You’ve most likely seen the fundraising banners while browsing Wikipedia lately. Well, now you’ll be seeing ‘Thank You’ banners as Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, announced that the organization has hit its target, and has enough money to pay the bills for one more year.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization best known for the Wikipedia project, but it also runs other projects such as Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary and Wikibooks. The websites serve more than 470 million people each month, and Wikipedia is in the #5 slot for most-popular sites in the world. However, Wikimedia operates with only a fraction of the money that other popular websites operate with.
More than one million donors from all across the globe helped Wikimedia raise a total of $20 million. The annual fundraising campaigns have been steadily growing in donations since 2003. According to the Wikimedia blog, this year’s fundraiser was strikingly successful when compared to 2008’s total of $4.5 million.
The money will be used “very carefully and well,” according to Sue Gardner. The budget for the upcoming year is $28.3 million, with additional funds coming from grants from institutions. The organization plans on using the funds to obtain and install new servers and other hardware as well as upgrade site functionality. Wikimedia says it will also be expanding its mobile services, paying for legal defense for certain projects and supporting global volunteers. More than 100,000 volunteers work on Wikipedia’s 20 million articles as well as the 10 other sister projects.
Wikipedia will be celebrating 11 years come January 15, 2012. The popular free encyclopedia has noteably fought against encroachments on speech freedoms; threatening to shut down in protest against Italy’s restrictions in October, and recently threatening a complete English-language blackout in response to the SOPA controversy.