This month, the Wikimedia Foundation — the global nonprofit that makes knowledge free and accessible to everyone around the world — kicks off a series of fundraising campaigns on Wikipedia in India, Latin America, and South Africa. Fundraising messages will appear on Wikipedia articles for readers in these regions, asking them to consider contributing with a donation.
You may see these messages and wonder why we are running these fundraising campaigns and how donations to Wikipedia are used.
Wikipedia is the world’s only major website run by a nonprofit organization: the Wikimedia Foundation. Our charitable mission ensures everyone can access and share knowledge for free. Wikipedia is not a commercial website driven by profit or advertising incentives. Instead, it is supported by donations from readers like you.
Donations to Wikipedia help support the Wikimedia Foundation in ensuring free knowledge projects grow and thrive. While many know Wikipedia because they regularly use it to find answers to topics from the fun to the serious, few contemplate the large infrastructure required to sustain a website that gets 18 billion visits a month. Reader donations strengthen Wikipedia’s long-term independence from ads and corporate interests; keep it secure and safe from bad actors; protect it from interference and censorship; and help the Foundation support the global Wikimedia volunteer community who create and maintain Wikipedia and free knowledge projects; among many other things.
Further, we know that Wikipedia readers and contributors in India, Latin America, and South Africa are an integral part of the global Wikimedia ecosystem. These fundraising campaigns aim to ensure they can continue to access and contribute to Wikipedia for years to come.
- India. Last month, readers in India visited Wikipedia more than 767 million times, the fifth highest number of views from any country. India also has the third-highest number of active volunteer editors (5,000 each month).
Over the last several years, many projects were funded by the Wikimedia Foundation to help the Indian communities thrive and grow. These include Wiki Loves Butterfly, a project to increase the amount of free license materials regarding available butterfly species of eastern and north-eastern part of India, as well as developing the quality and quantity of Wikipedia articles on butterflies in this region.
Additionally, since 2012, we have funded CIS-A2K (Centre for Internet and Society – Access to Knowledge), a campaign to catalyze the growth of open knowledge movement in South Asia and in Indic languages.
- Latin America. Fundraising messages for Wikipedia will run in several Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. Combined, readers in these countries visit Wikipedia over 772 million times each month — using the online encyclopedia to learn about serious and quirky topics alike.
With support from the Wikimedia Foundation, the Latin American volunteer community has led some incredible projects: ranging from expanding the Wikimedia movement in Peru with a focus on ecology, culture and gender, to Wiki meets Sustainable Fashion, an effort to both expand Wikipedia’s Spanish language coverage of sustainable fashion and to close Wikipedia’s gender gap by creating articles for the foremost female leaders in the field.
Additionally, a collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank and Wikimedia Argentina, supported by the Foundation, is helping young people in Latin America and the Caribbean strengthen their digital literacy and 21st century skills.
- South Africa. People in South Africa visit Wikipedia about 68 million times each month, the most of any country in Africa. With many thanks to the efforts of Wikimedia South Africa, a recognized chapter of the Wikimedia movement, nine of South Africa’s 11 official languages are represented on Wikipedia. Last year, Wikimedia South Africa collaborated with the Foundation and the local creative community on the campaign #WikipediaByUs, which celebrates the power of knowledge and everyone’s right to access, create, and share knowledge.
Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects belong to everyone—they are built for and by you. From readers to editors, we all have a stake in preserving and telling the stories of our history, our culture, and the intriguing and notable people who have shaped our world. We recognize that not everyone has the ability or means to donate. For those unable to support financially, all that we ask is that you continue to seek us out as the world’s largest free knowledge resource.
For those who can support us, your donations will help continue to strengthen and sustain the systems that make Wikipedia possible, and ensure the free knowledge movement can grow and thrive. Our mission is to make sure free knowledge is available to the world, for everyone, everywhere.
We are able to make this commitment thanks to the tremendous generosity of past and present donors, and the incredible work of the global Wikimedia volunteer communities—but our work is not done. There is so much more knowledge in the world, and so many more people to reach. If you feel connected to this mission, please visit donate.wikimedia.org to make a contribution today. If you have additional questions, please visit our FAQ.
As Sr. Director of Online Fundraising at the Wikimedia Foundation, Pats Pena leads the strategy and execution for Wikimedia’s digital donation experience.