Wikipedia hits $16 million fundraising target

A rush of donations over the holiday period has helped the Wikipedia Foundation hit its fundraising target for the year, allowing it to continue to inform – and sometimes misinform – for another year.

The organization has hit its $16 million target to fully fund the online encyclopaedia and other projects for the next twelve months.

“Every year the Wikimedia Foundation sets a goal that it knows will be a stretch. They have to do it, because the Wikimedia websites and movement keep growing,” says founder Jimmy Wales in a blog post.

“Wikipedia is now the fifth most visited website in the world, but our staff, infrastructure and budget are just a fraction of any other top 10 website’s.”

The site – which is currently celebrating its tenth birthday – currently has around 50 paid staff, relying on the help of around 100,000 volunteers to keep its pages up to date.

The Wikipedia Foundation has received over half a million donations this year, with another 130,000 going to local chapters worldwide. The year has seen two of the largest fundraising days in Wikipedia history, and the average donation size was about $22, says Wales.

“Our very first fundraiser was just a community effort to buy a volunteer—who later became our first CTO — a much-needed new laptop,” says Wales.

“This fundraiser had all the ingredients of what we love about Wikimedia projects: people come together, contribute what they have, and together we do something amazing. The contribution of a technology worker in Mumbai, India joins with the contribution of a stockbroker from London, and of a student in Moscow, and the result is that we’re able to sustain and support this joint endeavor for another year.”