Donations FAQ

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Why should I donate to the Wikimedia Foundation?

The job of the Wikimedia Foundation is to provide easy access to information, for people all over the world—free of charge, and free of advertising. As a non-profit, it is dependent on your help to do that. Your donations directly support some of the most popular collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world's top ten most popular websites and the largest encyclopedia ever compiled in human history.

What do you plan to do with my donation?

We need your support to keep our projects online: to pay for servers, bandwidth, staff salaries, office space, and other necessities. To see how your donations are spent, you can review our Annual Plan for the Fiscal Year 2008-2009.

We also want to focus more attention on program development, particularly in communities that have little or no access to educational resources. Here are just a few ways in which we put your donations to good use:

  • Wikipedia Academy: Last year we held two Wikipedia Academies in South Africa with the hope of increasing the number of Wikipedians contributing in African languages. The Academies are public events designed to encourage people to write for Wikipedia. The Academies are usually dedicated to a single subject area (for instance, mathematics) or a particular language that is underrepresented on Wikipedia. This year, academies will be held, with the help of our local chapter organizations, in Berlin, Germany (June 20-21), Wrocław, Poland (September), and Lund, Sweden (November 12-13). more information
  • Quality Initiatives: The Wikimedia Foundation and the communities of all Wikimedia projects are deeply committed to developing educational content of the highest quality and reliability. We are supporting the development of quality assurance and testing technologies, and the development of social and technical interfaces with expert communities. more information
  • Improvements to User-Friendliness. Wikipedia and its sister projects are the result of the work of thousands of volunteers across the world. By keeping the barriers to participation low, we have been able to build some of the largest knowledge repositories in history. But contributing to Wikipedia is still harder than it needs to be: technical barriers exclude large segments of the population who have knowledge to share. By systematically improving the usability of our projects, and broadening the ways in which people can contribute, we want to make Wikipedia as easy to participate in, as it is to read.
  • Education in Developing Countries: Educational programs in developing countries use our content in phenomenal ways. Our material is available around the world on DVDs and books, and installed on low-cost laptops through the One Laptop Per Child program (see the WikiBrowse project). As an organization, we need the capacity to work with third parties in the development of and distribution of offline versions of educational content. We also provide downloadble offline copies and database archives of Wikipedia content.
  • Supporting Language Diversity: Wikipedia editions exist in more than 250 languages. In many of them, only a few reference sources are available, such as Maori (an Eastern Polynesian language spoken in New Zealand), Swahili (a Bantu language used in sub-Saharan Africa), Upper Sorbian (a Slavic language spoken in eastern Germany), and Basque (spoken in north-central Spain and southwestern France). We want to give every language community on Earth the opportunity to create its own encyclopedia, and we plan to actively support outreach efforts and software localization work to reach people speaking all languages.
  • Building a global movement for free knowledge: The international Wikimedia community, supported by local chapter organizations in more than 15 countries, is united in a commitment to bringing free educational content to the world. There is no other comparable social movement in the world today, and your donation will help us to grow and thrive.

To keep up with our progress, please take a look at the official Wikimedia Foundation blog. And, to experiment with the latest technologies from our open source laboratories, please visit Wikimedia Labs.

How do I donate?

To donate, please visit our fundraising page. You can donate using any major credit card (including VISA, Mastercard, Discover or American Express), PayPal, Moneybookers, bank transfer, or by sending a cheque to the Foundation. Our donation options support most (although not all) currencies.

Where do I send cheques?

Send cheques to:

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 98204
Washington, DC 20090-8204
USA
Note: donations by check are processed directly at our centralized lockbox location which is in Washington, DC.

Our preference is for cheques in U.S. dollars, drawn on U.S. bank accounts. Cheques in currencies other than U.S. dollars, or from bank accounts outside the U.S., can be very expensive for us to process, which reduces the value of your gift. If you do not have a U.S. bank account, you can maximize the value of your donation by giving via Paypal or wire transfer.

Are my donations tax-deductible?

Donations to the Wikimedia Foundation are tax-deductible in the United States. Canadian citizens may also deduct their contribution on any income earned in the United States. If you live outside of the United States, you can request a receipt for a donation but we cannot guarantee that it will be tax deductible in your country.

If I make a donation, how do I get my tax receipt?

Anyone who donates $100 or more will receive a tax receipt as long as their contact information was included with the donation. You may request a tax receipt for a smaller amount by sending an e-mail to donate(at)wikimedia(dot)org (please include your contact information, the method you used to donate, and the amount of your donation).

Can I give you a targeted or restricted donation to be used for something very specific?

Charities based in the United States, including the Wikimedia Foundation, are required to honor restrictions requested by donors. This means that if you specify your donation needs to be restricted for a specific use, we will either honor your request or return your donation. But before you decide to do that, please consider that unrestricted donations are much more useful for us. Every restriction imposes administrative overhead and planning costs, and increases internal complexity.

If I can’t afford to donate, or don’t want to, what else can I do to support the Foundation?

There are many ways to show your support. Your time is just as important as a monetary contribution. For instance, you can teach a friend to edit Wikipedia or upload some of your photos to Commons under a free content license.

What can I do to help you spread the word?

Spread the word any way you can! Tell your friends and family. Put buttons and banners on your blog. Use this text as the sig file on the bottom of your e-mails:

Your donations keep Wikipedia running! Support the Wikimedia Foundation today:
http://www.wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

What does the Wikimedia Foundation do to ensure that my personal information is protected?

We are serious about protecting the privacy rights of our donors. Please see our Donor Privacy Policy.