Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wikipedia Businesses

Wikipedia Exceeds Fundraising Target, But Continues Asking For More Money (theregister.co.uk) 181

Reader Andreas Kolbe writes: The fundraising banners on Wikipedia this year are so effective that halfway through its December fundraising campaign, the Wikimedia Foundation has already exceeded its $25 million donations target for the entire month, reports The Register. A few weeks ago, Jimmy Wales promised that the Wikimedia Foundation would "stop the fundraiser if enough money were raised in shorter than the planned time". But there's no sign of the Foundation doing that. When asked about this more recently, a Wikimedia Foundation spokesperson remained non-committal on ending the campaign early. The most recent audited accounts of the Wikimedia Foundation showed net assets of $92 million and revenue of $82 million. None of this money, incidentally, pays for writing or checking Wikipedia content – that's the job of unpaid volunteers – and only $2 million are spent on internet hosting every year.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wikipedia Exceeds Fundraising Target, But Continues Asking For More Money

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    n/t

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:23PM (#53498067)

    It isn't as if the people who create anything of value, i.e. the article writers, are paid. Can't Jimmy Wales pay for his own three martini lunches?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Calydor ( 739835 )

      Probably because people are afraid of Wikipedia going away and they don't check their accounting first.

    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @02:10PM (#53498915)

      I agree. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as free content on the internet. Wikimedia needs to stop with this charade, add advertisements, and block people using ad-blockers like any other respectable site. That is the only way that so-called "free" websites can exist on the internet.

    • Is it for hosting the Wiki articles?
      • At their current hosting prices they have enough money to host the site for 50 years, or indefinitely if they just invest the money already donated and pay for the hosting out of interest. Authors receive nothing. But Jimmy still wants more money.
    • by Joao Cordeiro ( 3780295 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @03:16PM (#53499439)
      If we are to agree that wikipedia is usefull then we can ask our selfs why?
      1 - its free
      2 - works well
      3 - info there has quality
      4 - its huge

      Do you realy think you can have a software that handles the bilions on views, edits, comments, in less then a sec, and never trows a error at you, just with good will and servers?
      No!!!
      You need a team of administradors, looking at logs of errors debuging the system, applying security patches, blocking hackers.
      You need a team of developers fixing bugs, upgrading libs, patching security holes, adding features.
      You need dev hardware and test hardware and a office for that team.
      Then there are all those lawsuits, you need a team to deal with all the law crap trown at them.
      And when all that is paid, you start thinking about next year, when ppl dont donate that much.

      It works realy well and provides a great service, why the F are you complaing about!!!!
      • by Andreas Kolbe ( 2591067 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @04:42PM (#53500025)
        About ten years ago, Jimmy Wales said [youtube.com] about Wikipedia (time code 4:35):

        “So, we’re doing around 1.4 billion page views monthly. So, it’s really gotten to be a huge thing. And everything is managed by the volunteers and the total monthly cost for our bandwidth is about 5,000 dollars, and that’s essentially our main cost. We could actually do without the employee ... We actually hired Brion [Vibber] because he was working part-time for two years and full-time at Wikipedia so we actually hired him so he could get a life and go to the movies sometimes.”

        In 2008, when Wikipedia was already the world's number 8 website, the Wikimedia Foundation survived on $5 million [wikimedia.org] (vs. $82 million last year). So, yes, you can have a top-ten website – written entirely by unpaid volunteers – for a fraction of the current cost.
        • A lot of people think "not-for-profit" means you don't make a profit, which is totally false. All it really means is that basically nobody owns it, and any revenue they make above their costs just ends up going to its employees, or alternatively, being dispersed as grants. Given that wikipedia likely doesn't issue grants to anybody, I suspect (though I don't have any salary info) people like Jimmy Wales make a crapload of money off of wikipedia, and thus it would make sense for people like him to continue t

          • by Raenex ( 947668 )

            All it really means is that basically nobody owns it, and any revenue they make above their costs just ends up going to its employees, or alternatively, being dispersed as grants.

            Not quite. Employee compensation should be "reasonable".

      • If it's that great, why don't they make it a paid service that they SELL to just those interested? That way, they get the money they need, and don't need to panhandle random readers. Heck, they could even make the app a paid app.
    • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      Wikipedia runs on computers. Someone has to BUY them. Someone has to PAY for their electricity, Internet connection, repairs, housing etc. Someone has to WRITE and MAINTAIN the code of the Wiki software.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      $2 million/year in hosting fees isn't exactly chump change, and they definitely need to hire good dev ops people to keep one of the busiest sites on the internet running.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:23PM (#53498069)

    A professional admin team would largely eliminate many of the problems Wikipedia has with its various cabals.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A professional admin team would largely eliminate many of the problems Wikipedia has with its various cabals.

      Yes it would. But a professional admin team would use up most of the money that is currently going to other people.

      net assets of $92 million and revenue of $82 million. None of this money, incidentally, pays for writing or checking Wikipedia content – that's the job of unpaid volunteers – and only $2 million are spent on internet hosting every year.

      Which is exactly why you should never give money to them.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    is to have a buffer, and not live "paycheck to paycheck" so to speak. I don't understand why people find it so hard to understand.

    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:34PM (#53498137)

      Well if the summary is to be believed, they have 45x their yearly costs. That's a bit more than protection from swings in donations.

      • by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:49PM (#53498279)
        Is this the math you used? $92M (net assets) / $2M (internet hosting) = 46x, then round down to 45x. I think "net assets" includes things that are not easily spent, like servers, and is not the same as "cash savings". I also suspect that "internet hosting" is not equal to "operating costs". Therefore, I really have no idea how far off your figure may be. (Not your fault--the summary lacks the details necessary to support its claims.)
        • by Steve Hamlin ( 29353 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:49PM (#53498781) Homepage

          $78.5 million of the $92 million of net assets are cash and short-term financial investments.

          2016 Donations & Revenue (gross inflows)
          $ 82 million

          2016 Expenses (selected):

          $ 32 million - Salaries
          $ 11 million - Awards & Grants
          $ 6 million - Professional Services
          $ 4.8 million - Other Operating Expenses
          $ 3.6 million - Donation Processing Expenses
          $ 2.6 million - Travel, Conferences & Special Events
          $ 2.0 million - Internet Hosting

          2016 "Net Income" (increase in unrestricted net assets)
          $ 15 million

          See for yourself: https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

          • by Anonymous Coward

            $78.5 million of the $92 million of net assets are cash and short-term financial investments.

            2016 Donations & Revenue (gross inflows) $ 82 million

            2016 Expenses (selected): $ 32 million - Salaries $ 11 million - Awards & Grants $ 6 million - Professional Services $ 4.8 million - Other Operating Expenses $ 3.6 million - Donation Processing Expenses $ 2.6 million - Travel, Conferences & Special Events $ 2.0 million - Internet Hosting

            2016 "Net Income" (increase in unrestricted net assets) $ 15 million

            See for yourself: https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

            So, their real annual expenses are $16.4M per year, once you take out Travel, Salaries, and Awards & Grants.
            $32M in SALARIES? to who?

          • So, donate to wikipedia to let them go on holidays, give money to causes (instead of just giving it directly yourself), and $32 million on salaries whilst the people actually providing the content get nothing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

      The last time I looked they had something like a decades worth of "buffer" on hand - yet, each year they breathlessly push the donation campaign as if the lights were going to go out if you didn't donate promptly. This year, as per usual, even though they've met their target - the breathless "donate or Wikipedia dies" continues apace.

      That is what people are having a problem with - not with them raising money, but with their misleading tactics.

    • is to have a buffer, and not live "paycheck to paycheck" so to speak. I don't understand why people find it so hard to understand.

      Maybe it is because some of us have actually looked at the numbers and are hard pressed to understand where the money is going and has already gone. The money on hand keeps building and the costs just don't seem to justify this much fund raising, let alone continued fund raising after the stated goal is reached. But yes, I do understand if you don't look at the numbers and don'

  • The Register... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:27PM (#53498093)

    So the internet's cesspit of ill researched unfounded disinformation is pissed that one of the most successful projects of the last decade in advancing human knowledge has a healthy monetary buffer?

    I sense jealousy.

    But fair play to The Register, I frankly thought it was dead already, they've done well to keep such a useless publication going even this long.

  • Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:31PM (#53498119) Journal
    Hosting is not Wikipedia's largest expense. [wikimedia.org] Salaries are. They spent $32 million on salaries. Total expenses were $67 million.

    Even considering all of the expenses, their net income was positive $16 million last year.
    • Re:Misleading (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:33PM (#53498131) Journal

      Salaries doing what? Engineers sure, but where is the rest of that going.

      • Re: Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:40PM (#53498203)
        Hiring fundraisers... IIRC the person in charge was making 300-400k
      • Re:Misleading (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jmv ( 93421 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:42PM (#53498221) Homepage

        A site like Wikipedia will also need a bunch of lawyers to fight all sorts of trolls, from copyright trolls, to people who don't like what articles say about them.

      • 32 million dollars, assuming ~100k average salary, is 320 employees. Wikipedia is the 6th busiest website on the internet.

        Do you think that level of technology runs itself?

        • Re:Misleading (Score:4, Insightful)

          by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:12PM (#53498501) Journal

          For the most part yes. The WMF stack isn't all that complex.

          • The WMF stack is one tiny piece of the equation.

            Think about the servers, storage, network, and physical plant infrastructure required to manage a site of this size. The people managing them need workstations and email; that requires corporate IT. Someone has to buy that stuff, requiring purchasing staff. Those people want to get paid, so accounting and human resources teams. There are also legal, public relations, and fundraising teams too.

            If Wikipedia was a for-profit company they'd have a valuation in

        • by Desler ( 1608317 )

          Yes. If it's not largely automated then they have an incompetent sysadmin team.

        • Frankly, yes. It's a Wiki. A type of 'user editable' database so easy to administer that individuals set them up for damn near everything. The money brought in is in massive excess of their needs to administer the site and the foundation.
      • Re:Misleading (Score:5, Informative)

        by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @01:09PM (#53498471)

        People commenting are just guessing.

        They used to have ONE or two full-time engineers running the entire site till like... 2008 or so. Then they started hiring TONS of people running the "Foundation" including marketing, events, charity shit, "diversity consultant" hires. Basically, an army of losers who don't do anything productive and spend their time justifying their existence and partying.

        Basically, Wikipedia has become the US college system. A few productive teachers, surrounded by an army of "administrators" and their assistants... and their assistants... and their assistants.

        Hell, check out one of their own projections. Only 35% is engineering. That's pretty much the opposite of "lean" for a company that PRODUCES NO CONTENT.

        https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

        But don't take my word for it. Check the glass door:

        https://www.glassdoor.com/Revi... [glassdoor.com]

        >This is an organization in crisis. It is highly dysfunctional, there is a strong culture of secrecy, which is surprising for an organization working in open knowledge. Teams are siloed and isolated, C-levels disagree on direction, ED has lost the support needed to do her job, BoT is in a freeze and too weak to drive change. It is a toxic and depressing place to work.

        >Bureaucracy and secrecy creeps in unless regularly checked. Our Board sometimes wants us to be a venture-style tech company rather than a knowledge-empowerment nonprofit. Community consultation adds a layer of complexity to every new venture (but its worth it!).

        >PHP. Low pay. Fear of changes. Top management has almost completely flipped since Lila took over in 2015. (including bosses who have come and gone since then) It's really tough to get work done when your boss keeps changing.

        >Many mid-level managers are inexperienced and have trouble supporting their employees. Overall lack of strategy and lack of will to make positive change. The communication can be disrespectful. The foundation values diversity but fails to make it one of their own priorities.

        >Politics! Politics! Politics! Performance review process outdated.

        >Tolerance of non performers, Hostile behaviors by some staff threaten continued diversity/innovation.

        • Basically, Wikipedia has become the US college system.

          Ah yes, the world according to the Lumper King—kneel before my great Rod of Lumpership, and despair. (Midas kneels, and despairs, but in truth, he was pretty unhappy already.)

          Nonsense aside, I do dearly wish there was a way to eliminate all the not-notable endowed chairs from a certain online encyclopedia.

          I really don't need it shoved in my face that some academic is presently the Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell chair of Be

    • by Potor ( 658520 )
      It's like the dream of the modern university administrator: finding a way to pay one's own salary and spending as little as possible on the content you advertise. Universities don't yet have free content, but they're getting close.
  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <(kepler1) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:32PM (#53498125)
    For the amount of good that this foundation does for the public, making information and truth more accessible, and policing the content in an open and rigorous way, I say let them collect as much donations as people willingly donate. It's hard enough to get people to donate -- who would refuse if the donations kept coming in.

    Sure, be transparent and honest about when you've exceeded the goal for the month (or set the goal higher), but frankly, I don't understand why you would criticize when one of the most valuable services on the internet today attempts to build more of a financial cushion for itself (and not through lying or deception or serving up users / others' content for cash, how refreshing).

    Learn to understand who are your friends and who are your enemies in this world, people.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      They're not building up a financial cushion. They're going to steal the money later in the usual way: paying for services they don't need. If you think Wikipedia is somehow above greed because of reasons, they're human. Humans suck. Don't be naive.

      One of the reasons a vow of poverty is so powerful and gives so much moral credibility is because you put your money where your mouth is. It doesn't mean live in poverty, it just means live according to what you need. After all, when need arises the good p

      • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:47PM (#53498253)

        Money is like manure, you have to spread it around to do any good.

        What a strange expression. Money is like manure, you need to pile it all up in a big heap and leave it there for about a year, turning it occasionally with a pitchfork before you can add it to your soil. Add about 1-2 inches of this aged money and work it into the soil to increase yields.

        If you add fresh money, generally referred to as "hot money" you can burn the roots of your plants because it contains too much immediately released nitrogen.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you add fresh money, generally referred to as "hot money" you can burn the roots of your plants because it contains too much immediately released nitrogen.

          Ah, the number of companies I've seen implode after being funded!

      • Humans suck. Don't be naive.

        Humans tend to over simplify complex topics (insert sith/absolutes parallel). Don't be so cynical though.

    • "making information and truth more accessible, and policing the content in an open and rigorous way" I sure hope you are being sarcastic.

    • by loonycyborg ( 1262242 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:50PM (#53498293)
      If wikipedia becomes a money sink it may compromise its mission. Overfunding is as bad as underfunding since it leads to inefficiency and waste. If they get more donations than their current organizational structure can make use of they should consider re-donating excess to other charities.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:54PM (#53498337)
        How about setting up an endowment, then never running fund-raising campaigns again?
        • Speaking as someone who has been involved over a decade as an active admin, the main office is drunk with power and cash. They have deleted many of the photos showing Gardner waving around wads of cash, which were very crass photos to begin with. Volunteers are treated like second class citizens unless you are in the inner circle. How they do fund raising and the way they blow money on "feel good, tree hugging" type events is disgraceful.

    • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:51PM (#53498305) Journal

      A few weeks ago, Jimmy Wales promised that the Wikimedia Foundation would "stop the fundraiser if enough money were raised in shorter than the planned time".

      who would refuse if the donations kept coming in.

      Anyone that actually values honesty?

    • making information and truth more accessible, and policing the content in an open and rigorous way,

      Except, none of the money they take in is used for that. All the actual work that makes Wikipedia useful is done by unpaid volunteers. All of the money -- more than $60 Million a year -- is wasted on unnecessary bullshit.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Please give a full breakdown of the unnecessary bullshit and how Wikipedia can function without it and achieve the same goals.
        • I'm pretty sure they could live without the 'grants and awards', or all the free jollies to events and conferences.

          • They could; and does that make up a significant fraction of their expenses?

            That was the point of a breakdown of expenses. I usually have this trouble with CEO salary arguments: CEOs typically make around $20-$50 per employee per year, and giving the entire executive management cash compensation (bonuses, dividends, salaries) to the employees would let everyone take an extra trip to Starbucks every week or three. Pretty much all the money is going to employee salaries.

            I would not assert that Wikimedia

            • Fine, but if you want to give away millions in grants and executive 'compensation', don't continually beg for donations. Strip every last bit of non-essential spending before you go bucket in hand.

              • They're a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and are legally-obligated to not retain profit above what they can justify. That means they have to maintain stable cash flow to continue to operate but also eliminate excess cash stores when that cash flow is higher than needed.
      • All the actual work that makes Wikipedia useful is done by unpaid volunteers.

        Unpaid volunteers are administering their servers?

    • The problem is they don't just build up a reasonable financial cusion and then stop begging.

      Instead they use that financial cusion as an excuse to expand the operation, way beyond what is actually needed to run the site. Pretty soon they are running short on cash again and have to intensify the begging campaign even more.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        You mean like running the site in 47 languages, including a Simple English Wikipedia, and having administrators who at least make sure the site is tended and not being hijacked by morontards?

        • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @02:11PM (#53498935)

          It's already been established that hosting only costs them about $2M/year. A few administrators are not adding much to that. They're not spending tons of money on new development here; the Wiki software hasn't changed significantly in ages. Running the site in lots of languages doesn't cost anything except hosting space (again, accounted for in the $2M/year figure). They're not paying anyone to actually do good translations, as they rely on unpaid volunteers to do that kind of stuff.

          Honestly, if they did employ a dozen or so people to do really good translations between articles in major languages, I'd be all for that. But they're not.

          What they're doing is outsourcing almost all the really important work (writing/tending articles, preventing it from being hijacked by "morontards" through bad edits, etc.) to unpaid volunteers instead of paid professionals, and then hiring a bunch of people to do bullshit work for their "foundation". Wikipedia's original, core mission is good and worthy: provide a website to act as an online encyclopaedia so that people can freely learn about just about any topic imaginable, with the goal of the information being as unbiased as possible as well as being properly cited. This is truly a great thing. But these donations, by and large, aren't paying for this mission. The organization has suffered a colossal amount of "mission creep", and worse, the core functions are handled by unpaid volunteers, who frequently have their own agendas or egotistical reasons for doing the jobs they do (leading to less than biased results in the articles because someone in a position of power wants to maintain control instead of simply doing an unbiased job of editing).

          • >> Honestly, if they did employ a dozen or so people to do really good translations between articles in major languages, I'd be all for that. But they're not.

            They are working with duolingo.com to do this. The translations, individually, aren't great but duolingo spins an army of drones across them until you have good content.

            >> It's already been established that hosting only costs them about $2M/year. A few administrators are not adding much to that.

            One does not run the 6th busiest site on the

          • I'm not saying "a few administrators" are costing them anything; I'm saying there are other expenses besides hosting, and we don't practically know what. Wikipedia could be hosting colocated servers--lots of colocated servers--getting swapped out a lot.

            Wikipedia has 300 servers in Florida and 44 in Amsterdam running Ubuntu Linux clusters. That's not a one-administrator job to begin with; and there's a ton of expert knowledge required:

            • Sysadmins who are specialized in cluster administration (I've done t
    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      For the amount of good that this foundation does for the public, making information and truth more accessible, and policing the content in an open and rigorous way, I say let them collect as much donations as people willingly donate. It's hard enough to get people to donate -- who would refuse if the donations kept coming in.

      Sure, be transparent and honest about when you've exceeded the goal for the month (or set the goal higher), but frankly, I don't understand why you would criticize when one of the most valuable services on the internet today attempts to build more of a financial cushion for itself (and not through lying or deception or serving up users / others' content for cash, how refreshing).

      Learn to understand who are your friends and who are your enemies in this world, people.

      All the criticism is not directed against the core content of Wikipedia, but rather expressing concern that none of the donations are going to support that content.

      Preventing parasitic growth within an organization is important to keep it healthy. From the financials, it looks like Wikipedia is experiencing parasitic growth not relevant to their core mission. (I say this as someone who has donated in the past, until I noticed this trend.) One way supporters can affect change is to stop donating and send

  • . . . . .where, if you're lucky, 10-15% of proceeds actually go to the cause. . . .

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And I found out the hard way - after donating in the past - that they spend that "extra" 80% on buying "services" and articles primarily from left wing think tanks.

      No thank you. Never again will I donate.

    • . . . . .where, if you're lucky, 10-15% of proceeds actually go to the cause. . . .

      What? In this case, the cause is wikipedia, so 100% of the proceeds go to the cause. There's no middleman here.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "The cause" is the creation of good content. Wikipedia employees have very little to do with that.

    • . . . . .where, if you're lucky, 10-15% of proceeds actually go to the cause. . . .

      This is why you ask the question when someone asks you to donate.

      I don't know if this is still a thing (since Caller ID and do-not-call lists may have killed it), but 10-20 years ago a lot of charitable organizations were in the habit of outsourcing their fundraising to companies whose only job was to raise money for charitable organizations. And, if you did the work (which I did) to find out how much of what they were collecting ended up going to the charity, it would turn out to be alarmingly little (it v

  • or vice-versa
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "We already make millions auctioning off your default search engine, can you please donate some money?"

  • Sorry but they dont need that kind of cash. Not without having staff that actually do anything.

  • by LordNicholas ( 2174126 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @12:45PM (#53498243)
    Per their financial statements, they're trying to build up an endowment (like a university and many other large non-profits) so they can support themselves off investment income, and not need to rely as much on direct donations. Those incremental donations after the fundraising goal is reached are even more valuable since they can go directly towards growing the endowment.

    During the year ended June 30, 2016, the Foundation entered into an agreement with the Tides Foundation to establish the Wikimedia Endowment as a Collective Action Fund to act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to ensure a base level of support for the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. The Endowment is independent from the Foundation. On June 29, 2016, the Foundation provided an irrevocable grant in the amount of $5 million to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment. The amount is recorded in awards and grants expense.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

    • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @03:18PM (#53499453)

      Thanks for citing their marketing material. Every nonprofit-for-profit has "reasons" why they need all the money the solicit. But you need to peek behind the curtain to see if "reasons" are supported by actual data. It isn't hard.

      We can look at the exploding spending at Wikimedia [wikipediocracy.com].

      And there are very serious questions [dailydot.com] about all that money being rushed out the door, who it is going to and why. There is a high level of self-dealing in passing out grants, and creating and filling the ballooning list of paid positions. It is very lucrative to be a "friend-of-Jimmy".

      A glance at the financials shows that "building an endowment" is NOT the reason for the incessant fund-raising. First, the endowment was only launched this year [theguardian.com], and their stated plan is to use only 10-20% of their fundraising revenue for that endowment. Currently they seem to be at the low end of that number (or below it) but we will need to see a report on 2016 to see the actual break-out. The goal of the endowment is to reach $100 million, but in their last annual foundation report [wikimedia.org] (a 28 page advertising pamphlet with only one page of actual information) they state having $78 million in net assets as of 18 months ago, which is an increase of $25 million from the previous year report (almost all of it unrestricted).

      If we assume that the net assets are only accumulating at the same rate as from June 2014 to June 2015 (by all data it is probably higher, much higher), then right now they have about $115 million in assets, more than enough to fully fund their foundation with soliciting a penny (they received at least $6 million in designated donations to the foundation when they set it up, so they no more than $94 million to make up to reach their stated goal.

      So no. The foundation has nothing to do with their aggressive, relentless fund-raising.

  • I'd prefer not getting the pop-ups now that the goal has been met - but if the money is still flowing in it's dumb of them to not capitalize (heh) on the desire to give to build up a larger buffer (and have fewer fund-raisers in the future).

  • No worries, it is just Jimmy Jo Bob and his inner circle trying to pull in a few more bucks. Those Scientology membership fees are steep.
  • Perhaps Jill Stein is their new fundraising director

  • People writing articles - Unpaid.
    People writing scientific papers - Unpaid.
    People doing product reviews and testing - Unpaid.
    Fan groups of products and software, modding stuff - Unpaid.

    One day, everything is UNPAID. Why pay money to you if you're willing to do it for free?
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      People writing articles - Unpaid.

      Indeed. I have paid with my contributions, and should be allowed to avoid seeing these obtrusive pop-over banners.

      To me it reads like "we need money, lots of money, to pay the designers of and managers for the fundraising campaign, and banking costs associated with it."

  • " Dear readers in Canada, time is running out in 2016 to help Wikipedia. To protect our independence, we'll never run ads. We're sustained by donations averaging about $15. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this right now gave $3, we wouldn’t need to fundraise for years to come. That's right, the price of a cup of coffee is all we need. If Wikipedia is useful to you, please take one minute to keep it online and growing. Thank you. "
    • Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this right now gave $3, we wouldn’t need to fundraise for years to come.

      Odd, I seem to remember them promising the same thing last year, too. It seems the Washington Post remembers as well. [washingtonpost.com] I guess if the price hasn't changed, they either are woefully underfunded/overbudgeted (discussed in plenty of comments above but I'm assuming not [wikimediafoundation.org]), are drastically miscalculating for inflation, or it's just pure greed.

      • by plover ( 150551 )

        Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this right now gave $3, we wouldn’t need to fundraise for years to come.

        Odd, I seem to remember them promising the same thing last year, too. It seems the Washington Post remembers as well. [washingtonpost.com] I guess if the price hasn't changed, they either are woefully underfunded/overbudgeted (discussed in plenty of comments above but I'm assuming not [wikimediafoundation.org]), are drastically miscalculating for inflation, or it's just pure greed.

        Given that their income was $82 million and their annual expenses were $66 million, I think don't think they're miscalculating by too much. That's a buffer of only a quarter-year's worth of expenses. And if they invest that excess money in endowments, they'll have a more stable budget and less need for fundraising.

        Another way to look at it is that it's providing resources to grow. Now, I don't know what or how they might want to grow, but I do know that it's harder to grow when you've got no money for it

  • by supremebob ( 574732 ) <themejunky@@@geocities...com> on Friday December 16, 2016 @03:04PM (#53499327) Journal

    Wikipedia's fundraising activities seem to get more obnoxious every year. This year I got a nasty-gram from "Jimmy Wales" asking why I haven't given my annual donation yet.

    I already did, dumb ass, but I submitted it from a different e-mail address this year. But, hey... if you're going to give me an attitude about it, I certainly won't bother donating next year.

  • I think Wikipedia just invented a new form of in app payment: pay us money and we'll stop nagging you for money.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @03:16PM (#53499427)

    Just add this line to the block list of your favorite ad blocker (uBlock origin, ABP, ...)

    wikipedia.org###centralNotice

    It is not included by default because EasyList doesn't consider self-promotion to be advertisement. I do.

  • If you don't like Wikipedia or how it raises money, you don't have to use it. How some people are so critical of a free service that no one is forced to use or pay for seems odd when you think about it. Come up with something better.
  • Wikimedia have posted an update on the Wikimedia mailing list: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pi... [wikimedia.org]

    "This year, we are happy to report we’ve reached our goal of US$25 million in record time. This is a testament to the importance of Wikimedia and how much support we have from people all over the world. Given this momentum, we believe that it would be wise and worthwhile to continue to fundraise more in the month of December, for the following reasons: [...]

    Here is what we will do: We intend to conti
  • Ignorance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackel ( 10452 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @06:43PM (#53500677) Journal

    These comments are so full of ignorance it's not even funny—I thought I had wandered into /r/the_donald or something. The few sensible people posting have pointed out that there seems to be an extreme lack of transparency, and no one is quite sure where all the money is going. This is a fair point and needs to be addressed by the Wikimedia Foundation. This does *not* automatically mean that they are somehow wasting this money, giving its employees lavish salaries, or anything of the sort. It means we do not know. No amount of ridiculous theorising will change that. We need to be able to trust our non-profit organizations in general, and such a great, important organization like Wikimedia in particular. Just because we don't know something doesn't make them this evil villain. If we uncover some impropriety, *then* we can demonize them. Until then, I'm making a (small) donation and also demanding more transparency. I encourage others to do the same.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thekohser ( 981254 )

      This does *not* automatically mean that they are somehow wasting this money, giving its employees lavish salaries, or anything of the sort. It means we do not know. No amount of ridiculous theorising will change that.

      I'm curious, would you call this known scandal to be "ridiculous theorising"?

      http://wikipediocracy.com/2014... [wikipediocracy.com]

  • I'm one of the comparatively few editors of Wikipedia who gets paid for my editing work. It only makes sense that as a "thank you", I should send a token of financial appreciation at fundraising time. Yet, when I try to send the Wikimedia Foundation a donation, they return it to me within the hour.

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

Working...