Wikipedia saved! Surpasses fundraising goals

Posted by Rick C. Hodgin

Indianapolis (IN) - Wikipedia launched a "please save our website" fund drive campaign on or about Christmas Eve. At that point, they had raised $3.8 million dollars of their $6 million goal. In just five days, as of January 1, 2009, they had surpassed the $6 million goal by raising an additional $2.3 million. They now have on hand $6,150,647 (as of 12:15am CST). The people's message: We love Wikipedia!





How high will the donations continue to fly? Wikipedia has not yet taken down their "donate now" links which appear at the top of nearly all Wikipedia pages, along with the personal plea message from Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales.

Wikipedia has published their 2008/2009 budget. The breakdown is as follows:



1) $2.705 million for "Technology," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "salaries for tech staff, an allocation for contractors, and bandwidth and hardware costs ... and increased spending for bandwidth, equipment and additional software developers."



2) $1.619 million for "Finance and Administration," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "salaries for all finance and administrative staff; the Chief Financial and Operating Officer, the Accountant, the Head of Business Development, the Office Manager, and the Assistant to the ED and DD. It also included staff development and staff meeting expenses, recruiting fees, the fees for the annual audit and some consultant costs ... and the salaries of the fundraising team as well as consulting costs related to donation record-keeping and streamlining the online fundraiser."



3) $595,000 for "Programs," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "salaries for the Chapters Coordinator, the Volunteer Coordinator, and the Head of Communications as well as the costs for the annual chapters meeting in April and communication materials such as brochures and promotional products ... and funding for the Chief Program Officer, the Head of Public Outreach, outreach activities such as the Wikipedia Academies and volunteer development."



4) $472,000 for "Office of the Executive Director," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "salaries for the Executive Director and Deputy Director, as well as miscellaneous costs including travel, some fundraising expenses and the costs of the annual staff meeting ... and increased spending for staff and volunteer development."



5) $375,000 for "Legal," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "salary for our in-house Counsel, business and legal-related costs for business registrations, state-by-state fundraising registrations, domain names, trademark registration and defense, employment and immigration support and external litigation fees."



6) $130,000 for "Board," which the Wikimedia Foundation fails to cite on their Questions and Answers page.



7) $96,000 for "Wikimania," which the Wikimedia Foundation cites as "cost of travel for the Foundation Board/Advisory Board/staff which is not covered by the sponsorship revenues."



Note: Total is $5.974 million, which is their stated 2008-2009 budget. With well over $6 million raised as of today, no guidance has been issued as to where the surplus funds will go. As a 501(c)(3) company based out of Florida, though physically located as of 2007 in San Francisco, California, the foundation makes all financial records audited and public.





The Wikimedia Foundation operations Wikipedia. Its Board of Trustees include: Michael Snow, who is chair as of July, 2008; Jimmy Wales who founded Wikipedia in 2001; Jan-Bart de Vreede, who was named vice-chair in January, 2007; Domas Mituzas; Kat Walsh; Stu West and Ting Chen.



The Wikipedia website ran until 2005 entirely by volunteers. The first real budget came into play in 2006. 45% of the Wikimedia Foundation's budget for running Wikipedia goes into bandwidth, computer equipment and ongoing software expenses.



The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization and is not designed to be a for-profit creation, despite it being ranked #9 on the Internet, and #8 based on traffic, accounting for just over 8% of all Internet traffic in 2008.