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The Wikimedia Foundation hits its $20 million USD fundraising target for Wikipedia

For those of you who have been greeted by banners at the top of Wikipedia pages for the past few months urging you to donate money, those longing eyes will no longer haunt you. The Wikimedia Foundation announced today that it has reached its $20 million USD fundraising goal and will now be taking down those banners.
 
According to a Wikipedia blog posting by Jay Walsh, over one million donors from around the world contributed to the $20 million campaign. Walsh also indicated that its 2011 haul far surpassed the "meager" $4.5 million raised during 2008.


Say "goodbye" to these Wikipedia fundraising banners
 
Likewise, Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, posted the following message:
 
Thank you.
 
We've taken down our fundraising banners, because we’ve hit our target. Thanks to you. Over the past few months, more than one million people have come together from all over the world to keep Wikipedia and its sister sites alive and flourishing for another year.
 
Your support is how we pay our bills. People like you, giving five dollars, twenty dollars, a hundred dollars. Thank you for helping us.
 
We’re the #5 most-popular site in the world --- we operate on a tiny fraction of the resources of any other top site. We will use your money carefully and well, I promise you.
 
For everyone who helps pay for Wikipedia and all the Wikimedia projects, and for those who can't afford to help -- thank you so much for making the world a better place.
 
Wikipedia serves over 20 million articles, is the fifth most popular website on the internet, and will celebrate its 11th anniversary on January 15, 2012.

Sources: Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation



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RE: Spending much?
By BSquared on 1/3/2012 3:00:37 AM , Rating: -1
They actually post what they spend the money on. So far they outlined what the ~$28M will go to.

The sad part is most the money goes to paying the 97 employees wages.
~13M Salaries
~2.6M contracted employment
~1M volunteer staff
~1M Grants

Misc Expense
~1.7M Travel
~1M Transaction fees on fundraising
~300K Merchandising
~560k Legal fees

Facility and equipment
~2.7M Hosting/bandwidth
~1.7M Maintenance/upkeep.
~2.6M Future infrastructure

So really in a very overly simplistic breakdown, ~13M in salary/benefits/etc, plus external employment adds up to ~17.6M.

Then ~4.4M goes to the actual running and upkeep of the site, and ~2.6M is used for new data centers and more equipment, for a total of ~7M.

Scarily you'd think the legal fees would be ginormous, but then you look at the staggering travel expenses, ~1.7M, what do they give all their employees free trips to the Bahamas every couple of months? WTF? I didn't think flying all their board members for meetings would cost this much, heard of skype? Then of course you have merchandising, which they make a profit from...which is weird since they are non-profit...can anyone clarify that for me?

What this points out to me is that the average employee makes around ~100K+ yearly, which really isn't that badly overspent, except the actual salary range is ~50-90k. The executive board (7 current members) range ~90-200k. All which can be increased/decreased depending on reviewed performance.

As far as operation costs, the donated money doesn't just go to Wikipedia, it goes to Wikimedia, which supports several hundred other pet projects, so yeah, your money doesn't go where most people originally thought.

So in my opinion, they pay a bunch of people to sit in an office in California to coordinate the free efforts of people like us, that donate our own actual money, time, and genius (code for wiki and content for articles). A really good rip-off scheme if you ask me. Thanks Jimmy Wales, you are an entrepeneur if not clever in earning a free check as a Wikimedia board member, and then making payday with Wikia. <snickers>


RE: Spending much?
By hankw on 1/3/2012 6:33:42 AM , Rating: 3
Seriously? 13mill for 97 employees = 134,020/person. What the hell am I doing working for a "for profit" organization? :D


RE: Spending much?
By gamerk2 on 1/3/2012 8:33:06 AM , Rating: 2
On average; top salaries employees are probably in the million range, like any normal coorporation, so the rest of the staff [probably IT personel and lawyers] are closer to the 80k range, or about average for their fields.

So salaries look pretty in line with whats expected, if not a little low.


RE: Spending much?
By mcnabney on 1/3/2012 9:27:45 AM , Rating: 3
There is also a lot more to employee compensation than just salary. Benefits, bonuses, employer-side of SS/FICA, matching 401k contributions... It piles up fast. My salary is ~$85k, but my total cost of employment is over $120k.


RE: Spending much?
By ati666 on 1/3/12, Rating: -1
RE: Spending much?
By wempa on 1/3/2012 10:51:04 AM , Rating: 2
Those numbers actually seem very reasonable compared to any other firm's expenses. Anybody who works in IT knows that ~130K average for an overloaded salary is surely within line. Compare that to the estimated cost of 278K per job created or saved from the last government stimulus.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997











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