How Wikipedia Makes Money & Exists

By Erik Qualman

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A popular question these days is how does Wikipedia make money?  First of all, Wikipedia isn’t in the business of making money.  The quick answer is that they function similar to National Public Radio (NPR).  There are some much more in-depth answers on the Web and Wikipedia FAQs, but here is a synopsis:

  • Wikipedia employs less than 35 employees – 1/2 of which work on Technology and a large majority of the authors concentrate on fundraising
  • Visited by more than 330 million people every month, making it the number five most-popular site in the world
  • Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit that helps support Wikipedia and other popular collaboratively-edited reference projects in the world
  • Wikipedia is budgeting $9.4 million in expenses, and an annual operating reserve of $1.2 million for 2009 for a total of $10.6 million
  • Most of the donations come from individuals, but major benefactors ($50,000) include Alan Bauer,
    Bing, The Hellman Family Foundation
  • Wikipedia accepts donations by credit card, check, stock transfer, etc.  The minimum donation is $1 for security reasons (fraudulent entities often run tests for small donations to see if they can capture credit card information)

Wikipeida Makes Money thru Donations

Whether you donate to Wikipedia is up to you.  I have donated because I really can’t imagine a world without it.  That would be a huge step backward for society. You can donate by clicking here – after you donate if you like you can post a statement that runs as a banner across the top of the Wikipedia page about why you donated.  The donation in many countries is tax-deductible. If just 4% of the U.S. population donated a $1 they would be well over their goal.  Remember what a full Encyclopedia set used to cost from the door-to-door salesman?

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