It’s becoming something of a Christmas tradition – Jimmy Wales’ festive message to Wikipedia users asking for money.
Last year, Wales’ appeal raised $6 million, but as the decade draws to a close, the millionaire who once had his corporate credit card cut up needs more cash.
This January, 125,000 donors from around the world handed over $6.2 million to Wikimedia Corporation.
A personal appeal from Wales, published on the Wikimedia Foundation’s website on December 23, 2008, resulted in more than 50,000 contributions totalling $2 million in eight days.
Now visitors to the online encylopedia are presented with Wales’ 2009 appeal:
“Today, I am asking you to make a donation to support Wikipedia.
“I started Wikipedia in 2001, and over the past eight years, I’ve been amazed and humbled to see hundreds of thousands of volunteers join with me to build the largest encyclopedia in human history.
“Wikipedia isn’t a commercial website. It’s a community creation, entirely written and funded by people like you. More than 340 million people use Wikipedia every month – almost a third of the Internet-connected world. You are part of our community.”
Continues Wales: “We need to protect the space where this important work happens. We need to protect Wikipedia. We want to keep it free of charge and free of advertising. We want to keep it open – you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want. We want to keep it growing – spreading knowledge everywhere, and inviting participation from everyone.
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization I created in 2003 to operate, grow, nurture, and protect Wikipedia. For ten million US dollars a year and with a staff of fewer than 35 people, it runs the fifth most-read website in the entire world. I’m asking for your help so we can continue our work.
Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet has free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s where we’re headed. And with your help, we will get there.
Thank you for using Wikipedia. You’re part of this story: please make a donation today.”