[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Fri Mar 15 00:42:21 UTC 2013

On Mar 15, 2013 12:21 AM, "MZMcBride" <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:
> Erik Moeller wrote:
> >On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 10:47 AM, MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:
> >> It costs about $2.5 million to keep the sites operational for a year.
> >
> >How did you come up with that number?
> I used to say $2 million, but Roan recently told me that it had probably
> gone up since that estimate (from 2009). So now I say $2.5 million. It's
> advertised on Meta-Wiki here:
> <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/?banner=money_or_die>. ;-)
> As I recall, the $2 million (now $2.5 million) figure came from
> discussions with technical staff about what it would cost to keep the site
> running for a year and an examination of relevant Wikimedia-related budget
> breakdowns that were split out between non-technical staff costs, overhead
> costs, etc. However, following Cunningham's Law, if you have a better
> figure, please share. :-)  We can certainly say it's far less than $35
> million to only keep the sites up and running (barebones hosting support
> and related tech staff costs), the question is how much less.

Last year's financial report shows almost exactly $2.5m for "Internet
hosting". I'm not sure quite what that covers, but I expect it is all
necessary for bare minimum hosting of the sites. There will then be some
salaries for the people maintaining the site. Some legal and accounting
people. An ED (although not as well paid as Sue, since they would be
running a much smaller organisation). Then various operational and
administrative costs. My finger in the air estimate would be a total of
about $4m-$5m.

I think the foundation should include such an estimate in their financial
planning. It is important to know how much money is going on essentials and
how much on nice-to-haves. (That ought to be how the core/non-core split
works, really...)

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