued..) is
> interfering with the audio graphic and there is a lock there as well.
> Suggestion:
> 1)  Move the ASK all the way over to the left or center.
> 2)  Make the font bigger, possibly adding a little color or something to it.

Very good points on position. I would fix that myself by centering the message but will let
somebody who is more familiar with div syntax. Somebody more artistic than me should comment on
the other aspects of presentation you mention. 

> A huge factor in donations is visibility.  If people aren't asked to donate,
> most often they won't.  That's why the position and style of the ask is so
> important.

Agreed. Another factor is keeping the message fresh. I've therefore started to list some ideas on
rotating through a list of different messages that will be displayed to anons. 

See and please respond at:

Daniel Mayer (aka mav)

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