Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-11-10/2008 fundraiser

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The Wikipedia Signpost

Fundraiser opens: Over $500,000 raised in first week

By Ral315, 10 November 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation's 2008 fundraiser opened on November 5, with an ambitious goal of raising US$6 million over the next few months; the fundraiser is currently scheduled to end on January 15, Wikipedia Day. As of press time, the fundraiser had brought in about $525,000 in seven days, bringing the total raised, including gifts since the beginning of the fiscal year, to about $2.43 million.

Robert Rohde, who has compiled graphs and statistics in previous fundraisers, estimated on Tuesday that given current fundraising totals and trends observed in previous years, the Foundation will bring in anywhere from $2.0–3.8 million by early January, not including any additional "major gifts" (over $10,000) collected by the Foundation. When combined with the $1.9 million collected prior to the fundraiser, this would estimate the final YTD collections, as of early January, at anywhere from $3.9 to $5.7 million, not including additional major gifts.

2007–2008 Annual Report released

In conjunction with the fundraiser, the Wikimedia Foundation's Annual Report was published. This is the first time that such a report has been published. The report includes letters from Executive Director Sue Gardner and Board of Trustees Chair Michael Snow, and an unofficial breakdown of 2007–2008 and 2008–2009 financials. The vast majority of the report, however, explains the projects, the Foundation's goals, and other information geared more toward donors. Audited financial statements have not yet been released for 2007–2008; however, the financials were unanimously approved in a November meeting. It is unclear when they will be publicly released.

Fundraising banner

As has become standard in Wikimedia fundraisers, the design of the fundraising banner at the top of pages has raised some controversy. Editors across multiple projects and languages have noted that the banner is substantially larger than the banners used in previous fundraisers, and that it is impossible to dismiss the notice completely -- the "[Collapse]" link on the notice merely shows a smaller notice instead. In response to the latter issue, logged-in users see a much smaller notice after clicking the "collapse" link; however, the message is not hidden entirely.

Like in last year's fundraiser, more than one message is being displayed, and the effectiveness of each message is being tracked. Unlike last year's fundraiser, however, the different messages vary much more in appearance, as some messages contain a "fundraising bar", while others contain just text and a "Donate Now" link.

Large donors and statistics

Sometime in November, an anonymous donor made a $250,000 donation, the largest so far this month. In the last few months, a few other large gifts were made that were not widely reported, including a £100,000 ($177,376) donation from Arcadia in October, and a $262,000 donation from the Stanton Foundation in September. These gifts, as well as the $1 million donation pledged by the Sloan Foundation for this year's budget, make up about 69% of the Foundation's income so far this fiscal year. Other notable donations, all made last month, include a $20,000 donation from Mr. Ron Unz, and $10,000 donations from the Mitchell Kapor Foundation and the Arlene and Arnold Goldstein Family Foundation.

Similarly to previous fundraisers, the average donation is between $25 and $30. Since July 2008, donations in United States dollars have made up about 60.5% of the total number of contributions, and 22.6% have been made in Euros. The remaining 16.9% were made in fifteen other denominations, including British pounds, Japanese yen, and Canadian and Australian dollars.

A new change to the fundraising form this year suggests donations of $30, $75, or $100, with a textbox marked "other", allowing donors to choose their own amount. At press time, just over 18% of donors (4,217 contributions) had chosen a donation of exactly $30, and about 4.2% of donors (988 contributions) had chosen a donation of exactly $100. Only 1.4% of donors (328 contributions) chose the $75 mark, however.

Also this week:

2008 fundraiser — ArbCom elections — Book review — Search engine — Board resolutions — News and notes — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report

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