Proposal:Wikipedia Fund

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Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

Edit this page to help identify the priorities related to this proposal!

  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


An Ongoing Public/Open Fund for financing Wikipedia instead of the annual fund raising drives held each year. A continued 5 year fund raising effort with a much larger target than the current ones to raise an endowment fund like a university or institution.


Wikimedia Foundation might classify as an International Nongovernmental organization (INGO) with presence and volunteers across many countries. Fund raising events and similar Fund raising projects can be started in different countries with collaboration from local organization/institutions like the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Guggenheim etc. the former which provided a venue for Wikimania 2008 free of charge, event like that could be conducted all across the world with auctions etc. to raise funds. The largest difference between the current strategy for fund raising vs. the one I would like to propose differs solely on the establishment of a large fund similar to a financial endowment of a university (only suggested as a model to replicate, though not run like one or classified as one for any legal or financial purpose), possibly larger than $100 million instead of the current years $10 million target. This Fund would have to remain open for a few years instead of the annual drive and would feature ongoing promotion through a strong web presence like Facebook, Youtube etc. as most of their current users also use Wikipedia extensively. Commercial Wikipedia apps and widget could be considered to contribute directly to the fund. A re-branding strategy could be undertaken to give Wikipedia a new look before the funding drive, I suggest changing Wikipedia description from "A FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA" to "A LIVING ENCYCLOPEDIA" which would be a much apt description today than what it was when it was conceived.

A smaller Fund dedicated solely to cover the hosting cost could also be considered separately, since keeping Wikipedia is the highest priority and most other efforts are community oriented, this fund would exclude all other cost associated with Wikipedia not directly related to hosting. Bandwidth, hardware or other resources could be directly donated by sponsors who would be mentioned and thanked for their contribution instead of direct monetary donations. The hosting or tech fund would be much smaller than the original one proposed above, little more than a tenth of it.

Collaborations could be sought from local institutions and chapters to possibly engage and solicit governmental grants directly or indirectly. Like the Wikipedia, collaborative efforts should be at the center of Wikimedia foundations funding.

Further and more creative alternatives could also be considered for funding, from organizing large events with proceeds going directly to the fund. Wikipedia has made considerable contributions in the lives of many students, professional and researchers, people who might be in a position currently when they may return the favor, who can donate their time and talents for such events like celebrities or musicians.

Corporate donations and sponsorship is another venue where funding can be sought. the only thing required is to make them aware of the opportunity and keep the fund open for as long as possible til they consider their tax deductible donations for the year and see firsthand the instantly visible benefit and recognition it would bring them, something like a Thank you page could be established where users can comment and thank the respective benefactor personally.


The current act of annual fund raising is very hard to maintain, where cost are ballooning at a very fast pace. The current strategy of relying on annual donations to maintain servers suits many small user supported websites and communities that have to raise fund every few months not an international organization the caliber of Wikipedia with chapters all across the world and a loyal following of millions of contributors and users. the proposed fund would solve the funding worries for the foundation in the near short term so it can focus on other activities.

New avenues might open up for funding if the contributions were for one time fund to make Wikipedia self-sufficient. Most Benefactors would be more interested in contributing if their efforts and support mattered in the long run or acknowledged for a long time instead of the next year when another round of fund raising and more benefactors would be needed. One time contributions from large institutions, universities or charities would matter in the long run, direct or indirect government grant or corporate contributions might also be available if it was a one time effort even small donations from individuals in the name of someone close(like a scholarship) would matter more if it was to exist and be acknowledged for years to come rather than be forgotten by the next drive.

Key Questions

the key strategic discussion here is the exact size and the nature of the fund, how much would be required to maintain operations, provisions for future cost increases, how the money is to invested and where exactly etc.. It has to have a similar structure as a university endowment so that Wikipedia might become self-sufficient.

Potential Costs

the Fund would have to be larger than a $100 million, a seemingly large number but in contrast to annual expenses of roughly $10 million dollars for the current year is not as large, if the donations are kept open for the next five years with continued support it is possible. It is imperative to consider further cost increases and as such the fund should have provisions for further increases. the money can be invested in a number of secure debt instruments, banks or provided to third parties for management with separate funds maintained for technical and administrative expenses. Needless to say a great deal of planning and discussion would be required to formulate a complete framework.


I have another proposal about re-branding ideas for Wikipedia that could be considered in collaboration with the above one. [[1]]

Community Discussion

Do you have a thought about this proposal? A suggestion? Discuss this proposal by going to Proposal talk:Wikipedia Fund.

Theo10011 17:45, 23 September 2009 (UTC)Theo10011

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