[Foundation-l] Regarding the Fundraising Banner

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed Nov 5 22:19:44 UTC 2008

Hello all,

I would appreciate it if you could copy & translate this message to
your relevant communities; I'll also post it to a couple of the
mailing lists.

First: Does Wikimedia have a funding crisis, does it need to ask
people for money?

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization, and the vast
majority of its funding comes from fundraising and grants. It operates
more than 300 servers which keep Wikipedia alive, the associated
hosting and bandwidth, and the staff needed to support it. Its annual
expenses for the current fiscal year amount to approximately $6
million. We have already raised $2 million of that, which leaves us
with a gap of $4 million which we need to raise through donations
small and large.

If we fail to meet our budgeted revenue goals during and past this
fundraiser, we will eventually have to lay off staff and reduce our
capacity planning for servers and bandwidth, both of which will
directly affect your experience of Wikipedia. If you feel, for
example, that developers are often slow to respond to requests, well,
imagine how much worse it will be if we have to lay off some of them.
If you feel that editing is often slow, imagine how much worse it will
be if we cannot pay for additional servers or needed software

As you know, the world is in economic crisis. At this point in time,
we do not know what the impact of this economic crisis will be on the
Wikimedia Foundation. We need to meet our targets to continue to
operate Wikipedia.

I realize that having a banner on the site you read and/or edit every
day is not convenient. We plan to create a smaller (plaintext) version
of the banner for signed in users. But we do not plan to reduce the
banner size of the standard banner, at least not until we have a
better idea of what the online fundraiser revenue will be for this
year. We are doing some systematic A/B testing of different banners
with different messages, and as we learn more, we will iterate the
banners further.

We do need to raise the funds to operate Wikipedia, so that you can
continue to use it, both as a reader and a contributor. Rather than
invite antagonism, I want to invite your collaboration in refining and
developing the banners. We are open to community suggestions here --
please feel free to post mock-ups on Meta Wiki at this page:


However, if we feel (or measure) that a banner will significantly
reduce the number of donations received, we will not use it. So if
your primary goal is to make the banner smaller or less "obtrusive",
rather than making it more effective or at least retaining its current
level of effectiveness, I don't think we'll come up with something
that can replace the current banners.

Please let's remember that the Wikimedia Foundation exists to support
this project's continued existence, and the Wikimedia movement
internationally. This means we need to create awareness for the fact
that we need to raise money, just like any other charity. This
fundraising drive will run until January 15. Until then, I ask for
your patience and cooperation in making it work.

Please feel free to contact me: erik(at)wikimedia(dot)org. Thanks,
Erik Möller 22:10, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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