I’m writing this because, until a few days ago, I had never even thought about donating to Wikipedia – and maybe you are the same.
I use Wikipedia all the time. A few days ago I read posts by some scientists at work who said they donate modest amounts each year to support this service.
Then, like magic, I noticed a pop up box on my computer at home that night inviting me to donate. (Was it big brother reading my mind or was it always there and I had just never noticed it before?)
I decided to give a few dollars and received a lovely thank you from the Wikimedia Foundation:
It’s easy to ignore our fundraising banners, and I’m really glad you didn’t. This is how Wikipedia pays its bills — people like you giving us money, so we can keep the site freely available for everyone around the world.
You should know: your donation isn’t just covering your own costs. The average donor is paying for his or her own use of Wikipedia, plus the costs of hundreds of other people. Your donation keeps Wikipedia available for an ambitious kid in Bangalore who’s teaching herself computer programming. A middle-aged homemaker in Vienna who’s just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A novelist researching 1850s Britain. A 10-year-old in San Salvador who’s just discovered Carl Sagan.
On behalf of those people, and the half-billion other readers of Wikipedia and its sister sites and projects, I thank you for joining us in our effort to make the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Your donation makes the world a better place. Thank you.
(A word of warning in case this happens to you: In the morning I woke to find my credit card had been suspended. After recovering from my initial disappointment at possibly being scammed – especially after the thank you email – I rang the bank. It turns out that the security company thought a small amount paid to an organisation in USA at midnight was suspicious. They immediately reinstated my card when I reassured them that it was a legitimate donation).