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#50900 - 01/12/19 12:37 AM Wikipedia
artie505 Online

Registered: 08/04/09
Several years ago, in response to a post that encouraged contributions to Wikipedia, tacit argued that they had already accumulated an unreasonable amount of cash and weren't necessarily in need of more.

When I looked at the numbers, I saw that he was perhaps correct in his assessment, and I've followed them on and off since then. Here are their most recent available numbers:

In their 2016-2017 Annual Report, Wikimedia, Wikipedia's parent organization, reported having $105 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short term investments, approximately $20 million of which derived from that year's donations and contributions.

They've been accumulating cash at an astonishing rate for the past bunch of years (they had $25 million in June 2012.), and they continue to unabashedly solicit more with neither a particular current need for it nor a specific future spending plan, and while they're certainly a worthy organization, it sure looks like they're overplaying their need for support dollars, and people should perhaps consider redirecting theirs to organizations that REALLY DO need them.

It's looks like Wikimedia is caught up in a "there's never enough and no such thing as too much" syndrome.

I'd love to think that their solicitations aren't gratuitous, but I haven't found any evidence to the contrary.
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

#50901 - 01/12/19 06:14 AM Re: Wikipedia [Re: artie505]
ryck Online

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: artie505 sure looks like they're overplaying their need for support dollars, and people should perhaps consider redirecting theirs to organizations that REALLY DO need them.

You didn't ask for suggestions but, opportunist that I am, I'll take this opening to recommend a site I support - The Internet Archives . Love old radio shows? ....this is the place for you. Ditto old TV shows. Just want to read? about 3,000,000 public-domain books and growing. And there's too much more even to think about describing it here.

One of the things I like about this site (they've been around since 1996) is that they are also activists, fighting for a free and open internet.

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#50903 - 01/12/19 10:45 AM Re: Wikipedia [Re: artie505]
joemikeb Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I am not sure what your complaint is. According to their numbers 95% of Wikimedia's income is derived from Donations which tallies nicely with their claim of being supported by contributions. Their cost of operations averages out to $5,761,396 a month and the income from investments and other non-contribution sources average $314,039.25 a month which would leave them $5,447,357 in the red each and every month without the contributions.

What I see in their numbers is...
  • Wikimedia is providing a service that offers sufficient value to the user base that they are willing to contribute (pay) for the privilege of using the services provided. (While it isn't mentioned here I have no reason to doubt that only a relative small percentage of users actually contribute. The same is true of most non-profit institutions including churches.)
  • 12% of their costs are for fundraising which is perhaps slightly high (≤ 10% would be ideal, but I have seen fundraising costs exceed 30% and in extreme case 70%)
  • the $3,809,286 item for Donation Processing Expenses may sound high but as it is only 4.35% of the total donations and contributions it is actually on the low side of what banks typically charge for Credit Card processing and transaction fees.
  • The investment in Property, Plant, and Equipment seems relatively modest.
  • What is missing is beginning balance sheet data that would give a better picture of where the $22,105,660 increase in net assets actually lie.
joemikeb • moderator

#50922 - Yesterday at 04:00 AM Re: Wikipedia [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online

Registered: 08/04/09
This isn't about whether or not Wikimedia needs contributions (which it obviously does) or how it's run. It's about its having been created to give back, not to accumulate money for no particular purpose other than to accumulate it as it appears to have done and be doing on an ongoing basis.

There certainly are organizations that can justify huge balances as necessary to support their current operations and future known and potential needs, but even their accumulation of money is in danger of becoming money for money's sake rather than for purpose's sake, which appears to be the mode Wikimedia is in.

I don't think anybody other than Congress can force the issue, and that's not likely to ever happen, and, on the other hand, all those billions of dollars are supporting the stock market, not to mention probably helping keep the national debt afloat, so I guess the status will remain quo.
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.


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