Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2022-11-28/News and notes

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News and notes

English Wikipedia editors: "We don't need no stinking banners"

Auditing the fundraising banners

Last month, we reported on discontent with fundraising on Wikipedia. It all came to a head this month, as a widely-participated "Request for Comment" survey rejected the current plans for the fundraising campaign. Luckily for us, given this all happened three days before publication, the closing admin, Joe Roe, provided a thoughtful, nuanced summary of the dispute and decision:

Maryana Iskander, Chief Executive officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, gave a detailed response to this, quoted below:

I'm sure we'll have an update of some sort next month as well. It's a bit inevitable once the fundraising campaign starts. Hopefully, though, it'll be entirely positive. – AC

WMF releases Fundraising Report and audited financial statements for 2021–2022 year

In related news, the Wikimedia Foundation this month published its –

Note that the Wikimedia Foundation's financial year runs from July 1 to June 30.

Fundraising Report

In 2021–2022, the Wikimedia Foundation took $165,232,309 USD from over 13 million individual donations, an increase of more than $10 million over the year prior. $58 million, or 35.1% of the donations total, was brought in by banner campaigns on Wikipedia. The breakdown was as follows:

2021–2022: Donations breakdown.
2021–2022: Donations breakdown.

For comparison, the donations total in 2020–2021 was $154,763,121 raised from over 7.7 million donors (a different way of counting was used this year), with banner campaigns bringing in $57.3 million, or 37% of the total.

As in 2020–2021, the Wikimedia Foundation ran a fundraising campaign in India this financial year (see previous Signpost coverage; note that while the 2021 Indian fundraising campaign was cancelled, the 2020 campaign was not held in the spring but in August, thus falling into the 2020–2021 financial year).

Consolidated Financial Statements

The Financial Statements reported an unusual situation: for the first time in its history, the Wikimedia Foundation reported a negative investment income: –$12 million. Investment income had been positive at +$4.4 million in 2020–2021 and +$5.5 million in 2019–2020. At the time of writing, the Wikimedia Foundation had not responded to questions about the precise circumstances responsible for the negative result.

  • Total support and revenue was $155 million (a decrease by $8 million compared to the year prior, with the negative investment result cancelling out the increase in donations).
  • Total expenses were $146 million (an increase of $34 million, or 30.5%, over the year prior). Some key expenditure items:
    • Salaries and wages rose to $88 million (an increase of $20 million, or 30%, over the year prior).
    • Professional service expenses: $17 million.
    • Awards and grants: $15 million.
    • Other operating expenses: $12 million.
    • Internet hosting: $2.7 million.
  • Net assets at end of year increased by $8 million to $239 million (net assets increased by $51 million in the year prior). Interestingly, the third-quarter (January–March 2022) Tuning Session presentation published by Finance & Administration in May 2022 still forecast a net asset increase of $25.9 million for the year.

For the 2022–2023 financial year, the Annual Plan envisages an increase in both income and expenditure to $175 million, representing a planned increase in revenue by $20 million and a planned increase in expenses by $29 million (20%, more than twice the rate of inflation) compared to the year prior (total expenses in 2021–2022 were $146 million).

According to the minutes of the June 2022 Wikimedia Foundation board meeting, WMF board members and executives looking ahead at the 2022–2023 financial year now underway anticipated "moderate growth in terms of staffing. Next year, the fundraising team will be increasing targets in each of their major streams, with a particular focus in Major Gifts." – AK

Brief notes

The results of the Wikimedia Summit 2022 participant feedback survey are available on Commons.