Wikipedia, a not-for-profit organisation, relies heavily on the generosity of organisations and private individuals to support the $9.4 million annual budget. The fundraising staff aim to raise $10.6 million over the current financial year, largely through a direct marketing campaign focused on Wikipedia users. At the heart of the campaign is a direct appeal from co-founder Jimmy Wales. A plain banner invites users to read a message from Jimmy, which turns out to be a value statement. “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet has free access to the sum of all human knowledge”.
Jimmy Wales co-founded Wikipedia along with Larry Sanger. Wales provided the focus on a publicly editable online encyclopaedia, while Sanger developed the strategy of using a “wiki”. While Sanger has left the organisation to focus on other projects, Wales is still clearly visible as an advocate for the Wikipedia project, online at his blog, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter feed and Friendfeed.
At the heart of the Wikipedia Foundation’s fundraising efforts is Head of Community Giving Rand Montoya. Montoya previously worked with American Red Cross (Bay Area Chapter). He had the challenge of developing Wikipedia’s own credit card payment process, a donation environment that closely resembled the Wikipedia user experience, and build specific donation pages that related to different countries. Fenton Communications and SeaChange Strategies are working with Montoya on messaging, design and strategy.