What is Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is an online collection of knowledge written by volunteer editors from every corner of the globe. It is a collaborative creation that has been edited billions of times by millions of people from around the world since it was created in 2001: anyone can edit it, at any time. Volunteer editors collaborate to write articles about virtually any topic, from ancient history to science to the arts. Wikipedia is offered in hundreds of languages containing a total of more than 45 million articles. Wikipedia is completely non-profit, independent, and maintained by everyday people around the world.
How does Wikipedia maintain reliability and neutrality?
Wikipedia's volunteer contributors use reliable sources to support information included in Wikipedia articles, so readers can explore the sources that verify the facts. In order for content to remain on Wikipedia, it must be written from a neutral point of view and attributed to a reliable source. Volunteers collaborate openly and use a variety of mechanisms like bots and monitoring tools to regularly review edits made to Wikipedia and ensure they meet content standards.
Wikipedia is based on an open model, so its content is constantly evolving, growing, and improving over time. Unfortunately, vandalism of Wikipedia articles does occasionally occur. However, the vast majority of editors contribute in good faith and most vandalism on the site is removed quickly, often within minutes, by volunteers.
What is the Wikimedia Foundation?
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia free knowledge websites, and its mission of free knowledge for all. We do this by keeping the Wikimedia sites fast, secure, and available to all, defending Wikipedia and our volunteer editors from legal threats, building new features and tools to make it easy to read, edit, and share knowledge from Wikimedia sites, and by supporting the communities of editors who contribute to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia sites. We also help bring new knowledge online, lower barriers to access, and make it easier for everyone to share what they know.
The Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.
What are the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects you support?
In addition to Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation supports a number of free knowledge projects, including:
- Wikimedia Commons – a freely-licensed repository of images, video, and media files
- Wiktionary – a free, multilingual dictionary
- Wikiquote – a resource of quotations from notable people and creative works
- Wikibooks – a collection of books which includes annotated texts, instructional guides, textbooks, and more
- Wikisource – a collection of primary source materials, as well as translations of source texts
- Wikispecies – a species directory, which covers Animalia, Plantae, Fungi, Bacteria, Archaea, Protista and other forms of life
- Wikinews – a collaborative news resource, where anyone can contribute reports about events around the world
- Wikiversity – an educational repository devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels of education
- Wikidata – a collaborative, multilingual structured database which powers information used across Wikimedia projects
- Wikivoyage – a travel information guide for locations around the world
- MediaWiki – the open source software behind all Wikimedia websites
If I donate to the Wikimedia Foundation, where does my money go?
Donations to the Wikimedia Foundation help sustain free knowledge through Wikipedia and its sister projects for people around the world. Your contributions pay for technology to keep the sites fast, secure, and accessible, for Wikimedia programs and initiatives to expand access and support free knowledge globally, and grants to volunteer contributors to improve and enrich the knowledge on the sites.
Why should I donate?
Wikipedia relies on donations from people around the world. Contributions to the Wikimedia Foundation keep Wikipedia accessible, growing, and improving.
Where can I find more financial information?
The Wikimedia Foundation 2015–16 annual report covers the fiscal year from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016. The Foundation's annual report shares some of the voices of the tens of thousands of people who make the Wikimedia movement possible.
The 2017-2018 Annual Plan describes our budget for the current fiscal year. It contains a summary of our strategic goals, financial details on spending and revenue, and detailed explanations and risk analysis.
How is the Wikimedia Foundation run?
There are roughly 280 staff and contractors at the Wikimedia Foundation, led by Executive Director Katherine Maher. The staff and contractors support the work of the tens of thousands of volunteers who contribute content to the Wikimedia projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is also supported by countless volunteers participating through committees, as interns, or on an ad hoc basis. To read more about the individual departments at the Wikimedia Foundation, please visit our staff and contractors page.
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees articulates the mission and vision of the Wikimedia Foundation, reviews and helps to develop long term plans, provides oversight, and supports the Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising efforts.
In keeping with our commitment to transparency, the Wikimedia Foundation has also published key policies and financial information.
How is the Wikimedia Foundation funded?
The Wikimedia Foundation is funded primarily through
from millions of individuals around the world. The average donation is about $15 USD, but the sheer number of donations we receive have allowed us to continue to serve our mission. Every contribution is valuable, and we are grateful that so many people find value in Wikipedia and want to sustain its future. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts (please see benefactors for more information).
The Wikimedia Foundation has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the United States. Donations made from other nations may also be tax deductible. See tax deductibility for details. Click here for details on how to make a donation via credit or debit card, PayPal, Amazon, and several other methods. If you have any questions, please contact us at donatewikimedia.org.
Why doesn't Wikipedia use ads for revenue?
We are not considering advertising as a source of revenue. We do not believe that advertising belongs in a project devoted to free, reliable, and neutral knowledge. Introducing commercial interests could jeopardize Wikipedia’s reliability as a neutral source of information. Our global volunteer community has always felt that advertising would have a major effect on our ability to stay neutral, and ultimately ads would weaken readers' overall confidence in the articles they read on Wikipedia.
We are not against the world of online advertising, nor are we against other organizations that host ads. We just know ads are not appropriate in a project devoted to education and knowledge – and especially one that strives for balance and neutrality.
What are your plans? Where is this going?
The Wikimedia Foundation’s vision asks us to Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We're serious about this vision. We aspire to not only reach everyone, anywhere in the world, but to include new and diverse voices on Wikipedia. These are some of the activities we're focused on right now:
Operating one the world's largest web properties. At its heart, the Wikimedia Foundation requires operational excellence to continue to keep Wikipedia online and thriving. Our aim is to provide the best possible site experience to everyone in the world, to maximize uptime, and to ensure that all the information in Wikimedia projects is safe and secure.
Photograph: Wikimedia Foundation servers in our Texas hosting facility. (by Victor Grigas CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Providing access to Wikipedia everywhere. We need to make sure that our sites and services support a multi-platform experience, including on mobile. Our work with the Wikipedia Zero program, the program aimed at providing free access to Wikipedia on mobile devices in the Global South, is one of the ways we’re expanding Wikipedia’s reach across the globe.This work is just a start, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to reach more people in more parts of the world.
Photograph: Wikipedia mobile app for Android. (by Sage Ross CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Creating new tools for editors. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible to contribute knowledge, and to give volunteers and readers great tools for assessing and improving article quality. For example, one of our latest tools, the Content Translation Tool, has been used to translate more than 30,000 new articles on Wikipedia.
Video: Demonstration of Content Translation Tool. (by Pau Giner CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Supporting outreach and community initiatives worldwide. With the Wikimedia community, we support and develop a variety of events, initiatives, and outreach campaigns around the world. Some are targeted at bringing in new volunteers; some give the community space to reflect and further improve their work. Recognizing the value of people coming together because they are passionate about Wikimedia's mission has been key to our success.
Photograph: Wikimania 2015. (by Diego Delso CC-BY-SA 4.0)
Informing our decision-making with facts and data. The Wikimedia Foundation Statistics Portal provides a wealth of up-to-date research that helps us understand the impact of our work. Research projects provide us with in-depth analysis and experiments, supported by the volunteer-driven Research Committee. Analytics, research, experiments, and forecasts are essential to make good decisions in a complex environment like Wikimedia.
Photograph: Wikimedia Foundation monthly metrics meeting. (by Fabrice Florin CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Everything we do at the Foundation is aimed at providing you, and the rest of the world, with free and immediate access to all the world's knowledge. Join us!
Are you associated with WikiLeaks?
No. The Wikimedia Foundation and Wikipedia have no affiliation with WikiLeaks. Although both use the term "wiki" in their name, they have always been completely separate and unaffiliated.
The word “wiki” refers to a website built using collaborative editing software. Hundreds of organizations and projects also use the term with no affiliation to Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation, including wikiHow and WikiEducator.
Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation’s history predates and is independent from WikiLeaks. Wikipedia was founded in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales, while WikiLeaks was founded in October 2006 by Julian Assange. Wikipedia is developed by thousands of volunteers from around the world with support from the United States based nonprofit organization Wikimedia Foundation.
How will you use the funds if donations exceed the goal?
We recently reached our $25 million December goal! We are overwhelmed and grateful for this support. Additional funds raised in December will help accelerate our work and enable us to embark on some important new projects. The work includes improving Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata, both of which power parts of Wikipedia; adding another caching center to our servers to make Wikipedia faster for more users, increasing support for projects to improve community health, funding strategic research and consultation, and investing in an independent endowment (which is separate from the Wikimedia Foundation) to protect Wikipedia for the future.
How can I donate via debit or credit card?
To donate using any major credit or debit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express), PayPal, bank transfer, Amazon, and many other methods; please visit our Ways to Give page. Our donation options support many (although not all) currencies.
What other options exist to allow me to donate?
Alternative ways to donate to the Wikimedia Foundation include:
Why does the Wikimedia Foundation accept Bitcoin?
The Wikimedia Foundation, as a donor-driven organization, has a fiduciary duty to be responsible and prudent with its money, while striving to provide as many methods of donating as possible. Our donors indicated that they were interested in supporting us through Bitcoin, so after some initial research, we set up a method to accept those donations. You can also read our blog post for more information about donating via Bitcoin.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
Please refer to the information on tax-deductibility for the details of tax-deductions and tax receipts.
Why is there a minimum donation?
Our donations range widely in size, and we try to offer as low a minimum as possible. The minimum donation is helpful in deterring unauthorized uses of financial information.
What is your refund policy?
If for any reason you wish to have your donation refunded, please contact us via email at donatewikimedia.org. We will need the following information in order to process your refund:
- Date of donation (All refund requests must be made within 90 days of donation)
- Amount donated (Donations above USD $10,000 are considered major donations and are subject to the applicable grant agreement between the Foundation and the donor)
- Full name
- Payment method used (credit card, PayPal, check etc.-- please do not include credit card numbers in your email)
- Country of origin
- Reason for the refund
Please note that some payment methods may not support refunds, or require refunds to be made through the payment method (card) utilized, so additional information may be required to process your refund. All refunds will be processed as quickly as possible, but processing times may vary depending on the payment method.
We can only refund Bitcoin donations in Bitcoin. Because we do not store Bitcoins, refunds will be calculated based on the U.S. Dollar amount we received via instant exchange at the time of the donation, using our payment processor's Bitcoin sell rate when the refund is issued. The Wikimedia Foundation is not responsible for any change in value based on fluctuating exchange rates.
What can I do to help you spread the word of Wikipedia?
Spread the word any way you can! Tell your friends, family, and peers what Wikipedia means to you. Ask them if they use it and if so, what it means to them. You can also connect with our social media channels below and share Wikimedia stories with your network.
How can I contact the Foundation?
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us. For donation questions you can email donatewikimedia.org.