500,000 People Donate to Keep Wikipedia Free

Wikipedia is the largest online encyclopedia and it is the 8th most visited site in the world and it is the only site in the top 10 most visited sites to be fully funded by its users.

Supported by half a million people from all over the world, the Wikimedia Foundation today announced it has exceeded its goal of $16 million USD to support Wikipedia and its sister projects for the 2010-11 fiscal year. To close the annual giving campaign, Wikipedia will transition to banners to both thank its global community of contributors and invite its 400 million readers to become volunteer editors.

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In just 50 days, the shortest fundraiser in Wikimedia history, the Foundation received an average of $22 per individual donation from people living in about 140 countries, to reach its goal. This year, the Wikimedia Foundation received over 500,000 donations, more than doubling the number of individual donations in 2009, which garnered 230,000 total contributions.

“We’re overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “On behalf of all of the volunteers who make Wikipedia possible, I’d like to thank our generous donors. We’re thankful to all of our supporters, from the volunteers who worked along-side Wikimedia staff to help create the campaign, to the editors who write and take care of Wikipedia to the amazing donors who make sure we have the support to continue our work. Wikipedia is the only major, top-ten site in the world that is ad-free and funded primarily by its readers and users–we’re lucky to have such a dedicated community of supporters.”

“This outpouring of support by hundreds of thousands of ordinary people from all walks of life is a testament to the spirit of the Wikimedia movement,” said Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales. “Wikipedia is a public resource created and maintained by hundreds of thousands of volunteers, relied on by over 400 million people and paid for by half a million donors. It’s truly user-created, supported and maintained.”

Funds raised by the Foundation’s annual campaign will contribute to the $20.4 million, 2010-11 operating budget. The Foundation’s budget pays for technology costs to keep Wikimedia sites running and available to people throughout the world, programs to help make Wikipedia easier to use, and programs to encourage more people to participate and contribute as volunteers.

Even if Wikipedia switched to Advertisements many will use it and it can lead a more sophisticated environment. But the Wikimedia foundation is trying as much as possible to keep Wikipedia free. Wikipedia and its sister projects are one of the most successful experiments in the history of the internet. Wikipedia is a true Web 2.0 Phenomenon.

Most of us use Wikipedia at least once a day and it is more in the case of students. Ranging from literature to science and technology, Wikipedia covers vast number of topics. If you Google for a term, it is more likely that your top result is from Wikipedia. Wikipedia is truly a great achievement.

I believe almost all of us like/love Wikipedia. Share your experiences with Wikipedia below. Let us have a discussion.