Answers archive/February 2012

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Finance: Where do donations come from?

The Huffington Post wrote on February 6 that Wikipedia donors are most likely to be from India: [1]. Is that true? Where do most donors live? Where does most of the money come from?

Wikipedia and the other projects rely on the generosity of donors from all over the world. In 2011, money was donated from over 200 different countries. Donors from India have certainly been generous in their support, with 39,000 people investing in the mission. However, India is not the country that produces the most donors to support Wikipedia and its sister projects.

It seems that this misunderstanding may arise from some confusion about a recent survey. The Wikimedia Foundation surveyed readers, not donors, and the readers who responded were asked about their willingness to donate. In their responses, readers from India (42%) expressed the strongest interest in donating to Wikipedia. This does not, however, reflect the actual demographic distribution of donors to the movement.

In 2011, most of the donors to support the movement were located in the United States of America, with 535,666 people donating. Other countries with a high number of donors - over 39,000 - include Germany (more than 160,000), Italy (77,200), Canada (58.141), Australia (43,857), the United Kingdom (more than 45,000), and Russia (42,693). The United States is also the country that donates the largest amount of money, with donations totaling $14,398,721 USD in 2011. Germany was second in dollar amount. While all of the figures may not yet be in for the fundraiser that was held at the end of the year, as of this writing their total tally for 2011 is $5,430,724 USD. Also filling out the top five were the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, where donations totaled $1,682,151 USD, $1,345,933 USD and $1,334,899, respectively.

(Thanks to the Head of Annual Fundraiser Megan Hernandez for her assistance with this response. Dollar amounts are taken from the still evolving chart "2010-2011 Fundraiser by Country". Numbers are preliminary and may change, as not all bank transfers and checks have been tallied. Precise figures for numbers of donors throughout the year are not currently available for some areas where local chapters conducted fundraising, but in Germany and the United Kingdom the numbers known exceed 39,000.)

While certain countries may have greater numbers of donors and may collect higher amounts, the Wikimedia Foundation recognizes and appreciates the contributions of individuals everywhere. Its mission is global, and its supporters are global as well; whether one donor in Djibouti or 6,500 in Poland, $5 USD in Tonga or $748,258 USD in Japan, every donor and every dollar represents commitment to our shared dream of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. --Maggie Dennis 13:47, 16 February 2012 (UTC)