Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and, for good reason, the encyclopedia has become the best single place online to find any kind of information from science facts to TV show trivia. But the site, unlike many online services, is not commercial, meaning that the growing costs of infrastructure and upkeep have to be offset from donations. Which is where the regular users come in as, Wikimedia, the foundation behind the popular site, is asking people to contribute a sum to ensure its survival.
“This fundraising campaign offers Wikipedia readers the opportunity to celebrate Wikipedia and protect it for the future — for yourself, and for everyone else. I’m aiming this year to raise 7.5 million dollars, up from five million last year. That money will go towards technology and people — the servers and bandwidth required to operate the site, and the staff of 30 people who keep it running,” Sue Gardner, Wikimedia executive director, wrote.
The campaign has been running yearly for a while now and it has constantly grown in its ambitions along with size of the site and the costs associated with running it. Last year the Wikimedia Foundation set a goal of raising $6 million to cover the day-to-day costs and it not only met its goal, it also went on to get $6.9 million in donations from over 125,000 donors.
This year though the group is a little more ambitious, but it has also changed the focus of the campaign a little. The new “Wikipedia Forever” campaign is more than just about having the money to run the site, it also aims to use some of the money raised for long-term investments to ensure the site will live on for years to come.
This year the organization has also set up several new ways of donating and spreading the word. The site now features a big banner labeled “Wikipedia Forever” which leads to the campaign's page on Wikipedia where users can donate using PayPal and by credit card. For the first time, users in the US will also be able to donate via text messages on their mobile phones. Now it's up to the users to see if Wikipedia will be able to surpass the record set last year.