Wikimedia Foundation Raises $25M In Donations Over 9 Days

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Wikimedia Foundation announced today that it raised $25 million from more than 1.2 million donors during its 2012 fundraiser, which ran on English-language Wikipedia in five countries (the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand) for nine full days, a decrease in time from Wikipedia’s 2011 fundraiser, which was 46 days and raised $20 million. Another donation drive will be launched in April.

The donations will go toward allowing the online encyclopedia to remain ad-free by giving it the funds needed to maintain server infrastructure, increase the number of editors around the world, improve software and “make Wikipedia accessible globally to billions of people who are just beginning to access the Internet.” More details about Wikimedia’s budget for the current fiscal year can be found in its 2012-2013 Annual Plan.

The announcement also said that there are roughly 80,000 volunteer editors, photographers and free-knowledge advocates that contribute to Wikimedia projects. According to the foundation, Wikipedia now has more than 23 million volunteer-authored articles in over 285 languages, and is visited by more than 475 million people every month. This year has been a busy one for Wikimedia. In March, it began developing Wikidata, the first new project from the Wikimedia Foundation since 2006, which launched in October. The project’s goal is to create a semantic, machine-readable database that can be edited by anyone. Wikidata allows information in Wikipedia articles about the same topic in different languages to be synced with one another, and allows Wikipedia Lists, usually made by users, to be created automatically.

The Wikipedia Foundation also began work on Wikimedia Labs this year. Based on OpenStack, the project allows volunteers to help Wikimedia Lab team members to develop changes in its back-end infrastructure that will help Wikipedia continue to run smoothly.