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Wikimedia 2008/2009 Fundraiser Analysis I


The Wikimedia Foundation has started its annual fundraiser again on November 4th 2008. It is scheduled to run until January 15th 2009. I've written several articles on last year's so I've been asked a lot to comment on the current one. This year Wikimedia clearly state they want to raise $6 million. No more diffuse targets, "number of donors" weirdness as last year. Well done, Rand!

Wikipedia main page shows $3.289.684
The Wikimedia fundraiser contributions page shows $2.289.684 - the Sloan Foundation million less

Rand Montoya is Wikimedia's new "Head of Community Giving" and responsible for making this fundraiser much more professional than last year's. The contribution history page still is only good to spot the occasional clown donating JPY 1 (which makes Wikimedia loose money due to transaction fees). But Rand pointed me to two other pages giving a better report on current donations:

The meter banner on top of many wikipedia pages matches the data on these pages quite closely. It's just a million off :-). (see images above) That million is an annual donation by the Sloan foundation ($3 million over three years). All of it been accounted for in the donation year 2007 (see the Wikimedia Financials FAQ) but somehow it is added again in the meter but not in the statistics pages. BTW: The German Wikimedia chapter has a less fancy, but more complete and transparent reporting of donations. Not cut-off after seven days. All of a month on one page. Data ready for copy & paste into a spreadsheet. Benchmark.

So, is the $6 million target realistic? At day 29 of the 74 day campaign, $3.3m have been raised. Taking out the major donations totaling $1.7m (these are not stochastic enough to be estimated with any reasonable validity) and assuming that the Christmas tax rally at the end of the year roughly equals the start of fundraising spike, we can expect $2.6m to be raised from individual contributors. Adding back the major donations, the estimation for the total fundraiser comes in at $4.3m. That's plus any major donations still to be announced. I bet a guy with Rand's experience has another ace up his sleeve. One less elegant solution has been hinted at in the fundraiser FAQ already: "What happens if you do not reach your goal? [...] A second, smaller fundraiser may be scheduled for March."


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