Financial sustainability

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As the size and scope of Wikimedia’s projects have grown, so too has the resource requirements to support the technology infrastructure and conduct activities that depend on paid staff (e.g., communications, fundraising). These additional costs have been supported principally by donations from the Community and supporters. Growth of both costs and revenues has occurred in the absence of a clearly defined business model.

This page compiles some ideas on possible revenue models for Wikimedia going forward. There is also a Financial Sustainability Task Force that is exploring the following questions:

  1. What revenue streams could support Wikimedia in an ongoing, sustainable manner (i.e. grants, licensing, reciprocal agreements)? This includes in-kind streams (e.g. free bandwidth, free servers).
  2. What business model options are available for Wikimedia to pursue to cover its costs? What can we learn from other organizations that have pursued these models?
  3. Should Wikimedia create an endowment, if so what will those funds be used for?
  4. What would it take in terms of capacity and capabilities for Wikimedia to pursue each business model? Which group, Foundation or Chapters, should own each part of the business model and how should they interact?
  5. Which models are most appropriate given the Wikimedia Foundation's mission and the strengths of the community?
  6. Who is needed to support this strategy (e.g., Wikimedia Foundation, chapters, individual volunteers, external partners), and what do they need to do?

Please add thoughts, comments, and additional information!

Potential Revenue Models

Include some references to comparable models here.

Bridgespan's analysis of ten most common funding models in the nonprofit sector

Comparable Models

For a summary comparison, see nonprofit revenue comparison.

Community Discussion