Wikipedia Still $1M Short Of Fundraising Goal For 2010 (And Why I Donated)

It’s the last day of the year, according to the Gregorian calendar at least, which prompted me to do some research on how well Wikipedia’s fundraising efforts for 2010 were going. As you may have heard, the Wikimedia Foundation is trying to scrape together $16 million from user and supporter donations to fund its strategic plans for 2011 (PDF).

The contribution campaign, starring Wikipedia founder Jimmy ‘Jimbo’ Wales in a prominent role, was kicked off around November 13, 2010, and has so far brought in $15 million according to the banner that appears on top of Wikipedia articles these days.

Or has it?

Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia (and other free knowledge projects), is keeping a nice public Fundraiser Statistics page, which shows the cumulative total raised to date is actually just north of $13 million. We’re not sure where the discrepancy lies, but according to the Wikipedia Twitter account there was $2 million left to raise on December 29, so we suspect the stats tool provides an inaccurate estimate.

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Either way, Wikimedia’s fundraising goal hasn’t been reached yet, although we should note that this is by far the most money the organization has ever raised from contributors – they netted just over $6 million in 2009 (according to Wikipedia, ha).

We should also note that the goal wasn’t necessarily to bring in $16 million by the end of the year, but to raise that amount in two months, which means there’s still two weeks left.

So why did I donate?

Quite simply because I love Wikipedia, and frequent the site regularly, both on my desktop computer and from my mobile phone. I realize that I’m hardly the only one visiting Wikipedia and appreciating it for being both exhaustive and free, but what prompted me to donate to keep it gratis is also because I actually enjoy Wikipedia. It’s not only a source of knowledge for me, but also a form of entertainment of some sorts.

I’ve spent countless hours on the site this year clicking from one article to the next, and I genuinely love getting lost in there.

My latest revelation: actor Josh James Brolin (No Country For Old Men, American Gangster, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) was actually the guy who played the older brother character in the 80’s-classic flick The Goonies (whoa – I had no idea).

Is Wikipedia perfect? By all means, no, but that’s not the point. I couldn’t imagine a world without it, and having an answer to the majority of my questions a mere click away.

All that – and, I confess, Wales’ begging eyes – is what made me donate to Wikimedia, and why you should at the very least consider doing it too.