Gift policy

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This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.
It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by Wikimedia Foundation officers or staff nor local policies of any Wikimedia project.

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Please also see the Donor Privacy Policy.

This policy was approved by the board in 2007–2008 with Resolution:Gift Policy and Resolution:Update of Gift Policy - January 2008.


This policy defines the basic guidelines governing Wikimedia Foundation’s acceptance and acknowledgment of gifts and grants to further its mission of encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge.


Types of Gifts

The Wikimedia Foundation will accept the following:

  • Cash and cash-equivalent gifts, offered without condition, of up to $100,000.
  • Publicly traded securities, which will be liquidated upon receipt.

The Wikimedia Foundation may accept the following, subject to the other provisions of this policy:

  • Real estate, subject to title search and environmental audit. Real estate will be sold within two years of donation. Minimum value of a gift of real estate must be $1 million.
  • Other assets, including but not limited to stock in closely held businesses, patents, stock options, collectibles such as artwork, manuscripts and copyrighted works, stamps, coins, and memorabilia, provided that the minimum value of such gifts, in themselves or as part of a larger gift, is $1 million.

Restricted Gifts

  • Cash and cash-equivalent gifts, offered without condition, of more than $100,000.

The Wikimedia Foundation encourages donors to make unrestricted gifts. Restricted gifts may be accepted for particular purposes or projects, as specified by the Foundation. When a donor wishes to make a restricted gift, that donor shall determine gift parameters in advance with the Wikimedia Foundation. Such parameters may include the following:

  • Donation amount and type
  • Restrictions and designation
  • Gift date
  • Distribution term
  • Reporting requirements
  • Provisions for disposition of gifts when the purpose or project terminates or becomes impossible to achieve.

Accepting Gifts/Private Grants -- Board Approval

Approval from the Board of Trustees is required to accept gifts/private grants to the Foundation which:

  • are valued in excess of $100,000;
  • do not conform with approved Foundation policies; or
  • obligate the Foundation to expenditures or costs for which there is no established fund source.

The Foundation may accept all pledges and gifts/private grants that do not require Board approval per subsections 1-3 of this section (C). The Foundation reserves the right to refuse any gift. The Foundation reviews gift offers to ensure that the terms are in conformity with Foundation policy and do not unduly restrict the usefulness or desirability of the gift.


Donors may commit to future gifts ("pledges"), which the Foundation will generally treat as gifts of cash. A donor who commits to a future gift of $100,000 or more may sign a Wikimedia Foundation pledge agreement.

Required Accompanying Documentation

Electronic donations made on the Foundation website need no further indication of donative intent. All other gifts must be clearly identified as gifts by the donor. Checks may be accompanied by a declaration of donor's intent. In-kind donations such as computer or office equipment may be accompanied by a declaration of donor's intent, and delivery should be arranged with Foundation staff. Gifts must also be accompanied by other documentation as required by applicable state and federal law. Endowments must be accompanied by a statement in writing from the donor, which must:

  • express the donor's intent to make a gift;
  • describe the gift;
  • declare the irrevocability of the transfer;
  • if the donor wishes, designate the purpose(s) for which the gift is to be used;
  • authorize the Foundation to:
  • combine the endowment with other funds for investment purposes;
  • transfer the income to the principal;
  • authorize the Executive Director to identify a new purpose if the original purpose is no longer valid, and to transfer funds to other Foundation priorities;

Determining Value of Gift

The dollar amount of a gift/private grant shall be the amount of cash actually received; or, if in the form of a pledge, the full amount pledged; or the equivalent to the fair market value of securities or other property. The valuation of stock depends upon the date of its receipt.

Conflicts of Interest

There may be a conflict of interest if the acceptance of a gift is placed in a fund in which the recipient retains control of expenditures (e.g., if an employee or Board member makes a gift in support of a project or department the employee or Board member administers). All such gifts should be assigned to an account over which the Executive Director has signature authorization that is not shared by the designated recipient.

Accepting Gifts of Securities

The Foundation is the official custodian of all securities (e.g., stocks and bonds). When securities are received by any department, that fact should be made known immediately to the Executive Director or to the Chief Financial and Operating Officer.

Accepting Bequests or Devises

All papers and documents relating to probate matters, including notices of hearings, wills, documentary evidence of assets, and forms of receipt for distribution as assets, should be forwarded promptly to the Executive Director or to the Chief Financial and Operating Officer. Acknowledgment of a testamentary gift is generally made after distribution from the estate. In some cases, however, acknowledgment prior to receipt may be appropriate. The Executive Director or the Chief Financial and Operating Officer should be consulted in advance concerning prior acknowledgment of a testamentary gift.

Accepting Gifts-in-Kind

Gifts-in-kind may only be accepted by the Executive Director or by an officer delegated in writing by the Executive Director with the authority to accept such a gift.

Donor Benefits and Constraints

Tax Consequences

The Wikimedia Foundation is unable to offer tax advice to would-be donors. Donors who are concerned about tax-deductibility of donations should consult with their own tax advisers. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization operating under United States law as a Florida corporation.

Naming Opportunities

The Wikimedia Foundation does not normally offer naming opportunities.

Donor Expenses

The Wikimedia Foundation does not typically cover donors' donation-related expenses such as travel, shipping, and appraisals.

See also