Why donate to Wikipedia?

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

This month, the Wikimedia Foundation kicks off our annual fundraising efforts in France. Why should you give?

Nonprofit organizations across the world are vibrant and diverse with wide ranging missions and objectives. One thing that ties them together is the goal of fundraising and awareness – something each organization approaches differently. At the Wikimedia Foundation, your generous donations help us maintain our independence, serve our diverse and global community, and––unlike many other major websites––guarantee that Wikipedia will never have to rely on advertising. In short, your donations help keep free knowledge free.

We are grateful to be funded primarily by readers around the world who give an average of €10, responding to appeals in banners and email. Reader donations are the best and most important support that the Wikimedia Foundation receives, because they are a reflection of the value that people feel Wikipedia brings to their lives. These donations have allowed the Foundation to provide the infrastructure, world-class technical engineering, and community support that a top ten global website requires.

Every donation we receive is effectively and transparently spent to support our mission. It is important to know that donations do not fund the editing of Wikipedia by Foundation staff. The Foundation does not write, edit, or determine what content is included on Wikipedia or how that content is maintained––editorial policy is determined by Wikipedia’s global community of volunteer editors who strive to deliver neutral and reliable information and prevent and revert inaccurate information on the site. 

Here are just some of the ways we do use donations to sustain Wikipedia and free knowledge:

Providing international technology infrastructure

Our dedicated engineering staff work to ensure you can securely and quickly access Wikipedia on your preferred device no matter where you are in the world. Donations also ensure people around the world can access Wikipedia in their preferred language. While most major websites support an average of 50–100 languages, Wikipedia supports over 300 and counting.

Supporting community-led projects to increase access to trusted information

We support numerous initiatives and projects, including various volunteer-led events and workshops that enrich content on Wikimedia sites and invite new editors to join. We collaborate with Wikipedia volunteers around the globe to support their ideas and help them bring more free knowledge to the world. Every year, about 10% of our budget is specifically dedicated to supporting community projects that enrich, grow, and improve knowledge on Wikipedia.

Defending and protecting free access to information globally

Our legal team works to protect free knowledge, working to prevent censorship, advocating for free licenses and the reform of copyright laws, as well as defending our volunteers from the threat of reprisal. In addition, while Wikipedia remains an example of the good the internet can provide, governments are looking for new models to curb the influence of larger tech companies. Tech companies that operate in the for-profit area have significant financial resources to respond, but we need the help of our supporters to protect our movement’s efforts from these and other looming challenges. 

Empowering French communities

The Wikimedia Foundation supports and promotes the direct impact our free knowledge projects have on French communities. The French language edition of Wikipedia receives nearly one billion pageviews each month, with half of those views coming from France. Wikimedia Commons, our free media repository, has hundreds of thousands of photos and videos sharing the sites and sounds of France with people around the world – including nearly 20,000 files showcasing the Eiffel Tower. Finally, the Foundation provides support to Wikimedia France, the independent movement affiliate working on the ground in France everyday.

We see the impact of these efforts in the messages we receive from French donors:

“Thank you for your kind return email. I am a grandmother over 70 who loves Wikipedia, it helps me a lot when I want or need to know something important to me.”

“Your work is masterful, universal. A huge thank you for allowing us, indeed, without effort, to access your encyclopedia on a daily basis or nearly. Your appeal for financial support is also useful so as to remind us that we are all members of a common world, a common history.”

“I use Wikipedia almost daily. I have the chance to have free access to the French and English pages, which multiplies the field of possibilities. Wikipedia is a gold mine, long live free knowledge! Thank you for what you do for the good of humanity.”

It takes a village to successfully operate a global free knowledge platform, and your donations help by sustaining Wikipedia and our numerous other open source projects. We hope to keep Wikipedia primarily funded by our readers long into the future. Please consider making a donation to Wikipedia to ensure it continues to thrive and remain independent for years to come.

Read more Donors, Fundraising

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As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.

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