[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

rupert THURNER rupert.thurner at gmail.com
Thu Mar 14 21:31:31 UTC 2013

On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 8:47 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> Aha, a welcome topic :)
> MZMcBride writes:
>> I think we need to decide, as a community, whether this is something we
>> want. If it is, we should set up an endowment fund sooner rather than
>> later, so that people willing to donate to such an endowment have a place
>> to put their money, I think.
> Yes, let us build an endowment.
> It makes practical sense: As a community institution that aims to
> serve our society for the next 100 years, it matches our scope and
> vision.  And as a respected and visible global project, we can raise
> the funds we need.
> It also makes financial sense: Some donors prefer to donate to one.
> And there are economies of scale: the flexibility of long-term
> investments let them generate better average returns, and large funds
> can invest significantly more effectively than small ones.

let me play advocatus diaboli here ...

the strong point of the wikimedia movement always has been that it
attracts small donations, which are of immediate use. some reserves to
allow keep the lights on for a couple of years is very understandable.
lets assume our donors are "average people", people who have the time
to click and give 10 dollars. why should somebody who earns a little
salary want to give 10 dollars to a foundation which has 40 million on
its bank account?

ok - you say the movement does not need these little donations any
more, because if the foundation would have 800 million dollar it would
leave 40 million to spend as well (5% interest rate). but what if the
foundation only has 200 million? this earns only 10 million a year,
and the sum might be sufficient that we might loose the donors which
made this success possible.

and you say, some people might really _want_ to donate to an endowment
fund, just let the people choose. but - does this choice cannibalize
the "normal" donations of people who do not want to donate to an
endowment fund?

if yes, then the foundation, the websites, and the content got
disconnected from the donors, and from the contributors.

advocatus diaboli mode out.


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