The Wikimedia Foundation and the tens of thousands of volunteers who contribute their time and expertise to its projects believe that knowledge is power and that it should, it must, be free.
Generous support from people like you has enabled Wikipedia to become the largest encyclopedia in human history. Just a few years ago, wikipedia.org was not even a top 10,000 website; now it is in the top 30 with more than 2.5 billion pagehits in November 2005 alone. Less than one half of one percent of people on the Internet used wikipedia.org on any given day this time last year. Now that figure has nearly quadrupled and we expect similar growth in the coming year. With your help, tens of millions more people will use Wikipedia and its sister projects next year.
To serve an exponentially-growing readership, our budget has increased from $15,000 in 2003, past $125,000 in 2004, to over $700,000 this year. In the coming year, the Wikimedia Foundation anticipates spending millions keeping up with increases in demand, improving our software and methods to better ensure good quality content, and continuing work toward our goal of providing free knowledge to everyone. That sounds daunting, but so did creating the world's largest encyclopedia in less than five years. We can do it with your help.
Wikipedia and its sister projects only exist through contributions: the contributions of editors who volunteer their time and effort, and the contributions of donors who help financially. Just as many small edits help build content, every donation helps serve that content. The average donation we receive is the equivalent of $20. Every little bit helps.
We are turning to you during this holiday season to help make this happen. It is your donations that allow us to continue to grow and improve. Donations to the Wikimedia Foundation can be made in the currency of your choice and are tax deductible in the United States. In Germany and France, donations to the local Wikimedia chapters (Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia France) are also tax deductible. While donations to local chapters may not be directly used by the Wikimedia Foundation they will help us reach our overall goals.
Now is the time to help empower the world with free knowledge.
Thank you for your generosity!
Jimmy Wales, Florence Devouard, Angela Beesley, and the rest of the Wikimedia Team.