I got an email from Jimmy Wales today asking for a donation to Wikipedia. My only problem with the email is that their choices of different donation levels didn't have an option "I already gave."
As a blogger, I use Wikipedia a lot. Partly because it comes up near the top if not first in most searches. Partly because it generally has the most balanced starting point for me on any topic.
I posted about my check on Wikipedia's fund raising in 2011. It seemed like a good idea. Since then, a relative got a job with the Wikimedia Foundation, so I need to disclose that now. Fortunately, I checked on Wikipedia long before I knew I'd have any connection to them.
Below is the letter I got this year and I encourage you to help keep this organization publishing their information for the world to read. Actually, their small staff doesn't and couldn't post all the information. That's done by volunteers around the world and it's success and quality is a testament to people volunteering and doing what they believe in without having to be paid.
I was at their headquarters this year and I can guarantee that this is not one of the luxurious hi-tech companies you read about. This is a non-profit with funky furniture. And the employees don't get paid incredible sums and there's no promise of shares in the company, because, well they're not a profit making company and there are no shares to be had.
"When the clock strikes midnight, our email fundraiser will end — but we haven't yet hit our goal. I'm asking you, sincerely: please take one minute to renew your $25 donation to Wikipedia.
These images are vestiges of encyclopedic knowledge of the past, when scientific, factual information was expensive, hard to digest, and hard to come by. Even today, your name-brand, hard copy encyclopedia would cost nearly $1,400 and contain about 65,000 articles. You get Wikipedia's 40 million articles and 35 million images for free. We just ask that once a year you contribute a little bit -- whatever you can -- to keep this amazing resource available for everyone.
If everyone who used Wikipedia gave today, we wouldn't have to worry about fundraising for years to come.
We’re a nonprofit. We’re independent. We don’t run ads or sell services to our readers. Though our size requires us to maintain the server space and programming power of a top site, we are sustained by donors who give an average of about $15. This year, will you take one minute to keep our work going?"