Draft Annual Report 04-05-06

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This is the draft text (not images) of the Annual Report 04-05-06. A mockup of the document in PDF is here


About the cover:


This is an image of the effects of central pivot irrigation on farmland in Finney County, Kansas. Efficient distribution of water conserves aquifer levels while increasing crop yield. The aesthetic beauty of these patterns is not visible on the ground, but rather only from high altitude.

Message from Jimmy Wales

When Wikipedia was launched in January, 2001, a small group of people with a belief in community and a hope for the future of free culture began an experiment. Now, almost six years later, that project has grown into one of the most popular internet sites in the world. Wikipedia is now a cultural phenomenon.

With that growth has of course come change. In 2003, Wikipedia needed a legal structure, and the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. was formed. With the publication of this document, another chapter of Wikimedia Foundation’s history has been completed. While still maturing, we are now a full-fledged charitable organization, with audited financial statements, a Board of Trustees, and a growing paid professional staff.

In time, more chapters will be written. As we expand and touch more lives around the world, the information and programs we develop will continue to cost money. You can help.

We invite you to join us in our collaboration.

Jimmy Wales

Message from Florence Devouard, Wikimedia Board Chair

Report of Brad Patrick, Interim Executive Director

Wikimedia Foundation is a young organization experiencing great cultural success and phenomenal growth, but with challenges to overcome to increase operational performance and achieve institutional sustainability.

My, how you’ve grown!

From the founding of Wikipedia in January, 2001, and the incorporation of the Wikimedia Foundation in June, 2003, our growth has been staggering. We now host more than 225 projects in over 120 languages. The English-language Wikipedia, our first project, has expanded from 135 thousand articles at the time of incorporation to 1.5 million articles today. 12 other languages boast Wikipedias of over 100,000 articles of their own. Overall, our projects have more than 7.8 million pages, 2.2 million images, and 5 million registered accounts.

Growth in articles in all Wikipedias


Wikimedia – it’s more than just Wikipedia!

WMF supports more than just Wikipedia. Wikimedia Commons, the repository of free images and other media, recently surpassed 1 million images. Wiktionary, the free dictionary, has 8 dictionaries with more than 50,000 entries, three of which have more than 200,000 definitions. Wikisource, an original source repository, is nearing 150,000 pages of content. Wikiquote (quotations), Wikibooks (collaboratively written books), Wikinews (citizen journalism), and Wikiversity (curriculum development) all continue to grow along the same trendline.

Growth in popularity

Wikipedia has enjoyed stratospheric growth over the last three years. By any presently available measure, Wikipedia and its sister projects are some of the most highly ranked and heavily viewed sites on the Internet.

alexa graph

Traffic Report

Our growth in traffic has followed this trend. Comscore recently listed “Wikipedia Sites” as the number six site in the world, measured by unique visitors. Wikipedia, our flagship website, receives about 285 thousand page views per minute, and this number doubles about every four months. Based on present projections, over the coming year we will need to triple the number of servers and the bandwidth now used. The WMF is concerned about the capitalization and operational commitments necessary to keep these systems running reliably. These costs alone will exceed $2.5 million dollars in the coming year.

  • Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes, mobile phones or PDA access.

Hardware Expenditures

The single greatest expenditure for WMF is hardware, followed by hosting and bandwidth costs. The future costs for acquiring new hardware continue to mount. The WMF has seen its inventory of computer hardware increase steadily to meet demand. As the chart shows, expenditures for servers have increased accordingly.

Donations by Country

WMF receives donations from more than 50 countries around the world. Many people support WMF anonymously. Not surprisingly, most of the donations which support WMF come from English-speaking countries (US, UK, Canada, Australia).

Donations by Currency


Where support comes from

WMF has sought to maximize the benefit of its online presence to generate financial support. This has meant WMF receives donations from tens of thousands of people around the world, with a relatively small average donation. Additionally, WMF receives the majority of its donations from individuals who wish to remain anonymous.

How it is spent

The lion’s share of WMF expenditures support our programs. Foremost are our expenses for the hardware and bandwidth that keep our websites up and running. Due to the increase in office staff, administrative costs increased. Overall, however, the allocation of expenses for fundraising is low, due to WMF’s reliance on online donations for the majority of its revenue. WMF does not engage in “direct mail” terrestrial advertising campaigns. Given WMF’s position online, it makes sense to communicate and ask for donations in the same virtual space. To date, it has been effective.

In the three years of WMF’s existence, the Foundation’s functional expense allocation has been to support programs directly. The most significant fundraising expense is transaction fees.

chart of functional expense allocation

pie chart of expenditures


WMF is unique in the world in that so much is accomplished by unpaid volunteers and so few paid staff. For the Foundation to be strong and capable of managing growth from this point forward, more internal staff are necessary.

chart of employee growth


Wikimedia Foundation is experiencing tremendous popularity and extraordinary participation among millions of people around the world. To support this pattern of massive increases of participants and projects, WMF must invest heavily in technological and human infrastructure. For the Foundation to sustain itself and remain at the helm of the free culture movement in the coming years, WMF must continue to invest in hardware, software, and people. WMF has tremendous potential. How we face our challenges will depend on our ability to support the people who make our work possible.

Report of Michael Davis, Wikimedia Treasurer

Financial Statements

insert financial statements (big numbers) with reference to complete audit report as separate attachment



Head shots, name, title, country for Board members and Staff

Back Cover