Wikipedia is all about creating a collaborative space for recording the history of human knowledge and about our world. A pretty big feat for a humble organization that employs less than 300 individuals. In a fundraising letter from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Wales calls Wikipedia “a special place.” It truly is.
Wikipedia is an NPO (Non-Profit or “Not-for-profit” Organization) run by the Wikimedia Foundation, and is one of 11 free knowledge projects. The Wikimedia Foundation is a completely transparent organization and is willing to shows us, its supporters and its users, what it does with the money received.
In a time when readers are being confused about news that appear “newsy” but only serve to uphold narrow beliefs, Wikipedia’s independence from outside influence, such as advertisers, is an essential part of our democracy. Wikipedia is not against advertisement; however, their organization acknowledges the non-neutral nature that advertisements can provide for readers and for an organization. Running advertisements in a space where free knowledge and education is upheld can easily disrupt the organization’s belief in balance and neutrality.
“Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.” — Jimmy Wales
For this reason, when a Wikipedia page is visited to get much-needed information about that one organization or a reminder of The Bill of Rights, there is a banner requesting donations. Even if the banner may not show, Wikipedia lets us know that the end of the year is the time of giving for non profits by asking for reader support.
From Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world.
Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.
When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission efficiently.
If everyone reading this donated, our fundraiser would be done within an hour. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.
This year, please consider making a donation of $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.
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